TV stardom helps Daz get a new lease of life

Daz Dugan (front, grey t-shirt) puts his charges through their paces on Climping beach PHOTO: Andy T Lee
Daz Dugan (front, grey t-shirt) puts his charges through their paces on Climping beach PHOTO: Andy T Lee

FOR the past four weeks, millions have tuned in to watch him as the stern instructor and law-maker on the hit ITV programme Bring Back Borstal.

Army veteran and former Colour Sergeant, Daz Dugan has been the ‘chief’ in charge of disciplining unruly troublemakers during the televised social experiment.

The programme followed 14 young troublemakers on their journey to change their ways in a mock-up of the 1930s Borstal – an infamous institution designed to reform young offenders.

Between them, they have around 60 criminal convictions and many have served time in prison.

And now, as the programme wrapped up its final episode on Thursday, Daz has revealed just what it has been like to be one of the series’ stars and just how the Borstal has given him a new lease of life.

“It was a really rewarding experience,” said Daz, 41. “I’ve had a few people recognise me. One chap stopped me on the street and said, ‘Hey, you’re that guy from the TV’.

“There’s also been a lot of positivity over social media, too.”

Daz volunteers as a gym instructor at the Wee Old Skool Gym, in Arcade Road, Littlehampton.

During the TV programme, he became the central core of the boys’ gruelling morning fitness routine.

He led the troublemakers on challenging cross-country courses, exhausting runs along the beach and a range of other exercises.

“Everything I wanted them to do was all about functional fitness – lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling and throwing with medicine balls,” he said. “It was about getting people to realise their potential.”

Daz also took the lads through rugby training, joining in with a final match against a local side in Northumberland, where the programme was filmed.

Now, he is hoping to bring the borstal fitness regime to locals in the Littlehampton area.

He will be using his 20 years as a physical trainer in the Army as a basis for his military-themed exercise programmes.

He launched his first Sunday morning session on Climping beach, last week.

The hour-long course saw people of all fitness levels taking part in a variety of circuit training exercises, all catered for different abilities, as well as plenty of running and jogging to keep heart rates high.

“The feedback I got was really positive. Everyone was going ‘he’s a sadist and a maniac’,” Daz joked. “But when they had finished loads said they really enjoyed it.”

Daz is also running one-hour courses on Wednesdays at the gym, from 6.30am.

Both the Sunday and Wednesday sessions are £5.

He is also offering a personal training service for £30 an hour.

For more details, call 07971 060556, email or see