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SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ollie Ollerton almost died aged 10 when chimp tore half his arm off

·3-min read
SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ollie Ollerton almost died aged 10 when chimp tore half his arm off
Ollie Ollerton (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Ollie Ollerton (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ollie Ollerton has reflected on being attacked by a circus chimp as a child.

The former Special Forces operative, who is a regular on the Channel 4 reality show, said the animal left half his arm partly detached when it mauled him.

He told YouTubers the Mulligan Brothers: "There was a large part missing... half my arm was just hanging off."

Ollerton was 10 years old in 1980 when he went to the circus in Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire. During a tour of the event, Ollerton got separated from the group and walked into a tent to find a baby chimp.

“To me, this was like a little piece of Hollywood. I was brought up on cats and dogs,” he said. “All of a sudden, the serenity of that moment was broken like a fighter jet in the sky when I heard the roar of something. I’ll never forget that roar. I can still hear that roar to this day.

“As I looked into the background there were some shadows, there was a trailer parked there, but the whole area was enclosed – and something was moving. And it roared again.”

The shadowy figure was the protective mother of the baby chimp.

“It was making its way towards me at Mach 10," he recalled. “It was doing the whole sideways chimp thing. And it was roaring. It was absolutely ferocious. It wanted to do one thing – and that was to kill me and protect its baby.”

Ollerton said the chimp pounced on him and pinned him to the floor. “It was like a drummer in a rock band,” he said. “It was smashing down with its fists onto my chest. The first one winded me, knocked everything out of me, then it started trying to kill me.”

Ollerton managed to kick the chimp and run away a little before it chased him again. But at that point, the chimp couldn’t get to him because of a chain around its neck.

A woman who worked for the circus came running to help Ollerton and he was rushed to hospital where doctors managed to save his arm.

Ollerton said the experience has taught him that short-term pain can lead to long-term gain. “The long-term was living that day, the short-term discomfort was taking the fight to the chimp.”

Who Dares Wins stars five ex-Special Forces soldiers who recreate the SAS’s brutal selection process for 30 members of the public.

In March, it was announced that Ollerton’s co-star Ant Middleton would no longer host the show due to his controversial “views and values”.

A spokesperson for the channel released a statement reading: “Following a number of discussions Channel 4 and Minnow Films have had with him in relation to his personal conduct, it has become clear that our views and values are not aligned and we will not be working with him again.”

Channel 4’s move came after Middleton was forced to apologise for calling Black Lives Matter protesters “scum” and comparing them to the English Defence League (EDL) in June 2020.

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