ITV’s Gladiators – the show that for eight years made children everywhere become interested in sports, eating well and keeping fit… for about five minutes on a Saturday night, then we all went back to our natural state of sitting on the settee eating sugar straight from the packet.
What was it that inspired this minor surge of enthusiasm for being buff? That would be the gladiators themselves. Every week, twelve superhuman powerhouses – six men and six women – would intimidate, bully, and otherwise humiliate whichever puny contestants stepped up to try their luck, beating or hindering them in a series of physical skill games. This took place before the big finale – where the contenders would race each other up a downwards escalator, while the gladiators were backstage eating raw eggs (probably).
When Gladiators came to an end, its muscly stars faded back into obscurity. Or did they? Do you ever wonder what happened to that fit one you had a poster of, or that one with the weird, balding yet long hair? Then read on, because I have all the answers!
Ace (Warren Furman)
Fun Fact – Ace hails from Doncaster, so presumably his best event was ‘standing outside Burger King in a hoodie throwing chips at people’. Funner fact – he had a relationship with Katie Price in the 1990s.
Another gladiator who returned for the revamped Legends Special, Ace lives a relatively quiet life these days, apart from getting a speeding ticket, which somehow managed to become headline news in the Hull Daily Mail.
Amazon (Sharron Davies)
Gladiating for just one series, Amazon donned the lycra after achieving world renown as an Olympic and Commonwealth swimmer. After pulling out of the show due to a knee injury, Davies went on to become involved in various media and charity projects, including Swim For Life, The Sports Aid Foundation and Dancing On Ice.
Blaze (Eunice Huthart)
I accidentally wrote that as ‘Eunice Huthard’, which is perhaps a more appropriate name for this lady. Famous for being the only contender to be given bona fide gladiator status due to her kicking ass every time she so much as looked at a contender, Huthart went on to become a Hollywood stunt double, being dangerous in place of Uma Thurman and Angelina Jolie, among others. She was also stunt co-ordinator on V For Vendetta, and Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland. She is godmother to Angelina Jolie’s daughter Shiloh, and is currently away on Eternia, fighting Skeletor.
Bullit (Mike Harvey)
If ever there was a gladiator whose life resembles that of Action Man, it’s Bullit. Before joining the show, he joined the navy as an ‘underwater warfare specialist’ then trained as an engineer, working in the House of Commons as a researcher, and winning two bodybuilding titles. He managed to do all this because he wasn’t sat around playing Candy Crush all day like some people (me).
After the show, he appeared in Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, and more recently went back to his engineering roots in the Brixton area. He is also the father of MC Harvey from So Solid Crew.
Cobra (Michael Willson)
My God, I had such a crush on Cobra when I was little, and as I write this I’ve just discovered that he lives in the West Midlands. It’s possible that he lives right next door to me! Although not downstairs, because an old woman lives there on her own.
Cobra currently tours schools and youth clubs in the area, promoting the idea that exercise and fitness can be fun to a load of disinterested kids.
Diesel (Darren Crawford)
A former model, Diesel appeared in series seven and eight, before going on to carve out a not too shabby film career. He starred as Russian villain Zed in The World Is Not Enough, and also made an appearance in Blade 2 as a vampire. Rumours of him reprising his role in Thomas The Tank Engine are unfounded.
Falcon (Bernadette Hunt)
This mullet-topped gladiator joined the cast in series two and went on to become a firm favourite with the fans, who admired her pointy hair. These days, she is somewhat elusive compared to some of the other glads, but she has been spotted teaching aerobics classes around the Basingstoke area.
Flame (Kimbra Standish)
Flame was one of the casualties of the early gladiator cull, being dropped from the show at the end of series one, along with Hawk and Phoenix. Not much is known of her life in the immediate aftermath of the shake up, apart from an appearance in the 1995 movie Hackers, but she wriggled back into her lycra in 2008, for the Legends Special of the newly revamped show, competing alongside the new breed of gladiators, including Battleaxe and Tempest.
Fox (Tammy Baker)
Fox earned the title of ‘Gladiator who looks most like a muscly Meryl Streep’ (in my head). After the show, she spent some time in South Africa, where she presented a wide range of TV shows, before returning to the UK and working as a freelance nutritionist and ‘lifestyle consultant’. Her website looks like it is hosted by Geocities.
Gold (Lize Van Der Walt)
Gold, originally from South Africa, went on to become a successful artist after the show. Her work can be found displayed in galleries around Cape Town, and on her personal site, lize-art.com. Disappointingly, her pictures seem to be landscapes, rather than gladiators fighting dinosaurs.
Hawk (Aleks Georgijev)
Another casualty from the early shake up, Hawk was unfairly and unceremoniously booted from the show at the end of series one. He went on to become a police constable in Wales, and nowadays runs his own gym, The Edge. He does have a Twitter which includes some scarily buff photos of himself, but sadly this no longer seems to be updated.
