Chris Ryan Says SAS: Who Dares Wins Is Nothing Like Real SAS Selection
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Bestselling author and former SAS operative Chris Ryan has revealed that SAS: Who Dares Wins is absolutely nothing like the gruelling selection process that SAS hopefuls go through in real life, and that the true programme cannot be replicated for TV.
Ryan would know too, not only was he a decorated SAS soldier himself, but he also worked as an instructor and selector, notably on the selection of Mark 'Billy' Billingham, one of the Channel 4 show's instructors.
OK, before we get started, let's just say that we know that it's just a TV show, and they're not really training for the SAS, but they don't half take it seriously on there, do they?
The Agent 21 writer told LADbible: "It may as well be called the Krypton Factor [one for the kids, there] because it's not like the SAS selection, sadly.
"It's entertainment and it should come under entertainment.
"I'm not knocking any of the guys that do it, but it's certainly not SAS selection."
He went on to explain one of the key differences between the TV show and the real thing - there's no shouting.
Shouting at recruits is one of the hallmarks of SAS: Who Dares Wins, and - of course - it's an entertainment show, people enjoy that, but Ryan explained that very few SAS instructors actually berate their charges.
He said: "Most instructors are very quiet, they don't have to raise their voice. They've very unassuming.
"One thing, you never hear anybody shouting or screaming at students, because as soon as you do that you motivate that person.
"We would be on the passive side, just walk into an RV [rendezvous point] and I'll be there, I'll ask your name, and I'm making an assumption of you, are you switched on, are you switched off?
"Then, I'll say 'OK, your next RV is...' and give them an eight figure grid reference and say 'off you go'.
"I would give the guys the information they need to know in terms of how to navigate - how to build a shelter - and then I would watch them to see if they're taking in this information and retaining it."
"There's no point to shout at anybody. There's no point to be like your typical army instructor that you might see with the Paras [Parachute Regiment] or with the Marines.
"What we expect is each student that comes on selection to be self-motivated. We only tell them once.
"There's nobody going to the barracks screaming and shouting, there's no marching or saluting, we just leave them to their own devices, but they've got to perform."
He added: "It's down to individuals, it's down to their effort. What you see on the TV programmes where there's a load of shouting and screaming, that just doesn't happen."
Furthermore, while SAS: Who Dares Wins is no doubt a proper challenge for the recruits, who - let's not forget - are just ordinary people trying to test themselves, Ryan believes that the real process can't be replicated for TV.
He said: "It would be impossible to replicate SAS selection for TV, because you can't shrink the timing down - it's six months.
"If I said to you, 'I'm going to run a selection for two weeks', anybody can take hardship for two weeks.
"But, if I said it was six months you might say, 'screw that, I'm not wasting half a year knocking my pan in', and that's what you can't replicate."
Ryan was speaking to LADbible following the release of his new book, Manhunter.
Manhunter is the first novel in a new series from the Strike Back author, and the first to feature Joe Bowman, an 'ex-SAS hero battling opioid addiction and his own inner demons'.
The synopsis reads: "Following a botched operation in Afghanistan, Bowman is recruited into 'The Cell', a covert unit within the SAS working alongside the police - a unit so secretive most of the other guys in the regiment don't even know it exists."
Manhunter is available in all good booksellers now.