Search icon


25th Mar 2015

This could be the toughest reality TV show ever

TV producers are looking for 40 ordinary men to take on SAS selection...

Ben Kenyon

Are you tough enough to survive ultra-hardcore SAS selection?

It’s a question we often ask ourselves at JOE HQ, and invariably the answer is ‘no’.

But now a merciless TV crew are planning to put 40 ordinary men through their paces to see if they can cut it in the elite British fighting force.

At a time when reality shows have gone soft with pampered celebs eating kangaroo penis in the jungle, this could be the toughest TV adventure ever.

With ex-Special Forces soldiers taking the troops through ‘the most psychologically demanding and physically challenging endurance mission of their lives’, they are bound to be pushed to the limit.

Here we look at the torturous tests the contestants will have to survive if they are to make it out in one piece…


SAS training is known to be the toughest in the world; that’s why these lads are harder than a steel toecap.

Any soldier worth his salt must be able to survive sleep deprivation and an exhausting battle against the elements  – and the TV recruits can expect the misery to be cranked up to 11.

There is only one fact you need to know about SAS training: Less than 10% of recruits survive the full course.

So, if we have the maths right … *counts on fingers* … four guys might be tough enough to earn their wings.


Staying power and the British stiff upper lip are the backbone of the military – but the SAS are a different breed. Think a slam-dunking Optimus Prime to Bumblebee.

optimus prime prime success gif dunk optimus

To test their endurance, the willing troops must march across the rugged terrain of the Brecon Beacons against the clock with a 40lb rucksack. Every day the distance is increased and more bricks are crammed into their packs to weigh them down.

Finally this onslaught culminates in a challenge known as ‘The Endurance’ – a 40-mile march with full equipment navigating the peak of Pen Y Fan in 20 hours.

This is a challenge so tough that three SAS recruits have died in recent years during this aspect of the training.


Once the hill phase of The Endurance is complete, SAS hopefuls must undergo a fitness test that would floor most of us on a good day. Never mind following days of relentless marching.

Royal Marines Of 42 Commando Launch An Aviation Beach Assault Exercise From HMS Bulwark

Would-be soldiers will need to finish a four-mile run in 30 minutes and a two-mile swim in 90 minutes or face elimination.

Nearly 50% of applicants drop out by this stage, returning to their families to tell them, in hushed voice: “I’ve seen things.”


You’re behind enemy lines in Iraq like Andy McNab in Bravo Two Zero or cast adrift in some mosquito-bitten jungle hell hole. There’s no 24-hour McDonald’s within 100 miles and Uber don’t do taxis to this neck of the woods. It’s all about survival. Do or die.

The SAS has to prepare its boldest and bravest for every eventuality – equipping them with just a tin can of survival essentials during training.

Why else would they set up a UK base camp in Hereford? It’s all about pushing themselves to the limit.

Psychological Pressure

The Apprentice 2014

Recruits who have made it past the never-ending marches, jungle survival, and escape and evasion challenges are probably pretty tough. But the SAS always save the worst ’til last.

The ‘Resistance to Interrogation’ test.

You can be fit as a butcher’s dog, but if you haven’t got an unbreakable mind then your chances of wearing that elite badge are dead in the water.

That’s why the SAS designed a 36-hour interrogation marathon that reportedly includes sleep, food and water deprivation, hooding, time disorientation and prolonged periods of nakedness. Not in a good way.

This short video is well worth a watch…