OVERWEIGHT Andrew Jimson was persuaded to take part in the show by his girlfriend who claims she’ll beat him up if he quits.
The Welshman, who bears a passing resemblance to Private Pyle in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket, is determined to mend his bad boy ways.
The 25-year-old from Bridgend in South Wales used to be a delivery driver for a parcel company.
“I’ve got a two-year-old kid, a 23-year-old missus and I’ve got to get on with it. Why piss about being in prison all the time? My missus has already told me if I go to prison she’s off. Hopefully the show will sort my head out.”
He hopes that taking part in the programme will prepare him to become a fireman. He’s determined to give his all during training and even if he feels he can’t do something he expects that the other lads taking part will rally round.
“I’m just going to think ‘xxxx it, I can get over that wall’ and if I can’t then there’ll be twenty or so other people behind me to give me a hand,” he says optimistically.
COCKY Luke Howard describes himself as a ‘little sxxx’ but says he is fed up with people judging him.
The ‘misunderstood’ Essex boy has made the front page of his local paper for his tearaway antics which resulted in him being suspended from school 13 times
Luke, 18, admits: “I’ve built up a bit of a reputation over the years. They put my mug shot on the news saying if you see me ring the old bill.”
“I was a little sxxx; I’m trying to sort it out. I’m tired of everyone around my area judging me. They’ve just read about me and think they know me but they don’t.
“I’m not aggressive towards other people. I’m not violent in the slightest but I fucking hate bullies. If one of my mates is getting beaten up then I’ll jump in but I’m not one of those guys who goes around going ‘what you looking at?’ just looking for a fight.”
Luke hated authority at school and became the naughty kid of the class who everyone egged on to be funny and disruptive.
“In the end I just didn’t give a sxxx. I couldn’t care less about anyone and I just did what I wanted to do at the end of the day and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last three or four years.”
Despite his attitude, Luke is adamant that he’s not a quitter. Having been in the cadets for two years when he was younger, he claims he’s looking forward to the discipline of Bad Lads. Until now the only thing he’s stuck at was playing football but he admits: “I played my heart out and then I started doing drugs and it went down the drain.”
He fully expects that he will be wound up by the military staff and hates the thought of being made to get naked for the medical.
When it comes to the fairer sex, Luke sees himself as a bit of a ladies’ man but admits he’s not fussy. “I’ll settle for ugly birds, my standards aren’t very high,” he says, deadpan.
He wants to change the opinion of people who know of him in his local area and reveals that he has done volunteer work and worked with disabled children.
“People think of a bad boy and they think ‘oh he’s a knob 24/7’ but I’m not, it’s just maybe an hour out of every night that I’m an arsehole.”
DARREN McDonald believes that taking part in Bad Lads is the last stage in shedding his bad boy reputation and turning himself into a reformed character.
The 26-year-old from Peckham in South East London has A-levels and a law degree from Thames Valley University and has worked as a barrister’s Clerk in the Royal Courts of Justice.
But that wasn’t his only brush with the law. He also found himself on the wrong side of it.
“There are people who do the same things as I have who don’t get caught, but I’m the plum - I get caught. I still get angry but I try to think about the consequences more now.”
Darren’s mum wanted her son to get a good education and sent him out of their local area to attend private school where he was the only black kid, so he learnt to speak up for himself.
“I live in an area where I know everyone, and most of them are doing something – drugs, guns, everything. I don’t get involved with it because I know my luck and stupid things I’ve got on my file already are carried with me to every job I go to.
“I started getting [into trouble] at 16 and I thought ‘I’m taking the mick here, I want to learn the law’, so I did my A-levels at Kingston college. I did law, English and politics, then I went to Thames Valley University to do something with my life, to better myself and make my mum happy.”
He got his job at the Royal Courts of Justice but after over two years in the role he was sacked for lying about his troublesome past.
Darren qualified as a personal trainer but didn’t enjoy it as he says he was “surrounded by thick, egotistical plums” obsessed with their bodies. He now works with a youth offending team as a mentor.
AIDEN Chaffe comes from good military stock. His stepfather is a Lt Colonel in the army.
The not-particularly-loveable rogue from Northwood in Middlesex was nominated for Bad Lads Army by his desperate mother who is paying him £500 to take part in the show.
Chaffe, 18, is described as ‘out of control’.
He flunked private education, so he’s taking GCSEs in English and Maths, and an NVQ in painting and decorating.
He admits to always having been a bit of a tearaway, having arranged ‘fight nights’ in his home town of Northwood.
“I like to fight. We have fight night on Saturday in Northwood. We all go to the pub, get absolutely hammered and fight people in street brawls. It’s a lot of fun.”
