Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Gladiators Come to Toon

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Gladiators Come to Toon

Article excerpt

Byline: David Morton Nostalgia Editor david.morton.editprial@ncjmedia.co.uk

CONTENDERS ready! Gladiators ready!

So went the battle cry which heralded the start of the action in each episode of one of the UK's most popular television series.

During the 1990s, ITV's Gladiators attracted millions of viewers, young and old, who revelled in the all-action physical challenges between the skimpily-clad, superherostyle 'Gladiators' and members of the public, the 'contenders.'.

On this day 20 years ago, crowds flocked to the Metrocentre, Gateshead, as one of stars of the show Hunter - aka James Crossley - switched on the Christmas lights.

The series was based on American Gladiators which burst on to TV screens across the USA in 1989.

United Anderson on this See In October 1992, the LWT-produced series, Gladiators, presented by Ulrika Jonsson and exfootballer John Fashanu, hit UK screens on a Saturday evening and instantly made an impact.

The twelve faces of the debut Gladiators team were primarily sportsmen and women, who used their own particular styles and strengths during events such as Hang Tough, The Wall and Duel.

The original team included Panther, Jet, Cobra, Warrior, Saracen, Shadow, Lightning and the "baddie" Wolf.

But it wasn't just the Gladiators who became famous faces - and voices - of the show.

Referee John "you will go on my first whistle" Anderson was also a huge hit.

Each show was filmed in front of a loud, enthusiastic live audience at Birmingham National Arena. The series ran until early 2000, and was brought back briefly on Sky TV in 2008.

At that time, a past contestant on Gladiators - former international gymnast Roddy MacKay from Gosforth - looked back in the show.

He said: "You only knew about an hour before you went on which event you were going to do, so I was very nervous. …

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