Gladiators (Australian TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Gladiators

caption = 1995 "Gladiators" Logo
show_name_2 =
genre = Sports entertainment
creator = Dan Carr
John Ferraro
director = Timothy Kupsch
creative_director =
developer = MGM Television
presenter = Kimberley Joseph
(1995 - 1997)
Aaron Pedersen
Mike Hammond
(1996 - 1997)
starring =
voices =
narrated = Tony Schibeci
theme_music_composer = Cameron Tait
Marty Irwin
Noel MacDonald
opentheme =
endtheme =
composer =
country = AUS
language = English
num_seasons = 3
num_episodes = 70
list_episodes =
executive_producer = Patrick Condon
Des Monaghan
producer = Bill Edmonds
Roger Kirk
supervising_producer =
asst_producer = Eric Robinson<
co-producer =
editor =
story_editor =
location = Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Queensland
cinematography =
camera = Multiple-camera setup
runtime = 60 minutes
(including commercials)
network = Seven Network
picture_format = 576i (PAL)
audio_format = Stereo
first_run = AUS
first_aired = 1995
last_aired = 1997
preceded_by =
followed_by = "Gladiators" (2008-present)
related =
website =
imdb_id = 0229131
tv_com_id = 75464

"Gladiators" was an Australian television series which aired on the Seven Network from 1995 until 1997. It was based on the American and British versions of the same name. It was revived in 2008. [ [] Seven Network press release Retrieved on October 11, 2007]

The premise of the show involves permanent competitors called "Gladiators" being put up against one-time-only "Challengers" in several different events which tests both physical and mental capabilities. In a typical episode, two men and two women compete for points against the Gladiators across four different events, with separate events for males and females. After this, each pair then competes against each other in The Eliminator, an obstacle course, of which any points they have won previously go towards time for a head start on their opponent. The winner of this is dubbed the champion of the episode. The episode champions then compete in the finals series.

The show was filmed at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre between 1995 and 1997, and was hosted by Kimberley Joseph and Aaron Pedersen, with Mike Hammond replacing Pedersen after the first series. The show was refereed by John Alexander in the first series, and Mike Whitney thereafter. John Forsythe served as assistant referee.


Each episode features four events chosen at random, followed by the final round, the Eliminator.

The first series of "Gladiators" featured many events that continued to run for the following series. The events featured in the first series were Atlaspheres, Duel, Gauntlet, Hang Tough, Hit and Run, Powerball, Pyramid, Suspension Bridge, Tilt, and the Wall. The second series introduced a few new events; Pursuit, Swingshot and Whiplash. The third series introduced further events; Joust and Skytrak. In all series, The Eliminator is played at the end of every episode.

Contested events


The two challengers and the two gladiators are caged in large Atlaspheres (spherical metal cages) that they have to propel themselves from within. The challengers' task is to roll the spheres onto any of four scoring pods, each pod scoring two points. They are given 60 seconds to score as many points as they can in this fashion, whilst the gladiators must block the challengers from scoring.


The challenger and a gladiator are each placed atop of an elevated platform with a short distance apart. Armed with a pugil stick, they would attempt to cause the other to fall from their platform within 30 seconds. This could be achieved with either an offensive or a defensive strategy, although some challengers were disqualified if they made no attacking move towards the gladiator. A score of 10 points is awarded if the challenger knocks the gladiator off the platform. If the challenger manages to stay on the platform for the entire 30 seconds but doesn't knock the gladiator off the platform, they score 5 points.


The challenger has to run through a gauntlet while passing five gladiators armed with ramrods. The second and fourth having power pads to slow the challenger down. The challenger must run through the course within 30 seconds to earn 5 points but if the run through the course within 20 seconds, they earn 10 points.

Hang Tough

The challenger and gladiator begin on opposite sides of the arena, on raised platforms. Between them hangs a grid of suspended rings, similar to gymnastic rings. The challenger's task is to reach the gladiator's platform by swinging between the rings, scoring ten points if successful. The gladiator meanwhile, swinging in the opposite direction, would attempt to intercept the challenger and pull them down. If the challenger manages to hang on for the entire 60 seconds regardless if he/she knocks the gladiator, and reaches the fourth row of rings (painted red) but not the opposite platform, they score 5 points.

