Celebrity SAS - James


Category: Press Pack Article

Why did you decide to do this show?

I guess it's the closest thing I'm going to get to seeing if I could do SAS selection without actually doing it. Going into it, I thought there would be some things I'll be able to do, and some things I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do. It's interesting to test yourself.

Did you know what you were letting yourself in for?

Yes, I did. A couple of people I know have done it, but then I watched the non-celeb series and had seen how they were getting pushed, so, yeah, definitely, I knew exactly what I was getting into. 

Did you do any preparation beforehand?

I wore some boots for a while. I ran in boots, and that was about it! I only found out a few weeks before the show started that I was doing it, whereas some of the others knew for a long time so had time to prepare. But the thing is, this is like nothing you’ve ever done before, you can't prepare. You had to be very on guard. It's not like sport in that if you get an injury, or you are carrying a niggle and something is sore then you will stop, get some physio, or change what you're doing. It was very clear that wasn’t the case here, it’s when you realise the difference between the military and sport in that there's no time to feel sorry for yourself. If you want to drop out, drop out, but if you're not, you do it, regardless of injuries you might be carrying. It's a different mindset. You've got to either live with injury or drop out. They're not going to help you. And that, I guess, is when it became very real!

This course is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. How would you rate your mental strength going in to the course?

I guess with me there’s no moaning, no complaining about stuff, being able to suffer, being able to put myself through it. I think I'm very good at putting myself through it, physically. But it turns out, and I kind of knew this anyway, I’m only good if I know how long it's going to last for. That was the toughest part for me, mentally. I don't really care if I'm shouted out. If they're shouting, I was like, "Okay, fine. Do you want you want." I can cope with that. It's not a big deal to me.

How did you find being with the other celebs?

I think everyone got on really well. I'd met Shanaze before, I knew Kieron, but only watching him on TV. Same with Ulrika, I grew up watching her do the weather. So, those were the only people I had some sort of connection with. But everyone is laid bare in every way when you're there. I think it's slightly harder for people who haven't done physical stuff or been uncomfortable, it’s like, "Okay, I haven't prepared for this," it is a real shock. And the other thing is that if you pick up injuries, yes, you handle it differently from a sporting perspective than a military perspective, but you still get injured and cope with it. Whereas if you come from an art or TV background, it's totally alien, having to take care of your body, knowing it will get better, that you have to trust your body a bit.

One of the challenges sees you having to rescue a hostage while being gassed, what was that like?

You feel like you're burning! You go into it thinking it’ll be fine, you’ll have plenty of time to do what you need to do. And then as you start to burn, and then this is where coming out of it you realise how special these guys are, they can make snap decisions in the harshest of environments. I was just so confused, you’re given instructions on what to do but as soon as you get in there and take the mask off, the gas is totally disorientating and then instinct kind of kicks in. So for me, years of flying on planes, you kind of remember how they always tell you to put your own mask on before helping other people. So that kicked in and I wasted time by not listening and remembering the instructions they’d given us. It was horrible. When you get out you're coughing your guts out, your eyes are weeping, it’s horrific.

There was also a wrestling challenge, what was that like?

I didn’t really feel competitive but I remember watching Jake come sprinting towards me and thinking, “Okay, I'll just move to the side”. So, that was fine. Actually, the harder thing was when they put you against one of the girls and then being asked to wrestle them in the same way you'd wrestle a guy. You're doing them a disservice by not treating them the same.