The iconic 1990’s game show Gladiators is reportedly set to be return to screens next year after 20 years off air and 30 years after it first aired.
The show saw members of the public battle it out against the show’s cast of bodybuilders and gymnasts, known, after originally airing on , and will begin filming in Sheffield early next year.
‘Are you ready?’: Iconic 1990’s show Gladiators to return to screens after 30 years
The original series was watched by over 14 million viewers and was hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu as well as featuring gruff referee John Anderson.
But was axed in 1999 after the show lost over half its viewers in later series dropping to six million.
The show has seen many spin-offs and was briefly revived by Sky One in 2009, but only lasted two series.
The revived show has been presented by ex-Arsenal footballer Ian Wright and Caroline Flack and has also featured Wolf from the original series.
Battle: The series has seen many spin-offs and was briefly revived by Sky One in 2009, but only lasted one series
Stars: The original series was watched by over 14 million viewers and was hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu as well as featuring gruff referee John Anderson
According to the publication the channel is working with Hungry Bear productions – which was founded by Holly Willoughby’s husband Dan Baldwin – and plan to use the 13,000 capacity Sheffield Arena as it’s home, implying a live audience may also be included in the show.
While it is unclear if the original Gladiators will return, the original cast included Wolf (Michael Van Wijk) Jet (Diane Youdale) and Lighting (Kim Betts).
BBC declined to comment.
Travelator: The finale of the show would see contestants running up a moving walk way known as a travelator
Speaking about the show’s backstage drama Ulrika wrote in her column: ‘I had never encountered body-builders and this was a unique glimpse into their world.’
Ulrika goes on: ‘Eye-popping muscles like that come with an extraordinary vanity. The vast majority of them were so focused on themselves and their amazing bodies that their egos easily outsized anything an average person could imagine.’
She told Vicky Pattison’s podcast that behind the scenes there was ‘There was jumping from bed to bed’.
Saucy: Ulrika told Vicky Pattison’s podcast that behind the scenes there was ‘There was jumping from bed to bed’
Keen to hear all the juicy details on what went on backstage, Vicky didn’t hold back as she said to Ulrika: ‘I have to ask, was everyone f**king each other on Gladiators?’
Happy to indulge Vicky, Ulrika replied: ‘Apparently. Not me… I was writing my lines, I mean learning my lines. Apparently, in the first year that we did it – [the cast] took over a whole floor in the hotel – there was loads of jumping from bed to bed.’
Ulrika revealed that one of the show’s female stars, who she refused to name, once confessed to sleeping with four different people in one night.
Romance: While working on the series, Ulrika dated ex-boyfriend James Crossley, who appeared as Hunter on Gladiators
Smitten: She previously admitted she was ‘infatuated’ by the bodybuilder (pictured in 1996)
She continued: ‘There was one female gladiator, somebody picked her up on it – she should remain nameless – they said, “F**king hell, what was it… you were f**king five people… coming and going from your room last night.”
‘She went, “No. Four,”‘ Ulrika revealed, joking: ‘At that point, maybe just stop at no?’
The mum-of-four added that the hotel hosting the stars had to stop them from using fake tan as it would ‘ruin’ the sheets on the bed in their rooms.
Ulrika was romantically linked to one of Gladiators’ male stars, Hunter – real name James Crossley, and while the pair initially denied they were involved, Ulrika penned about their relationship in her autobiography, Honest, released in 2003.
They dated from 1996, with Ulrika admitting she was ‘infatuated’ with her ex-beau.
Low-key: The pair denied they were dating at the time, but Ulrika penned about their romance in her 2003 autobiography and described James as ‘the sweetest man’ during her podcast appearance (pictured in 1997)
Chatting with Vicky, Ulrika revealed that Hunter was only 22 years old when they first began dating, as she praised the former bodybuilder for being the ‘sweetest man’.
‘Obviously I dated Hunter for about a year and a half and away from the show he was amazing and the sweetest, sweetest man,’ she said. ‘He was only 22 when I think when I got together with him. Poor boy.’
Reflecting on the show, Ulrika also revealed that the female stars would be forced to glue their lycra leotards to their behinds to stop them from riding up.
The female Gladiators, which included former British swimmer Sharron Davies who appeared on the series as alter-ego Amazon, were known for their scantily-clad sporting gear that they would compete in.
