Gladiators: Original stars fear new safety procedures could lessen ‘excitement’ in reboot

·2-min read

Two former stars of Gladiators have shared their concerns about the changes in the forthcoming reboot of the hit programme.

The high-energy physical competition, which originally aired in the 1990s, will return to screens in 2023.

The reboot will comprise 11 episodes airing on BBC and will include new games as well as fan favourite contest “The Eliminator”, the final challenge of a giant obstacle course.

To adhere to 21st-century safety standards, however, the show will include some modifications to ensure that all participants are as safe as possible.

On Friday’s (26 August) episode of BBC Breakfast, Gladiators Kim Betts and Sharron Davies, known to fans as Lightning and Amazon, spoke about the show’s revival.

While looking forward to a new version of the programme, both were intrigued about how producers would achieve the same levels of excitement with tighter safety regulations.

Davies said: “The only thing I think is going to be really testing is health and safety. I think going forward that’s the thing which will be so very different from way back then.”

Betts also had similar worries to her former colleague and said that the health and safety procedures grew increasingly strict even when the original show was running.

John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson, were the hosts of Gladiators during its run on ITV (PA) (PA Archive)
John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson, were the hosts of Gladiators during its run on ITV (PA) (PA Archive)

“When we first started, things like the 6ft free-fall we used to do without a harness, just fall onto a crash mat,” she admitted.

“Brilliant if you’re not scared of heights and are aware of rotational falls, but as health and safety came on throughout the years you’ve then got to be attached to a harness.

“It takes away that element of fear and excitement for the viewers back home.”

Betts went on to acknowledge that while people did “get seriously hurt” on the show, changing the format may have an effect on the final product.

“When you’re trying to invent an exciting, thrilling game and then health and safety step in, which they did on numerous events, it all has to be changed,” she said.

Gladiators will be filmed at the Utilita Arena Sheffield.