Hit and Run

The challenger has 30 seconds to run back and forth across a suspension bridge, scoring two points for each crossing. Four gladiators (two on each side of the bridge) attempt to knock the challenger off using four large demolition balls.


The challenger and the gladiator sit on skybikes that twist, buck and spin like a rocking rodeo. Both players have combat clubs with which they attempt to knock each other off. The challenger would score 10 points for knocking the gladiator off, 5 for staying on for the 30 seconds.


Two challengers face three gladiators on the Powerball pitch. Challengers had 60 seconds to place balls in the five scoring baskets on the pitch (2 points for a score in one of the four outer baskets and 3 points for the middle) whilst the gladiators had to tackle the challengers, preventing them from scoring..


Two challengers race against each other over an obstacle course, chased by two gladiators. The challengers run first then the gladiators run three seconds later. The course comprised a snake beam, hand ladder, wire bridge, two web traps, a high and low wall and a sprint finish. First challenger to finish the course scores 10 points, second five. If at any point the challenger gets tagged by the chasing gladiator, they score no points.


Two challengers and two gladiators face each other on a giant pyramid. The challengers aim to reach the summit, whilst the gladiators aim to stop them by throwing the challengers down to the bottom. The first challenger to reach the top of the pyramid and push the button within 60 seconds would score 10 points. If the other challenger could make it in the remaining time, they would score 5. If a Gladiator attacks a challenger while they are on the bottom step or makes a tackle below the waist however, the challenger is awarded ten points even if they did not make it to the top.


Two challengers and two gladiators compete in this event, which was a race around an eight-figured track suspended from the ceiling. Both competitors and gladiators competed upside down. The contestants got a small head start and the Gladiators would have to hit a buzzer trailing behind the contestant in order to eliminate them.

uspension Bridge

The challenger and gladiator, armed with hammerheads, face each other on a suspension bridge. The challenger has 60 seconds to cross the bridge for 10 points. If they can survive for the full time, they score 5.


The challengers and gladiators are suspended and attached to bungie cords facing towards the centre of the arena where a basket of coloured balls sit atop a high column. The challengers are to drop towards the ground, bounce up to grab a coloured ball, then bounce back to their stations where a scoring basket sits. Gladiators have to time their jumps to block the challengers' movements. The red balls are worth three points, the blue balls are worth two and the white balls are worth one.


An aerial tug of war in which both the challenger and the gladiator are on tilting platforms. The challenger is placed on the lower platform, which is tilted back, and the gladiator is placed on the higher platform tilted forwards. Because of their weight advantage, the gladiators had the harder job of having to tilt their table back in order to get any leverage on the rope. Two 30-second bouts are played. The challengers earn five points each time they pull the gladiator out of their platform, two for staying on for the 30 seconds.


The challengers climb up a wall with hand and foot holds while the gladiators are set off seven seconds behind. First to the top of the wall scores 10 points, second five. A challenger can still score 5 points if they manage to hang on to the wall for the full minute. Male and Female challengers had different walls to climb.


The challenger and gladiator grip a "dog bone" and the challenger must use this to pull the gladiator out of the ring, earning 10 points if successful. Both players must grab and hold on to the dog bone and they may use tactics to force the other player to let go of the bone, and win the game.

The Eliminator

This event is played at the end of every episode. It involves a head-to-head contest between the two female challengers, and between the two male challengers. They both have to complete an obstacle course in the quickest time possible. The challenger who has earned the most points throughout the episode starts the course earlier than the other, based on how many points they were leading by. For every point they lead by, they start half a second earlier.

In the original series the course consisted of padded hurdles of varying heights, a rope climb, monkey bars, running across spinning logs, climbing up a cargo net, going down a flying fox, walking across a balancing beam, running up a travelator which is going in the opposite direction, then after that, the first challenger to swing on a tarzan rope through the crate paper banner at the finish line is the winner of the episode.