Ulrika revealed: ‘The female Gladiators were having to glue the outfits on to their bums, as the costumes were so small. They would disappear and if they were wrestling you might get an eyeful.’
Sticky situation: Ulrika also revealed that the female stars on Gladiators were forced to glue their lycra leotards to their behinds to prevent them from riding up because they were so small (pictured: Panther, Helen O’Reilly, (L) and Scorpio, Nikki Diamond, (R)
Gladiators: Where are they now?
Shadow: Jefferson King
Troubling: A court heard how he was involved in a blackmail plot after a day of smoking drugs ‘degenerated rapidly’
Name: Jefferson King
Now: In 2009 he went into rehab and stayed clean, revealing in 2011 that he had beaten his addiction and worked at a rehab clinic to help people suffering from drug problems.
However, by last year he was back on illegal drugs – and last March King was charged with heroin possession.
A week later, a co that he was often drunk on the show.
He said: ‘I remember looking at The Wall and thinking, ‘I’ve got to chase this guy up it and I’m bleeding drunk’.
‘We never had to drive anywhere, we had hospitality twice a day so there would be wine and booze and stuff flowing. Ironically, I never used to drink a drop before I joined Gladiators.’
Gladiator history: Thanks to his quick-thinking and agility he became a master of the Hang Tough ring and was also the best Duel podium contender having never been knocked off. He became a fan-favourite Gladiator alongside the likes of Shadow, Wolf, Jet, Lightning and Hunter.
Fun fact: Proving that good things can come in small packages, Cobra – whose real name is Michael Wilson – didn’t let his tiny height get in the way of victory.
Phoenix: Sandy Young
Moving on: Sandy now works as a florist and is a mother to two children in the West Midlands according to Gladiator fan sites
Name: Sandy Young aka Phoenix
Now: Sandy now works as a florist and is a mother to two children in the West Midlands according to Gladiator fan sites.
Gladiators history: ‘Phoenix’ was forced to leave the show in late 1992, reportedly for being unable to meet fitness standards.
Years later she was sentenced to 150 hours of community service in 1996 for attacking her ex-husband due to a custody disagreement over their son.
The kick-boxer and former Bodybuilding Miss UK broke her ex’s ankle in what was described in court as an act of ‘wanton violence and revenge’.
Fun fact: Sandy was unbeaten in two new events during ‘Gladiators Live!’ in 1993 at Wembley Arena.
Hunter: James Crossley
Trainer: James spoke to MailOnline recently about how he has turned his skills to yoga in a bid to age ‘pain free’, while his girlfriend is also a yoga teacher
Name: James Crossley
Occupation: James spoke to MailOnline recently about how he has turned his skills to yoga in a bid to age ‘pain free’, while his girlfriend is also a yoga teacher.
James is now currently working in the sports industry as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, but had dabbled in acting following his time in Gladiators. He most recently appeared on Channel 4’s, The Circle.
The TV star revealed that he has launched his own James Crossley coaching website to help people get fitter, as well as his yoga and gong bath practices.
Comparing his fitness now to when he starred on Gladiators in the 90s, James admitted that it is ‘very different’.
He said: ‘When I did Gladiators I was a machine. I was training twice a day, once with the weights, once with the events training, because the thing with Gladiators is all the events are very unique. My absolute fittest would have been in my late 20s.’
On Gladiators: ‘Discussing his time on the show, he said: ‘The first year I joined I couldn’t do anything – I locked myself away for a year to get better. You can be muscular and look good but it doesn’t mean you can climb those walls.’
Fun facts: James dated the show’s host Ulrika Jonsson, but the pair remained coy on their romance, until she uncovered all in her 2003 autobiography.
Wolf: Michael Van Wijk
Then and now: Michael now runs his own gym in Auckland, where he currently resides, which is named Wolf’s Gym, after his Gladiators personal
Name: Michael Van Wijk aka Wolf
Now : Michael owns a gym called ‘Wolf’s Gym’ in Auckland, New Zealand where he now lives. He had owned gyms previously before finding fame on Gladiators
Following his time on the show, he became a regular on the Kiwi Cage Fighting scene and also used to compete at national level in Jiu Jitsu championships, according to a 2008 Loaded article.
Michael appeared on Lorraine in 2019 and told the host he would love to revive gladiators, and said: ‘I would love to do it, I wish the producers would bring it back. You would get all the baby-boomers from the past watching it and you would get a new generation coming up as well.’