He doesn’t get on with his stepfather and his behaviour has caused huge fights in the family.
“He’d say I was an arsehole and a waster,” says Aiden. “I admit I’m an arsehole, I know I am. I’ve been one since a kid, I’m from Middlesbrough!”
WHEELER dealer Mark Grimes is another bad lad taking part in the show for the sake of his girlfriend and kids.
The 26-year old from Wolverhampton is determined to mend his bad ways and it’s about time.
It’s now or never for the charmer from Wolverhampton - and he knows it.
After going from job to job he’s now on the dole, but still makes ‘easy money’ as a wheeler dealer.
But he’s desperate to take part in the programme and change his ways having seen the positive outcomes in previous series.
“You see them going in there and then you see them coming out completely different people. It’s good to see a change like that.”
But he’s not looking forward to getting up early and is wary of some of the extreme tasks he’ll have to do.
“If I have to get in the sea I won’t like it but I realise I can’t walk away and I can’t argue back. That means I’ve got to try my best and put 100% effort in.”
MIDDLE class Gavin Woodhouse is the first ever ballet student to take part in the show and is sure to be labelled the ‘Billy Elliot’ of the Bad Lads corps.
The self-confessed layabout, 22, from Newport in Shropshire, scrounges off his mum for cash so he can spend his spare time boozing with pals. He claims to have stolen a milk float on one of his boozy escapades.
Gavin’s aware of the stigma attached to being a dancer. “It’s the curse that’s going to stick with me all the way through this process,” says Gavin. “I think if no one knows that I’m a ballet dancer and they get to know me before I drop the bombshell I think it’ll be alright. But it doesn’t help me that I’m a ballet dancer really.”
Gavin was inspired to sign up for Bad Lads after seeing another programme about the French Foreign Legion. But he’s cocky and he doesn’t think Bad Lads will be ‘that hard’.
“It didn’t come across that hard and although there was all the screaming and shouting and stuff, I didn’t think it was enough to make anyone cry.”
Gavin’s misdemeanours revolve more around drunken antics and scrapes. He says that he has been around a lot of ‘bad lads’ growing up but never got dragged all the way down with them.
“When I was growing up I had friends who broke the law and smoked drugs, so I’ve been around those kinds of people and most of them are in jail or possibly even dead now I’d say.”
Despite not being one of the really bad lads, Gavin thinks that taking part in the programme will be the most beneficial thing he’s ever done.
“I think the experience will be one of the most life changing things I’ve ever done, probably the most constructive thing I’ve ever done in my whole life.”
PRETTY Boy Jamie Smedley’s David Beckham looks may have helped him get a lap dancing girlfriend, but they probably won’t help him in Bad Lads Army.
When he’s not on the sunbed 21-year-old Jamie is a plasterer by trade, and when he’s not doing that he’s either fighting or in trouble with the law. Bad Lads is his last chance to convince everyone he can grow up.
“I need to get out of Sheffield. It’s just doing my head in and everything is getting on top of me,” says Jamie. “I’m right well known in Sheffield, and I want to get out for a bit and change me for the best.”
Jamie is an amateur boxer and but he doesn’t just swing his fists in the ring. He left someone unconscious during a fight at the gym.
The only child admits he needs to change his attitude and stop being so arrogant. He thinks his mum will throw him out soon as she thinks he’s a ‘little wanker’.
“She’s got a lot of patience. I’m glad they’ve only had one because if they’d have had two the whole family would have alopecia by now because I drive them literally mad. I xxxx about a lot.”
He likens himself to the character Stifler in American Pie and says his Dad was ‘a proper rogue’ when he was a kid too.
CHARMER Keith Burke reckons he’s a babe magnet and has slept with loads of women. He hopes to charm his way through the rigours of Bad Lads Army but what works with the ladies in his home town of Waterford in the Republic of Ireland, won’t necessarily work on the fearsome army camp corporals.
Keith, 19, thinks he’ll bring fun to the programme and boost the morale of the other recruits.
“The show can only do good for me. I’m from a sxxx background and I had my heart set on being a millionaire when I grew up. This would be a good fucking stepping stone to do it. I want to be someone at the end of it.”
He did a year and a half as an apprentice welder, but is unemployed. He left school after GCSEs and has gone back to school get his leaving certificate.
His family life has been troubled, his parents having split up when he was young.
He doesn’t drink, but when it comes to other drugs he says he’s “been there and got the t-shirt”.
“I’ve done coke, E’s, MDMA, the lot. When I was doing my apprenticeship I used to get 175 euros a week and I used to spend it all on coke.”
His mates call him ‘cue ball’ because at 19 he’s already balding and it’s a bit of a sore point!
