Original 'Gladiators' stars predict possible health and safety changes for reboot

·Contributor
·4-min read
Ulrika Jonsson hosted the hit show. (George Bodnar/Comic Relief via Getty Images)
Ulrika Jonsson hosted the hit show. (George Bodnar/Comic Relief via Getty Images)

Gladiators stars Sharron Davies and Kim Betts have predicted there could be health and safety changes for the upcoming reboot.

The much-loved sports entertainment show - which was hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and was a huge hit for ITV in the 90s – is being resurrected with a new 11-episode BBC series next year.

It will bring back classic challenges such as The Eliminator and there will also be some new games.

Read more: Ulrika Jonsson reveals 'bed-hopping' behind the scenes of Gladiators

However, there has been some speculation about what it might look like and Davies and Betts – better known to fans as Amazon and Lightning – warned that tougher health and safety regulations do “take away that excitement”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Davies, 59, 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.”

Event compere ex Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies at the Beyond 2012 reception at ForemanÕs Fish Island, East London.
Sharron Davies was a gladiator. (PA)

Betts, 50, revealed that changes were being made due to health and safety rules even when the original show was running.

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

“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.

Kim Betts (Lightning) during Comic Relief. (Comic Relief/Comic Relief via Getty Images)
Kim Betts (Lightning) during Comic Relief. (Comic Relief/Comic Relief via Getty Images)

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

“I know some people got seriously injured on that… so I completely understand it," she said.

"But 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.

“It does take away that element of excitement.”

Davies recalled the “good memories but tough memories” from the show.

“I was kind of avoiding doing it for a while because I saw how much everybody got injured,” she said.

“Then the first year I did it I went and cracked my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on my knee.

“So, good memories, but tough memories because we used to record two or three shows in a day and we would start really early in the morning and often finish at 10 o’clock at night.”

The new series, made by Hungry Bear Media and MGM Television UK, would be filmed at the Utilita Arena Sheffield and will welcome a brand new generation of "superhumans who will compete against contestants in the ultimate test of speed and strength".

News of the reboot came amid speculation that there would be some sort of comeback or reunion as the programme is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

So far it isn’t known who will host and who the gladiators will be.

“I haven’t been asked,” said Betts. “I know a lot of the public are wanting some of the old ones involved.”

<em>Gladiators</em> originally aired from 1992 to 2000. (John Jones - PA Images via Getty Images)
Gladiators originally aired from 1992 to 2000. (John Jones - PA Images via Getty Images)

Asked if she would like to do it, she said: “That is a big question. I mean, I’m 50 and I’m one of the younger gladiators… Do people want to see a 50-year-old running around in a bikini?

“But it would be lovely to take part and try and help it be as successful as what it was.”

Gladiators originally aired from 1992 to 2000 and was hosted by Jonsson and John Fashanu.

Read more: Gladiators star Cobra reveals he was sometimes drunk on the show

It was dropped in 2000, but resurrected in 2008. However, its comeback proved to be brief and it ended again in 2009.

Additional reporting from PA.

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