Downings man in the running for millions

By Dionne Meehan

DOWNINGS man Eric Roberts is competing on Netflix’s biggest reality TV show Squid Game: The Challenge for a chance to win $4.56 million.

Created based on the Netflix Original ‘Squid Game’ which aired in 2021, the reality TV show has been described as a “mirror image” of the original show.


During the pandemic, viewers became familiar with the secret contest where 456 players, all of whom were in deep financial hardship, risked their lives to play a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win billions.

Quickly becoming Netflix’s most-watched series, the show has now been made into a game show where members of the public go head to head to win a massive cash prize.

Describing the show as being an “immersive experience”, Eric said he was put through some “gruelling” tests over the period of filming.

When the social media star was contacted by one of the casting producers on the show, he said he applied on a “whim”.

“I didn’t really know how difficult it was going to be.

“It was around six months of over and back interviews and zoom calls with producers.

“I think 100,000 people applied and that was whittled down to 456,” he said.


When filming began in London in January, Eric had no idea what he had signed himself up for.

“It was one of the most difficult things I have ever been put through in my life,” he said.

The first challenge Eric faced was ‘Red Light, Green Light’.

With the purpose of the game to eliminate players in large numbers before they headed to the dorm, Eric managed to cross the line second out of all the contestants.

“’Red Light, Green Light’ lasted for around eight hours.

“It was excruciating.

“We would run for five seconds and then we would have to stand frozen for around 40 minutes at a time.

“Peoples legs were ceasing up, it was really tough but I was actually second to cross the line which was amazing,” he said.

Next, Eric faced the ‘Dalgona Candy’ challenge.

In this challenge contestants are given one of four shapes imprinted in honeycomb.

They are then tasked to separate the shape from the honeycomb without breaking it using only a needle.

With the circle, triangle and star proving to be the easiest, Eric was left with the umbrella.

“As the games progressed, I actually got the most difficult shape,” he said.

However, despite passing that challenge as well, Eric said the games continued to get tougher.

“The games just got tougher and tougher as the cast got less and less as more and more people were eliminated.

“You didn’t really know who to trust in there or who was your friend.

“It was a physical and mental experience,” he said.

From being starved to being sleep deprived, Eric said filming the show was a really tough few weeks.

Keeping a low profile throughout each episode, in a recent video uploaded to social media Eric said there was a method behind his madness.

“There is two ways you can go in and approach this game, you can go in and be the loudest in the room, be a big personality, a big character and then you are going to get all the camera time.

“But, as you seen from the first few episodes, they are the characters that are being picked to be eliminated.

“My approach was to keep my head down, go under the radar, be a familiar face but not too memorable and just get through the games.

“I was there to win the millions, I didn’t care about camera time,” he said.

Not giving away any spoilers, Eric said he is proud to be one of the “very few” to be on one of the biggest reality TV shows of all time.

“I can say that I did it and I can I say did the challenges. I am really enjoying watching it all back now.

“I am one of the only Irish contestants on it so to be representing Donegal and Ireland against a heavily American cast was great,” he said.

If you are interested in seeing how Eric progresses in the series, Squid Game: The Challenge can be streamed on Netflix now.

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