JAMES Bourne says he went “off the rails” after his dad died and admits he put his family through hell. But the 23-year old from Bedfordshire is determined to turn things around and make his mum proud. And boy does he need to. He’s notched up over £10,000 of debts and now has a little girl to support too.
He says he got in with the wrong crowd from an early age and that was the root of all his problems.
“I never really thought I’d end up settling down but now that I’ve got a little girl everything’s falling in to place. I’ve just got to get a job now.”
He wants to work in the building trade and thinks Bad Lads will give him the get up and go to sort his future out for good.
In 2004 James tied heroin for the first time and soon became an addict.
“I thought I could control it but it got too much. It got to a point where I’d got away with it for so long without anyone being able to notice but everyone caught on and I admitted to it.”
He expects the worst part of Bad Lads for him will be getting shouted at in the mornings. “I’m really abusive when I’m woken up. I’m used to discipline as my dad was very strict and kept me in line, but when he died everything went tits up.”
James says him mum is proud that he managed to get off drugs. “The way I was going I could have gone either way. If I’d carried on with the drugs and everything I might not be here now.”
CHEEKY Robin Woodforth thinks he’s a big fish in the small pond of his home town of Barton-on-Humber in North Lincolnshire.
He claims he was provoked and blames the people he hangs around with for his predicament. Local police have nicknamed him ‘smiler’ thanks to his cheek.
When asked if he enjoys fighting he says he doesn’t really think about it at the time, “but afterwards you think and you regret it. It’s one of those impulsive reactions when someone’s provoking you.”
He says he’s well known in his home town where he lives with his mum and brother: “The girls like me and some of the lads like me, but some don’t.” Robin is also a wannabe songwriter and wants to be on TV.
“I did a lot of things from when I was 18 until 21, so three years of causing sxxx. I’m growing up. It’s taken a long time but I am growing up,” he claims.
LUKE Moyes thinks he’s Robin Hood. He used to short change customers in the pub where he worked and give the money to homeless people in his home town of Whitstable, Kent.
Luke, 19, also claims to be a ‘love rat’ and says he once slept with three girls in one night – behind his girlfriend’s back.
So not only does he get in trouble with the law, he seems to upset a lot of the ladies in his life as well. “That’s even worse,” says Luke, “I’d rather get in trouble with the law. It’s not me - I just seem to be a magnet.” He confesses he even slept with the local vicar’s daughter (the vicar caught them) and the 36-year-old mum of another girlfriend.
Bad Lads Army chiefs still think he has potential and his family tree seems to confirm it: his granddad did National Service in Egypt and he claims his great uncle was beheaded during the Crimean war.
“I think I can do a lot better than most people who’ve have been on Bad Lads Army,” says Luke. “I want to go into the army anyway. I’ve joined three times but I got kicked out because I kept on offending, but this year hopefully it’ll be my year.”
In his attempts to become a reformed character he no longer does any drugs and on his mum’s suggestion now drinks pints of Guinness because “I don’t like it so it stops me getting drunk”. He was expelled twice from school but thinks he’ll be able to handle the authority dished out by the military staff.
Referring to a former teacher, he adds: “Since school it’s always been a saying of mine that I can take orders from someone with a few stripes on their shoulders but I can’t take orders from someone in a Pooh bear tie and purple shirt.”
COLIN Elliott is excited at the prospect of being ‘the only gay in the barracks’. The 23-year-old from North Shields, Newcastle, says he is bisexual.
Taking drugs - including cocaine and heroin - has got him trouble with the law.
Three years ago Colin’s dad died of a heroin overdose after being an addict most his life and this finally made Colin stop taking the drug himself. “I thought, well I’ve lost a parent to it, how can I ever put it in my body ever again? I still smoked cannabis and things like that but I never touched hard drugs again,” he says. He now suffers from insomnia as a result of his cocaine abuse.
He now relies heavily on his family for money. When he left prison Colin worked as an escort and he became used to having plenty of cash, but he knows now it’s time to stand on his own two feet.
“The reason I want to do the programme is because I just want to do something different. I kept out of trouble for so long and I’m starting to slip a bit again now,” he admits.
“I just think that something like this is perfect for me to do because I’m a bit of a fanny really. I like nice clothes and I like all my products. I’m a selfish twat really. I don’t like working in a team normally - it’s all about me - so I think it’d be great to see how I get on.”
He knows he’ll have to contribute and make a big effort with the other recruits if he’s to avoid becoming an outcast. “My selfish tendencies will have to be put to the back. It’ll be a shock to the system,” he declares.
Bad Lads Army is back and this year it’s extreme. Thirty lads face an almighty battle to turn their lives around forever with the most daunting challenge to date – a 3,500 foot solo parachute jump. Produced by Twenty Twenty Television for ITV1.
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