I discovered Gladiators. As far as my circle of friends and family are concerned, that is. Back in the early 1990s, ITV’s Night Time strand included an odd programme called American Gladiators. I’d get in from a night out and tune in to this over-the-top and hugely camp extravaganza in the wee hours of the morning. I’d never seen anything like it and instantly fell in love. So did a million or so other night owls. Realising the potential of their cult hit, ITV cashed in with a UK version.
The Saturday night primetime incarnation was presented by Ulrika Jonsson, John Fashanu and later, Jeremy Guscott; it ran from 1992-2000 and made household names of the likes of Trojan, Wolf, Shadow, Jet, Nightshade and Hunter. To this day, it is still fondly remembered. Little wonder Sky One is bringing it back in May; Kirsty Gallacher and Ian Wright are your hosts and legendary referee John Anderson ("Contender READY!") resumes his iconic role.
Yesterday, I attended a press launch for the revamped series. And boy, did Sky One put on an impressive (and expensive) show. Pyrotechnics, fire, thunderous music – the works.
John Anderson strode out to enthusiastic applause, folded his arms and then opened his lungs: "Photographers READY!". That man’s got some serrrrrrrrrious pipes on him – he must’ve been a nightmare as a baby. And then it was time to bring out the 12 new lycra-clad, bicep-bulging Gladiators. My initial impression? Most of them appear far less bulky than their 1990s counterparts. And that’s just the women. Even I could take on some of the geezers. As a couple of the female Gladiators walked away, I spotted flesh wobbling – Jet would be horrified. Anyway, I made quick notes about each of them as they strutted their stuff down the runway and posed. Here goes:
Destroyer (Damar Martin): Huge thighs. Wow.
Spartan (Roderick Bradley): Ooooh, he looks all Ancient Greek. Talk about chiselled! You could cut glass on his cheekbones
Enigma (Jenny Pacey): I think the enigma is why? She looks really weedy
Inferno (Jemma Palmer): Wow! A real-life Lara Croft. Her breasts are huge and they don’t move – not one wobble. They’re more solid than the economy. She’ll be an audience fave.
Predator (Du’aine Ladejo): He’s wearing a bra top. With the muscles and posing – it’s beyond camp. Who styled him? Jean-Paul Gaultier?
Tempest (Lucy Boggis): Pretty. Pretty vacant too.
Panther (Kara Nwidobie): Now you’re talking! Toned, athletic, strong and strutting her stuff to Missy Elliot’s Get UR Freak On. She’s wicked. Love her already.
Atlas (Sam Bond): Tall, huge, very muscled, pretty with ridiculously long, curly-girly hair. The overall effect is more camp than The Village People; teen girls (and some gay men) will love him. He’s the new Hunter.
Battleaxe (Shirley Webb): Solid-looking woman.
Ice (Caroline Pearce): Toned, blonde, striking looks; men’ll love her. But she doesn’t look all that strong
Oblivion (Nick Aldis): He doesn’t look strong enough to take on a puppy.
Tornado (David McIntosh): It’s hard to look mean in lycra. Like the tattoos though.
Richard Woolfe, the director of programming for Sky One, Two and Three, says: "The games are bigger, the contenders are stronger and the Gladiators are even more unbelievable…It’s a colossus of a programme and it’s going to blow people’s socks off." I won’t be able to watch the new series because I’m a Virgin Media subscriber and the two broadcasters are, as you all may know, in dispute. Bummer.
I’m out of here for two weeks. Patricia, I will answer your query about advert breaks on my return.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – BBC4’s Curse Of Comedy season was good. My favourite was definitely The Curse Of Steptoe. Unfortunately, Rather You Than Me proved an ineffectual dramatisation about Frankie Howerd with a weak David Walliams in the lead role. He was acted off the screen by Rafe Spall (son of Brit great Timothy). Still, the season overall was a great watch.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – I can’t be the only person Tyra Banks annoys the heck out of on American’s Next Top Model?
MSN Editor Coops
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