Singer Gareth Gates became emotional as he was declared the only famous face to pass this year’s Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins course.
The 39-year-old, who found fame on TV talent show Pop Idol, made it to the final of the military-style series alongside former health secretary Matt Hancock, TV personality Danielle Lloyd, Olympic track and field athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton and Love Island star Teddy Soares.
In Sunday’s finale of the Channel 4 show, the last five competitors took part in a resistance to interrogation challenge, a key stage of SAS selection.
They were subjected to punishing interrogation techniques by a specialist team, including being held in extreme stress positions, while using a cover story that they were working for an animal welfare project, named the Asian Saola Survey, to hide their true mission.
Gates maintained his story during his grilling, with the onlooking interrogation umpire saying: “He buys time well, he’s very considered, he’s genuinely an individual that’s quite difficult to get upset with.”
In a piece to camera, the singer revealed: “Whenever I’m feeling in a dark place, I just always think of my beautiful daughter’s face, smiling at me saying ‘You can do this daddy’. And I think that’s going to be my main source of inspiration.”
When it came to Hancock’s turn, he came up with an elaborate backstory which prompted the umpire to say: “The reality of it is he’s really good at lying.”
Discussing the interrogation, the West Suffolk MP said in a piece to camera: “Interrogation is something that is just part and parcel of my day job.
“And maybe I will come completely unstuck but I’ve been interrogated in the most aggressive way by people being totally unreasonable. Have you met Piers Morgan?”
However, the MP was later restrained in an extreme stress position for his “arrogance” to the interrogator.
Soares broke his cover story early and told them he was with the British Special Forces, which resulted in him failing the challenge.
Hancock and Shakes-Drayton were further tested with the MP made to pour a buck of ice cold water over the former Olympic athlete’s head.
The treatment broke Shakes-Drayton who confessed what their true mission was, prompting Hancock to also agree, and she was later removed from the course.
Interrogator Dilksy also told Hancock that he had wound him up with his lies, adding: “You f****** look down your nose at people like me with contempt. You’ve got no f****** power here, my pedigree chum” before a bucket of ice water was poured over him.
Lloyd and Gates also had to endure the ice bucket treatment, which caused the TV star to break, but their performances were praised by the interrogators.
The remaining trio of contestants – Gates, Lloyd and Hancock – had to face one final test of endurance, which was designed to replicate combat under fire.
While wearing their full kits, they had to drag tyres and carry logs through swampy waters before having to carry jerry cans up a barren road.
For the final part of the task, each recruit had to hang from a bar suspended in the air for as long as they could.
Lloyd immediately dropped while Hancock held on for 1.10 minutes and Gates 1.20 minutes.
While he was suspended, Gates, who was runner-up to Will Young on Pop Idol in 2002, could be heard saying in a piece to camera: “When I was a 17-year-old boy, I entered a TV talent show. I made the final but didn’t win.
“It was hard at the time. But 20 years on I wanted to prove to myself that I am strong and I can make it right down to the end and hopefully even win.”
As the directing staff consulted on who they would pass, they said Gates had “pretty much passed virtually everything” on the course had remained a “frontrunner” and “stoic” from the beginning.
They also praised Lloyd’s “great character” and “determination” but noted that she was not “physically strong enough” while they thought Hancock had “succeeded at most tasks” and “outworked many of the people on the course”.
After they announced Gates had successfully passed, he appeared overwhelmed with emotion and thanked the directing staff before his fellow contestants rushed to congratulate him.