TV SAS Australia - Hell Week

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Vader

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norway blue in answer to your earlier question - the first 2 episodes covered days 1-3. The 3rd episode covered day 4, and into day 5. Well on the way to fitting 7 days of course into 4 episodes.
 

Vader

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It's a bit boring just seeing them repeating the same challenges, albeit at different locations and in a compressed timeframe. I was expecting different/harder challenges, such as the evade/capture/interrogation one I've seen them do on SAS Who Dares Wins. It's been disappointing to say the least.

I suspect that James, the Dancer, is the only one who will pass selection this time around - if any of them are selected at all.
 

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Royces Hart

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I don’t even watch this show, I just read this thread to live vicariously through phantom’s SAS styled life.

Emcee Izzy was a national champion canoe sprinter on the outside. Appropriate, being a douche canoe.
 

Vader

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I've decided to watch the UK show - SAS Who Dares Wins. It will be interesting to see just how different the two shows are.

From memory, the UK version wasn't reliant upon short stunts (e.g. backflips into water, escaping from submerged vehicles) - and it definitely wasn't a My Kitchen Rules franchise, with endless confessionals draining the show of all the drama.

I'll report back here with my findings.
 

Vader

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So... I've just finished Season 1 Episode 1 of SAS Who Dares Wins. It is much, much, tougher than the pansy parade they put on in Australia.

The course is 8 days long, with 30 very fit looking males at the start. No females.

Day 1
The first task is to write a 2-page essay about themselves. This is a mental task, designed partly to give the DS an introduction to the recruits (it's not a Celebrity version), and partly to see just how open the recruits will be about themselves. The stories are read by the DS, but not shared with the other recruits.

The second task is to load their bergens, so they weigh 30lb. Everyone gets to at least 30lb, some are closer to 40lb. They then have to complete an 8 mile run, in under 90 minutes, while carrying their fully loaded bergens. 2 recruits are pulled off the course by the broom wagon - one is subsequently taken to hospital, due to hyperventilation, the other is culled not long after. Only 15 of 30 recruits complete the course inside the time limit.

Recruits are detailed to man an OP, in pairs, for an hour overnight. They are to report everything that happens on base. We saw a few things being noted, but I expect more of this to play out in future episodes.

At midnight they're hauled out of bed for a lengthy PT session, before finally being allowed to get 4 hours sleep.

Day 2
The day's task here is a big one - the Fan Dance. Recruits have to do a 24km march, up & over Pen y Fan (the tallest mountain in Wales), and down the other side. Then they have to return via the same route. The target time is 4 hours, though the DS are not expecting them to achieve it - they're looking for recruits who refuse to give up. Only the top 5 are allowed to attempt the return trip, with all of the others told to stop at the turnaround point, or picked up by the broom wagon if they haven't got that far. Of the top-5, only 4 complete the course (the other goes hunger flat, after skipping breakfast). 2 recruits are forced to pull out due to injury.

Upon returning, recruits are asked a number of observational questions about things they'd seen on the Fan Dance. Nobody offers a correct answer.

Recruits are lined up for another PT session, with 3 more taking the VW option.

At 0100 the remaining recruits are called out of the barracks and lined up. 5 are culled.

Observations
  • This episode featured a lot of TQs (Tactical Questioning sessions). There was a steady stream of recruits being called in, whenever they weren't out doing a task.
  • There were also a lot of "Confessionals" (solo interviews, in civvie clothing). Unlike the Australian version though, all of these confessionals contained new information, which wasn't immediately obvious from the course footage/dialogue. It wasn't just recapping what we'd seen, it wasn't stating the blindingly obvious, and it wasn't repeating the same tripe over & over & over & over again.
  • These physical challenges were significantly harder than anything seen on the pansy parade. The only things which even came close were the stretcher carry, log carry, and tyre (equipment) haul. The fitness expectations in this show are much closer to the actual SAS, as distinct from the pansy parade (which is a complete joke in comparison).
  • There were no short "stunt" tasks, though the opening credits did show a recruit about to do the backward dive - so there may be a few of these shorter tasks in future episodes.
  • The dropout rate is far higher than the pansy parade, with 12 of 30 removed from the course in the first 2 days. The low attrition rates for the pansy parade are definitely attributable to the softer & weaker nature of the course.
 

