For the next few weeks, Metro.co.uk will be speaking to reality TV fan favourites about what time on their show was like – and how things have changed now they’re Back to Reality. This time, it’s… Amos Ogunkoya from The Traitors.
‘I’ve made friends for life. I really love my fellow contestants’.
I used to be one of those people who would groan when they heard reality TV stars proclaim their newfound adoration for relative strangers. ‘You barely know them, how can you be the best of mates? Idiots’, I would think.
But since going on The Traitors, I know how easy it is to become bonded with a big group of people in such a short period of time. My love for fellow contestant Andrea Addison especially, is so pure.
I would genuinely do anything for that woman.
Of course, applying for the show, I wasn’t doing it to make friends. I was really just looking for a new adventure.
I’m a GP and was training during the pandemic, on the front lines, which was emotionally and physically hard and tiring.
I love being a doctor, and I will always be one – but I was fatigued after Covid and realised that life is just really short. I wanted to enjoy myself.
By January of last year, I was fully qualified, and thought it was the perfect time for a short break. It just happened to line up perfectly with The Traitors.
Still, I wasn’t completely sold on the show straight away.
I had a few concerns. Firstly, I was worried about having to lie. As a doctor, it is so against my nature to do that, and ultimately I want to be someone who is trustworthy. I really didn’t want to be a traitor – I don’t think I could have done it.
Secondly, I knew the game would be immersive. All contestants would have to get really into it and treat it seriously – questioning everything and everyone. It meant the only thing I would be able to rely on was myself, and to be honest, I didn’t know who that was.
I’d wanted to be a doctor since the age of 12 and I feel like I’ve lived my whole life being that persona. That helper. It actually got me questioning, am I a good person because I do medicine? Or did I choose medicine because I’m a good person? I didn’t know who ‘Amos’ was.
I feared that without my career to hide behind in the castle, I’d go rogue – become a completely different person; one I didn’t like.
In the end, I decided there was only one way to find out, and I took the leap.
While I couldn’t tell people I was going on the show, I was allowed to tell my immediate family.
Always honest, my little sisters ordered me ‘not to be an idiot on TV’, and my mum advised me to ‘keep my shirt on’. I like to think I kept one of those promises.
And with that, I was off. On the way there, I decided that I didn’t want to win the show. I thought that the only path to victory was by becoming a traitor, and I was never going to commit to that role if I got it.
Instead, I went into filming thinking that I was going to have a bit of jolly in Scotland, do some tasks, and just enjoy myself.
When we all arrived at the castle, we were asked to arrange ourselves in a line; from most likely to least likely to win.
I was annoyed that Andrea kept trying to put herself in the bottom. I didn’t like seeing her put herself down, so I moved her back up to the top end, where she deserved to be.
At the end of the line, I got booted off straight away.
You can probably see the shock in my face – I’m blinking a lot. That’s me storing the memory to tell my therapist in the future!
Still, I don’t regret it – and not just because I was brought back halfway through the show.
To be honest, those days in exile waiting to come back were some of my favourites. When Kieran and I did return, things had changed and I think we had an advantage.
The game is all about keeping your peace of mind, and everyone who had been in the castle from the start was so immersed by this point. It’s so dislocated from reality; it means emotions run much higher, with people getting more aggressive, defensive, and insecure than they would in everyday life.
I’m quite objective and like to see things as they are – not how I want them to be – so I was able to take a step back.
To be honest, I think the people who were most impacted by the show were those with acting history. They got so fully into it.
Take the breakfast scenes for example. Every morning, half the room would burst into sobs, crying about someone being ‘murdered’.
But, like, I’ve seen actual death as a doctor. I couldn’t connect emotionally in the same way because I knew it wasn’t real. That this person was just going to be sent back to their normal life.
It meant that when I was killed off, I wasn’t gutted or anything. I logically knew it was going to happen – I’m a smart guy and was a threat to the traitors, so why wouldn’t they kill me at some point?
They were never going to be able to recruit me – I would have walked – so I was of no use to them. I would have killed me, too.
Especially because I knew who one of the traitors was. From the moment I was brought back, I could tell it was Wilf, 100%. I wasn’t about to say that out loud though.
I was with him on the train before we got to the castle, and we had some time to chat. So seeing how drastically changed he was after Kieran and I came back, I knew it had to be him.
Amanda was a complete surprise; I think if I’d have spent more time with her I would have got it figured out though.
In the end, I was actually pretty happy about being killed. It was getting hard to stay emotionally neutral; I felt so guilty when it came to voting people out.
There’s something really hard about watching someone who’s innocent having to defend themselves.
It may sound odd, but that’s why I nominated Andrea. Everyone was going to have the finger pointed at them at some point, and I wanted her to be able to address it when the conversation was low stakes and less emotional.
So, all in all, I was relieved when I was killed.
The most surreal moment was watching the rest of the cast grieving my ‘death’ on TV. On the one hand, I was thinking, ‘guys, it’s not that deep’, but on the other, it was one of the nicest moments ever, really.
