On the last season of SAS: Who Dares Wins, 30 budding recruits faced a harrowing, eight-day program ripped right from the pages of Special Forces training manuals. Each episode targeted an aspect of SAS training (character, weakness, fear, survival and interrogation) and every test required the complete attention of the mind, body and soul. Only the strong-willed and honest-hearted prevailed.
If you missed last year’s premiere, don’t worry. We’ve collected the most memorable moments from the first season of SAS: Who Dares Wins to whet your appetite for the upcoming second season.
Get ready for fear, cheer and the occasional tear.
1. The faces of the young contestants when told the odds
Ant Middleton, an SAS sniper and the chief instructor on the ground, reveals to the contestants that when he went through the rigorous training routine, only 14 out of 202 trainees made it through.
2. The last first challenge you’d expect – essays
There was something rather heartwarming when this long line of burly men was asked to pull out a pen and pad, and pour their hopefully resilient hearts out over two A4 pages, even if many of them triple-spaced their handwriting.
3. A contestant is called on his delusions of grandeur
Jon, a 28-year-old trainee stuntman, considers himself above his fellow civilians, noting on his personal essay that he is "civilian elite". Claiming to camera that he’ll squash everyone else, the bulging upstart’s huge ego is an immediate red flag to the powers-that-be.
By the end of the first episode, he’s come last in a personal training challenge, but the staff keep him around in order to “see him suffer”.
4. We hear the heartwarming story of an Aussie competitor
Mick, a 35-year-old comedian from down under, reveals his parents bought a pub when he was at the tender age of eight, and he spent his teens and twenties fighting a steady descent into alcohol, drugs and gambling. A dedicated father and husband, the man has come good and wants to make his family proud.
5. By episode two, only two-thirds of contestants remain
A sizeable group of men dropped out of the first fitness test – a long-distance run saddled with a 30kg backpack. One trainee was medically evacuated, becoming the first elimination.
Similarly, Callum, a 19-year-old who entered the competition with his once-estranged father, is asked to leave due to coming last in the run. Considering he was there to spend more time with his dad, their goodbye pulls on the heartstrings.
6. We learn crying isn’t a deal-breaker
Softly spoken personal trainer Mark (aka number 4) struggles with a mock evacuation scenario and breaks down in tears. Rather than shame the man and kick him to the curb, they make sure he knows there’s no issue with emotion and that he’s still in the competition for a reason.
Unfortunately, a lack of personal belief remains his downfall.
7. Jon the arrogant stuntman calls a challenge “easy”
Audiences weren’t wondering if Jon’s mouth would get in the way, it was merely a matter of when it would. After he exclaims, “This is easy, this sh**,” to a fellow contestant during an intense exercise challenge, he’s forced to eat his words.
8. A gay professional dancer pushes through
Anthony Selwyn, a musical theatre and ballet performer, was perhaps the most memorable contestant from season one. Just in case you’d like to check out the episodes, we won’t spoil how he fares.
In fact, we’ve spoiled very little of the first season, which shows just how many memorable moments feature in each episode. Season two promises to scale new heights and debuts on Monday 27 March at 8:30pm on SBS.