Gladiators history: He starred on the show for seven years and eight series throughout the entire time Gladiators aired on ITV.
Fun facts: Wolf was deemed the most popular gladiator on the series, albeit controversial thanks to his mean persona.
Ace: Warren Furman
Change: Having turned his back on showbusiness, Warren found God and now runs a Gospel choir in York, where he lives with his wife and two kids
Name: Warren Furman
Occupation: Having turned his back on showbusiness, Warren found God and now runs a Gospel choir in York, where he lives with his wife and two kids.
Speaking on This Morning previously, he said: ‘I used to worship myself, I thought I was fantastic. I have now turned to God’s grace. I am a Gladiator of the gospel.
‘You’ll never know God until you change your direction and so I realised this. It was great, we had loads of money and women, but I realised I had to change’.
Warren, who dated a young Katie Price in the 90s, admitted in 2019 during the appearance that he sometimes struggled to earn £20 an hour since the show finished.
Gladiator history: Four years after the show began in 1996, the blond hunk beat 60 other hopefuls for a place on Gladiators, where he stayed on the series until its end in 2000. He returned for the revival in 2008.
Fun facts: Warren was engaged to Katie in the late Nineties, during which time they enjoyed a particularly lavish lifestyle. He previously said: ‘We travelled the world first class, went for expensive dinners, had big houses and fancy cars’, yet things later broke off acrimoniously.
He said: ‘We were both deriving our identities from being relevant in the media. We were both selling stories.’
Amazon: Sharron Davies MBE
Heading up: Prior to heading on to the show, Sharron was a swimmer for Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships
Name: Sharron Davies aka Amazon
Now: Following her Olympic swimming career, Sharon now works as a BBC pundit.
Sharron was a swimmer for Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships. The media personality also organised a support group for parents of young athletes and does after-dinner and motivational speaking.
Sharron competed for England in the Commonwealth Games. She has produced various fitness videos and served as a patron of charities for disabled children.
She was most recently married BA pilot Tony Kingston for seven years. After their split she appeared to be looking for love again on dating app Tinder, however it turned out to be a fake profile.
Gladiator history: Sharron joined the show in 1995 yet a knee injury forced her to withdraw from the show in 1996. She famously complained of the health and safety aspects of the show
Fun fact: The blonde beauty enjoyed a stint on Dancing On Ice in 2011.
Jet: Diane Youdale
Now: Since her time on Gladiators has remained on views’ TV screens and radio airwaves, presenting on BBC Tees and featuring on BBC shows like Look North and Inside Out
Name: Diane Youdale
Now: Since her time on Gladiators has remained on views’ TV screens and radio airwaves, presenting on BBC Tees and featuring on BBC shows like Look North and Inside Out.
Diane started out with a career in gymnastics and 릴게임 dance, before rising to stardom on Gladiators, but was later forced to take up presenting and acting after injuring herself during the show’s live event held at Wembley Arena in 1996.
She then went on to become a PE teaching assistant, before training as a pscyhotherapist.
Fun facts: With 20 years in psychology behind her, Diane has landed herself a regular slot on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side and is seen analysing the housemates – she has appeared on 33 episodes of the show.
The Rhino: Mark Smith
On the up: Since appearing on Gladiators, Mark has gone on to bag several acting roles, including appearances on EastEnders, The Bill and Robin Hood
Name: Mark Smith
Now: Mark, who now lives in Acton, west London, went on to bag several acting roles, including appearances on EastEnders, The Bill and Robin Hood.
He then set his sights on Hollywood and has featured on high-profile films including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Argo, which was directed by Ben Affleck and Frozen Ground, starring Nicholas Cage.
Gladiator history: Mark starred on the show from 1995 until its finale in 2000.
Fun facts: Rhino was deemed the joker of the Gladiator pack and would have the live audience in fits of giggles with his robotic dancing and body popping moves. Mark too had enjoyed a fling with show host Ulrika.
Panther: Helen O’Reilly
Helping others: Helen now has her own gym in Uxbridge, London, where she preps other girls and travels all across the globe judging bikini girls
Name: Helen O’Reilly aka Panther
Now: Helen, who runs Panthers Gym in Uxbridge, said in a recent interview with a Gladiator’s fan site: ‘I think I’ve changed quite a lot… most people don’t recognise me… age, hair, colour change and of course I don’t war the trademark Panther Lycra anymore!’
