SAS: Who Dares Wins Has Come To A Dramatic Climax In The Most Successful Series
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
After starting with 25 candidates - with women included among the contestants for the first time in the history of the programme - the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins soon became its most successful to date, with an average of 3.2m viewers tuning in each week.
Tonight we watched as Mark (better known as number six), Lou (number 24) and Milo (number seven) passed and completed the course after a gruelling interrogation phase, which got the better of three other recruits who decided to voluntarily withdraw.
They were stripped, they were screamed at and had distressing white noise blasted into their ears as Ant Middleton whacked them with a stick against their goggles. Not exactly an ideal set up, is it?
Then the directing staff (DS) decided it was the end of the road for farmer Hannah (number 25) and barrister Rick (number 18).
Over the last six episodes we've seen each successful recruit open up to the DS and bond with each other, leaving viewers quite literally in tears.
Firefighter Mark Peart, 31, confided in ex-special forces soldiers Ant Middleton and Jason Fox, telling them about the death of his wife.
He said: "She was perfect in every single way. She was beautiful, she was funny, happy, honestly like the fairy-tale. But she just had these things that ate away on her - low self-esteem and anxieties.
"I'm still feeling lost with it and don't fully understand. I don't think I ever will."
Tonight we watched as he blew the cover story for the group - a move that impressed the DS - and when it was revealed he had passed the course, he explained: "It's just kind of given me a bit of light that I know I can still achieve things that I want to do. It's just always going to be hard to do it when she's not here.
"If she were here now, she would be behind me 100 per cent. I mean, she'd be sat here now waiting for me."
After the show ended, the widower from Yorkshire, said: "It was also a distraction and a way to project negative energy into something positive that was going to help me move forward and grow as a person.
"The biggest thing I learnt after the show was the power of speaking up about mental illness. So many people are struggling in silence.
"My intention was never to go on and make a difference to mental health stigmas, but it was so amazing to see what effect it has had on people."
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Another triumphant recruit was Milo Mackin, 25, who dubbed the experience 'the best and worst two weeks of my life'.
Milo was on the show for a heartbreaking reason: to make his late 'hero' brother Travis proud. Travis was just 22 when he was killed in action with the Royal Marines.
In an earlier episode, the water engineer said: "When I was 15 I lost my brother in Afghanistan, he got killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) and I had another brother as well - still have a brother - and he was in the army and they were both out there together.
"I thought it would be selfish of me to join the military after seeing my family."
When asked about whether he was happy with the decision he made, Milo added: "I regret it."
Speaking of his success after the show, Milo said: "I've always believed that the harder you work, the luckier you get. I gave 100 per cent in everything. I was never going to VW (voluntarily withdraw). My fate was in the hands of the DS."
When asked whether he would do it again, he added: "I would do it again tomorrow on two conditions...there is central heating and a double bed."
The third recruit who passed the course was 40-year-old Lou. As one of the only orthopaedic surgeons in Scotland, she had to get used to working in a male-dominated environment.
She said: "It has been an immense privilege to have had the opportunity to be involved in the series. Without a doubt one of the most mentally and physically demanding things I have ever done.
"I don't think I found it tougher than the male recruits, I think we all found it equally difficult. And to be honest that's one of the things that drives you when you're struggling, that everyone is in the same boat, struggling with aches and pains.
"In this environment I don't feel gender was an issue. We were all treated equally and the environment and situation was unfamiliar and daunting for all of us.
"The reason I signed up was as a challenge to myself, did I have the mental and physical resilience to cope with all that would be thrown at us?"
"While I loved the experience, I love my own job and what I do on a day to day basis and couldn't give that up. I learnt a lot about myself, how I can improve as a person and develop transferable skills that I improve on in my working life."
Is it time for another series yet?
Featured Image Credit: SAS: Who Dares Wins/Channel 4