SAS Australia

2024 Upfronts

This year SAS Australia Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his team of DS dumped 14 unsuspecting celebrities in a Middle Eastern desert for the biggest physical and emotional test of their lives. What will 2024 bring? A new batch of celebrities. More extreme conditions. More extraordinary tests of stamina and resilience from the real SAS selection process. More remarkable revelations. SAS Australia is produced by Screentime, a Banijay Group company, based on a Minnow Films format.

Season final is Wednesday 1 November.

Olympic runner bows out of SAS Australia

Peter Bol VWs fearing injury

Tonight on SAS Australia: Olympic runner Peter Bol called time on his SAS race while actress Zima Anderson revealed the pain of her traumatic childhood.

For the first task of the day, the remaining eight recruits were pitted against one another in an aggressive game of murderball. Despite winning the respect of the DS with his aggression and determination, the task forced Peter to re-evaluate his place on the course.

Deciding to VW, Peter told the recruits he had learned so much on the course, but he needed to think about his future and get back on the track.

“I’ve got world champs this year. I’ve got the Olympics next year. I was fourth in Tokyo. I don’t want to be fourth again,” said Peter, who admitted he was also fearful of sustaining an injury on the course.

"The Olympics only comes every four years. That fear of not being able to perform when it matters the most, that worries me a bit.

“I don’t want to put myself at risk physically because I still have to go out there and compete for the country. If you’re going against the best in the world, you need every single one per cent.”

The DS summoned the recruits to the parade square to ask them who they believed was the weakest among them. Zima was singled out as the weakest by her fellow recruits, who reassured her it was only because of her small stature.

Upset but not entirely surprised by the result, Zima was called to the mirror room for questioning by the DS.

Zima revealed her turbulent childhood in the foster care system and the effect of her birth mother’s schizophrenia.

"Going through foster systems and the state was pretty hard. When you’re young, you are a sponge; that’s the time when you learn how to love people and how to move as a person. So that was tough.

“I love her [my mum] to pieces, but when I was younger, it was just too tough when someone’s mentally not there at all. She’d leave me places. Having to see constant episodes of emotion without control has been very tough.”

Zima also shared her history of abusive past relationships and her need to please people, often to her detriment.

"Because of my family upbringing, I always seem to choose people who couldn’t love me, and that’s probably where most of my emotions and breakdowns have been.”

The second task of the day saw the recruits split into Alpha and Bravo teams and challenged to carry a combined 150kgs of military supplies through the desert to the peak of a mountain range.

Unlikely hero Zima led Team Bravo to victory with her clear communication and leadership, winning praise from the DS.

Tomorrow night on SAS Australia: A rare morning of good morale is destroyed by a worrying accident. Then a high-pressure tactical driving task pushes the recruits to the edge, before they reveal their most shameful moments and emotional confessions.

The star recruits remaining on SAS Australia in 2023 are:

Abbey Holmes, 32 – AFL Field Commentator
Dr Craig Challen, 57 – Thai Cave Rescue Hero
Craig McLachlan, 57 – Actor
Mahalia Murphy, 29 – International Rugby Star
Matthew Mitcham, 35 – Olympic Gold Diver
Tim Robards, 40 – OG Bachelor
Zima Anderson, 25 – Actor

SAS Australia Continues 7.30pm Tuesday on Channel 7 and 7plus

“I haven’t been the best husband”

Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham shares his darkest shame

Tonight on SAS Australia: Actress Zima Anderson was medically withdrawn after a fall on the course, while Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham admitted he had damaged his relationship with his constant lies.

In a task designed to test their ability to absorb pressure, the recruits infiltrated a military port to secure sensitive information before radioing a memorized extraction code for a water rescue.

After radioing the correct extraction code and preparing to jump into the water, Zima fell awkwardly from the tower.

The challenge was halted as the DS and medical teams raced to her aid.

Sustaining a small fracture to her right elbow and wrist, Zima was taken to hospital for treatment and was medically withdrawn from the course.

Despite cutting short the previous task, the DS continued to apply pressure on the six remaining recruits in a beehive task replicating open ocean survival. Huddled together, the recruits trod water to stay afloat.

Not comfortable in the water, the frightening exercise brought AFL commentator Abbey Holmes to tears as she was overcome by panic and quit the task.

“I just freak out with water. I felt ok at the start but then just went to shit,” explained a tearful Abbey after the task.

Later in the day, the recruits revealed all in ‘setting fire to shame’, a pressure test of emotion designed to expel trauma and shame.

Actor Craig McLachlan went first detailing the impact of the charges laid against him for his role in the Rocky Horror stage show.

“The embarrassment and shame I felt was crippling. And without realizing it, I’ve been hating everything and resenting everything. I’ve been angry at everything. I’m done with hate for hate’s sake. I have, over time, learned to breathe again to move on.”

Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham shocked the DS with his brutal honesty in an emotionally charged confession about his selfish and deceitful behaviour in relationships: "I’ve been a really selfish person in relationships. And I feel so ashamed for the immense hurt that I caused someone for 11 years, who stayed with me throughout my entire addiction.

“And despite being seven years clean and sober and it being one of his absolute deal breakers, I still struggle to be completely honest with my husband.”

He admitted: “I haven’t been the best husband. I’ve definitely caused a lot of pain and I still have a lot of shame for the lies and deception in my relationship.”

Tomorrow night on SAS Australia: A hideous 100 metre rope hang separates the fearless from the feeble before a beasting leaves the recruits with only one way out. Who won’t last?

After last night’s episode went to air, Zima posted on her Instagram a photo of herself and all the DS at a Jordanian hospital. Her right arm was on a sling.

The mother of all SAS beastings strikes

Actor Craig McLachlan VWs during brutal beasting

Tonight, on SAS Australia: The mother of all beastings triggered the voluntary withdrawal of actor Craig McLachlan, the ninth recruit to leave the brutal desert course.

With three days remaining on the unforgiving course and only six recruits left, the first task of the day had the recruits performing an excruciating rope hang above a 100-metre drop to the canyon floor below.

Thai cave diving hero Craig Challen impressed the DS with his stamina in the task, while actors Craig McLachlan and Tim Robards drew criticism from the DS by dropping from the rope almost immediately.

The DS turned up the pressure for the second task, with a speeding exfiltration from a military vessel into choppy seas before a perilous climb to the safety of a hovering Blackhawk.

Partnering with international rugby star Mahalia Murphy, Tim coached her through the exercise, but unwittingly put both their lives in danger when he ignored the DS’s instructions and climbed up the ladder immediately after her. They passed the task but there was no praise from the DS.

Recruits were presented with letters from home, but Mahalia refused to accept hers, fearing it would break her focus.

“I love my family but I’m guilty of being distracted very easily. When you lose focus, you can go off track. I want to be at the end. And I will do everything I can to be at the end,” explained Mahalia.

Later at night, the recruits were given the mother of all beastings, with the DS aiming to weed out the weak. After push-ups, sprints, press-ups and sand crawls, Craig M asked to see the doctor about the pain in his stomach.

His request was refused with DS Ant Middleton telling him he had to either VW or continue with the beasting. After initial hesitation, Craig took off his armband and handed it to the DS.

"I came into the course with all sorts of personal issues, having gone through a number of years of trauma, really. I really lost sight of who I was. And I’m leaving with a real sense of who I am.

“I’m leaving with trust in people again. It’s been a life-changing experience, really. I feel very privileged to be invited along.”

Tomorrow night on SAS Australia: Only five recruits remain as their sniper skills are put to the test. A rare storm floods the camp, and a sickening grunt task leads to another withdrawal.

The star recruits remaining on SAS Australia in 2023 are:

Abbey Holmes, 32 – AFL Field Commentator
Dr Craig Challen, 57 – Thai Cave Rescue Hero
Mahalia Murphy, 29 – International Rugby Star
Matthew Mitcham, 35 – Olympic Gold Diver
Tim Robards, 40 – OG Bachelor

“I’m done”

International rugby player Mahalia Murphy VWs from SAS Australia

Tonight on SAS Australia: International rugby star Mahalia Murphy voluntarily withdrew from the course after a sickening grunt task while a savage storm flooded the camp.

With only five recruits remaining on the ruthless SAS selection course, expert sniper DS Staz led a task to see who had the skills to identify a high-value target and take them out with one shot.

Through indecision and ineffective communication, all five recruits failed the task, leaving the DS to question the recruits’ ability to operate under pressure.

Just as the recruits were settling back into camp, a rare desert storm hit, flooding their barracks and forcing the recruits to sandbag the entries while water steamed from the ceiling of the dorm.

In an excruciating grunt task – the last task standing between the recruits and the final day of selection – each recruit had to carry 40 litres of water to the top of a steep dune with the DS keen to force a withdrawal.

As the other recruits pushed through the pain, Mahalia’s body began to break down and she became the tenth recruit to withdraw from selection.

“I can push through mentally, but physically, it’s not how it works,” said Mahalia before telling the DS she was “done”.

Summing up her time on the course, Mahalia said: “Despite all the pain, the experiences have been unreal. Even the mindset, it’s given me a different perspective and made me think differently, which is going to help me a lot going forward.”

After Mahalia left camp, the final four recruits – Abbey Holmes, Tim Robards, Matthew Mitcham and Craig Challen – were brought to the mirror room and interrogated on why they should be awarded final selection and who they believed was the strongest and weakest among them.

Tim said he was the strongest while Abbey was the weakest, in a blow to Abbey’s confidence, Matthew and Craig both agreed.

