Thursday 23 November 2023


Beverley Lyons 
EDINBURGH IT worker Trudy McCabe wanted to experience life again after splitting with her husband so she entered Netflix blockbuster Squid Game: The Challenge. 
Trudy, 47, who is mum to 16 year old singer Danny McCabe from Scots boyband Just The Brave and his 18 year old brother Ben, joined 455 other contestants to battle it out for a prize of $4.56 million (£3.6 million) on the show. 
Trudy, who is number 427 on the series, said: “I couldn’t tell anyone I was doing it and when I eventually told my family they thought I was crazy. My sons were so proud of me and are still excited in case I’ve won. The winner doesn’t get any prize money until around thirty days after it is shown on TV."
Although she can’t say how far she got in the competition yet, Trudy says she  deliberately stayed out of the limelight as part of her tactic on the gruelling programme. 
Unlike some contestants who have complained about the show’s harsh filming conditions,  Trudy says she loved every minute of the experience.  
She explained: “I recently split with my husband after twenty seven years of marriage and was looking for something to challenge me and allow me to experience life again. 
As soon as I heard they were looking for contestants, I filmed a one minute video that night, and started training myself up for it.”
Trudy, who went swimming with sharks and ran a 5k every day to get herself geared up for the show, said taking part was mentally and physically exhausting. 

But she wanted to prove that a 47 year old woman could be just as fit as the younger ones in the show. 
She said: “I might be getting a bit older but physically I could outdo most people in there. 
Age is just a number and it’s mind over matter. Mentally you need to stimulate yourself because life gets a bit monotonous and you’ve got to live it.”
Fans can now watch the first five episodes with games like Red Light Green Light and cookie cutting being played for real. 
Instead of being killed, contestants are squibbed ie shot with black ink cartridges to signify they are out of the game. 
Trudy said: “I made some really good lifelong friends on the show and it was really sad and emotional when someone got shot. We’ve remained in touch and I plan to see some of them in Canada next year.”
Players were given stacked high bunk beds to sleep in and their diet was so meagre that many lost weight or went to bed hungry.  Trudy’s trousers began to fall down during filming. 
She said: “I tried to be strategic about where I slept. I didn’t chose the bottom or top bunk cause I thought one of the guards might come in during the night and take us out the game. I also picked a block near the toilet because we didn’t have time in the mornings to get showered properly once the music woke us up.”
She added: ”Food was horrendous - porridge everyday and it was not cooked properly, more like slime. I’d force others to eat it because it would give them a bit of energy.  We had small tins with rice and dry chicken in them.  I felt sorry for the big guys because I was starving. I lost a lot of weight and I thought my tracksuit bottoms would fall down at one point.”
For Red Light Green Light, the first game in the show, Trudy admitted it was so cold she couldn’t feel her hands or feet. 
She explained: “It was really cold. It was in January and there was a lot of waiting about.  
When they got squibbed or inked they did verification checks and that took time. 
At one point I was standing still and snot was running out of my nose and I couldn’t wait to wipe it.  
“I couldn’t feel my feet and hands and my shoe came off and I didn’t even know. A really big guy fell on top of me as I was running with just seconds to spare, and I thought I can’t go back to Scotland and tell the boys I didn’t pass the first game.”
“It was everything I thought it would be, the most physical and mental thing I did in my life. I was sleep deprived, didn’t know what day it was and living on rations but afterwards I felt I could get through anything.”
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to win all that money and I would definitely do it again. I loved every second of it.