Ulrika Jonnson sheds light on boozing, bed-hopping and corruption at Gladiators

Former Gladiators presenter Ulrika Jonsson has shed some light on boozing, bed-hopping and corruption which plagued the hit ITV show.

Ulrika hosted Gladiators from 1992-2000 with former footballer John Fashanu and then later ex-England rugby player Jeremy Guscott.

But earlier this week it was revealed former Gladiator Shadow admitted to taking part in a drug-fuelled blackmail plot, demanding £1,000 from a mother for the safe return of her son, who was allegedly held hostage by a gang.

He is currently awaiting sentencing at the conclusion of Isleworth crown court trial of other alleged blackmailers, the Sun reported.

A gaunt-looking mugshot of Shadow, whose real name is Jefferson King, was released by the police this week.

And seasoned 53-year-old Swedish broadcaster Ulrika has admitted the show most certainly wasn’t a bed of roses, even in its prime in the 1990s.

“Yesterday’s mugshot of our biggest and most frightening Gladiator, Shadow, looking hollow-cheeked and well beyond his 59 years, on a charge of a drug-fuelled blackmailing plot, is a stark reminder that the show had its fair share of scandals,” penned Ulrika in her latest Sun column.

Gladiators boasted a huge fanbase when it first aired, as athletic members of the public battled it out with a range of scary Gladiators, whose job was to stop them winning their respective challenges.

And muscle man Shadow, a former bodybuilder, was one of the most revered Gladiators on the show, rarely beaten on the icon Duel contest.

But the star revealed he hit “rock bottom” after being axed from the show and subsequently struggled with a crippling drug addiction.

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“I had never encountered body-builders and this was a unique glimpse into their world,” reflected Ulrika. “Eye-popping muscles like that come with an extraordinary vanity.

“The vast majority of them were so focused on themselves and their amazing bodies that their egos easily outsized anything an average person could imagine.”

But it was between the bedsheets that things really started to hot-up according to former Celebrity Big Brother star Ulrika.

She revealed that there was a “lot of bed-hopping” when the cast and crew camped out at London’s Hyatt Regency hotel for the first series of filming.

And she admitted that quite a few people involved with the show enjoyed a bit of “rough and tumble” under the covers.

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Ulrika famously hooked up with Gladiator Hunter, real name James Crossley, in a highly-publicised affair.

And the Scandinavian host stressed that “scandals were never far away”.

She said there were rumours of “steroid use”, booze abuse and drugs used by those on the show.

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