Craig McLachlan was faced with a major dilemma after a brutal “eruption to end all eruptions” at SAS Australia on Monday night.
The actor managed to endure the day of severe physical tests and coped with the emotion of receiving a letter from his partner Vanessa.
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But it was a punishing late-night “beast” that left him in deep trouble and deciding whether to stay or leave.
The remaining competitors were already exhausted after an intense day when they were called from the shelter of their camping beds in the square by the SAS staff.
Earlier, Ant Middleton vowed to give them “a beast to end all beasts”, so brutal it was intended to force a voluntary withdrawal from the course.
First, the contestants had to do a series of push-ups before running around the courtyard square, then diving into a tank of water and crawling through the sand in their soaked clothes.
McLachlan, 57, impressed the directing team earlier by coming out on top in the rope challenge, where he went up against the younger and more muscular Tim Robards.
But as he slogged through the sand in water-soaked gear, McLachlan began to visibly struggle, then stopped, clutching his lower abdomen.
“Unless you’re dying number 9, I suggest you start crawling,” shouted one of McLachlan’s directing staff, who looked up and gasped, “I’ve got to see the doctor.”
For a terrifying moment, it looked like McLachlan was about to have a heart attack.
Pointing to his stomach, he said: “It’s like a hot knife through fucking butter… You know I won’t stop it (unless it was something bad).”
McLachlan then swung at Ant Middleton.
“What do you want to do, Number 9?” Middleton asked the actor.
“Come on, make up your mind.”
“I’ve just got to see the doctor,” McLachlan said, clearly unwilling to give up but unable to continue with the beast.
“If you can’t keep going, you’ll let the team down tomorrow on the ground,” Ant shouted.
“I suggest you give your number and stop the suffering.
“You’re not going to make it tomorrow when you’re doing s*** 10 times harder than this!
“It doesn’t get any easier, Number 9!”
McLachlan, huffing and puffing, looked broken as he considered his next move.
Slowly, reluctantly, he finally plucked out his number and handed it over, clearly gutted that he had to do so.
“You did the right thing,” Middleton said.
“Tomorrow you’d be left on the ground like a f***ing idiot with no one coming and picking you up.”
“You didn’t let us down – you did a bloody amazing job.
“Your body has given up on you, that’s it.
“You won’t last tomorrow. Fact. Fact.”
Later, in the medical room, Middleton again praised McLachlan’s courage and determination before the actor left the camp.
“I’ve seen you change,” he said as McLachlan became emotional.
“I’ve seen you let your guard down literally overnight.
“That’s why I run this course for people like you.
“That was a very unselfish decision you made there – a great decision for the team.”
Middleton added that McLachlan will be “someone that will stick in my head for a very long time”.
“The same,” McLachlan replied.
“Wise for life.
“Thank you for having me.”
SAS Australia continues on Tuesdays at 7.30pm on Channel 7 and 7plus.
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