In a triumphant return, the iconic sports entertainment gameshow, Gladiators, is set to grace British screens once again, finding its new home on the BBC. Guided by the dynamic father-son hosting duo, Bradley and Barney Walsh, this revamped show promises a fresh generation of superhuman Gladiators clashing against intrepid contenders in the ultimate test of speed and strength. The battleground will witness a series of innovative challenges, along with beloved classics like the fan-favourite, The Eliminator.
Produced by Hungry Bear and MGM Alternative UK for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, the 11-episode series was greenlit by Kate Phillips, the Director of Unscripted at the BBC. Steering the ship are Executive Producers Dan Baldwin and Lou Brown for Hungry Bear, alongside Dom Bird of MGM Alternative UK. Kalpna Patel-Knight, the Head of Entertainment Commissioning for the BBC, and Clodagh O’Donoghue, the Commissioning Editor, are at the helm of this thrilling venture.
Hungry Bear Media spearheads the UK adaptation, with the original American Gladiators series created by Johnny C. Ferraro and Dan Carr.
Mark your calendars, as the new Gladiators spectacle will kick off on Saturday, January 13, 2024, airing on BBC One and streaming on BBC iPlayer.
An Exclusive Chat with Barney Walsh: The Excitement Behind Gladiators’ Return
In an exclusive interview, Barney Walsh shares his insights into the highly anticipated return of Gladiators.
Barney, what can you tell us about the new series of Gladiators?
Well, it’s going to be very, very exciting. I’m thrilled that Gladiators is coming back and hosting it with Dad was incredible. We’re paying homage to the original series because it’s like the original. What I love is that we’re now at a point where the people who watched Gladiators when they were younger are now grown up and have children of their own so it’s a real generational family event and I’m very excited for everyone to see it.
Why did you want to be involved with the show?
It’s such a pillar of British television culture, it was such a massive thing back in the day and to be asked to be a part of it is an honour for me.
Did you have any funny moments whilst filming?
We had a ton of funny moments it’s great working with Dad, because when we’re together we just have a laugh. We’re mates first and foremost so we just we just have fun with it and are always cracking jokes.
What was it like filming in front of the audience in Sheffield?
I didn’t expect the atmosphere to be the way it was coming out onto the stage. That’s a vivid memory for me, walking out the first time, because 3,500 people is a massive number. It sounds like a massive number, but you can’t really conceptualize it until you walk out there. You’ve got everyone around you in that big round arena, all the lights going off, all the cannons, and everyone screaming and cheering, that was spectacular. The arena was electric, it was alive, and everyone could really feel that.
Speaking of the original series, did you have a favourite Gladiator?
My favourite Gladiator from the original line-up? Wolf definitely! He was so menacing, and such a baddie and I love that. We do have characters like that in the new Gladiators, one of them being Viper, he’s a real baddie. It’s always a treat to watch him when he comes out and does his thing. It’s awesome.
What were your first impressions when you saw the set?
I was absolutely blown away because it just looks magnificent walking out there and seeing it even just the colour contrast of the blues and the reds, that colour scheme in general is just so exciting to me. We have a new game called The Edge and the way that’s introduced with the effects and the whole arena initially goes dark and then lights up, it’s just magnificent.
Is there a particular game that you think you would be quite good at?
I don’t really have a fear of heights, so I think The Edge would be one that I’d like. Imagine a game like British bulldog but it’s suspended up in the air and if you fall you land into a net – that sounds like my cup of tea! I think I’d have fun with Hang Tough and I’d like to think I’d be good a Duel, unless someone like Giant is at the other end, I don’t think I’d win that, but with the others I might just have a chance!
You mentioned Giant just then, is he the only Gladiator you wouldn’t want to compete against?
I wouldn’t want to go up against Nitro in anything speed intensive, he would be tough to beat on The Wall because he’s very quick. Apollo is an ex-NFL star so he would take you to the cleaners on Powerball, but they are all going to be tough as that’s what makes them Gladiators.
Who would win out of Bradley versus Barney
On Duel dad would definitely cheat, even though you’re not allowed to poke with the pugil sticks, he’d just start poking and he would win through cheating. He’d be good at a new game called Collision which involves a bridge and timing. You need to time your run across the bridge to dodge the Gladiators, he’d be good at that. I’d beat him on the wall as he’s scared of heights.
And finally, what can viewers expect from the new series?
Excitement, action, adrenaline, it’s going to be an amazing show. We’ve put so much into it and it’s just spectacular, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. For me and dad it’s been a real honour to be able to host this show and to bring Gladiators back to Britain.