Hunter (James Crossley)
Hunter famously had a relationship with Gladiators presenter Ulrika Jonsson during the show’s run. This would have sparked rumours that Jonsson was fixing the show for Hunter to win, if that was how the show worked at all, and that made any sense. As it was, the pair just became tabloid fodder for a couple of years.
Believe it or not, Crossley spent a while as a Shakesperian actor, starring in a successful two year run of As You Like It. He has now followed in the footsteps of many of his former colleagues, and works as a ‘body composition specialist’ in gyms around London.
Jet (Diane Youdale)
Better known as ‘that fit one off Gladiators’, Jet achieved minor world domination during the show’s run, going on to star in her own video – All About Jet, by Jet, starring Jet. These days she is a respected psychotherapist and radio DJ; she also makes guest appearances as Jet on various shows, where thirty-something comedians do their best to impress her in the hope she’ll go out with them.
Khan (Radosav Nekic)
Khan appeared in The Legend’s Last stand (part of the reboot), then faded into obscurity, although fan photos do crop up on social networking sites of Khan at various bodybuilding events and expos. According to Gladiators Zone, Khan prefers to be out of the limelight these days, and is working as a doorman.
Laser (Tina Andrew)
As well as appearing in the UK series as Laser, Tina also represented her native South Africa in the international Springbok Challenge. Bizarrely, her gladiator name for that was Sheena. Presumably she was named after Sheena Easton.
She currently lives in America with her husband and children. Her son, Michael, is making a name for himself as a competitive swimmer.
Lightning (Kim Betts)
Only rivalled by Jet in the popularity stakes, Lightning is best remembered for putting on a winning smile while beating the crap out of people, and also for looking a bit like Jane from Rod, Jane and Freddy. After Gladiators she lived in Spain for a while, before returning to the UK, where she runs a successful property business in Staffordshire. She also takes part in various charity events around the area.
Panther (Helen O’ Reilly)
After the show ended, rumours began to surface regarding Panther’s feud with fellow gladiator Lightning. According to various tabloid articles, Panther was not invited to the newly revamped Legends Special over fears she would smack Lightning, or possibly kick her in the fanny.
When she isn’t busy being angry at Lightning, O’Reilly can be found in Middlesex, where she runs ‘Panther’s Gym’ with husband Sean. I don’t need to explain that it’s a gym.
Phoenix (Sandy Young)
Another victim of the series one cull, Sandy Young, a successful semi-professional bodybuilder, now works as a hair stylist in the West Midlands, according to fan site Gladiators Zone. A report from 1996 claims she and her partner beat up her ex-boyfriend, leading them both to be charged with assault. This, unsurprisingly, took place in Wolverhampton.
Raider (Carlton Hedley)
Hedley worked as a stuntman and martial arts trainer after retiring from the show. He trained the fighters on Highlander – Endgame (2000) and was also responsible for the stunts in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) and Gladiator (2000). I’m beginning to suspect that, if I dig deep enough, I’ll discover every gladiator was involved in this film in some way. For instance, Jet could have made the sandwiches, and Cobra might have done the make up.
Rebel (Jennifer Stoute)
After Gladiators, Jennifer Stoute co-founded a website called DrivenWoman. At first I thought it was for ladies who wanted to hire chauffeurs, but on closer inspection, it is a networking site for women who run their own business, or who want to run their own business, or used to run their own business. As far as I can tell, it’s kind of like LinkedIn, except everyone constantly posts motivational pictures and says things like “You go girl!”
Rhino (Mark Smith)
Smith has one of the more credible acting careers of the former gladiators, appearing in films such as Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) and Batman Begins (2005). Most recently he appeared in Ben Affleck’s political thriller Argo.
Perhaps more interestingly, Smith also took part in a charity boxing match against notorious ‘lottery lout’ Mikey Carroll. The match had to be abandoned after Carroll kept resorting to such tactics as hair pulling, shin kicking, and drinking too much Stella. Allegedly.
Rio (Jane Omorogbe)
Rio certainly likes motorbikes. One look at her post Gladiators CV confirms this. Her presenting credits include Top Bikes, Two Wheels, Revved Up, and Grab Your Nuts (I may have made that last one up). She is also the motorbike correspondent for The Sun and The Times, uniting posh people and plebs like never before. She also does Speedway and touring car championship pitside reporting for Sky and ITV. Given this, I’m quite surprised her gladiator name wasn’t Motorbike. Although that might have had unfortunate connotations.
