Siva Kaneswaran signed up for Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins to ‘be more brave’

The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran in the first episode of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins (Channel 4)
The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran in the first episode of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins (Channel 4)

The Wanted star Siva Kaneswaran said he signed up for Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins to “try and be more brave” after his late bandmate Tom Parker battled against brain cancer – despite being advised against it.

The 34-year-old singer, from Dublin, stars in the gruelling reality show alongside 15 other famous faces being put through their paces in the jungle phase of SAS selection in Thung Ui, North Vietnam.

Speaking about why he joined the cast, Kaneswaran said: “The main reason was I saw the bravery that Tom had and what he showed in the band, and he really showed everyone what type of man he was and what he was made of.

“He asked me the question and gave me the kind of inspiration to say, ‘What type of man am I? What type of person am I?’

Help for Heroes Concert – London
Siva Kaneswaran, Tom Parker, Jay McGuiness, Max George and Nathan Sykes of The Wanted (Ian West/PA)

“So that was one of the main reasons why I joined Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. I wanted to challenge myself and discover a new part of myself and try and be more brave.”

Kaneswaran said he had asked former recruits as well as various talent managers for advice about the show, adding: “Generally people said not to do it.”

He continued: “One person said, ‘It was really tough. You have to do this, you have to do that’, and a lot of the feedback was only you know if you’re ready to do it. And I knew I was ready to do it.”

Kaneswaran shot to fame after joining boyband The Wanted in 2009 after an early career as a model.

The band’s hits include All Time Low, Heart Vacancy and Glad You Came, which topped the singles chart in Ireland for five weeks, and the band also enjoyed chart success with songs such as Chasing The Sun and I Found You.

The group announced a hiatus in 2014 but reunited in 2021 for a charity concert in support of band member Parker, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Parker died in March 2022.

Siva Kaneswaran
The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins (Channel 4)

Kaneswaran will appear on the Channel 4 reality show alongside a string of famous faces including singer Gareth Gates, Olympian Perri Shakes-Drayton and former UK health secretary Matt Hancock – who he described as “very kind and very sweet”.

The singer continued: “He checked on people, he looked after people and then obviously there was a whole other side to him where he was competitive and smart.

“But I don’t have a bad word to say about him in the show.”

Celebrity SAS returns to TV screens on September 26 with seven 60-minute episodes, featuring chief instructor Mark “Billy” Billingham, and his directing staff Jason “Foxy” Fox, Rudy Reyes and Chris Oliver.

Describing a challenge where the recruits had to write a letter home, Kaneswaran said: “I felt like that was more of a release for me, to be honest, because I felt like I was holding a lot in over the past year.

“And it was nice just to get it all out and show the guys in the room and everyone watching who I am. And I hope that shows for sure.”

Kaneswaran said he realised that the women on the programme were a lot more mentally strong than the men, and an obstacle for him was being a “people pleaser” on the show.

He also recalled being in shock at having to fight Welsh former rugby player Gareth Thomas as part of a challenge on the show.

The Irishman described his overall journey as a “very personal experience”, adding: “Do not let fear get in the way of you doing it”.

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins will air on Channel 4 on September 26 at 9.30pm.