Gladiators 2023 TV reboot: What fans make of new BBC show being filmed at Sheffield's Utilita Arena
and live on Freeview channel 276
Thousands of fans who secured free tickets to see the new BBC series were left disappointed when filming began on Thursday, June 1, as they were turned away because the studio had reached capacity. But the ticketing problems appear to have settled down and those fans who have made it in appear to be impressed with what they have seen.
Audiences told how the format is very faithful to the original 90s show, which was presented by Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu made stars of Gladiators including Wolf, Jet and Hunter. They described how all the favourite challenges were back, including The Wall, Powerball, Duel and, of course, the Eliminator, and they seemed to be largely impressed with the new team of Gladiators and with the father-and-son duo, Bradley and Barney Walsh, who are hosting the show.
Brett Hadley said: “There was one new game I saw, called The Edge. The others are old games. But the essence of the original was very much there! It should come across well! And Mark Clattenburg as the referee is a genius choice.
“The new Gladiators played up to the crowd once they got going. Giant and Nitro are definitely ones to look out for. Bradley and Barney are good hosts.”
Jack Westmoreland told The Star that all the contests he saw were original ones from the 90s, with no new games, and he had a great time watching. He added: “The theme was great, very much like the 90s. All the games were similar but modernised, the presenters were great. You can’t go far wrong with Bradley Walsh to be fair, but maybe a female presenter would have been an improvement.
“The Gladiators are all absolute athletes, huge every one of them, but normal people who were great personalities in their own right which helped the crowd get behind them. A good day and can’t wait for it to be on TV. It will be a huge hit as it’s stuck to its roots, not like the Sky reboot which was poor.
“It’s nice to see a couple are heels like Wolf was in the original series but not direct copies. The whole day (seven hours) was great and it was interesting to see the set up for each game. What was nice as well was that the contenders were not your normal reality TV type e.g Love Islanders.”
“One other thing that would have been good is some more things in the concourse like pugil sticks to have photos with. They did have banner stations and cut-outs of the glads though.”
Other people sharing their experiences on Twitter described how they had enjoyed reliving their childhood, often with children of their own. One audience member told how her children ‘loved it’, another said the set looked ‘amazing’ and Bradley and Barney were ‘so lovely’, and a third person called it a ‘great day’.