Show Discussion: Gladiators

By | January 12, 2024

Saturday, 5:50pm,

Goodness me, this has put us through the ringer a bit. We really really want this to be good, but surely health and safety in 2023/4 will make this a completely pointless reboot. Fear not! At least two injuries happen. The Sheffield arena isn’t as big as the Birmingham one. But look at it! It looks great, like somebody’s just updated the 90s one but with beautifully metallic blues and purples everywhere, the only time it looks like a smaller venue than the original from all the audience pictures is during the Eliminator. Bradley Walsh, though. But Bradley competed in the original and met his wife who was the leader of G-Force, the cheerleaders, so it’s not like there’s no connection.

Alright we’re not getting Pyramid. Or Atlaspheres. Or Pendulum. But there is a new event where you have to run up and down narrow criss-crossing beams 30 ft in the air. We still don’t know how high The Wall is compared to the original. We don’t even know if there’s a prize underpinning the tournament, which feels like a bit of a step back if not. We know they’ve kept the iconic theme tune, but I hope the rest of the music package is suitably fitting.

Mainly, I think scheduling a big expensive show such as this at 5:50pm might end up being a bit of an issue, the audience around at the time is rather more limited than it would be at 6:30pm, for example, but then Wheel of Fortune almost managed 4m last week so who is to say?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

25 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Gladiators

  1. Daniel

    Excited for this. Love the look of the trailer and teaser clips really drawn me in to watch. I will be watching tomorrow night. My plan originally when i knew this was going up against Wheel Of Fortune was to watch WOF then watch Gladiators on catch up but because of how disappointing WOF was i will watch Gladiators live now then switch to ITV at 7pm for The Masked Singer.

  2. Danny Kerner

    Also don’t forget the Australian version drops the next day (UK Time) (VPN required) so there is a gladiators weekend block for the next 13 weeks.

  3. Mark A

    Ninja Warrior UK didn’t have a prize for its Pre-Covid run, and it was still good television.

    Looking forward to this. Glad the theme tune’s back. I hope they bought back the incidental music for the games too.

  4. Tom H

    Well, that was a lot of fun.

    Fair play to the BBC and Hungry Bear for keeping it faithful enough to the original without it feeling dated; arena looked great, graphics and music were good, Bradley and son did what they needed to do, some very solid pantomime villain casting among the Gladiators.

    Seeing a lot of tweets along the lines of “this is the first show we’ve sat down to watch as a family in years and we loved it”. Could this actually be a success?

  5. Tom F

    It’s a proven formula, and so even with no real changes, they’ve made a show that’s exciting and really really fun. As always with reboots, the nostalgia value will drop off pretty quickly, but I think in this case the show itself is enough to keep it together.

    The hosts and glads seemed a bit nervous at the very start, but as Brig said, once it got going it was really going. I think the way the contenders and the glads were interacting after the events (especially in the second half) was key.

    I love the glads having their own signature texture (very 2011). They should have got Cube-style multicamera for that bit where they freeze-frame them at the end of their intros. Nice that they’re giving the glads a more diverse range of identities than “the mean one” and “the blonde one”.

    As others have said, shame about the music, although I did think the main titles were great. The commentary was very very gentle, and could definitely do with more energy.

    I’m not sure “Power up” is going to take off as a catchphrase but bless them for trying.

    I did think “oh is the Ring meant to replace gauntlet” and then the very next game was gauntlet, but then actual gauntlet was fantastic so there you go.

    Hang tough looks smaller than it used to be but I think that might be because they never did wide shots on the original.

    I honestly didn’t have any problem with the eliminator (save having to undo the clips on the trapeze bars), again I think shooting it closer in the old days might be the key.

    Overall I was smiling all the way through, and it felt big and epic and fun.

  6. Daniel

    Didn’t really watch the original saw glimpses of it but it was one of my mom’s favourites apparently so she was really looking forward to this. After seeing the BBC1 reboot i personally loved it the games was extremely entertaining actually it’s one of the first programs in a long time the whole of my family sat and watched together which was a lovely moment. One thing i am worried about with this show just like Ninja Warrior UK is getting bored of seeing the same games week after week i know they’ll probably introduce new events such as The Edge (Next week) and also there will be different people / moments but it’s whether the games will become repetitive. Overall it’s very impressive the approach the BBC have taken to this show. The new Gladiators seriously mean business and as one of them said on the show there not there to injure people there are just there to give them a tough time which is what they did they made it difficult for them. This is 100 times better than Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy i’m glad i chose to watch this live tonight over WOF and i’ll defo continue to watch Gladiators each week as long as it stays in that slot and doesn’t clash with The Masked Singer and Limitless Win. Thumbs up from me 🙂

  7. Brig Bother Post author

    This was, in the main, *really good* once it got going, although I thought the extended edit of the theme was a bit weird, and the introductions and opening event felt like it took forever to get through (not helped by each Glad having their own introduction coming into the arena, that would have got very old if it was for every game but thank goodness it wasn’t), I thought from Collision (aka Hit And Run but with a sexual awakening element) onwards it was largely top-tier stuff – really felt like a remaster of the 90s show, looking as you thought you’d remember it rather than as it was. Mark Clattenburg very quickly gets out of John Anderson’s shadow. Guy Mowbray is no John Sachs, but fine. Bradley and Barney were OK, but they’re not really on all that much.