Vader

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Season 1, Episode 2

Day 3
It seems I miscounted, as there are 20 candidates still standing at the start of Day 3. Maybe the 2 who I thought VWed due to injury on the Fan Dance didn't VW, but were included in the cull.

By the standards of Days 1/2/4, Day 3 was relatively easy. It started with the traditional "who is the weakest link" activity in the assembly area.

The two recruits identified as being the weakest links were then given leadership roles for the next task (sound familiar?). This activity was a CASEVAC, requiring the leader to navigate his team (and their casualty) ~2km, over some fairly rough terrain. The first candidate got off to a bad start, by not having his compass on him (they're supposed to have it on them at all times), but after that he did an excellent job of leading his team through the task. The second candidate had an absolute shocker, and just confirmed to the DS that the other recruits had correctly identified him as being one of the weakest.

This was followed by the obligatory blindfolded escape exercise, however it only involved 4 randomly chosen recruits, from the remaining 20. Presumably the others had the afternoon off - they were definitely off camera. Recruits were placed in a dark room, blindfolded, and tied to a railing with cable ties. All they had to do to free themselves was slide the cable tie off the end of the railing, and find their way to the (open) door. 2 recruits succeeded in freeing themselves in around 30 minutes - after the DS had been joking that none of them would move in 4 hours. The other 2 refused to move, despite being told what to do by the two who did escape.

At 2100 they were put through another 3 hour PT session. There's one recruit whose attitude is giving the DS the shits, so he's singled out for a bit of special treatment (duck waddle & holding a weight straight out from his body).

As far as I can recall, there were no VWs, and no recruits forced to leave the course on this day.

Day 4
If Day 3 was an easy day, they made up for it by putting the recruits through Hell on Day 4. Most of the day was taken up by one long sickener - which lasted at least 8-9 hours. It didn't stop until they had 5x VWs. To make it even tougher, they had several false endings, to break the recruits mentally. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...

Arguably the hardest part of this task was the last - doing a fireman's carry, carrying another recruit to the top of a fairly steep hill. The youngest recruit (19yo - and built like a distance runner) had been identified as being lazy, so they forced him to carry the biggest/heaviest recruit (~120kg) up the hill. He made it - just. Then the DS told them to swap positions, and do it all again - the big/heavy recruit handed in his number immediately.

The longest sickener seen in the pansy parade was only 3 hours, and was nowhere near as tough as this. The pansy parade requires them to fireman's carry around the parade square. The UK version requires them to carry up a steep hill.

Finally, they did another cull, just before bedtime. Another 3 recruits forced to hand in their numbers.

Of the 30 who started, only 12 remain, with half the course still to go.

Observations
  • They really love their TQs in this show.
  • The number of confessionals was considerably lower in this episode. Probably only 3-4 in the whole 47 minutes. Once again, not repetitive bullshit like the pansy parade.
  • While there are elements of this show which are common with the pansy parade (e.g. the blindfolded escape), most of the common elements are much, much harder (e.g. the sickener).
  • Still no sign of any short stunt tasks, though the backwards dive appeared in the "coming next" teaser at the end of the episode.
  • It's becoming rather depressing just how badly dumbed down the pansy parade really is.
As an aside, the Fan Dance (Day 2) is actually used as part of the SAS selection course.
 
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Vader

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It's pretty clear that Season 1 of the UK version is actually based around elements of the real SAS selection trial, indeed they make that claim at one point in the show. How much of it is realistic? I'm not sure - though I do know that the Fan Dance is definitely a part of SAS selection. The SAS selection trial requires recruits to complete the whole 24km course in 4hrs 10 min, regardless of weather conditions; failure to finish in time results in removal from the course. Pity the poor buggers who take that on in the Winter selection trial...

