Lancashire-bred ex-SAS man Jay savouring new TV date

A former soldier raised in South Ribble is delighted to have the opportunity to play a key role in a popular prime-time TV series which returns to screens tonight (Monday).
Jay Morton grew up in Walton-le-Dale. Picture: Channel 4Jay Morton grew up in Walton-le-Dale. Picture: Channel 4
Jay Morton grew up in Walton-le-Dale. Picture: Channel 4

Jay Morton is one of the Directing Staff team alongside leader Ant Middleton on Channel 4's tough reality show SAS: Who Dares Wins, about to start its latest celebrity after a fifth run of its regular format aired earlier this year.

Boxer Tony Bellew, ex-footballer John Fashanu, TV presenter Helen Skelton and soap actress Nikki Sanderson will join the likes of TV personality Katie Price, Strictly Come Dancing's Brendan Cole and Joey Essex from The Only Way Is Essex in being rigorously put through their paces in the unforgiving terrain of Scotland.

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Jay, 36, grew up in Walton-le-Dale and after attending St Oswald's Primary School in Chorley, Brownedge St Mary's High School in Bamber Bridge and Preston's College, where he studied sports science, served in the military for 14 years, 10 within UK Special Forces, otherwise known as the SAS, and four in the Parachute Regiment.

He trained as a high level shooter and operator able to carry out fast paced decision making in a multitude of ever-changing hostile and arduous environments, serving in four tours of Afghanistan, three of Iraq and two covert operational deployments.

After leaving the service two years ago, he joined former colleagues in an outdoor performance clothing business based in Dorset and it was through the links that business has as a supplier of clithing to the Channel 4 series that Jay got his TV opportunity.

He came into the fifth series, broadcast at the start of this year, initially as a 'mole' among the recruits before becoming the newest member of Ant Middleton’s DS team.

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The filming of that series last autumn was immediately followed by production of the new celebrity series - and Jay says viewers are in for a treat.

"It's a great show to be part of - and really authentic," he said.

"The rest of the Directing Staff were very welcoming and I have respect for them all.

"It was way tougher than I was expecting it to be.

"Respect to the recruits who get through it or who even get far in it.

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"It’s impossible to replicate selection in such a short time but what they have done is take all the aspects of Special Forces selection and compressed them down to a very intense shortish period.

"The celebrities are treated exactly the same as the members of the general public involved in the regular series and it makes for some gripping viewing.

"Both series I've been involved in were filmed in Scotland, birthplace of David Stirling, founder of the SAS and a proving ground for the Special Forces for years.

"There has been a great deal of training carried out in Scotland by the Special Forces and it's a great location.

"There aren’t many places like it in the world - it's cold, dark and miserable, which makes it a very hard place to operate.

"Just the kind of place you want to put people through selection."