Gladiators BBC: Release date speculation, cast and host for reboot
The Saturday evening classic is returning to TV to pit more members of the public against the gladiators and their gruelling challenges.
It was a staple of the Saturday night TV schedules back in the '90s, and now a new generation of fans will be able to enjoy the spectacle of Gladiators.
The BBC has announced a reboot of the classic game show, which is set to be hosted by father and son presenting team Bradley and Barney Walsh.
Gladiators made its debut on ITV back in 1992 and ran for eight seasons, with Ulrika Jonsson serving as host, joined by John Fashanu and later by Jeremy Guscott.
After it was taken off screens in 2000, it was later revived by Sky in 2008, with Ian Wright and Kirsty Gallacher on hosting duties. The latter was replaced by Caroline Flack for the second season the following year, but the series was then cancelled by the broadcaster.
Almost 15 years on, it’s time to meet a fresh line-up of Gladiators ready to go up against brave members of the public. Here’s what we know so far about the rebooted classic.
New Gladiators TV show: when is it coming to BBC?
Gladiators will return with an 11-episode season on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later in 2023.
While an official release date is yet to be confirmed, we do know that filming will take place in and around the spring school holidays at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, meaning the reboot is likely to hit screens in mid-to-late-2023.
The series is coming to our screens courtesy of Hungry Bear Media and MGM Television UK.
Gladiators cast: Who are the new stars?
A total of 13 Gladiators have now been announced for the upcoming series.
Jamie Christian Johal - who will go by the moniker Giant - stands at a whopping 6ft 5in and made history by becoming one of the all-time tallest bodybuilders; while former Team GB sprinter and Olympic bobsledder Montell ‘Fire’ Douglas held the British woman's record for fastest 100m sprint at 11.05 seconds.
Legend - aka Matt Morsia - is a former Championship bronze medal-winning long and triple jumper and silver medal-winning powerlifter, and Team GB sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey - who will go by the name Nitro - won BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2005, at the age of 17.
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Also joining the line-up is Diamond, or Livi Sheldon - a bodybuilder who stands at 6ft tall, and who previously played football for Worcester City Women.
Jodie 'Fury' Ounsley will become the show's first deaf Gladiator, and CrossFit champion Zack 'Steel' George, who won the title of the UK’s Fittest Man in 2020, will also be taking part.
Other contestants include bodybuilder Matty Campbell, who stands at 6ft 6in and will go by the name Bionic, former sprinter Jade Packer aka Electro, Olympic bobsledder Toby 'Phantom' Olubi and fitness model Quang Luong, who will go by the alter ego Viper and has previously appeared in a James Bond film.
Rounding out the cast will be powerlifter Karenjeet Kaur Bains, who will go by the name Athena and will be the first Sikh Gladiator, and former elite gymnast Ella-Mae 'Comet' Rayner, who is a fitness model and coach.
Who will host the new series of Gladiators?
Meanwhile, Bradley and Barney Walsh have been announced as the hosts of the BBC reboot of Gladiators.
The father-son duo have previously hosted ITV's Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad, as well as being famous faces on TV separately.
Speaking about their new presenting roles for the 2023 reboot, Bradley Walsh said: “Wow! I can’t believe that I’ve been asked to be part of this iconic show. I used to sit backstage, or in the audience, every week watching my wife be part of this juggernaut and now I get to co-host a new version of GLADIATORS!!!
"Saturday night family entertainment at its best... ARE YOU READY?!"
Barney added: “Gladiators has been a massive part of our family and it’s an honour to be asked to co-host this iconic show. I’m so excited for everyone to see the spectacle, elite athletes and fantastic family entertainment that is GLADIATORS.”
The original ITV series featured Gladiators such as Sharron Davies as Amazon, Diane Youdale as Jet, Kim Betts as Lightning, James Crossley as Hunter, Jefferson King as Shadow and Michael Van Wijk as Wolf.
What is the new Gladiators format?
The new series will feature brand new games alongside classic challenges, as well as fan-favourite obstacle course The Eliminator.
"Gladiators is back and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to watching a Saturday night spectacle like no other.
"Will the contenders have the will and the skill to succeed against our mighty new Gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out!" said BBC director Kate Phillips.
Dan Baldwin, managing director of producers Hungry Bear, added: "It’s the perfect time for Gladiators to return. What other show combines electric excitement, superheroes, giant sponge fingers, elite athletes, and a pinch of pantomime? Watch out for the new breed of superhuman, supersized, superstars bursting on to your screens."
How to get tickets for the new Gladiators TV show
If you're hoping to watch the new generation of Gladiators live in the area, you can purchase free tickets on Applause Store - although they have proved seriously popular and many dates are now fully booked.
Filming will take place in June at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, the BBC has confirmed.
Baldwin said: “Watching Gladiators live in the arena is the perfect day out for all the family. Being close-up to the action is going to be an incredible experience like no other. Plus, we're making the tickets free, so it won't cost you a penny to get in!”
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