A clergyman made an appearance on a new Netflix reality competition vying for a £3.6m prize.
However, Father Lee Taylor nearly declined participating in Squid Game: The Challenge due to finding the precursor drama too graphic.
The original Squid Game, launched in 2021, depicted a brutal game show where financially struggling participants confronted lethal challenges for a chance to win a substantial fortune.
A resounding success, it became the most-watched series in the streaming service’s history.
Father Taylor, from St Collen’s Church in Llangollen, Denbighshire, mentioned being unexpectedly contacted by the production company.
The 46-year-old ex-bartender from Bolton mentioned that recognition came his way following his rise to fame in early 2021 due to his online “Pimm’s and hymns” gatherings.
Crafted to bring together parishioners confined at home during the Covid lockdown, his concept of “a tipple and a singsong” gained momentum and drew participants from locations as distant as Brazil.
“The only problem was I tried watching Squid Game when it first came out and couldn’t even make it through a single episode,” he said.
“It was just too gory and shocking – but they coaxed me to give it another go.
“And when I did I started to see the show’s underlying social and moral themes, and about the lengths people can be driven to by the fear of not having money. So I decided to give it a shot.”
Shot in a vast aircraft hangar in Bedfordshire at the beginning of 2023, Squid Game: The Challenge mirrors its brutal South Korean forerunner by showcasing twisted versions of childhood games.
Unlike the previous version where losers met a fatal end, elimination in this iteration is figurative. Yet, as contestant number 123 among 456 participants hailing from various corners of the globe, Father Taylor expressed that filming presented its own set of difficulties.
He said: “That hangar was a huge, almost cathedral-like space, and very eerie,”.
“And at six o’clock on a January morning it was unbelievably cold – even the thermals we had on underneath our tracksuits weren’t much help.”
Father Taylor mentioned that despite not securing the record-breaking prize, he found the experience to be highly fulfilling.
“I got to meet and bond with people from across the globe and I saw how, in the face of adversity, humans can come together and try to help each other,” he said.