1995 (series one)

Male winner: Andrew Halliday
Male runner-up: David Wallis

Female winner: Bernadette Withers
Female runner-up: Theresa Brett

1996 (series two)

Male winner: Shane Saltmarsh
Male runner-up: Joe Lukowski

Female winner: Lourene Bevaart
Female runner-up: Kathy McMorrow

1997 (series three)

Male winner: Paul Reynolds
Male runner-up: Paul Stubbs

Female winner: Marissa Heuttner
Female runner-up: Catherine Arlove

Episode events

eries One

Heat 1: Gauntlet, Powerball. Pyramid, Hit & RunHeat 2: Hit & Run, Wall, Duel, PowerballHeat 3: Suspension Bridge, Hang Tough, Atlaspheres, TiltHeat 4: Pyramid, Tilt, Gauntlet, Suspension BridgeHeat 5: Wall, Duel, Powerball, Hit & RunHeat 6: Gauntlet, Atlaspheres, Pyramid, Hang ToughHeat 7: Hang Tough, Wall, Suspension Bridge, TiltHeat 8: Pyramid, Gauntlet, Duel, PowerballQuarter Final 1:Pyramid, Tilt, Wall, Suspension BridgeQuarter Final 2: Powerball, Duel, Hit & Run, PyramidQuarter Final 3: Wall, Atlaspheres, Hang Tough, GauntletQuarter Final 4:Duel, Pyramid, Hit & Run, PowerballSemi Final 1: Suspension Bridge, Pyramid, Powerball, Hang ToughSemi Final 2: Duel, Wall, Tilt, GauntletFinal: Gauntlet, Duel, Pyramid, Hang Tough

eries Two

Heat 1: Powerball, Swingshot, Whiplash, PyramidHeat 2: Hang Tough, Powerball, Pursuit, WallHeat 3: Powerball, Duel, Pyramid, TiltHeat 4: Hang Tough, Gauntlet, Atlaspheres, Suspension BridgeHeat 5: Pyramid, Hit & Run, Duel, SwingshotHeat 6: Gauntlet, Duel, Pursuit, Hang ToughHeat 7: Suspension Bridge, Pyramid, Atlaspheres, WhiplashHeat 8: Gauntlet, Swingshot, Pursuit, Hang ToughQuarter Final 1: Suspension Bridge, Powerball, Wall, SwingshotQuarter Final 2: Hang Tough, Pyramid, Pursuit, DuelQuarter Final 3: Gauntlet, Pursuit, Pyramid, Hit & RunQuarter Final 4: Duel, Hang Tough, Atlaspheres, WallSemi Final 1: Wall, Gauntlet, Swingshot, Hit & RunSemi Final 2: Powerball, Hang Tough, Suspension Bridge, WallFinal: Gauntlet, Swingshot, Duel, PyramidSports Athletes Special Heat 1: Wall, Whiplash, Swingshot, DuelSports Athletes Special Heat 2: Pyramid, Atlaspheres, Hang Tough, Suspension BridgeSports Athletes Special Final: Hang Tough, Suspension Bridge, Wall, Swingshot

eries Three

Heat 1: Hang Tough, Duel, Powerball, AtlaspheresHeat 2: Skytrak, Pyramid, Hang Tough, Suspension BridgeHeat 3: Wall, Gauntlet, Whiplash, SwingshotHeat 4: Powerball, Duel, Skytrak, Hang ToughHeat 5: Joust, Powerball, Hit & Run, PursuitHeat 6: Gauntlet, Swingshot, Suspension Bridge, WallHeat 7: Pyramid, Pursuit, Gauntlet, Hang ToughHeat 8: Duel, Atlaspheres, Pyramid, WhiplashQuarter Final 1: Powerball, Duel, Skytrak, GauntletQuarter Final 2: Pyramid, Hang Tough, Suspension Bridge, AtlaspheresQuarter Final 3: Duel, Skytrak, Hit & Run, WallQuarter Final 4: Pyramid, Swingshot, Joust, Hang ToughSemi Final 1: Wall, Gauntlt, Skytrak, Suspension BridgeSemi Final 2: Swingshot, Duel, Pyramid, GauntletFinal: Gauntlet, Pursuit, Pyramid, Hang ToughTeam Sports Challenge Heat 1: Pyramid, Skytrak, Hit & Run, DuelTeam Sports Challenge Heat 2: Gauntlet, Swingshot, Atlaspheres, Hang ToughTeam Sports Challenge Final: Wall, Pyramid, Hang Tough, Suspension BridgeAustralia Vs Russia Heat 1: Gauntlet, Hit & Run, Atlaspheres, WallAustralia Vs Russia Heat 2: Whiplash, Duel, Pursuit, SwingshotAustralia Vs Russia Final:Pyramid, Hang Tough, Suspension Bridge, PowerballArmy Vs Navy Heat 1: Duel, Skytrak, Gauntlet, WallArmy Vs Navy Heat 2: Pyramid, Whiplash, Swingshot, Suspension BridgeArmy Vs Navy Final: Joust, Skytrack, Pyramid, Hang Tough

