SAS: Who Dares Wins returns for a brand new series on Channel 4 tonight with a big change.
Following news from the MOD that in 2019 SAS selection will be open to women for the very first time, SAS: Who Dares Wins will be sending a group of 25 men and women high into the spectacular and punishing Andes Mountains in Central Chile.
It is the longest and toughest course that the DS have ever designed, spanning over eleven gruelling days, in a hostile and unforgiving winter warfare environment.
The recruits will eat, sleep and wash together – no allowances will be made for gender – as their mental and physical strength is tested to the limits. Putting them through this punishing course will be Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his Directing Staff (DS) Foxy, Ollie and Billy.
They’ve never worked with women on this course and have no idea how many will make the grade… but they want to find out. In the Special Forces world, no one is interested in equality for the sake of it. All Ant and the DS want to know is can women, with no allowances or exceptions made, pass the course?
Ant said: "I don’t really take gender into play. It’s a case of 'Come on my course, there’s no gender, everyone’s the same.' Everyone’s just a number to me. They’re not a name, just a number, and it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, you need to prove yourself to me.
"You come on my course and enter my world, I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, you’re a number until you prove yourself otherwise."
Speaking ahead of the first episode, he added: "I really just chose to ignore the gender thing. I think after the first 36 hours everyone realised they needed each other. We weren’t going to treat them any differently, it was more a question for the recruits, as to how it affected the dynamic within the group.
"But after the shock of being on the course and realising that this was real, they turned to each other very quickly and relied on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It was a very interesting dynamic."
Ant teased: "This show is full of surprises, and that’s one of the things I love about it. One minute, you can be on top of the world, the next minute you can be down in the pits of hell. One minute you’re a success, the next you’re a failure. We try not to judge a book by its cover.
"But generally speaking, if someone is in good shape, and has prepared mentally, they’re likely to be there at the end."
SAS: Who Dares Wins airs Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4 from 6 January 2019.