Ant Middleton says he was tortured by bullies during his early days in the army.
The SAS: Who Dares Wins star was 16 when he joined the Paras, and says he was targeted by bullies who set out to make his life hell.
The 39-year-old says his bullies even constructed a torture device with a sledgehammer especially for him.
Ant says he struggled to fit in when he first joined the army, claiming other people’s dislike of him was due to him being “very well spoken” and because they found his “niceness” unsettling.
After joining the Paras, Ant says he discovered that the squad’s idea of a good night out was hitting the pubs in town before “drinking p**s from pint glasses” back at the squadron bar.
He writes in his new book Zero Negativity: The Power of Positive Thinking: “Going into town, beating each other up and drinking until they were sick was the only way they could get the aggression and anger out of their systems.”
But Ant, known for being tough on the contestants taking part in his show, says that sort of behaviour wasn’t for him.
Ant says he stopped going out with the other Paras, and that they quickly realised he didn’t want to be around them.
In an excerpt published by The Sun, he added: “In Signal troop, bullying was the mechanism the other Paras used to ensure conformity. There was a real pack mentality. For a long time it was something I’d see happen to other people. Then, once I’d begun to alienate myself from the regiment, their attention turned to me.”
Ant, who has faced a string of controversies lately, said the troops would come back from a night on the drink and surround his bed.
He said they’d tip him out of his bed or push his locker over, trashing everything inside.
But there was one troop sergeant in particular who Ant says would instigate the bullying.
The star said the others once attached a sledgehammer to a bungee rope and would swing it round and make Ant dodge it.
He penned: “So they pinged it at me. I ducked and dodged. It was pathetic, as they’d gone to so much effort to set this thing up to torment me. Five, six minutes went by. But there was only a certain number of times I’d be able to evade it and they’d be bound to get lucky sooner rather than later. I really wasn’t up for a smack in the face. The situation was getting out of hand, but it stopped when the door opened and a sergeant from another troop walked in.”
The bullying was stopped by the other sergeant, who Ant says made him realise that this wasn’t the right troop for him.
He quit the Paras at age 21.