International competitions

Australian Gladiators and challengers competed in two international competitions; The Ashes and International Gladiators

The Ashes

Two special competitions against the British challengers and Gladiators titled "The Ashes" were held in 1996 and 1997.

The first Ashes series was held in at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, in 1996. The Australian Challengers were Kerry Warman, Nellie Baker, David Wallis and Andrew Halliday. The female challengers lost in the heats to the British challengers; Kerryn Sampey and Eunice Huthart, while both male challengers won in the heats to the British challengers; Phil Campbell and Matt Beeke. Thus, the Ashes competition ended in a tie, since two British female challengers and two Australian male challengers were in the final. The final was won by Kerryn from the UK and Andrew from Australia.

The second Ashes series was held at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, in 1997. The Australian challengers were Marissa Heutter, Catherine Arlove, Paul Reynolds and Paul Stubbs. The Australians managed to win the Ashes, with two Australians in the Female final, won by Marissa, and a win in the male final from Paul Reynolds.

International Gladiators

Australian Gladiators and challengers competed in one International Gladiators in 1995. This was the second of the International Gladiators.

Female challenger Lourene Bevaart finished in second place, losing to American Peggy Odita in the grand final (Lourene became Australian Gladiator 'Glacier' for the third domestic series). Male challenger Andrew Halliday also reached the grand final, but quit due to injury in the show. He was replaced by Shane Saltmarsh. Shane went on to finish in second place, losing to American Pat Czismazia.



* Commando - Geoff Barker (1996-97)
* Condor - Alistair Gibb (1995-97)
* Cougar - Ashley Buck (1995-96)
* Force - John Gergelifi (1995)
* Hammer - Mark McGaw (1995-97)
* Predator - Tony Forrow (1996-97)
* Taipan - Michael Melksham (1995-97)
* Tornado - Tony Latina (1997)
* Tower - Ron Reeve (1995-97)
* Vulcan - John Seru (1995-97)


* Blade - Bev Carter (1995-97)
* Cheeta - Nicky Davico (1995-97)
* Delta - Karen Alley (1995-97)
* Electra - Roz Forsyth (1997)
* Flame - Lynda Byrnes (1995-97)
* Fury - Julie Saunders (1995-97)
* Glacier - Lourene Bevaart (1997)
* Rebel - Barbara Kendell (1995)
* Storm - Charlene Machin (1995-97)

After the show

In early 2007, an episode of the television series "Where Are They Now" featured some of the Gladiators as special guests. During their presentation, David Koch challenged Lynda Byrnes (Flame) in an arm wrestle, but lost. Special guests included Flame, Storm, Commando, Predator, Glacier, Vulcan as well as Mike Whitney, the referee during 1996 and 1997. The Seven Network used this segment as research towards reviving the show depending on viewer numbers for the episode as well as if the ratings fell after the end of the segment.


On September 9, 2007, it was officially announced by the Seven Network that the show was being revived and will return in early 2008. Auditions for new gladiators took place via e-mail and closed on October 16, 2007 while auditions for challengers took place in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth from October 20 to November 4, 2007. Once the gladiators and challengers had been chosen, filming of all the episodes for season four took place from January 6 2008 to February 10 2008 at The Dome, Sydney Showground, New South Wales.

The revived series of "Gladiators" premiered on March 30, 2008.


External links

* [ Australian Gladiators Zone]
* [;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A682280%20|%20Number%3A684086%20|%20Number%3A684061;querytype=;resCount=10 Australian Gladiators at the National Film and Sound Archive]

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