Date: Thursday February 7, 2019 at 10:10am
New Challenge New Beginnings (NCNB) is the Resettlement and Lifestyle magazine for the Armed Forces Community. Our front cover interview is with Colin Maclachlan, former SAS turned Actor, Author and Public Speaker. A special thank you to contributors in this issue; Alex Cooper, Jonathan Young, Philip Allan and Richard Harpham...
Thank you for agreeing to speak with NCNB today…
Whilst at school, was joining the Military something you wanted to do? If so,
Colin: No, my
mother wanted me out the house by the time I was sixteen and so I had to get
permission to join the army at fifteen and enlisted as a junior leader back in
1989. That said, once I was there, I was determined to make the best of it and
I think I did.
Travelling is nothing unusual to the Armed
Forces, deploying to places that your normal person would not go to. What is
the most memorable place you have travelled?
Colin: I have travelled
extensively over my career but I think one of the most memorable places would
be Alaska. It’s pretty much unspoilt and displays nature at its finest with
mountains, forests and rivers and lots of wildlife. It’s a step back in time to
what most of earth probably looked like.
How was your transition into Civvy St? What
hurdles did you overcome?
Colin: I was
given a local Herefordshire plumbers CV and told to cut and paste accordingly
so not ideal! Initially I went straight onto the circuit (CP Tasks in Iraq) but
later when I saved up enough to put myself through university, I really
struggled and spent over a year applying for in excess of 1000 jobs without a
What is one of your best memories about being in
Colin: It’s difficult to pick one out as
the Military gives you so many for different reasons. I danced with Lady Diana
at the Ghillies Ball at Balmoral while I was the Queens Butcher, was involved
in hostage rescues both the SAS and Delta Force/Seal Team 6 and went to the
2003 Iraq war as a sniper and vehicle commander with the SAS so all very
How did you get involved with being an
instructor for the SAS: Who Dares Wins programme? What was it like being in the
Colin: I was
initially registered with a company called Military Film Casting mainly for
consultancy work on military films/series and was invited to the audition. I
ended up being the only SAS veteran cast as the rest were SBS. I don’t think I
was really prepared for agents, social media and the public eye and I actually
think it has both positives and negatives. Personally, there can be a lot of difficulty,
but it does a lot of good for wider society.
Who is your most memorable student from the show
seems like a catch 22 question as the ‘grey man’ shouldn’t really be memorable!
That said I thought Ryan Roddy displayed a lot of the characteristics we would
look for in a Special Forces operator. A quiet grit and mental resilience while
remaining selfless. Also had a wee soft spot for Phil Hoban but for very
Were there any off camera funny moments, while
filming SAS: Who Dares Wins?
and humility are part of the ethos of the SAS and I’m well known for my dry
sense of humour. It’s something perhaps missing from the recent series but as
most guys will tell you, dark humour gets us through a lot of otherwise grim
times. A lot of people recall the ‘tutu and splits’ or ‘invading Sparta’ lines
but off camera there was a time when ‘Freddy’ asked to go to the toilet and jumped
out of the window and escaped leaving the guard red faced, who will remain
You are an ambassador for 3 amazing charities;
Pilgrim Bandits, Who Dares Cares and the Lee Rigby Foundation. Tell us more
about the charities.
enough space to give enough due to these great charities but essentially
Pilgrim Bandits were set up to help injured servicemen and servicewomen by
pushing them to their limits physically and mentally, to not only improve their
confidence, but help them realise they can still achieve great things and
inspire others. The Lee Rigby Foundation was set up by his mother Lyn Rigby
after his horrific murder which shocked the nation. Lyn wanted to help families
of service personnel who had been affected by the grief of losing their loved
ones which is often overlooked.
The Lee Rigby Lodge is a peaceful retreat for
families affected and just one example of the good work they do. On a personal
note, pulling on the Lee Rigby Select Jersey with the Rangers legends is always
a very proud moment for me. Finally, Who Dares Cares was set up by myself and
my friend Calum MacLeod. We recognised that there was no IMMEDIATE support
available to emergency services personnel who were suffering from stress. We
are in the process of designing an app which will not only have a 24/7 phone
and response capability but will hopefully link the user and responder by means
of geography and service background, as we think the best people to help those
that have served are people who have lived it and speak the same language.
Moreover, we want to create a ‘buddy-buddy’ system where people donate their
time rather than money as we think it has more value and everyone has skills they
could help others with. If you know of anyone interesting in helping us create
that technology, please get in touch!
I heard you are planning on writing a book for
2019, please tell us more about the book.
Colin: The Pilgrim has been written in
draft form since 2006 but I have resisted to publish without EPAW (Express
Prior Authority in Writing) from the MOD. Unfortunately, this has proved
problematic for a variety of reasons, not least things like unfounded ‘mercy
killings’ stories in the press and other errors which have damaged not only my
relationship with the Disclosure Cell but former colleagues, which probably
disappoints me more. That said, I have a story to tell and people behind me to
make it a reality in 2019, watch this space!
Do you have anything else planned for the year?
Dead Redemption 2 has just been released which was a lot of fun and Arthur
Morgan’s face is everywhere at the moment. I have 3 or 4 very varied TV roles
in 2019 which I’m looking forward to and the public speaking has really taken
off so much so that I would love to do a speaking tour, if anyone knows how to
organise that I would love to do one over the next year or two. I’m always
interested in more TV and consultancy work so just get in touch if you think I
You must have such a busy schedule with all the
work you do, but what do you like doing in your spare time?
Colin: I like to spend time with my
children, I read a lot and like to keep active and often travel.
Tell us something about Colin MacLachlan that no
one will know?
sure there will be ‘somebody’ that knows this but I created a conflict
resolution workshop for schools that was eventually taken on by The Princes
Trust as part of their year long XL Programme which I’m really proud of.
Additionally, I was on one of the first ever Soldier Soldier series while I was
in Cyprus as a young boy soldier!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk
with us, any final words or wisdom you would like to share with the Armed
Forces Community for 2019?
cherish the moments as they are fleeting and always take the opportunity to
test yourself and be the best version of you. Too many guys come up to me now
and say ‘I wish I had given SAS Selection a go’. Be brave and not afraid to
fail, better to try and fail than never try at all. Isn’t that a strap line for
life in general?!