I risked my life for C4 and they get rid of me in a ‘diversity drive’, says SAS Who Dares Win star Olly Ollerton

OLLIE OLLERTON risked his life by signing up for SAS: Who Dares Wins, so his controversial departure from the Channel 4 show is a bitter pill to swallow.

The Sun revealed last week that Ollie, ever present since the hit show launched in 2015 and integral to its success, is to be replaced in a diversity drive.

The military veteran formed part of the intimidating team of Directing Staff alongside chief DS Ant Middleton, Jason “Foxy” Fox and Mark “Billy” Billingham who pushed recruits — members of the public and celebrities — to their mental and physical limits in a series of military-style tests as part of the toughest show on TV.

But four middle-aged white men at the heart of a series is not in Channel 4’s vision in 2020 — and Ollie was the biggest casualty.

Speaking for the first time about his exit, Ollie, 49, told The Sun: “I’m disappointed and shocked at the same time because we had record viewing figures.

“Five years ago we put our heads above the parapet for the first time ever – threatening our security as former members of the Special Forces – to bring that show to fruition. I expected that loyalty to be reciprocated. It clearly wasn’t.

“I’d rather have left after doing something wrong, as at least I would have understood it.”

Ollie, currently Down Under filming SAS: Who Dares Wins Australia, says the instructors threatened to quit when they discovered himself and Jay Morton were not being kept on.

But he convinced them all to stay and film the next series without him, where they will be joined by a new recruit who is likely to fit new diversity guidelines.

Ollie adds: “There are two types of people in this world, those who can do the job and those who can’t. I don’t care what colour they are.

I feel people forcing the diversity agenda upon us are actually keeping racism alive and creating a divide. It doesn’t allow us to unify.

“I feel people forcing the diversity agenda upon us are actually keeping racism alive and creating a divide. It doesn’t allow us to unify.”

Ollie, who joined the Royal Marines at 18 and toured Northern Ireland and Iraq before he joined the Special Boat Service — SBS, the naval equivalent of the SAS — says the programme has shown plenty of diversity among its contestants.

During five civilian series and two Stand Up To Cancer celebrity specials, men and women of varied ethnic backgrounds have taken part.

But as Ollie points out, diversity among the team of instructors would have been almost impossible simply due to numbers in the military in the first place. And that is despite a recent drive to recruit more people from different backgrounds, which he says is “a great thing”.

He explains: “There’s a low amount of ethnic minorities who apply to get in the military, then the number of people who get through Special Forces selection is low.

“Then you’ve another issue, getting people who want to be on TV, because a lot of Special Forces out there will not do that show. Never. Not a chance.

“It’s like they are forcing something which isn’t really apparent, and why try and fix something that is far from broken.”

Asked if diversity creates a better team, he adds: “No, great individuals with good team ethics do. You either can do your job or you can’t do your job.

“The more we drive this agenda — and drive diversity over functionality — it’s just going to create more friction between people within a team, rather than just allowing a team to do what it does.

“We’re human beings and we work together regardless of colour, gender or age.

“We, in the Special Forces, have worked all over the world with different nationalities. Their qualities and skills go far beyond their skin colour.”

Ollie, who lives with fiancée Laura and her son William, had allocated space in his diary anticipating working on the upcoming sixth civilian series.

It was due to be a welcome relief from the stress of Covid-19, where he managed to keep his businesses, Break-Point, afloat without the need to furlough any staff.

He will now be focusing more attention on the firm, with his business partner and former TV colleague Foxy.

The company provides leadership courses to businesses and the public along with helping former soldiers in their battle with PTSD and offering its own health and wellness app, Battle Ready 360.

But there is another task high on his agenda he feels incredibly passionate about — eliminating child trafficking.

After leaving the military he worked as a private security contractor in the Middle East and was also one of a team of three that infiltrated a child-trafficking ring in South East Asia, saving many children destined for the sex trade.

He explains: “Human trafficking is far greater than people think and it doesn’t get any attention.

“Millions of kids are being trafficked all around the world, eight million a year go missing. Why are we not shouting about that?

“So that really is my focus. I’ve been involved in anti-human trafficking when I used to rescue kids in Thailand.

“My work there isn’t finished.

“So I want to tackle real issues that we are facing in this world today — you won’t see me on Strictly, that’s for sure.”

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