Helen is a champion bodybuilder and became one of Britain’s best, with a number of accolades to her name including Miss Central Britain, Miss Europe, Miss Great Britain, Miss Russia and Miss Universe.
On Gladiators: ‘It was great, 릴게임 it inspired so many people into sport, to be able to be strong and feminine at the same time. We still get messages today, 25 years later, 릴게임사이트 of people still being inspired to go to the gym.’
Fun facts: She now has her own gym in Uxbridge, London, where she preps other girls and travels all across the globe judging bikini girls, fitness girls and men’s physique and body building.
Lightning: Kim Betts
Strong: Lightning was known as the ‘Queen of Hang Tough’ and had remained undefeated in the UK Arena – asides from being beaten just once in Australia
Name: Kim Betts
Now: Kim, who is a gymnast, bodybuilder and TV presenter, is most recently a Equestrian Yard & Fishery Owner.
The TV star is an Instagram regular and often shares images of her gruelling work outs in the gym. Last year Kim was crowned winner of 2020 IBFA Miss Universe.
Gladiators history: She had starred on Gladiators from its launch in 1992 until its end in 2000, before returning for its revamp eight years later. She was the longest-serving female star of the show.
Fun facts: Lightning was known as the ‘Queen of Hang Tough’ and had remained undefeated in the UK Arena – asides from being beaten just once in Australia.
Kim had given birth to her son, Lexus, just three weeks before competing in 1999.
Blaze: Eunice Huthart
New career: Eunice is the the stunt choreographer for Justice League and DC’s upcoming Flash film
Name: Eunice Huthart aka Blaze
Now: Eunice is the the stunt choreographer for Justice League and DC’s upcoming Flash film.
After Gladiators, The Liverpudlian star went on to become stunt doubles for A-listers including Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Famke Janssen and Uma Thurman. She has starred in films including Golden Eye, Avengers and Titanic.
Gladiators history: Former McDonald’s manager Eunice made her debut on the show in 1994 where she was originally a contender going against one of the Gladiators but became the first ever UK contestant to come a Gladiator.
Fun fact: Eunice frequently works alongside Angelina Jolie and the pair have become close friends. She is also godmother to Angelina and Brad Pitt’s daughter Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.
Nightshade: Judy Simpson
Happy days: Judy now spends her time working for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and is an Honorary President of the Women’s Sports Federation
Name: Judy Simpson aka Nightshade
Occupation: Judy now spends her time working for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and is an Honorary President of the Women’s Sports Federation. She has been awarded an MBE because of her sporting achievements.
Gladiator history: After retiring from professional sport, she joined Gladiators in 1993, under the alias Nightshade. She became renowned as one of the toughest female Gladiators ever. Her particular strengths were in Duel, Pole-Axe and Suspension Bridge
Fun fact: Jamaican-born Judy Simpson was one of Britain’s greatest all-round female athletes. The three-time Olympian competed in the Commonwealth Games, European Championships and World Championships.
Vulcan: John Seru
Changing ways: John owns a wrestling school, fitness shop and fitness centre that he has been running for 18 years in Sydney with his family
Name: John Seru
Now: John owns a wrestling school, fitness shop and fitness centre that he has been running for 18 years in Sydney with his family having previously enjoyed success as an actor
Gladiator history: In order to give villain Wolf a run for his money, Australian Gladiator Vulcan was drafted in for seasons seven and eight of the British show. The former bodybuilder and wrestler didn’t disappoint, showcasing his skills on the Duel platform and in the Gauntlet.
Fun fact: After he was talent spotted by an acting scout he scooped the role of a James Bond villain. He starred in the 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, playing henchman Gabor.
Rebel: Jennifer Stoute
Career: Jennifer bagged a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1990 and now runs a management agency for athletes, Stellar Athletics
Name: Jennifer Stoute aka Rebel
Now: After the show, Jennifer set up Stellar Athletics Management with ex-partner John Regis and also been involved with founding the Driven Woman network.
Jennifer had been a former sprinter, with a hamstring injury halting her career for two years in 1993. She bagged a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1990.
Gladiators history: She joined the show in 1996 as Rebel, but chose to continue with athletics while she was competing on the series. Jennifer later quit the show in 1999.
Fun facts: Jennifer had appeared alongside Russell Crowe in the blockbuster movie Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott.