NAME: Ant Middleton
Served for four years in the Royal Engineers and later in the Royal Marines and Special Forces. Completed operational tours of Northern Ireland and Macedonia, as well deploying to Afghanistan three times.
PROFILE: Co-host of Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and frontman of new six-part series Mutiny.
Q: You’ve been out of the military for six years now, what do you miss most?
The combat side of life. Everyone says you miss the lads and the banter, and you do, but I miss Afghanistan too. Don’t get me wrong, it was scary. But whether it was the camaraderie, teamwork, excitement or adrenalin, I used to enjoy what I did. And I liked the person I was when I had my mates beside me and we were getting into the action.
Q: Was becoming an elite soldier always your aim?
No, I never thought that was in my remit at all when I was younger. I got quite disheartened because I wasn’t too good with weight on my back. I was skinny so I was a good runner, but I didn’t really bulk out until I was about 25. I could have listened to the people who were telling me to choose a different path but I stuck with it. It’s all a psychological battle. I say to any young soldier now, “listen, don’t think you’re going to be able to come off civvy street and put this mountain on your back, it doesn’t work like that”. You have to train your body and you have to train your mind.
Q: Why did you decide to get out?
I’ve had a very privileged and exciting military career. I had done all the years of training and implemented it on tier one operations and it doesn’t get any better than that. I didn’t want to go back into a training role and I didn’t want to find myself in an office job as I went up the ranks. I was young and fresh enough to make another career in civvy street.
Q: How did the TV gig come about?
It kind of fell into my lap. I’d done some survival courses for the corporate world and my number got passed to Channel 4, who wanted to do a Special Forces selection process for civilians. There had been similar shows before – all we did was bring a fresher feel to it. It had to be authentic because we were putting our credibility on the line. I didn’t realise how successful it would be. Some of the individuals who took part totally changed their mindset and turned their lives around. They didn’t know they could push themselves that far and are out there smashing it now.
Read the full story in this month’s magazine.