Viewers ready? Hit 90s challenge show Gladiators to make TV return

The game show will make its return to the BBC next year, featuring a new cast of 'superhumans'.

BBC announce hit 90s challenge show Gladiators to return to screens next year Getty Images

Hit television game show Gladiators is set to make its return to screens 30 years after it was first broadcast next year.

On Thursday, the BBC announced it had commissioned a new 11-episode series which is set to air on the channel in 2023. 

Gladiators will welcome a new generation of “superhumans” who will compete against contestants in the “ultimate test of speed and strength”, the BBC said.

Originally broadcast from 1992 to 2000 on ITV, the game show saw contestants battle against gladiators in a range of games and challenges, with each episode culminating in gruelling assault course The Eliminator.


Originally hosted by John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson, the show made household names of gladiators such as Trojan, Jet, Nightshade and Hunter.

It was also known for its catchphrases, with Scottish referee John Anderson calling “Contenders ready? Gladiators, ready?” prior to each challenge.

The format, which originated in the US, travelled to Australia, South Africa, Russia, Finland, Germany, Nigeria, Denmark and Sweden.

Following a reboot on Sky between 2008 and 2009, Kirsty Gallacher and Ian Wright took up the baton of hosting duties and Anderson returned as referee. 

It is unknown who will host the new show, however the BBC said filming will begin at the Utilita Arena Sheffield next year.

Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted, said: “Gladiators is back and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to watching a Saturday night spectacle like no other.

“Will the contenders have the will and the skill to succeed against our mighty new Gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out.”

The series is to be made by Hungry Bear Media and MGM Television UK, with Scot Cru, executive vice president of global formats and Unscripted Content for MGM Television, saying: “Gladiators is a format that resonates with viewers worldwide.

“We are thrilled to bring this revered series to the BBC and can’t wait to introduce our UK Gladiators.”

Dan Baldwin, managing director of Hungry Bear, said: “It’s the perfect time for Gladiators to return.

“What other show combines electric excitement, superheroes, giant sponge fingers, elite athletes, and a pinch of pantomime? Watch out for the new breed of superhuman, supersized, superstars bursting on to your screens on BBC One and iPlayer.”

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