SAS: Who Dares Wins is a documentary in which “Ex-Special Forces soldiers put recruits through a recreation of the SAS selection process” (Channel4.com. n.d). The selected candidates are put through highly intensive procedures that try to replicate those that real Marines must go through during their training, it’s a test of their physical, and more importantly, psychological resilience.
This show fits Channel 4’s remit under ‘specialist factual’, as it explores and explains the world and makes us think about it differently. (Channel4.com. 2018). This programme does this by showing us just what it takes to become a SAS soldier, showing all the hardships and sacrifices they have to make. Specialist Factual uses “borrowed techniques from documentary and factual entertainment”(Channel4.com. 2018). SAS: WDW does this by taking us through the training process, showing us everything that happens whilst also using music and sound effects to dramatise it to gain appeal to a larger audience.
To give the recruits a realistic training experience Channel 4 has taken it into their hands by placing them in the punishing climate of the dusty Atlas Mountains. (Griffiths, J. 2018), alienating them from the comfort of their home. “Soaring temperatures, arid landscape, vast mountains, canyons and deserts will push them to their limits”. The Moroccan plains acts as a realistic setting for base camps and interrogation shacks. These Moroccan conditions are perfect to emphasise the hardships of training for the SAS.
This terrain is described as “trigger memories of the environments where the DS have fought during recent wars. For them, this is the terrain of modern warfare.” (McGowen, B. 2018). In my opinion, the extra research and effort Channel 4 has put in to find a place which is so similar to actual modern warzones has greatly contributed to the immersion of the show, combined with the intense test physical and mental strength to the recruits, makes it a factual documentary rather than ‘reality show’.