Gladiators (2008 UK TV series)

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Gladiators
Created by Dan Carr & John Ferraro
Presented by Ian Wright
Kirsty Gallacher (series 1)
Caroline Flack (series 2)
Starring John Anderson (Referee: Series 1)
John Coyle (Referee: Series 2)
Narrated by Alan Parry
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 27 (inc. 8 specials)
Production
Executive producer(s) Karen Smith
Producer(s) Susy Price
Louise Whalley
Marc Bassett
Running time 60mins (inc. adverts)
Broadcast
Original channel Sky1
Picture format 16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original run 11 May 2008 (2008-05-11) – 25 October 2009 (2009-10-25)
Chronology
Related shows Gladiators (1992-2000)

Gladiators was a British television series which aired on Sky1 from 11 May 2008 to 25 October 2009. It was filmed in Shepperton Studios and was produced by Shine Limited. It was a revival of the earlier series of the same name and based on the American version of the show. The US, UK and Australian versions of the show were all revived in 2008.

The winners of the series each earned £50,000.

For the first series, the show was hosted by Ian Wright and Kirsty Gallacher with original Referee John Anderson returning. For the second series Ian Wright was joined by Caroline Flack due to Kirsty Gallacher not wanting to return. Another change was the removal of John Anderson due to the producers wanting to give the show its own feel and cut ties with the original series. He was replaced by well known boxing referee John Coyle for series two.

The show was cancelled in May 2009.[1]

Format[edit]

Series one featured 32 contenders (16 male, 16 female). Men and women competed in separate tournaments, with two men and two women competing in each episode. Contenders took part in events against the Gladiators, trying to earn as many points as possible before the final event, the Eliminator. In that event, each point separating the contenders translated into a half-second advantage. The four events leading up to the final were selected from a total of eleven events.

The grand prize in Series 1 was £50,000 per winning contender.

Changes from the original series[edit]

The show featured a lineup of new Gladiators, with new costumes. However, Amazon, Panther, Siren and Warrior share names with gladiators from the original UK series and several others share names with those from international series.

Due to Sky1's greater advertising requirements, and contestant interviews prior to each of the events starting, the number of events before the Eliminator was cut from five to four.

The revival also featured new music.

Events[edit]

The new Gladiators studio set meant that there was only room for 11 events, 9 events from the original series: Duel, Gauntlet, Hang Tough, Hit & Run, Powerball, Pursuit, Pyramid, The Wall and Suspension Bridge. The two new events were Earthquake and Rocketball, which originated in the first and second American Gladiators series respectively.

Notable changes from the original series include Duel, Hang Tough, Hit & Run Pursuit and Suspension Bridge now being played over water. The revised Eliminator featured a swimming section, a climb to the top of the Pyramid and two Travelators.

The Gladiators[edit]

Female Gladiators[edit]

Alias Series Name Stats Description
First Last
Amazon
2 2
Zoe Williams
5 ft 10 in, 10 st 6 lb
Regal and Amazonian, nature's powerful force runs through her veins.
Battleaxe
1 2
Shirley Webb
5 ft 9 in, 13 st
A weapon of war; domineering, aggressive and indomitable,
Battleaxe is a warrior Queen.
Cyclone
1 (temp), 2 2
Donna Williams
5 ft 4 in, 9 st 5 lb
Fast and furious, Cyclone leaves destruction all around her.
Enigma
1 2
Jenny Pacey
5 ft 11 in, 10 st 4 lb
Mysterious and beautiful, contradictory and unpredictable,
Enigma is impossible to capture.
Ice
1 1
Caroline Pearce
5 ft 6 in, 9 st 4 lb
Ice is Cold, steely, frosty and beautiful.
Inferno
1 2
Jemma Palmer
5 ft 6 in, 9 st 10 lb
Inferno is hot, fiery, dangerous and destructive.
Panther
1 2
Kara Nwidobie Sharpe
5 ft 10 in, 13 st
Beautiful, sleek and prowling, fierce and aggressive,
Panther is the most powerful of them all.
Siren
2 2
Amy Guy
5 ft 9 in, 9 st
The goddess of perilous seduction, expect no mercy. She will entice any contender into the waters and show how dangerous she can be.
Tempest
1 2
Lucy Boggis
5 ft 9 in, 10 st 7 lb
Naturally beautiful, Tempest is a force of nature bringing furious agitation and commotion.

