In the realm of reality television, few shows have hooked viewers quite like SAS: Who Dares Wins.
The hit Channel 4 show kicked off this week with a string of famous faces taking part in the punishing jungle phase of SAS selection. Some of this year's celebrities include former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, singer Gareth Gates, TV personality, Danielle Lloyd and TOWIE star James 'Arg' Argent.
However, the gripping series, known for its relentless challenges and fierce competition, has undergone significant changes recently.
The departure of Ant Middleton, who had been at the helm of SAS: Who Dares Wins since its inception in 2015, marked a pivotal moment in the show's history. But what led to his exit from the series?
With a decade of service that encompassed roles in the Royal Marines and the Special Boat Service (SBS), Ant brought a wealth of expertise to the show.
Beyond the screen, he applied his Special Forces skill set to personal security, safeguarding high-profile individuals, including government officials and celebrities.
However, Ant’s journey on the show took an unexpected turn due to a series of controversial comments. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the COVID-19 pandemic, his statements ignited controversy.
A since-deleted tweet that labelled both BLM protesters and far-right demonstrators as 'scum' triggered a wave of criticism.
Ant later clarified his intentions in a video, asserting that he did not refer to BLM as 'scum' but rather to the violent individuals in the video.
Despite the apology, the damage was done. Channel 4, the broadcaster of SAS: Who Dares Wins, announced his departure, citing misaligned values and views following discussions about his personal conduct.
Additionally, allegations emerged of 'inappropriate comments' directed at female staff members on set, which Ant dismissed as 'military banter.'
Stepping into the formidable shoes of Ant Middleton is Mark 'Billy' Billingham, a veteran with 27 years of military service.
Mark's journey in the military led him to the highest NCO rank in the SAS, making him uniquely qualified to lead recruits through the most demanding challenges.
The war hero has led countless hostage rescues and as a result, received numerous awards. Including the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery and an MBE presented by Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
After his time in the SAS, Mark became a bodyguard for A-listers, Tom Cruise, Kate Moss and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, where he earned more than £10,000 a month.
Mark, joined by instructors Rudy Reyes, Jason Foxy Fox, and newcomer Chris Oliver, is poised to challenge, motivate, and push contestants to their limits.
While Ant may have exited the UK version of the series, his journey is far from over. He has found a new role as the chief instructor in the Australian version, set to air on Channel 7.
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