It doesn’t matter how many followers you have: Jennifer Ellison on surviving SAS

Jennifer Ellison has said taking part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins was “refreshing” because “it doesn’t matter how many followers you’ve got, you’re all the same”.

he Liverpudlian actress, best known for her roles in soap opera Brookside and the film adaptation of The Phantom Of The Opera, was eliminated from the SAS selection test programme on Sunday evening.

Speaking about the experience, 39-year-old Ellison reflected on the egalitarian nature of the show.


Ellison was eliminated from the show on Sunday evening (Pete Dadds/Channel 4/PA)

“It doesn’t matter how many followers you’ve got or what TV show you’re doing, they don’t care, they don’t differentiate at all, you’re all the same,” she told the PA news agency.

“It’s refreshing actually because you’re being treated on face value by these directing staff. You get literally back to basics and I don’t think on any other show you get you actually get that.”

Ellison was one of 14 famous recruits to take part in the Channel 4 show, alongside the likes of Olympian Fatima Whitbread, reality star Ferne McCann, actress Maisie Smith and professional dancer AJ Pritchard.

The former model also revealed the initial difficulty she faced when it came to somewhat losing her dignity on national television.

She said: “At first I was absolutely mortified having to go to the toilet in the parade square, but you’re in the middle of the desert and you’ve just got Ferne dropping her cacks and having a wee and in the end it just became normal, we’d all just go together.

“So it was crazy how you adapt to it because I actually have a phobia of public toilets, never mind a bucket with everybody else’s wee and poo in it.

“I like my luxuries, my comfy bed, so it’s just crazy how your body adapts to it, things you thought that you just couldn’t cope with. It’s incredible.”

The show sees the celebrity recruits live in the Jordanian desert as they are put through a series of relentlessly challenging tasks by directing staff Rudy Reyes, Remi Adeleke, Jason Fox and Mark Billingham.

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Ellison’s fellow recruit and record-breaking javelin thrower Whitbread, who was also told to step down in Sunday night’s show, spoke about how she was mentally able to push herself through the process as a result of experiencing childhood trauma.

Speaking to PA, Whitbread said: “I was twice before asked and I wasn’t sure I was in the right headspace or whether it would be the right thing to do, but on the third attempt of asking I thought I’ll only know if I give it a go.”


Fatima Whitbread used her experience of childhood trauma to push herself through the show before she was told to hand over her armband on Sunday night (Pete Dadds/Channel 4/PA)

She added: “I just drew on all my experiences over the years because when you live a life like I have in the early years, the one thing you gain is you either swim or sink.

“Fourteen years in institutions and living in children’s homes gave me an inner strength to survive. And that that is the main fundamental ingredient in anything in life that you do, is having the strength and resolve to go through and trust yourself to go through that process.

“The minute you start panicking, it all goes up in the air and you lose control.”

Having also previously taken part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Whitbred revealed she would “love” to take part in more challenging shows such as Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof or something that involved working with Bear Grylls.

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins continues on Sunday on Channel 4 at 9pm.

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