Gareth Gates is no longer ‘ a timid boy’ after SAS training

Gareth Gates has urged the bullies who made his childhood a misery to step up and face him after his SAS training. But he warned them: “I am not the timid boy cowering in the corner.”

The West End star, who was “massively bullied” as a youngster, pushes himself to the limits in the new series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Gareth, 39, was targeted as a child because of his stammer. But he said it was these painful memories which gave him the strength to take on some of the toughest ordeals on television.

The Pop Idol star said: “You have to dig deep and face challenges to try to make yourself stronger.” He said his childhood torment had toughened him up, even claiming the SAS show’s instructors, or directing staff, were “wimps” compared to the school bullies.

He said: “I was massively bullied as a kid and in a way that actually helped me through the course, because as awful as it was, it didn’t really touch me. Every time I thought it was a bit too much I tapped into the hard time I had as a kid. The directing staff were wimps compared to the bullies at school.

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“I was physically beaten for not being able to speak, for being different. It was mental abuse.

“It was relentless and I certainly had to tap into that to get through the course. I hope to inspire people who aren’t able to speak and even people who have any form of affliction – ‘don’t let anything hold you back’.

“I had to throw myself into this wholeheartedly. I knew it was going to be hard but as a result I’m a stronger person.”

And having come through the ordeal he had a stark message for the bullies: “If you are out there, please get in touch and I would like to have the chance to have an arm wrestle. I would like them to watch me on SAS. I am not the timid boy I was, cowering in the corner.”

Gareth admitted that he found it hard to keep his emotions in check in front of the camera crew.

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He said: “I wept like a baby on the show and it’s actually the first time I have talked about it and addressed that. It was a big thing for me – it was very emotional .”

Gareth, who came second to Will Young in the 2002 Pop Idol final, has gone on to star in West End hits including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Les Miserables.

He joins contestants including former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, ex-model Melinda Messenger, ex-footballer Jermaine Pennant and singer and performer Michelle Heaton for this year’s SAS show.

They are put through a series of tasks and interrogations by former members of the Special Forces. This year’s show is set in North Vietnam.

  • Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Channel 4, begins on Tuesday at 9.30pm

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