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Gladiators

For many kids growing up in the '90s, Gladiators was compulsive TV viewing. Athletic contestants chosen from members of the public battled the show's team of superhuman Gladiators in events that tested their physical strength, speed, stamina and agility. As the title suggests, the idea of the show was based on the Roman gladiators’ theme, when the super-strong and athletic gladiators battled in a public arena in front of a roaring crowd.

The program saw two male and two female contenders facing a series of gruelling challenges, with the final event being the dreaded Eliminator course, which was notoriously difficult. The winner of the episode who scored the most points would move on to the next round, with the aim of winning the grand final and becoming series champion.

Produced by London Weekend Television for ITV, the long-running UK show rumbled on from 1992 until 1999 - Sky TV later revived the series in 2008. The presenters of the original LWT show were Swedish television presenter Ulrika Jonsson and former footballer John Fashanu - TV-am weather presenter Jonsson was anchor-woman for the show due to her previous TV experience.

Gladiators

Jeremy Giscott presented Gladiators briefly from 1997 to '98 and former Capital FM radio DJ John Sachs provided a live commentary on each event throughout the long running series.

The male and female Gladiators became television personalities in their own right, with some being much-loved by the viewers – while others were not so popular!

Among the well-loved Gladiators were former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies as Amazon and fitness fanatic Helen O'Reilly as Panther - a bodybuilder and former Miss Universe, O'Reilly now runs her own gym. Another fans' favourite, Jet was played by Diane Youdale, a former competitive youth gymnast and trained dancer.

The most well-known of the male Gladiators, Wolf was known as the bad guy. Played by Michael Van Wijk, he was notorious for his bad attitude and poor sportsmanship, winding up the audience and receiving a sea of booing from the crowd. It was all part of the show - in real life Van Wijk, now 64, keeps himself fit and runs his own gym in Auckland, New Zealand.

As well as the weekly televised shows filmed in Birmingham, Gladiators also staged many a live show at venues such as Wembley Stadium, with international contests taking place as far afield as Australia and South Africa. Such was its popularity that a short sequence of Gladiators was introduced in 1997 and 1998 at the Royal Tournament at Earls Court.

Gladiators was nominated for two BAFTA awards in 1993 and 1994. The Gladiators format has been taken up by Finnish TV, who have their own show, Gladiaattorit. Filming was completed in June and the show is currently being broadcast on Finnish television channel Nelonen.

The health and safety of the Gladiators and contestants was always paramount in the filming of the show. As there were so many tough physical challenges, injuries could have been a serious issue. The correct safety equipment is vital, whether you're a budding Gladiator, working out at a gym or exercising at home.

Coruba's range of rubber gym matting products, including our rubber gym and studio matting and exercise mats, can be used to enhance safety for all kinds of activities such as yoga, cross fit sessions, Pilates, knee and back workouts, high intensity interval training and more. Please contact us for further information on our wide range of rubber gym matting products.



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