Last week, Gladiators made a big return to TV screens – and it's safe to say it lived up to expectations.


An average audience of 6 million viewers tuned in to see the debut episode on Saturday 13th January, comfortably beating the 3.7 million who watched The Masked Singer on ITV1.

Bradley and Barney Walsh were back to host the second episode last night (Saturday 20th January) as the new batch of Gladiators once again took on some brave contenders from all across the UK.

The show first premiered on ITV in October 1992 as an adaptation of the US programme American Gladiators, and lasted for eight seasons, including several specials.

Hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and ex-footballer John Fashanu, the original was a big hit in the '90s and noughties. While viewers tuned in each week to see which contenders would take on the Glads and make it through to the Eliminator, the Gladiators were ultimately the stars of the show, with the likes of Wolf, Rhino and Jet becoming huge household names.

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So, where are the original Gladiators today?

Read on for everything you need to know about the former Gladiators, including what they went on to do after the show.

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Jet – Diane Youdale

Diane Youdale aka Jet
Diane Youdale aka Jet in Gladiators. ICE 36

Diane started out with a career in gymnastics before rising to fame on Gladiators. She eventually moved into presenting after injuring herself during the show's live event held at Wembley Arena in 1996.

Since appearing on the show, Diane has appeared on several TV shows and radio stations, presenting on BBC Tees and featuring on BBC shows like Look North and Inside Out.

She then went on to become a PE teacher before training as a psychotherapist.

In July 2023, Diane married her partner Zoe Gilbert.

In an interview with, Jet revealed that she wanted to be involved with the reboot, saying: "I was contacted to go and sit in the audience and have a few interviews. I would have liked to have done consultancy work behind-the-scenes because I'm a psychotherapist and I also know the arena inside out."

Falcon – Bernadette Hunt

Falcon in Gladiators
Bernadette Hunt aka Falcon in Gladiators. ITV

Falcon, real name Bernadette Hunt, appeared on the show from its second season in 1993 and remained an integral member of the show until it ended.

Sadly, Bernadette passed away at the age of 59 after battling cancer for "a number of years".

The Gladiators Instagram page honoured the star with a sweet tribute, writing: "Many fans will remember Falcon as the most lovely, warm, generous person with a beaming smile! Our Gladiator family is truly heartbroken with our loss of Bernie."

Following her time on the show, Bernadette stayed out of the spotlight and worked as a personal trainer.

Panther – Helen O'Reilly

Panther aka Helen O'Reilly now runs Panthers Gym in Uxbridge.

Speaking in a recent interview with a Gladiators fan site, she said: "I think I've changed quite a lot… most people don't recognise me… age, hair, colour change and of course I don't wear the trademark Panther Lycra anymore!"

Hunter - James Crossley

James Crossley Gladiators
James Crossley aka Hunter from Gladiators. John Phillips/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

Following his time on Gladiators, James dabbled in acting. He also appeared on Channel 4's The Circle, catfishing as the character Gemma.

He's now a strength & conditioning coach and gong practitioner and regularly shares an insight into his healthy lifestyle via social media.

Shadow - Jefferson King

Back in his Gladiators days, Jefferson was one of the best Duel podium contenders, having never been knocked off.

In 2009, he went into rehab and later worked at a clinic to help people suffering from drug problems.

In 2021, he was jailed for six years and three months for his part in a blackmail plot over a drugs debt.

Wolf – Michael Van Wijk

Wolf from Gladiators
Wolf from Gladiators Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Wolf was one of the most popular Gladiators on the show because of his bad boy antics and villain persona.

He was on the show for seven years and returned to the revived Sky series as the "Leader of the Pack".

Following Gladiators, he became a regular on the Kiwi Cage Fighting scene and also used to compete at national level in Jiu Jitsu championships.

He now owns his own gym, 'Wolf's Gym' in Auckland, New Zealand where he lives. He had owned gyms previously before finding fame on Gladiators.

Last year, Wolf appeared on Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge as a contestant.

Cobra - Michael Willson

Michael Willson became a master of the Hang Tough rings and was also the best Duel podium contender, having never been knocked off.

He now lives in the West Midlands and spends his time making watercolour paintings. He also travels to schools and youth clubs up and down the UK, promoting that keeping fit can be fun.

Ace – Warren Furman

Warren Furman, best known for his role as Ace in the sports entertainment game show Gladiators, photographed at home, circa 1997
Warren Furman Getty Images

Warren Furman was well-known on the show for being engaged to Katie Price. The pair were engaged for two years before splitting in 1999.

