The instructors on SAS: Who Dares Wins have defended their tough approach, saying they are “not there to break anybody” and “want everyone to do quite well” – despite how it may seem to viewers.
Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox and Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham are returning for the Channel 4 show’s seventh series and will be joined by new team members – former US Special Forces staff Rudy Reyes and Remi Adeleke.
Reyes, a former United States Marine, and Adeleke, a former US Navy Seal, have joined the show after the departure of Ant Middleton, who had been the chief of staff in the series since its conception in 2015.
Speaking ahead of the new series, Billy and Foxy revealed their more sensitive sides while explaining why they take such an aggressive approach with the recruits.
“We’re all compassionate people,” Billy said.
“But show them that it’s not a f****** game show,” continued Foxy, adding that they “try to keep the show as realistic as we possibly can and that is why we introduce things that are harsh very early on.
“Because, firstly, it sets the scene, secondly, it allows us to show them that we’re not mucking around, and then, thirdly, they realise they’re on a journey where they have to show to us that they’re able to overcome the very, very difficult situations that we present to them.”
As with the previous series, civilian recruits will live together under the watch of the directing staff while carrying out relentlessly gruelling challenges designed to push their mental and physical strength to the limit.
Foxy said: “I genuinely want everyone to do quite well, but I want to be fair in that. I don’t want to show any favouritism.”
In a series first, the show has moved to Jordan in the Middle East, having previously been filmed in various places in Britain, including the remote Isle of Raasay in Scotland.
Foxy spoke about the experience of filming in the new location, saying: “The engagement that we got from the people over there was next level, you know.
“We actually personally, as a team, got to meet the King of Jordan. He welcomed us with open arms.”
Reyes and Adeleke, meanwhile, revealed they formed strong connections with some of the recruits.
Adeleke said his own experiences allowed him to particularly relate to one recruit, Shyla, saying: “I was able to identify with her on so many levels – one being obviously I’m African American and she’s black, so that connection was obviously there, but then also having been rejected so much in my life.”
He added: “I’ve been tracking her on social media recently and to see what she’s doing and how she’s more lively and outgoing, it’s just cool.”
Reyes said: “I couldn’t help but have compassion for these people.
“You need to be a hard task master if you care about the recruits… It’s in my nature to care.”
Billy said there are differences in the UK and US approaches to the show, saying: “We all speak the same language but we are culturally so different.”
He added: “They (Reyes and Adeleke) bring a spice that we don’t have.”
SAS: Who Dares Wins begins on April 10 at 9pm on Channel 4.