AJ Odudu says she was ‘traumatised’ after Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

TV presenter AJ Odudu has said that she was left “traumatised” after taking part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins last year.

Odudu, who took part in the gruelling reality Channel 4 programme in aid of charity Stand Up To Cancer, said that it was the “most positive experience of my entire life” but that she struggled for the first three months after it ended.

The 4Music and Voice UK star told the PA news agency: “I feel so relaxed as a part of that show, it was high pressure, but actually three months after I was still seeing a therapist because I was so traumatised by the whole experience.

“It was really uplifting, but the interrogation stage really did my nut in.

“It’s called ‘escape and evasion’ on the show, and they put you in a room and they blindfold you with a bag over your head and you have to stay in these stress positions, and you hear all of these distressing noises for 13 consecutive hours.

“That honestly gives me nightmares.”

She added: “So three months after I was affected quite negatively and I couldn’t sleep.

“However, after coming out of all of that I feel really strong and really proud of myself and also safe in the knowledge that anything I put my mind to I can absolutely do, and I know that I do well under pressure.

“Moving forward I feel great and I’d actually recommend it to anyone who had the opportunity to do the show to just do it.”

Odudu, 31, made it to the final of the programme, which puts contestants through their paces in military-style challenges to test their physical and mental strength, along with Olympian Victoria Pendleton, TV presenter Jeff Brazier and ex-footballer Wayne Bridge, who went on to win.

Filmed in Chile, it was the first celebrity version of the programme and also included star contestants TV host Andrea McLean, former politician Louise Mensch and Love Island’s Camilla Thurlow.

Odudu said her latest TV project, starring in Channel 4’s Celebrity Come Dine With Me for charity, was far less taxing, but still tricky in parts.

Odudu, who appears alongside stars including Anthea Turner and Dave Benson Phillips, said: “Oh my God, one person burnt their food to a cinder that they had to go out and get a dirty takeaway.

“I was like, ‘This is a shambles’. It was filmed in one week and certainly than week I stopped at McDonald’s on the way home.”

Another charitable effort Odudu is supporting is TK Maxx’s annual Give Up Clothes For Good campaign, in which celebrities donate their garments to raise money for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People.

AJ Odudu is supporting TK Maxx’s Give Up Clothes For Good campaign (Jason Bell/TK Maxx)

The initiative helps to transform pre-loved quality clothes, accessories and homeware into funds for life-saving research to help more children and young people survive cancer.

“Cancer is so bad, it’s so common and it has affected people close to me, so I loved the sentiment behind it,” Odudu said.

“Also I have got loads and loads of clothes and I love new ways to give them away and donate them to something good, so this perfect.

“It’s so easy to take part. You just go to your local TK Maxx and drop off your clothes.”

People can donate a bag of their pre-loved, quality clothes to special donation points in stores, and each bag could raise up to £25 for the charity.

The campaign, which launched in 2004 and is this year also supported by Love Island host Laura Whitmore and model Jodie Kidd, has so far raised more than £34 million for Cancer Research UK’s work into cancers affecting children and young people.

– You can help more children and young people survive cancer by donating a bag of pre-loved quality clothes, accessories and homeware to your local TK Maxx store. Visit https://www.tkmaxx.com for more information.