Male Gladiators[edit]

Alias Series Name Stats Description
First Last
Atlas
1 2
Sam Bond
5 ft 11 in, 16 st 7 lb
As strong as He-man, Atlas fights hard but with dignity.
Destroyer
1 1
Damar Martin
5 ft 11 in, 17 st
Determined and strong, angry and unstoppable – nothing gets in his way.
Doom
2 2
Wayne Gordon
6 ft 3 in, 15 st
Mere mortals beware, there’s a dark cloud that looms, judgment day is afoot and Doom is your worst nightmare.
Goliath
2 2
Barri Griffiths
6 ft 6 in, 20 st
A man-mountain with brute force.
As frightening to look at as he is unstoppable.
Contenders will always be in his shadow – because his shadow’s so big!
Oblivion
1 2
Nick Aldis
6 ft 3 in, 16 st 7 lb
Oblivion leaves nothing in his path as he extinguishes the opposition.
Predator
1 2
Du'aine Ladejo
6 ft 2 in, 13 st 5 lb
Volatile, quick and poisonous,
Predator hunts down prey and takes no prisoners.
Spartan
1 2
Roderick Bradley
6 ft 3 in, 15 st
Handsome, disciplined and brave, Spartan is the perfect warrior.
Tornado
1 2
David McIntosh
6 ft 0 in, 15 st 4 lb
Violently destructive and full of unstoppable energy,
Tornado will leave you in a spin.
Warrior
2 2
Daniel Singh
6 ft 3 in, 17 st 8 lb
A savage beast who takes no prisoner.
A Warrior in name and nature with a fearful battle cry.

Leader of the pack[edit]

Wolf (who featured in all eight series of the original Gladiators) returned to be the – 'The Leader of the Pack' – of the Gladiators. He featured in all episodes of series 2. His real name is Michael Van Wijk.

Series[edit]

Series One[edit]

  • Male winner: Simon Wray
  • Female winner: Anna Miller

Series Two[edit]

  • Male winner: David Staff
  • Female winner: Kathryn Evans

Champion of Champions[edit]

Music[edit]

All the music to the new series was specially composed by British composer Paul Farrer also known for his music for The Weakest Link and Dancing on Ice. Other artists' music has been used in certain events.

Injuries[edit]

Series One[edit]

According to reports, at least one contestant has had to withdraw from the opening episode, while one of the Gladiators slipped on a bridge and had to leave the set. Another Gladiator had a stomach bug and Enigma suffered from an injured ankle. In addition, Enigma was involved in an incident on Gauntlet where a contender kicked a ram rod into her face, resulting in a confrontation and the contender being disqualified. Contestants also suffered injuries including a broken toe, a damaged knee, a neck injury, as well as one contestant suffering a broken arm in the quarter finals. One finalist was so badly injured that he refused to start after his whistle and the other contender won the show by default. In the second episode of "Gladiators: The Legends Strike Back" female legend Scorpio suffered an ankle fracture while participating in The Wall.[2]

Sky1 responded to say that health and safety is their number one issue, and they want to minimise the injuries, but pointed out that; "This is Gladiators - a tough physical show for athletes. It's not Family Fortunes!" [3]

Series Two[edit]

In the fourth episode a female contestant had to pull out due to sustaining a knee injury just before the Eliminator. David Staff broke his nose during the semi-finals while on Earthquake with Doom. However he went on to score points. He later went onto win the eliminator and eventually went on to win the series as Male champion. He also competed on the champion of champions special, aired on 5 April 2009, and won.

Gladiators G-Zone[edit]

Originally advertised as Gladiators: G-Force, this short ten-minute program profiled a selection of the gladiators, including Spartan, Panther and Atlas. With a 2min profile of Oblivion, not previously shown, appearing as part of a repeat run.

Cancellation[edit]

In May 2009, Sky1's director of programmes Stuart Murphy announced that Gladiators was to be axed. Speaking to Broadcastnow, Murphy said, "Gladiators has done a great job for Sky 1 over two seasons, resonating with our young audience and showcasing our entertainment credentials. But now we need to prioritise and allow for both new entertainment formats and genres not recently seen on Sky 1 such as comedy."[1]

Transmissions[edit]

Original series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1
11 May 2008
24 August 2008
15
2
4 January 2009
29 March 2009
12

Specials[edit]

Date Entitle
6 July 2008
Celebrity Special
31 August 2008
The Legends Return
16 November 2008
Battle of the Forces
21 December 2008
The Legends Strike Back
15 February 2009
Battle of the Forces
5 April 2009
Champion of Champions
12 April 2009
Battle of the Athletes
25 October 2009
The Legends Last Stand

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]