There are 5x seasons of SAS Who Dares Wins, plus 3x Celebrity seasons as well (which I won't bother watching). It will be interesting to see how the show evolves, and whether it becomes dumbed down the way the Australian pansy parade has been. Turning everything into My Kitchen Rules seems to be a uniquely Australian TV producers' obsession, so I don't expect the later seasons to be overly stuffed with inane/uninformative/repetitive confessionals. I do, however, wonder if they may feature less of the back breaking endurance tasks (e.g. the Fan Dance), and more of the visually spectacular stunt tasks. I hope not, but it will be interesting to see what seasons 4 & 5 look like.

The show started off as a fairly low-budget production. The first season was filmed almost entirely on an abandoned military base in Wales - the Fan Dance is their only excursion off-site in the first 4 days of filming. They certainly didn't have money to waste on things like helicopters, they way they do in the pansy parade. The show gained popularity over its run, so I will also be interested to see what impact increased budgets made to the latter seasons.
 
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blakey_10

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UK version is very good. They also allow females when the govt passed the law that females can train for SAS. They also add a mole in a few seasons. UK Celebrity is also worth the watch. Only like 5-6 eps per season.
 

Vader

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Season 1, Episode 3 - Fear

The episode starts with 12 recruits still standing. This episode is all about mind games. There are a few physical challenges, but nothing on the scale of the Fan Dance.

Day 5
Recruits are woken with flash/bang grenades going off just outside their sleeping quarters. The DS then take some of them aside, sowing doubts in their minds by telling them that they are "hanging on by the skin of their teeth".

Recruits are then taken to a beach, or what passes for one in the UK - in Australia I'd call it a rocky cove. They're put through a PT session, involving running, and using rocks as weights - holding them overhead, and holding them straight out in front of them. One recruit attempts to VW, but is called back and allowed to rejoin the group.

Recruits are then split into two groups. One goes off to the other side of the base, and are basically ignored for the next 20 minutes. We're never told what they did. The other does another "who is the weakest link" activity, before being put through a PT session. The two identified as being weak links are singled out for special treatment.

Recruits are sent into a tunnel, before being captured & kidnapped when they emerged. DS are looking for their responses, given their "loss of control". The kidnapped recruits are blindfolded, hand bound with cable ties, and forced to kneel. The DS drop steel piping & ladders in front of them, to confuse them with noise. They are subjected to the sounds of one recruit being subjected to a simulated beating. At least one has the blindfold removed, to find a guard dog barking only inches from his face. One of the "weak" recruits is then taking for a TQ, regarding his observations in the capture/kidnap - his answers are all wrong.

At 1830 they're put through another PT session. For most, this only lasts 1 hour. However, the 2 "weakest links" get additional time.

Recruits are then called in for a "comfortable interview", where the DS are more friendly, relaxing the distance they've been keeping between themselves and the recruits. The idea is to get the recruits to drop their guard and lose focus. Recruits are given the option of calling home, potentially weakening their resolve & determination.

Day 6 (?)
This may have been part of Day 5, shown out of chronological order. It's the same small group as previous - but the phone calls to home were done at night, so this could have been Day 6.

The task here was the backwards dive, exactly the same as seen in the pansy parade. One recruit chooses to VW, refusing to even attempt it. Another, one of the weakest links, is shown faltering several times, before eventually doing the dive (and executing it better than most of the others in his group).

Recruits are lined up in the assembly area, expecting another cull. Instead, they're told that the cull will happen in the morning. Good luck sleeping with that mind-f*ck.

Recruit #15 is called in for TQ, and is revealed to be a mole. His role is twofold - gathering intel from inside the group (who is struggling and says they're expecting to go soon), and planting the seeds of doubt (to further test the recruits' mental strength).

Observations
  • See previous comments about TQs and Confessionals.
  • Half the group disappeared after 5 minutes, and didn't reappear until they were lining up for the end-of-episode cull. We have no idea what they were doing all day (2 days?).
  • While the backwards dive has become a staple of the pansy parade, none of the other mind games are ever seen in the Australian version.
  • Even the capture/kidnap task is dumbed down in the pansy parade, which involved little more than being captured, blindfolded, and transported in a minibus. This one was a lot more mentally distressing, particularly the simulated beating and the barking dogs.
 

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