Gladiators (UK TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Gladiators


caption = Original "Gladiators (UK)" Logo
format = Sport
picture_format = 4:3
runtime = 60mins (inc. adverts)
creator = Dan Carr & John Ferraro
starring = Ulrika Jonsson (Presenter: 1992 - 2000) John Fashanu (Presenter: 1992 - 1996,
1999 - 2000)
Jeremy Guscott (Presenter: 1997 - 1998) John Sachs (Commentator) John Anderson (Referee)
channel = ITV
first_aired = 10 October, 1992
last_aired = 1 January 2000
num_series = 8
num_episodes = 132
country = UK
producer = LWT
related = "Gladiators" (2008-present)
imdb_id =

"Gladiators" was a British television series produced by LWT for ITV from 10 October 1992 to 1 January 2000. It is an adaptation of the United States game show "American Gladiators". An Australian spin-off and a Swedish one followed. A revival of the show is currently being broadcast on Sky1.

The show was originally presented by John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson. John Fashanu was replaced by Jeremy Guscott in 1997, before returning for the final mini series in 1999.

The referee was John Anderson and the timekeepers over the show's run were Andrew Norgate, Derek Redmond and Eugene Gilkes. John Sachs commentated for the show from the beginning to the end and the gladiators were cheered on by a group of cheerleaders, known as G-Force.

Despite being made by London Weekend Television, all episodes of "Gladiators" and "International Gladiators" were recorded at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. "Gladiators: The Ashes 1" and "Gladiators: Springbok Challenge 2", however, was filmed on the sets of the Australian and South African versions of the shows respectively.

The Gladiators

Female

Male

The events

The contenders

Applicants who wanted to take part in the show had to go through fitness tests to before they were selected to take part in the show. Future British 400 metre hurdler Chris Rawlinson and Wales International Rugby Union winger Glen Webbe were the most famous of these to compete. Most competitors achieved brief local fame, but series three women's champion Eunice Huthart earned great recognition, and briefly presented late night television before becoming a stunt double.

Controversies

The relationship between "Hunter" (James Crossley) and presenter Ulrika Jonsson was a tabloid focus during 1996 and 1997. The pair initially denied the affair, but later Jonsson admitted it in her 2003 biography. [ [http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=601&id=434312002 "Hurt girls looking for a father figure"] http://news.scotsman.com, 23 April 2002. Retrieved: 30 June 2007]

After the Wembley live shows in 1993 Phoenix, Flame & Hawk were sensationally sacked from the show having polled the lowest amount of votes in a magazine.

"Shadow" was sacked from the show in 1994, after a newspaper uncovered evidence that he had taken steroids.

"Warrior" after being arrested for a fire arms offence found himself also cut from the show in 1998.

"Raider" remains the only Gladiator on the show to receive a straight Red Card and face an exclusion from the show for having pushed a contender who beat him in the Gauntlet. Curiously enough, the contender, while on the floor, had kicked Raider out of the Gauntlet so as to win, and was not disqualified in any way.

Contender Nicola Bawden caused controversy following the very first game of The Wall after she literally gave Scorpio the slip. Scorpio had managed to get hold of her, but she slipped off moments later and dropped to the floor. It turned out that Bawden had greased her legs so Scorpio could not get a firm grip of her. It also turned out that Bawden had undone her laces so that Scorpio could not hold onto her trainers. Strangely, Bawden was not disqualified for this, but when she advanced to the semi-finals, Scorpio was given a second chance to chase her up The Wall. This time, she was successful in wrenching Bawden off The Wall.

John Anderson

John Anderson has been the head official for all nine series (including the revival). Before every event he called: "Contender ready! Gladiator ready!," similar to his American counterpart, Larry Thompson, but also he added a countdown, "Three! Two! One!" before starting the match. During celebrity specials Anderson took a more light-hearted attitude to the show such as adapting his call to "Little contender ready!" when Willie Carson took part.

Former American League (Major League Baseball) umpire Al Kaplon adopted Anderson's countdown before the whistle in the 2008 US revival.

Anderson is also known as John 'Kipper' Anderson, due to his renowned love for kippers with his Scottish breakfast in the mornings.

"Train 2 Win"

In the late 1990s, when the popularity of the programme began to wane, a spin-off entitled "Gladiators: Train To Win" was produced and was broadcast on CITV in 1996, based on "Gladiators 2000", the kids' version of "American Gladiators". The show featured two teams of children, each captained by a gladiator (varying each week) which sought to gain the most points. Some of the games differed from those on the parent show; for example, the "Eliminator" round was more similar to the "Pursuit" round (though it still featured the famous "Travelator").

Celebrity specials

Four celebrity specials were produced during the shows history. The first one, in 1993 was broadcast in the week between semi-final 2 and the final and the other three in 1994, 1996 and 1997 were broadcast over the Christmas period.

Celebrity special winners

1993: John Fashanu
1994: Derek Redmond
1996: Steve Redgrave
1997: Celebrities v Jockeys - Jockeys team (Bob Champion, Willie Carson, Tony Dobbin, Carl Llewelyn & Peter Scudamore) Celebrities Team (Bradley Walsh, Mark Speight, Paul Ross, Mr. Motivator, Sam Kane)

International shows

While the show itself was inspired by the USA's "American Gladiators", the UK show inspired many other countries to start their own series. The first two countries to get in on the act after the US and UK were Russia and Finland. All four appeared on the first "International Gladiators" series. Shortly after this series other countries such as Nigeria, Australia, South Africa and Germany followed the trend. The last two nations to broadcast the show were Denmark and Sweden, Denmark beginning in 2002 and ending quickly afterwards. Sweden started in 2001 and ended in 2004, after much success including the only ever Gladiators PC game, 'Gladiatorerna'. With Sweden gone in 2004, no other nations remained, and therefore the Gladiators craze was over for the time being until discussions erupted in the United States in 2007 about a revival.

Legends 2008

Gladiators Wolf, Lightning, Flame, Hunter, Trojan, Ace, Rebel & Rocket made a welcome return to Gladiators in the new revamped 2008 series competing as special contenders against the might of the new Gladiators. The event was broadcast on August 31st 2008 on Sky1 and resulted in the women "legends" defeating the current Gladiators and the male "legends" beaten by the current group of Gladiators. Former Gladiator Hunter proved he still has what it takes in the arena by instantly defeating Spartan on Duel. Hunter lived up to his crown of being the "Ultimate Gladiator" a status he achieved in "Battle of the Giants" in 1999.

Because of copyright issues with ITV the Legends were not allowed to wear their trademark Gladiator costumes for the Charity special and instead had brand new costumes made especially for the show.

References

External links

* [http://www.gladiatorszone.com "Gladiators"] at Gladiators Zone
* [http://www.ukgameshows.com/index.php/Gladiators "Gladiators"] at UKGameshows.com
* [http://www.challenge.co.uk/gladiators/ "Gladiators"] at Challenge.co.uk
* [http://www.youtube.com/user/GladiatorsBoy "Gladiators"] Gladiators On Youtube.com


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