A surgeon from Aberdeen has become the first woman to complete a gruelling TV challenge designed to test elite soldiers to the limit.
The orthopaedic surgeon Louise McCullough was among 24 contestants on hit Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins, which had its dramatic series finale last night.
Over the course of six episodes, former soldier and host Ant Middleton led 24 recruits over six episodes as they tackled trials in the Andes mountains in Chile.
Louise was one of eight contestants to make it through to last night’s finale, in which they were woken for an early morning run and abducted, hooded and bound.
The eight were forced to hold stress positions and listen to distressing sound effects.
They were then questioned and forced to strip naked in sub-zero temperatures.
Such were the physical and mental demands of the challenge, five of the finalists gave up – and only Louise and two others completed the course after making it through 18 hours of interrogation.
She told the Evening Express: “It was a great experience. It was physically and mentally draining, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”
This series, producers let women on to the show for the first time after the Ministry of Defence’s decision last October to let women join.
Louise said: “It does show that women can achieve just as much as men.
“Also, I am 40, and one part of me did wonder whether I would be able to cope with the challenges as much as the younger recruits, but I managed it.
“It made me realise I am stronger and more resilient than I thought.”
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At the end of the challenge, Louise smiled at Middleton as he praised her for her stoic performance under interrogation.
Middleton said: “The privilege is all ours to have such people as you on the course.
“You have reinstalled my faith in allowing women into the military, especially on the front line because if they are all like you we can certainly get the job done.”
Louise has been a volunteer doctor at Aberdeen Grammar Rugby Club for a decade.
Club chairman Gordon Thomson said: “Louise is an absolute asset to the club.
“Fitness means a lot to her and she likes boxing, running and runs her own fitness class. It has been fascinating to watch the series. Louise has done herself proud.”