I’m someone who lives with depression, and there have been times when I’ve been really low. Sometimes thinking that people wouldn’t care whether I woke up the next day or not.
So to see that people did genuinely care that I didn’t – with Andrea carrying around my picture and Kieran bawling his eyes out – was a really special moment for me. I teared up watching it.
Getting back home to London was surreal. I went back to work pretty soon after and the period between filming and airing was long and it made it all feel like a fever dream.
I would walk down the street and think, ‘people might know who I am in a few months’. Regardless of if the show did well or poorly, I knew it wouldn’t change me.
After filming wrapped, everyone who was on the show spent more time together. We were the only 22 people who knew what we’d been through and who could relate to each other fully. We became like homing pigeons to each other and just started hanging out.
Kieran, Wilf and I would go to the pub together and have a catch up and a laugh about how weird everything would be later in the year – and it really was. We went out a couple of weeks ago and we couldn’t believe people were taking pictures of us.
I really had no idea how big the show was going to get. Going into it, I thought it was going to be on par with something like the Weakest Link; a day’s worth of shooting and then done – that was until I saw Claudia Winkleman and the castle.
The BBC had a lot of faith in the show, and I believed them – but I also worried that I only thought it was great because me and my friends were in it. It’s like when people come back from their holidays, talking excitedly about everything they did, and you’re like ‘was it really fun?’ but not wanting to hear every detail.
I was proved wrong almost immediately. The show became a massive talking point overnight, which meant lots of people saw me turning up at the castle and promptly being kicked off.
I can’t say which one, but I work for a professional football team as their doctor. The day after, I went to work with them and the team were doing mimes of it happening.
The club captain got all the players to line up and stage me being sent home. All this was accompanied by one player saying, ‘You were giving it the big ‘un, weren’t you?’.
The night before, I had stayed up to watch it, and I went on Twitter to watch the live responses.
Twitter is what I like to call, ‘God’s blind spot’. Bad things happen there. I gave into temptation and typed in my name to the search bar after the credits started rolling and I remember thinking, ‘Oh no’. It seemed like everyone was making fun of me going home first.
I couldn’t tell them the truth, so I just had to take it on the chin. Thankfully, I had the last laugh.
After that though, I stopped watching it at 9pm – it was on so late and my adrenaline would go up so I couldn’t sleep – I preferred getting reactions to the show from people I knew in real life.
They were really kind, telling me how well I came across. The nicest comments were when people said I behaved like myself.
While the lads’ group chat wasn’t quite as polite, my family and colleagues were supportive, saying how proud they were of me and that they were happy to know me. It was really moving, actually.
The only bit of feedback I got – from my dad and people I bumped into on the street – was that I should have been quieter; played the long game and been less forthright.
On the whole, it’s just been really lovely. Of course I now get recognised in my local Sainsbury’s or on the Tube but it’s always accompanied by a smile or nice word.
It’s the same with patients. They’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re from The Traitors’, and I’ll say, ‘I am, now show me your rash’. I’m kidding! I’ll actually just say ‘I am’, before tactfully asking what brought them to the surgery that day.
I honestly think that my stint on the show has helped me in my job, too. I like knowing that my patients now know me as a person, not just a doctor, which I think makes it easier to talk about what’s troubling them.
One of the massive perks of reality TV is the opportunities that come your way. And I now have lots more exciting projects coming up.
I’m from a council estate in London and it’s just brilliant to be able to say, I’ve been on the BBC and am on tellies across the country. I just want to do some good with my new platform.
Making people’s lives less crappy is a nice thing – it’s something I get to do every day in my job, like when I reassure a worried patient that they don’t have cancer – and I think I can help people more now.
I’m dyslexic – diagnosed in my late 20s – and I found it really challenging; I learned that I had significant difficulty reading and writing and had been thinking I was ‘dumb’ my whole life. It’s something that’s not talked about enough and I want people who are in a similar position to feel like they have someone to advocate for them.
I’ve already signed up to do some ambassador work with Anthony Nolan, too. The charity focuses on stem cell donation to help fight blood cancers and I’ve been signed up to their register since I was 19. To know I can help them by spreading the word is wonderful.
The Terrence Higgins Trust, too, which provides HIV and sexual health services, has been in touch.
Public health is something I’m incredibly passionate about. One of my missions with all of this is to help disenfranchised poor ethnic minority groups; or just people that don’t get health equality. Things that really matter.
It’s hard to believe so much has changed within a year, but I’m happy to be back to reality – my new reality.
I’ve come away from The Traitors with an exciting future, knowing who I am, and with lots of new friends.
I see Kieran and Wilf every week. I chat to Aaron all the time. Maddy regularly has me in stitches – once, she told me rainbows only come out in the afternoon and we had a giggle as I realised she’s the most unintentionally funny person I’ve ever met.
And then there’s Andrea. I go and visit her in her rural home with her horses, and she makes me do manual labour, and we have an amazing time.
These are people I love.
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