Furman was on the ITV show from 1996 until 1999, before turning hiss back on showbusiness. He now lives in York with his wife and two children and is set to become a Church of England vicar later this year.

Blaze – Eunice Huthart

Former McDonald's manager Eunice made her debut on Gladiators in 1994. She was originally a contender, but went on to become the first ever UK contestant to become a Gladiator.

Since the show, Eunice has worked as a stunt double for many A-list stars including Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman, Milla Jovovich, and Famke Janssen. She has starred in films including GoldenEye, The Avengers and Titanic.

Amazon – Sharron Davies MBE

Sharron Davies attending the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year at Resorts World on December 18, 2016 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Sharron Davies. Getty Images

Before becoming Amazon on the ITV show, Sharron Davies was a hugely successful swimmer, winning a silver medal at the Olympics in Moscow in 1980 and representing Great Britain at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

She quit the show after one year due to a knee injury and went on to become a TV presenter, hosting The Big Breakfast and going on to become a regular face of the BBC's sports coverage.

Warrior – Mike Ahearne

Mike Ahearne, who played rugby union for England at youth level and represented Great Britain at Mr Universe, was one of the best known faces on Gladiators.

In 1996, he was linked to a plot to foil the prosecution of Philip Glennon Jr, who was accused of firing a handgun at a bouncer and a police officer. Ahearne was convicted of an act with tendency to pervert justice and got 15 months in jail, although he was released after six, and he went on to open a golf bar and a gym.

Rhino – Mark Smith

Mark "Rhino" Smith
Mark "Rhino" Smith. Netflix

Mark Smith was one of the original stars on the American show, before moving over to the UK version. He left the show in 1999 and went on to become an actor.

He had a recurring role as Johnson in EastEnders before heading Stateside, where he's starred in shows such as Agents of SHIELD, and NCIS: Los Angeles. His movie roles include parts in Yardie, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Creed and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Following news that Gladiators was returning, Mark revealed that he wanted to join BBC reboot.

Asked if he'd like to get involved, Mark said: "Yeah, would I like to be? I think so. In what capacity? I have no idea. I'm not bad for being in my 50s, but could I hang with 20-year-olds? I don't think so."

Vogue - Suzanne Cox

Suzanne Cox joined the show in 1995 and stayed on the show until it came to an end after its eighth season in 2000.

She went on to model and present the TV show The Fix and now works as an aerobics instructor.

Suzanne married 1997 Gladiators quarter finalist Mark Roberts and they share two children together.

Lightning - Kim Betts

Original Gladiators star wearing a red nose for Comic Relief in 1997
Kim Betts aka Lighning on Gladiators. Getty Images

Lightning was a gymnast before appearing on the show and went on to become the longest-serving star on the show, reigning supreme as the Queen of Hang Tough.

Since the show, Kim has become a successful businesswoman working in property development, as well as running companies including her own beauty parlour. She was crowned winner of 2020 IBFA Miss Universe.

Nightshade – Judy Simpson MBE

Jamaican-born Judy joined Gladiators in 1993, after retiring from professional sport, having competed in the heptathlon in three Commonwealth Games. She became renowned as one of the toughest female Gladiators ever. Her particular strengths were in Duel, Pole-Axe and Suspension Bridge.

Judy now spends her time working for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and is an Honorary President of the Women's Sports Federation.

Vulcan – John Seru

Former "Gladiator" John Seru (Vulcan) attending the launch of VitaMan Skincare at the Icebergs Restaurant on May 30, 2006 in Sydney, Australia.
John Seru. Getty Images

Australian Gladiator Vulcan, aka John Seru, was brought in for seasons 7 and 8.

He now owns a wrestling school, fitness shop and fitness centre that has been running for 18 years in Sydney with his family, having previously enjoyed success as an actor, including a memorable role as Elektra King's bodyguard in The World Is Not Enough.

Rebel – Jennifer Stoute

Jennifer joined the ITV show in 1996. She chose to continue with athletics while competing on the show.

A former sprinter, her career came to a halt in 1993 due a hamstring injury. She bagged a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1990 and represented Great Britain twice, in 1988 and in 1992 when she won bronze in the 4x400 metre relay.

She quit the show in 1999 and set up Stellar Athletics Management with her ex-partner John Regis. She has also been involved with founding the Driven Woman network.

Saracen - Michael Lewis

In 1992, Michael and his girlfriend Chrissie tried out for Gladiators. Chrissie became a contender on the first season and Saracen joined the team. They're now happily married.

After the show, Michael went on to become a firefighter.

Gladiators starts on BBC One on Saturday 13th January 2024.

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