John Fashanu backs 'Gladiators' for TV return

John Fashanu wants Gladiators to return to TV. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
John Fashanu wants Gladiators to return to TV. (Fred Duval/FilmMagic)

John Fashanu reckons 90s TV hit Gladiators should be making a comeback.

The former footballer, who hosted the sports gameshow for six series, believes high levels of interest in health and fitness on social media mean the time is right for the programme’s return.

“The health and well-being market is played out all over Instagram, with fit men and women pushing us to believe in ourselves and be kind to our minds and bodies," he told The Sun.

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“So there is the next generation of Gladiators right there ready to inspire us – and a new audience ready to absorb it. I think it would be a hit – TV bosses are missing a trick.”

Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu, hosts to new LWT show 'Gladiators' being recorded at the NIA Birmingham.   (Photo by David Jones - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu on the set of Gladiators. (David Jones – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

The 57-year-old hosted the programme alongside Ulrika Jonsson for the first five of the eight original domestic series, before being replaced by rugby star Jeremy Guscott for seasons six and seven then returning for its eighth run.

It originally ran on ITV from 1992 to 2000 before Sky launched a revival between 2008 and 2009.

The show made stars of its athletes, including Rhino (Mark Smith), Wolf (Michael Van Wijk) and Jet (Diane Youdale).

Wolf from Gladiators opening the new Blockbuster Video in Reading, 6th November 1994. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Wolf from Gladiators opening a Blockbuster Video in Reading in 1994. (Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, Youdale candidly discussed the neck injury that led to her exit in 1996.

She suffered a fall from a giant pyramid while battling a contender during an untelevised live version of the show.

She told The Sun of the moment she heard her neck "snap" and feared she had broken it.

Thankfully that wasn't the case. "The fact that I’m flexible meant I didn’t break my neck," she said.

However, it prompted her to leave the show due to concerns over her health and safety.