Is he faithful? Zack Davies from north London appears in BBC’s The Traitors

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Is he faithful? Zack Davies from north London appears in BBC’s The Traitors

As Claudia Winkleman invites a new batch of hopefuls into the Scottish castle we get the lowdown on the game plan

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

The nail-biting psychological reality competition is back on our screens to get our brains active after the festive slowdown. Claudia Winkleman has welcomed 22 strangers to a beautiful castle in the Scottish Highlands to play the ultimate game of detection, backstabbing and trust, in the hope of winning up to £120,000.

Parliamentary affairs advisor Zack Davies, 27, from north London is among them. As a Traitor his job would be to secretly ‘murder’ a player every night, without getting caught. As a Faithful his role would be to try to detect who the traitors are and banish them from the game to avoid being the next victim.

Why did you apply to be on The Traitors?
To see if I’m as smart as I think I am! In my career I think I am very good at reading people, and I want to see if that is the case. I think it helps that I come from the tightly-knit Jewish community where socially everyone knows each other’s business. The money would be a huge bonus for my girlfriend and me who are trying to find a flat. I think that I could win it if I’m a Faithful – I’ve already said that I do not want to be a Traitor at all because I’m never going to win!

What did you think of the first series?
I thought it was great – eccentric and ground-breaking. I’ve played games like Mafia and Werewolf with my friends and when we started watching Traitors together we were hooked immediately.

Was there anyone’s game plan you admired?
Wilfred for sure. He went for the ultimate Traitor move which was to sell his Traitor buddies down the river. I thought that was brutal, but it was so effective. When he chucked Alyssa under the bus it took all the pressure off him. Although he did mess up at the end by choosing Kieran to be by his side – if he had tried to recruit Hannah it might have worked out better. I actually rewatched it and saw that he was so on it from the start. It was so Machiavellian – he was a schemer.

What do you think you’ll bring to the game?
I think I’ll bring a lot more as a Faithful than as a Traitor. I’ve got a massive mouth so I can’t keep anything a secret. If I am a Faithful I’ll bring my perception, plus an understanding of what people are thinking and lies they might be weaving without really realising it. As I spend my life finding out what MPs are thinking I feel like I could do it with the average person who hasn’t undergone that scrutiny or the media training.

Claudia Winkleman

Do you have a game plan?
My aim is to strike up close friendships. I’d like to think I give a good first impression, I’m quite charismatic, and I do strike up quite intimate relationships quite quickly, so I’d like to lean into that a little bit. Try and people from different age groups and backgrounds and have their backs but kind of be secretly puppeteering from the background so they do the things I want them to do.

If you are a Traitor, how do you think you’ll feel?
I think I’ll feel quite happy. You have the power in your hands, you’re probably going to get through a few Round Tables and have a bit more fun being there for a bit longer. I just don’t think I could win with it though. I know that I would give it away – I smile so much! If I’m at the Round Table and someone accuses me of being a Traitor I’m probably going to just smile and laugh at them, rather than passionately defend myself.

Would you say you’ve got a good poker face?
I’ve won a few poker tournaments, but no. I do this stupid thing where my lips just curl up, I can’t help it!

If you are a Traitor, how far are you prepared to go to win?
I think I’d be cut-throat. I’d like to think I wouldn’t factor in sentimentality, even though I said close friendships were a big part of my plan. It is a game and I think I’ll have the guile to recognise that. I think I’d be even more brutal than Wilfred.

If you’re a Faithful, what will be your game plan?
I think the best way is to sit in the middle for the first few episodes. If you’re absolutely certain someone is a Traitor, I think you should call it out straight away because if you’re right and you trust your gut feeling the odds are they won’t vote you off, so you basically have immunity if you figure it out immediately. But on the other hand, you don’t want to raise suspicions so it’s probably best to keep quiet until you know for certain who is who. I guess I can lean on my understanding of facial expressions and tonalities and the way people talk and look. Hopefully, I’ll stick in the middle. I’m not going to be dead quiet, but I’m not going to say everything or give my hand away.

How good are you at spotting a liar?
I think I can spot if someone is pulling the wool over my eyes.

If you are a Faithful, what qualities do you think you’ll need to make it to the final?
I think it’s about being likeable, intelligent and effective in the way you play your cards. I think passion goes really far and it’s good to show your emotion. For example, Wilfred broke down in tears a few times and that might have been a reason why people didn’t get suspicious.

If you win the prize money, what will you spend it on?
The real answer, that my girlfriend doesn’t know, is that I want to spend it on a Mazda MX-5, because I love cars and racing. It has perfect balance, so I want to take it round tracks around Europe – that’s my dream. But in truth it I have to say a flat. My girlfriend would break up with me if I didn’t say that!

The Traitors is on BBC1 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 9pm

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