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Gladiators is Back!

Contenders Reeeeeadddddddyyyy! Gladiators Reeeadddddyyy! Yes, Gladiators is back on the television and I couldn’t be happier! A revival of a show I used to watch as a child – and like every other 90s child - it brought back so much nostalgia and left me wanting more shows to be revived.

The BBC hasn’t done any unnecessary tinkering with the entertainment show, it followed the same format, the same logo and the same theme song. The events were as good as I remember, although I must say I thought the travelator at the end was shorter than the previous series; or perhaps it was always that size and my seven-year-old self’s brain thought it was longer. The events were just like I remembered – Hang Tough and Dual – and new events like the Edge were an interesting inclusion. I do wish they reintroduced some more of the original events. Atlasphere (when contestants are in cages and must roll over pods) or Pendulum (hide-and-seek-and-tag on a swinging pendulum) or Skytrak (where contestants race against Gladiators on a human Scalextric-like track) to name a few. I guess health and safety have dramatically enhanced since then and logistically these events might not be possible to set up for six weeks in Sheffield Arena.

The Gladiators themselves had cheesy names like the original. My personal favourite was ‘Legend’ but that’s probably because I follow his family on YouTube – and yes, he is just as boastful in real life! Viper reminds me of Wolf – the long hair and aggressive nature he portrays! I felt they had more respect for the contenders this time; seemingly giving each other banter in between events. Nitro has some top-notch dance moves which he shows off when “another one bites the dust” music airs out after taking down a contender. And oh my word, Giant really is a giant! Naturally, the show took a 21st-century hit with its inclusivity; having a first-death gladiator; Rugby Seven player Jodie Ounsley AKA ‘Fury.’

Presenting duo Bradley and Barney Walsh did a good job reading innuendos off the autocue. They have a good partnership as seen by their ITV show. There a big shoes to fill from John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson but they did a decent job, and will only improve with the more series they make. Mark Clattenburg did a good job at officiating. He portrayed the same character as John Anderson, with an uncanny approach to his refereeing.

With an average viewing of 8 million per episode over 11 episodes, it has become the most successful entertainment show launch on BBC for over seven years. There’s no denying the reboot has done well.

It’s clear it’s a family show and that’s why it’s been a hit. In a world full of superheroes, Gladiators can be seen as ones themselves with silly names and WWE-style outfits. Adults are reminiscing in front of the TV whilst watching it with their children. I saw on social media, a child no more than four years old mimicking the Gladiators titles. It was a joy to watch!

So, like every child in the 90s, I’m glad the show has come back! Now please bring back more! The Interceptor, It’s a Knockout! – heck bring back Fun House too!



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