Entertainment News

Merrick Watts spills on his insane torture training for SAS Australia

Merrick Watts has gone into detail about the insane physical and mental challenges he put himself through to prepare for Channel 7’s new show, SAS Australia.Merrick is one of the 17 Aussie stars who will be put through tests from the real SAS selection process on the program which kicks off on Monday night.Speaking to…

Merrick Watts has gone into detail about the insane physical and mental challenges he put himself through to prepare for Channel 7’s new show, SAS Australia.

Merrick is one of the 17 Aussie stars who will be put through tests from the real SAS selection process on the program which kicks off on Monday night.

Speaking to news.com.au, Merrick revealed he pretty much begged to be on the show when he heard a local version was getting made.

“I’d already seen the UK version and I thought it was amazing,” he said. “Last year there was a release saying they were going to make an Australian version and I was like, ‘That’s me!’ I rang my agent and I said, ‘I’ve got to get on the show; it’s got to happen. I’ll do whatever it takes.’

“I forced myself into the show,” he laughed.

PREPARATION

The challenges Merrick put himself through to prepare for the show are truly shocking.

“With suggestions from mates of mine who are former SAS and commando operators, they told me not to worry about going to the gym,” Merrick told news.com.au. “They told me to do strength training and punishing endurance. They told me I needed to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“I went around the Bay Run for six hours with a 40kg pack on my back. I ended up doing 31km and that was non-stop from 3am. At the end of it, I had literally lost toenails. I broke my feet, I was in absolute agony. But I just pushed on until I passed my six-hour goal.”

Merrick suffers from Raynaud’s disease which means his hands and feet are extremely susceptible to the cold.

In order to try to familiarise himself with the freezing temperatures he knew he’d face on the program, he had cold showers daily and regular ice baths.

“I was having ice baths four or five times a week and I would just sit in a freezing cold ice bath and meditate for no less than 16 minutes per time to basically just drill the pain into my body,” he told news.com.au. “I peaked at 24 minutes in an ice bath. I had to get out because my body was starting to get into a bad space.”

RELATED: Try your hand at our movies quiz

And then there was the punishing noise torture he put himself through.

“I looked at the UK version and one of the things they do is stress positions and sensory deprivation,” Merrick said. “They put headphones on you and they play excruciating sound effects, like really disturbing sound effects of dogs barking, babies crying, chainsaws. I knew there was a strong likelihood I might get to that point in the show where I be exposed to those things so rather than waiting for it I began the exposure to it myself.

“I would wake up in the middle of the night, go into the garage and put on headphones. I tracked down the same soundtracks that they use for special forces training. I made a loop of it and I would sit down in stress positions, torture positions, blindfolded with headphones on and I’d do that for two hours to prepare myself.”

WHEN FILMING BEGAN

Merrick is joined by an eclectic mix of well-known people on the show.

Also taking on SAS Australia is: Bachelorette Ali Oetjen, model Arabella Del Busso, ironwoman Candice Warner, reality star Eden Dally, model Erin McNaught, actor Firass Dirani, Shane Warne’s son Jackson Warne, ex-swimmer James Magnussen, cricketer Mitchell Johnson, rally car champ Molly Taylor, Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins, PR queen Roxy Jacenko, AFLW star Sabrina Frederick, trainer Shannan Ponton, banned swimmer Shayna Jack and convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

“When Schapelle arrived, I looked at her and I said, ‘That looks like Schapelle Corby,’ and someone said, ‘It is Schapelle Corby!’ I said, ‘Oh my god, I have literally made money from telling jokes about Schapelle. I’ve got a stand-up routine about her. I have done a million jokes on radio about her and she’s right in front of me,’” Merrick said.

The comedian dismissed recent reports from some media outlets that Corby struggled to get on with other cast members.

“I don’t know a single person who had a bad thing to say about Schapelle,” Merrick told news.com.au. “She was really nice, very courteous, always looking to help other people. She was very timid but that’s to be expected, but she surprised everyone I think.”

When filming began, the contestants were thrown into the deep end straight away. In the first episode alone, they are forced to fall out backwards of a helicopter above water, crawl through thick mud and, in some fairly shocking scenes, contestants are paired up and challenged to fight each other.

Merrick had to fight cricketer Mitchell Johnson, and both men threw punches like their lives depended on it.

“In a matter of seconds he cracked one of my ribs,” Merrick told news.com.au. “I felt it go and I was like, ‘Oh no, that’s not great.’

“Then he hit me so hard in the head. You know how in cartoons the characters see stars? That’s how I felt. I was literally stunned at how hard he hit me. I was very close to being unconscious.”

INJURIES

Despite cracking a rib on day one, Merrick said, “That was not even close to the worst thing that happened to me on the course.”

He told news.com.au he cracked another rib during the show and even now, almost a month-and-a-half after filming ended, he’s still carrying injuries.

“It damages you proper,” he said about the show. “I’ve got wounds that are still healing now.”

SAS Australia premieres on Channel 7 on Monday, October 19 at 7.30pm

Leave a Comment

X

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.