Gladiators star Rebel left jobless 'without warning' after show's axe

Rebel's shock at being left unemployed after Gladiators was cancelled

Gladiators original Jennifer Stoute played Rebel. (ITV/Shutterstock)
Gladiators original Jennifer Stoute played Rebel. (ITV/Shutterstock)

Gladiators original star Jennifer Stoute - who starred as Rebel - has claimed she was left unemployed "without a warning" when the show was cancelled.

An incredible athlete, the TV gladiator represented Great Britain at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. As well as her impressive sporting career, she had a starring role as Rebel on ITV's original series of Gladiators from 1996 until 1999. Stoute once called starring on Gladiators the "highlight" of her life.

Now BBC has rebooted the series with great success - and fans have been looking out for the new Jet and Wolf among the 2024 line-up. It has got everyone wondering: where are the original gladiators now? Plus, many of the former gladiators have been sharing their own experiences on the original show, including fan favourite Jet who refused to film "uncomfortable" scenes.

The new 2024 line-up for Gladiators. (BBC)
The new 2024 line-up for Gladiators. (BBC)

'Gladiators was cancelled without warning'

In a new interview, the now 58-year-old Stoute has shared her initial reaction when she found out that Gladiators wasn't being renewed for a new series. Having loved her time on the show, the former gladiator was devastated when the show ended "without any warning".

The athlete - who has two daughters - said she first found out through the show's host and her friend Ulrika Jonsson when they were on the plane back from their sun-soaked holiday in Mauritius.

Looking back, Stoute detailed her conversation with Jonsson. She told The Mirror: "[Ulrika] said 'Jennifer do you know that we haven't got a job?' I said, 'What do you mean?' She said, 'My agent's just said that Gladiators has finished'.

"And I was like, 'What?' It just finished like that without even giving us a warning. There was no kind of like 'oh we're not gonna do [a] next series' or anything."

She added: "[So I found out] on a plane back from holiday. I think it might have been the beginning of 2000 or the end of 1999 but it was after we did our last show. And Ulrika [just said on holiday], 'Oh just to let you know we're unemployed'." The final episode of the reality series aired in 2000.

Rebel (Jennifer Stoute), Paul Bradley and Vogue (Suzanne Cox) during the filming of Gladiators for Comic Relief in 1997. (Getty)
Rebel (Jennifer Stoute), Paul Bradley and Vogue (Suzanne Cox) during the filming of Gladiators for Comic Relief in 1997. (Getty)

Rebel's time on Gladiators

Previously, Stoute declared working on Gladiators was the "highlight" of her life and she shared why she fell in love with performing on the series.

She told Athletics Weekly in 2016: "After being a sprinter, there was something in me that was unfulfilled and Gladiators gave me that buzz I needed and was kind of like a transition between elite sport and living a normal life. It allowed me to see what life was like in normal society, while still having a lot of fun in a physically competitive environment."

Stoute also previously shared the reservations she had about starring on the show. And despite her initial concerns, Stoute said the show set her up for the rest of her life. She further explained at the time: "When I was offered the job, I was initially unsure whether I wanted to jump around in lycra. However, it was like going to play in a big funpark and got me ready for the rest of my life."

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