Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SAS Shows on TV Are Too Fake. It's All Pretty Girls and Overthe-Top Acting; as His Latest Novel, Bad Soldier, Is Published, Ex-SAS Soldier Chris Ryan Opens Up to HANNAH STEPHENSON about His Move to Florida, How Post-Traumatic Stress Affected His Family Life and His Opinion of the Likes of Bear Grylls

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SAS Shows on TV Are Too Fake. It's All Pretty Girls and Overthe-Top Acting; as His Latest Novel, Bad Soldier, Is Published, Ex-SAS Soldier Chris Ryan Opens Up to HANNAH STEPHENSON about His Move to Florida, How Post-Traumatic Stress Affected His Family Life and His Opinion of the Likes of Bear Grylls

Article excerpt

GEORDIE ex-SAS soldier Chris Ryan has spent much of his career in war zones and life-threatening situations - but these days, he'd much rather be writing fiction.

Chris, 55, the only member of the eight-man SAS mission Bravo Two Zero to escape from Iraq during the First Gulf War in 1991 - four of his patrol were captured, three died - wrote about his experience in his best-seller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen.

He has since written 22 novels, three non-fiction books and moved to Florida.

While other ex-SAS men, such as Bear Grylls, have made a career out of survival shows and other TV appearances, it's not a path Chris is keen to follow. His book Strike Back was turned into an action TV series and he was a consultant on the ITV drama Ultimate Force, starring Ross Kemp, an experience he doesn't want to repeat.

"I hated it. That's why I pulled away from a lot of normal TV programming in terms of drama. It was too fake. Scriptwriters would want pretty girls to appear as SAS operatives in the series. But we don't allow girls to do SAS selection, it's a well-known fact - I was just wasting my time.

"You'd get on set and the actors wanted to over-act, because that's their perception of an SAS soldier. I found it too hard. So when Strike Back came out, I just signed everything over and said, 'Don't say I'm your consultant'."

He doesn't think much of the type of survival shows presented by Bear Grylls either.

"I'm quite shocked no one's been seriously injured. The procedures and the techniques they do, they just wouldn't do them in a survival situation."

He says of Bear: "That guy is like a juggernaut in terms of success.

"Good on him, he's cornered the American market, which is great, but it's show business. There's only actually one guy that I would say is a true survival expert and that's Ray Mears. He knows his craft."

Chris's latest novel Bad Soldier, featuring SAS operative Danny Black, focuses on IS operatives smuggling themselves into Europe on migrant boats. When one of the migrants reveals plans to bomb Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, Danny and his team are tasked with tracking a brutal IS commander, the only man who knows all the details of the London attack. As Danny and his team pursue their goal, it's clear not all his fellow soldiers are as honorable as he is - brutality, psychotic behaviour and torture scenes abound in this fast-paced thriller.

Chris earned the Military Medal and made SAS history during the First Gulf War in 1991 with the longest escape and evasion by a SAS trooper or any other soldier, covering 180 miles through Iraq to the Syrian border. But his ordeal resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder.

"You'd have nightmares. You'd dream about it or would run through it, you'd shut your eyes and go through various things. …

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