GLADIATORS was a must-watch in the '90s not least for the Lycra uniforms the athletes wore to show off their sporting prowess.
British telly lovers may be surprised to hear that the first episode aired more than 25 years ago – but what became of those rock-hard abs and bulging biceps?
Cobra – Michael Wilson
Former boxer Michael Wilson took to the arena as Gladiator Cobra.
The original cast-member regularly showed off by doing the splits and kicking his legs up high in the hair.
Since the programme was taken off air, Michael has shunned the spotlight.
The Sun revealed on last April that Michael was seriously ill in a Kent hospital, suffering from pneumonia, pleurisy and a ruptured bicep.
He has also suffered a rupture in his shoulder and cannot raise his arm.
Just before Christmas, Michael was admitted to hospital with severe acute pancreatitis – a cripplingly painful condition where your pancreas swells up – and needs two new hips.
He explained: "I'm only half a Gladiator now. It’s been touch and go. I don’t feel like I’m kicking the bucket at the minute, but it will only take another cold or cough and I’m in trouble.
"I’m isolated in my own ward. It goes to show – you never know what’s round the corner."
Jet – Diane Youdale
Jet hung up her leotard and left the show after hurting her back in an unaired episode at the end of series four.
She subsequently trained as a psychotherapist and pilates instructor.
You may have caught her offering her expert analysis of the housemates’ behaviour on Big Brother’s Bit on the Side.
Diane has also made appearances on The Big Fat Quiz of the 90s, Mel & Sue and It's Not Me, It's You.
Ace – Warren Furman
Ace tackled the travelator for a total of four series and retains an additional claim to fame as Katie Price’s first fiancé back when we called her Jordan.
These days he is a devoted Christian and evangelist.
In 2017, his co-star James Crossley claimed that finding God saved Warren's life.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online at The Guide Dog Awards, James said: “Ace is now a Christian, he’s turned to God.
“He had some quite horrific things happen in his life, really horrific, so it was either that or probably he wouldn’t be around now.”
Warren has previously opened up about finding Christianity and even pleaded with his ex-Katie to find faith.
He now goes into schools to spread the word of the Lord by using the real story of the Gladiators and how Jesus helped to close the gladiator ring.
Hunter – James Crossley
Hunter was the youngest Gladiator to be recruited for the show, joining at the tender age of 19.
He hit the headlines after dating the show’s host Ulrika Jonsson, the relationship was strongly denied until she finally came clean in her 2003 autobiography.
After dabbling with an acting career for a few years, the star settled into the sports industry like many of his former co-stars.
As well as being a personal trainer, James also runs his own successful consultancy business, Chelsea Fitness.
Saracen – Mike Lewis
Gladiator veteran Saracen starred in all eight series of the Saturday night staple.
He later traded in his giant cotton buds for a hose and flexed his muscles for the fire brigade.
You may have spotted him on various daytime telly shows, including This Morning.
Mike also recently proved he was still nimble as he tackled the tough Ninja Warrior course.
Rhino – Mark Smith
After four seasons of climbing, swinging, running and fighting in the Gladiator assault courses Rhino had gained sufficient attention to secure a number of small acting roles on some big-budget productions.
He has appeared in blockbusters such as Batman Begins, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Ben Affleck’s political thriller Argo.
As well as this, he has dabbled in voice work, acting as Office McHorn in 2016 film Zootopia.
The dad-of-three currently lives in Acton, London, and still has an interest in bodybuilding.
Lightning – Kim Betts
Former gymnast Kim Betts stole the hearts of the nation when she appeared on Gladiators.
The blonde bombshell left her telly career behind her as the series left our screens.
She is now a successful businesswoman, running a variety of companies including a beauty parlour and fishery.
The mum-of-two also boasts 16 years of property development experience and lives on a farm with her husband and children.
Panther – Helen O’ Reilly
Panther fought her way through five seasons of the show but sustained a serious neck and back injury after falling headfirst during the Tilt event.
On leaving she continued to pursue her passion for fitness, setting up Panther’s Gym in Uxbridge with her husband.
Helen has largely shunned the spotlight since the cameras stopped rolling, only picking up one credit for compilation programme When Gameshows Go Horribly Wrong.
Nightshade – Judy Simpson
Sporty Nightshade battled through four series of contender/gladiator combat.
Previously, she was a British heptathlete who competed at three Olympic Games.
Unsurprisingly, Judy continues to work in the fitness industry.
Since leaving the show, she has become a sporting ambassador and is an honorary president of the Women’s Sports Federation.
Wolf – Mike Van Wijk
We were all afraid of the big bad wolf back in the day and even two decades on that glare hasn’t lost its menace.
Everyone’s favourite pantomime villain is still as ripped as his younger counterparts, despite being 67-years-old.
He currently lives in New-Zealand and is a regular on the Kiwi cage fighting scene.
Wolf returned to the 2008 Gladiator revamp where his standing ovation on entering the arena is said to have lasted five minutes holding up the filming.
Amazon – Sharron Davies
Unlike many of her co-stars, Sharron isn't most famous for her role in Gladiators.
The Team GB swimmer and gold medal-winner has worked as a TV presenter since retiring from sport.
She has hosted The Big Breakfast, Superstars and provided commentary for the Olympics.
Sharron's competitive streak has shown no signs of disappearing.
She battled it out against other celebrities on Dancing On Ice and the Island with Bear Grylls.
She earned a name for herself during lockdown when she helped keep the nation's fitness levels up with her kitchen counter-top exercises.
Predator – Du’aine Ladejo
London-born athlete Du’aine Ladejo is best known for winning the 400 metres sprint at the 1994 European Championships.
But many will also remember him for his role in Gladiators, where he played Predator.
When the series ended, he competed on BBC sports show Superstars, taking home the crown in 2004.
He also appeared on Celebrity Love Island in 2005.
While Du’aine is no longer regularly in front of the camera, he is the creator of telly show Australia’s Greatest Athlete and brand Trademark Greatest Athlete.
Zodiac – Kate Staples
Former British pole vaulter Kate Staples battled it out on Gladiators under the alias Zodiac.
The athletic TV regular was best known for smashing speed and agility events, including Pendulum, Skytrak and Pursuit.
After suffering a serious fall on Pole Axe in 1996, Kate took on a less prominent role.
The mum-of-two, who was previously married to rugby player Chris Sheasby, now runs adventure boot camps with ex-GB athlete Daley Thompson.
Referee John Anderson
The unforgettable words “Contenders, you will go on my first whistle. Gladiators, you will go on my second whistle. 3… 2… 1…” still ring in the ears of many a Gladiators fan.
Living legend John Anderson coached an Olympic athlete at every games from 1964 to 2000.
Remarkably, the 87-year-old also only recently stopped playing tennis but reportedly still goes to the gym three times a week.
Having hung up his whistle and his mentoring cap, John is now retired.
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