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Which classic events should the new Gladiators bring back?

The BBC is playing to our 90s nostalgia with its Gladiators reboot, fronted by Bradley Walsh, but we'd love to see different games.

Fire and Giant are among the Gladiators on the new reboot of the classic game show.
Fire and Giant are among the Gladiators on the new reboot of the classic game show. (BBC/ITV)

There's a lot to love about the 2024 version of Gladiators. We get to see muscular people hitting each other with massive sticks again, Bradley Walsh is on TV even more, and there's a whole new Gladiators line-up to cheer and boo to our hearts' content.

But after four episodes of the new show, we've found ourselves craving a taste of something different. We love watching events like Gauntlet, Powerball, and Hang Tough — they're classics for a reason — but it's starting to get a little repetitive.

And it's not just us who have noticed this. "I think they need more variety in the games though, we're seeing the same ones every week now," said one viewer on Twitter. "Wider range of games, bring back the classics," wrote another.

So let's look back at some of those classic events that we could see again...

Pendulum

The gravity-defying Pendulum would be a very impressive addition to the new Gladiators series. (ITV)
The gravity-defying Pendulum would be a very impressive addition to the new Gladiators series. (ITV)

Gladiators events are always more fun when they're up in the air. That's just a fact. Pendulum was very much a winner in this regard, taking place around 40ft above the arena floor on a massive, swinging ball with a cargo net wrapped around it.

It was essentially a high-altitude version of tag rugby. Contestants and the original gladiators would traverse the swinging ball, with the contestant aiming to evade the gladiator for long enough to earn points. However, the gladiator's job was to remove the tag from the contestant's back.

You'd imagine the absence of Pendulum from the new version might be down to simple logistics. It's a truly massive bit of kit.

Pyramid

Pyramid was one of the most action-packed and dangerous Gladiators games. (ITV)
Pyramid was one of the most action-packed and dangerous Gladiators games. (ITV)

There's a clear reason why Pyramid doesn't appear in the Gladiators reboot — it's really dangerous. It's all the physical contact of Gauntlet or Powerball, but with the added jeopardy of taking place on a pyramid-shaped structure. Contestants, simply, had to reach the top before a gladiator could stop them.

This event was removed from the original series when popular gladiator Jet suffered a neck injury so bad she had to retire from the show. It returned in a watered-down form, but proved unpopular with fans as a result.

They'd have to go back to the drawing board to make this work for the new Gladiators in a safe way, but it's undeniably a thrilling event that we'd love to see return — as long as people didn't get hurt.

Atlaspheres

The first event ever shown on Gladiators, there's an absurd joy to Atlaspheres. Contestants and gladiators had to roll around the arena floor in giant, Zorb-like spheres. Contenders earned points by rolling over scoring pods, which would then give a satisfying burst of smoke.

Come on, there's no way you don't want to see enormous people rolling around in massive hamster balls while Barney Walsh sniggers in the corner. It would be brilliant.

Swingshot

Swingshot combined several other Gladiators events into an even more impressive game. (ITV)
Swingshot combined several other Gladiators events into an even more impressive game. (ITV)

Swingshot is essentially what would happen if Powerball and Hang Tough had a very chaotic love child together. Contenders in this event had to swing from a platform on bungee ropes in order to grab coloured balls worth various amounts of points, which they would then deposit in a box on their original platform. Of course, there would be gladiators blocking their path.

This event was always pure bedlam in the best possible way, with bodies flying everywhere and multiple strategies contestants could use. There are effectively two variants of this sort of game on the new series with Powerball and new addition The Ring, but Swingshot provides the added element of altitude.

As we've said before, Gladiators is better when it's happening in the air.

Skytrak

Skytrak was pure spectacle for fans of the classic Gladiators series. (ITV)
Skytrak was pure spectacle for fans of the classic Gladiators series. (ITV)

You know what's better than a Gladiators event in the air? An event where they're upside down in the air. Skytrak forced contenders to race their way alongside a Scalextric-type course while gladiators raced to catch them.

This one would be an absolute no-brainer for the new series, though again you expect that budgets and logistics have prevented them from building such an impressive and imposing structure this time around.

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