Tomorrow night on SAS Australia: The final four must combine all the skills they’ve learned to tackle a final three-phase mission, pass the course and make selection. Who will make it through television’s toughest test?

The star recruits remaining on SAS Australia in 2023 are:

Abbey Holmes, 32 – AFL Field Commentator
Dr Craig Challen, 57 – Thai Cave Rescue Hero
Matthew Mitcham, 35 – Olympic Gold Diver
Tim Robards, 40 – OG Bachelor

SAS triumph for recruits Tim Robards and Matthew Mitcham

Actor and Olympic diver pass selection on TV’s toughest test

Tonight on SAS Australia, after completing the brutal 10-day desert course, actor Tim Robards and former Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham passed selection on TV’s toughest test,

The four remaining recruits – Tim, Matthew, Abbey Holmes and Dr Craig Challen – were challenged with a three-phase final mission to test their psychological and physical capabilities, with the DS wanting to determine who was worthy of selection.

Phase one saw the recruits woken by stun grenades before being hooded and held captive by the DS for two hours and forced to suffer the most confronting experience any SAS solider will ever face: filming a death message to their loved ones without showing any emotion.

Tim and Craig controlled their emotions to pass phase one, while Abbey and Matthew failed after becoming overwhelmed and bursting into tears.

Phase two was a punishing physical test of grit and determination: a five-kilometre run carrying their bergens before a 150-metre-high cliff assault with a dangerous vertical ascent to the summit.

With phase two of the final mission completed, the DS delivered the shocking news that one recruit would be culled, missing out on final selection. After deliberating, the DS announced Abbey would not be progressing to selection.

Abbey said: “I’m very disappointed not to get to the end, but what this experience has shown me is that your mind and your body are capable of so much more. I know that I’ve pushed as hard as I possibly could. I’ve been lucky enough to really learn a lot about myself, and I’ve learned not to chase perfection.”

With Abbey gone, the three remaining recruits entered the third phase of the final mission, undergoing one of the most treacherous tests: a hostage rescue.

The recruits were charged with avoiding detection while clearing buildings to find two hostages held in separate locations and transport them to the safety of the extraction vehicle.

Having saved the hostages and escaped to safety, Tim, Matthew and Craig had completed the third phase of their mission and the SAS course.

After deliberation, DS Ant Middleton announced that Tim and Matthew had passed selection.

Tim was thrilled to hear the news and also relieved to know that he had equalled his wife’s (Anna Heinrich) performance on the course in 2022.

“I’m so happy. It’s shown what strength I’ve got inside. I probably doubted that a lot. Now I’m getting teary…” Tim said.

“It was hard work. So many times you just want to stop, and you want to quit, and you’ve just gotta keep pushing and pushing. I can’t wait to call my wife and tell her that I made it.”

Matt was also overjoyed to have passed selection. “I am just so elated,” he said. “This has been the best experience of my entire life. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I did come in as a survivor and I have definitely thrived throughout this course. I was controlled by my inner saboteur before. But now I feel capable of doing basically anything.”

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SAS Australia storms ahead

Series grows 11% year-on-year

The 2023 season of the Seven Network’s hit series SAS Australia ended on a high last night, with the series drawing more viewers across the screens of Seven and reaching over seven million people.

Fronted by Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and the DS, SAS Australia joins My Kitchen Rules, Farmer Wants A Wife and Dancing With The Stars on the list of Seven’s 7.30pm shows that have increased their audiences this year, an achievement no other network can match.

Across its 2023 run, SAS Australia reached a massive 7.15 million Australians on Seven and 7plus, as 14 unsuspecting celebrities battled the biggest physical and emotional test of their lives in an unforgiving desert.
The total series’ overnight average national audience was up 11% year-on-year, with the 2023 series increasing its timeslot audience share in all people, 25 to 54s and 16 to 39s.

On 7plus, live streaming across the season soared 84% year-on-year; total viewing on 7plus was up 9%. 7plus viewing alone added 20% to the average total audience and 30% in 25 to 54s.

Last night’s finale reached 1.85 million viewers across Australia on Seven and 7plus, as actor Tim Robards and former Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham passed selection on TV’s toughest test.

Seven Network’s Chief Content Officer, Entertainment Programming, Angus Ross, said: “SAS Australia attracted strong audience numbers across all screens this year and saw a big increase on 7plus, as viewers streamed Australia’s most intense show live and watched the uncensored versions on 7plus.

“My thanks to Ant Middleton and the Directing Staff, and the celebrities who were brave enough to take part. SAS Australia will return in 2024 with a new batch of celebrities and with more extreme conditions and extraordinary tests of stamina and resilience from the real SAS selection process.”

SAS Australia is produced by Screentime, a Banijay Group company, based on a Minnow Films format.


Mentioned on HYBPA? last night that the show has not been renewed for 2024.

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They gave it a good run, time for something else.

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