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Freddie Flintoff's new TV show 'not just about breaking people'

Published 28/08/2015

Freddie Flintoff's new TV programme reflects the selection process used by special forces including the US Navy Seals and the UK's SAS (Warren Orchard/BBC/PA)
Freddie Flintoff's new TV programme reflects the selection process used by special forces including the US Navy Seals and the UK's SAS (Warren Orchard/BBC/PA)

Former cricketer Andrew Flintoff has said his new TV show is "uplifting" and "not just about breaking people".

Flintoff, who is known as Freddie, is presenting BBC Two's six-part series Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week, which sees UK applicants taking on some of the world's toughest army regimes.

The programme reflects the selection process used by special forces including the US Navy Seals, the Philippine's Navsog (Naval Special Operations Group), the Russian Spetsnaz (Special Purpose Forces) as well as the UK's SAS.

"You see all of these people turn up not knowing what's going to happen and then you see them put through their paces, and part of me enjoyed watching it and part of me felt quite guilty watching on the sidelines," Flintoff said.

He said he thinks the hardest part of the show was not necessarily the physicality of it, but rather the mental endurance required.

"Everyone who turned up was fit, but the hardest part was the mental side, because you're pushing yourself each day to see how far you can go."

When asked if he could relate to that sort of mental stamina having been a professional sportsman, he replied with an emphatic: "No!"

"I suppose there's an aspect of it I can relate to in the fact that I got injured a lot and played through pain quite a lot, and it was all about seeing how much you could take until your body lets you down," he explains.

Gruelling training aside, Flintoff said there is also definitely an uplifting aspect of the show.

"Some of it was horrific but on the other side, I think some people found new limits and pushed themselves ... they're all there for different reasons. It wasn't all bad from that point of view, you see at the end of the day, when people get through something it's uplifting, it's not just about breaking people," he said.

Flintoff, who retired from professional cricket in September 2010, has taken on various challenging tasks himself.

In 2012 he took up boxing and ended up beating American Richard Dawson on his heavyweight boxing debut.

He has also filmed various TV shows including 2015's Lord Of The Fries, which saw him travelling around the UK and Ireland in a mobile chippie as he tried to make his dream of being a fish and chip shop owner a reality.

"I'm really not afraid of having a go at things. I've got no fear of failure but I do have a fear of not trying things," he said. "I don't wan't to get to 50 or 60 and look at things I could have done."

:: Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week begins on BBC Two on S unday August 30 at 9pm.

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