Harrogate ‘machine’ faces TV challenge

Jon Proctor appears on BBC2's Special Forces - Ultimate Hell Week
Jon Proctor appears on BBC2's Special Forces - Ultimate Hell Week

A Harrogate man has faced the ultimate endurance challenge by experiencing the brutal special forces selection process as part of a tough new TV series.

Jon Proctor, 36, a youth sports coach and personal trainer at Rudding Park, can currently be seen competing against some of the UK’s fittest men and women in BBC2’s Special Forces - Ultimate Hell Week.

Over the course of 12 days, Jon and the recruits were pushed beyond their physical and mental limits by battle-hardened veterans from the world’s toughest special forces - from the US Navy Seals to the British SAS.

Filmed in the Black Mountains, in Wales, the programme sees the recruits put through a set of gruelling challenges every 48 hours - each one designed to break them down and every one more difficult than the last.

Jon said: “I was selected because I have done a lot of different challenges, including obstacle races and marathons, for charities including Saint Michael’s Hospice and Standing With Sebastian. My ability to do a lot of different events is what caught their eye.”

In fact Jon had just completed the Ingleborough Marathon as his alias the “Yorkshire Warrior” and can therefore be seen sporting a red mohawk.

The first episode saw Jon and the other 28 recruits suffer four hours of training amidst continuous cold water hosing at the hands of two former US Navy Seals.

Jon said: “A lot of people suffered from hypothermia. The problem is if you start thinking you’re cold your body starts to shut down.”

In the second episode, which aired on Sunday, the recruits were under the command of a former Israeli YAMAM operative, Itay Gil, who labelled Jon “a machine” after he excelled in a hand-to-hand combat challenge.

But it is this week’s episode, featuring the Philippines special forces, that Jon found the toughest.

He said: “You had to swim around a reservoir fully clothed and run 31 miles cross country with a bergen on your back. You crossed the finish line and thought it was over and they made you do 100 burpees. Then they said it wasn’t quick enough so you had to do another 100. It was absolutely brutal.”

The programme, which airs on Sundays at 9pm, will eventually see a winner crowned. But viewers will have to tune in to find out if Jon makes it to the end.

He said: “I’ve always had a lot of respect for the forces, but now I have spent that time with them I massively appreciate how much dedication it takes to be that fit. I found it to be the most intense thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. It takes you to a whole new place.”