Rocket (Pauline Richards)
I’ve just learned a surprising fact. Rocket, along with Rio and Rebel, appeared in the 2000 movie Gladiator. This has several possible explanations. One – the casting director was an idiot and misunderstood the brief. Two – they wanted some kind of novelty Huey, Dewey and Louie trio in the movie, although I don’t remember three women with giant pugil sticks in the final edit. Three – it’s a massive coincidence and I’m an idiot.
Also of note is the fact that Richards currently lives in Surbiton, fictional home of Tom and Barbara in The Good Life.
Saracen (Mike Lewis)
The official nicest and best gladiator in the world, Saracen now works as a firefighter, still occasionally appearing as Saracen for events and specials like Sport Relief.
In his spare time, we like to think that Saracen (whose real name is Saracen – Mike Lewis is just a cover) rescues cats from trees and helps old ladies across the road. Possibly by poking them across the road with his pugil stick. On second thoughts, that’s too rude. Saracen would never do that.
Scorpio (Nikki Diamond)
A competitive gymnast before Gladiators, Scorpio was known as ‘the scary one who does that clawing at the sky thing with her hands’. After the show, Nikki Diamond went on to become a respected martial arts instructor. Her company bio also states that she offers fitness and nutrition advice. Presumably this involves her threatening to karate chop you if you don’t follow her advice, and also to claw the air with her hands.
Shadow (Jefferson King)
Apart from the scandal, which I shall get to in a minute, Shadow was famous for making every single contender soil themselves during Duel. He once hit a contender so hard with his pugil stick that he actually broke the stick.
In 1995, King was sacked from the show after a newspaper revealed he was a steroid user. This led to a downward spiral which saw King turn to heroin and crack cocaine. Bizarrely, at his lowest point he was arrested for attempting to use an elderly person’s bus pass, despite being 43 years old. However, it is now reported that he has, thankfully, beaten his addiction, and is working as a drug rehabilitation counsellor.
Siren (Alison Paton)
Quite surprisingly, this Scottish gladiator has a first class degree in Quantity Surveying. These days, Siren does neither Quantity Surveying nor gladiating; instead she has turned her hand to TV presenting. After a successful stint on QVC, Paton went on to present everything in Scotland ever. Interestingly, she also presented a show called Wheel Nuts, presumably beating Rio to this role.
Trojan (Mark Griffin)
As well as writing a book entitled My Life With The Gladiators (presumably including a lot of chapters about what he got up to with Zodiac), Trojan starred in the US series Action Man, before going on to appear in Days Of Our Lives, Doctor Who, and the Gladiators Legends specials. He currently lives in L.A . where he is making a name as a playwright and theatre actor.
Vogue (Suzanne Cox)
Vogue is one of the few gladiators to have her own Wikipedia entry, where she is referred to as an ‘aerobics instructor’. Clearly she is known for more than that, otherwise Sharon from my local leisure centre would have her own Wikipedia page.
Vogue turned her hand to many things after Gladiators, including TV presenting, and opening a clothes shop with fellow gladiators Saracen and Panther. She is now established as a presenter of fitness videos, which are actually fitness DVDs, but that just sounds wrong.
Vulcan (John Seru)
Originally in the Australian version of the show, Vulcan visited the UK to appear in series seven and eight. He has since moved back to Australia, where he runs Club Vulcan, a wrestling school and gym. He has some notable Australian clients, including Alf Stewart, Mick Dundee and those blokes from the Fosters lager advert.
Warrior (Michael Ahearne)
Warrior’s fall from grace is nearly as well known as Shadow’s. In 1998, Ahearne was jailed for fifteen months for perverting the course of justice in a firearms case. He has since found his feet, and runs Mike Ahearne’s Pro Gym in Birkenhead. According to sources, he continues to be larger than any person has a right to be.
Wolf (Michael Van Wijk)
The most loved of all the gladiators, Wolf was known for his constant tellings off from referee John Anderson. Due to his role as the gladiator we love to hate, Wolf surpasses even Jet in the ‘Gladiator I’m most bothered about’ stakes.
Wolf has tried his hand at many things since his time on Gladiators, including acting (footage of him as a cyborg in a dress can be found online), appearing on Celebrity Squares (my sister went to see that one being filmed, and she has Wolf’s autograph), and mentoring the new breed of gladiators on the reboot. Wolf can now be found in Auckland, New Zealand, where he runs his own gym. More impressively, he regularly competes on the New Zealand cage fighting scene, routinely kicking the asses of men half his age.
Zodiac (Kate Staples)
Named after the successful office supplies chain, Kate Staples was a gladiator from series two – five, appearing at the height of the show’s popularity, before retiring after breaking her neck. She was also famous for having a child with fellow gladiator Trojan.
Anyway, Kate now runs a successful boot camp business with Daley Thompson, where she helps her clients to get fit and lose weight.
Find more from Jenny at her website, World Of Crap.
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