Viewers were reduced to tears on Sunday night after a recruit on SAS: Who Dares Wins opened up about his wife’s suicide.
Fireman Mark, referred to as ‘Recruit Number Six’ on the Channel 4 show, has impressed throughout the series, quickly establishing himself as a frontrunner.
However, when the series’ instructors Jason Fox and Ant Middleton asked whether Mark was “masking” something, he admitted he was using the show partly as a “distraction from things that have gone off at home lately”.
“I lost my wife six months ago,” he continued. “She committed suicide. She were perfect in honestly every single way. She were beautiful, she were funny, like a fairytale. But she just had these things which ate away at her. Her own self-esteem, anxieties. I’m still really lost with it and don’t fully understand. I don’t think I ever will.”
Speaking to the camera later, Mark said: “I was the first person to find her when I got home from work. She hung herself.
“It weren’t her. With mental illness, that’s the stigma of it all it’s that people don’t believe that it’s out of their control. She loved life. So I know 100 per cent it wasn’t her choice. You just think, ‘why didn’t she ring me that day or talk to me and tell me what were happening?’ Because I know I could have talked her down.”
“It is like physical pain you’re in, I feel my heart aching all the time,” he confided in fellow recruit Milo, whose brother died during a tour of Afghanistan. The pair later hugged in an emotional scene.
Viewers took to social media to express their sympathy for Mark, with many relating personally to his situation.
“My heart breaks for number 6! Lost my Dad 6 months ago and what he described in just how I feel. Huge respect he is taking on this challenge. The man hug made me cry! You are so awesome guys showing that is good to share hard times,” one viewer wrote.
“My heart is breaking for Mark! however, so pleased at how much this programme raises awareness of mental illnsss and how it can affect anybody at any time!! Just walking to work sobbing my eyes out now…,” one viewer posted on Twitter.
“The story of the guy who lost his wife to suicide really got to me tonight,” another viewer wrote. “What a brave man, I couldn’t have held myself the way he did. There is not enough awareness of mental health issues, and/or the consequences of how we interact with each other.”
“Couldn’t imagine being [with] the love of my life 10 year for mental illness to take it all away, what a bloke,” one viewer commented.
SAS: Who Dares Wins airs at 9pm on Sundays on Channel 4