Ollie Ollerton has said he was “disappointed and shocked” after being axed from SAS: Who Dares Wins, a decision which was reportedly part of a diversity drive.
The former UK Special Forces soldier had been on the Channel 4 programme since it started in 2015 but has now been let go, and The Sun reported that it was because bosses want more diversity on the survival show.
Ollerton told the paper the move came as a surprise because the programme – in which he and a team including Ant Middleton school recruits through tough military challenges – had great viewing figures.
He also said he expected the show to be loyal after the risk he had taken to do it.
“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,” said the 48-year-old. “I expected that loyalty to be reciprocated. It clearly wasn’t.”
Ollerton said he would rather have been axed for doing something wrong because then he could have understood it.
He went on: “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.”
Ollerton had been on five series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, in which the team of instructors push the contestants to their limits in tests set to replicate the SAS selection process.
He also filmed two series of the celebrity version of the hit show.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “Ollie continues to be associated with the SAS: Who Dares Wins brand as a DS for SAS: Who Dares Wins Australia.
“Ollie has made an exceptional contribution to SAS: Who Dares Wins and the expertise and experience he brought to the DS (Directing Staff) team has been much valued.
“We wish him great success with his future projects.”