    Thought the new Glads were great in the main – Nitro might be the new Cobra. Laughed a great deal at Legend’s curt “no” when asked if the contestant was good or not. Could have overplayed the hand, largely didn’t I think.

    So it’s brilliant except in one aspect unfortunately, and it’s the event music which didn’t feel memorable at all and you think that shouldn’t matter, but actually Muff Murfin’s soundtrack it was one of the central pillars of the show’s identity. I wasn’t expecting it to be the same. I was at least hoping it would be melodic and memorable, instead it was boringly low-mixed drum and bass soundscapes. Nobody is going to be hunting this down the same way they’re still excited about the original are they? Also I don’t get why the clock was hidden in Hang Tough until the last 15 seconds – if people need to hang on, I want to know how long they’ve got to do it for so why do that?

    Really pleased this seems to have gone down well with everyone.

  8. Greg

    This really did right the wrongs of the Sky1 version.

    The set felt like it had enough room to do things properly. The gladiators all have charisma and personality and Bradly was actually better than I thought he would be here.

    There is a few minor gripes.

    The chosen games are a bit samey. I am disappointed there is no Swingshot or Danger Zone for example.

    Barney did an ok job, but I just don’t like this style of presenting. He is like a poundshop Roman Kemp.

    I will absolutely be back for this next week.

  9. Mark A

    That was really good. It’s pretty much what the Sky reboot of the 2000s should’ve been.

    The only major critique is that I’m not a fan of the more “modern” music they used for the events. If anything, it just makes the use of the original theme tune sound more jarring. No joke, I literally forgot they kept the original theme by the end!

    Still, I enjoyed it. Looking forward to more episodes (and hopefully series) to come.

  10. Brig Bother Post author

    A couple of things we noticed on a rewatch that I sort of noticed at the time but are a bit more obvious if you’re looking out for it – it feels like the whistle to start the games has been added in post – in quite a few of the events it looks like they were getting into it before the whistle – Duel was quite bad for this, but in Collision Glads looked like they were leaving the platform before Go – if it happened in the arena that’s quite bad refereeing, if it happened in post that’s quite bad editing – either way hope it doesn’t happen in future. You’ve got an hour for six events – it’s not like you need to cut games for runtime!

  11. Chris M Dickson

    Mmm… I suspect I enjoyed this rather less than most people did, but far from disastrous, and very far from tarnishing the reputation of the original. (Context: some of you may know this is a rough time of year for me, so it may be no more than that.) The fact that they stuck so closely to the original was a very good starting-point, and the action was exciting enough.

    Some bits of it felt rather loose; there seemed to be more early starts than a Super Mario Kart race. I liked the shaking video effect the first time we saw it, but it quickly became rather overdone. Cutting to Clattenburg for every Contender ready or Gladiator ready was ABC direction at its most witless, and I think the Gauntlet should have been stopped for a Gladiator running out of their zone before it actually was. You’ve got three referees, use them! With thanks to Brig for reminding me of the name, this is the voiceover role Jonathan Pearce was born for – his work on the Robot Wars reboot shows he’s still got it. Even though Bradley Walsh has Glads credentials of a sort, I didn’t think he was particularly authentic as a host, and the more lightly he was used the better for me, but this didn’t go too too far into cutting the number of games to give us more time to get to know the personality of the con… er, hosts.

    The potential’s definitely there. Looking forward to the rest of the series, and looking forward even more to a second series to polish it up a little bit.

    1. Daniel

      what a figure. That is astonishing well deserved would watch this over the WOf reboot any day.

  12. Cameron Yarde Jnr

    I REALLY enjoyed it! Far more than I thought I would.

    They got most of it right with the theme, scale and colour. It looked great on screen and so much better than the drab Sky reboot. The only misstep is the hosts. Micha Richards would have far more energy than Bradley & Barney combined. But I can get past that.

    I expected it to do well because of nostalgia and curiosity, 4/5m. Not SIX MILLION! That’s superb! I think it’ll remain a hit and not fall away because the response to it has been overwhelmingly positive.

    A reboot that wasn’t screwed up as they didn’t change what worked.

      1. Brekkie

        Lost half its audience in episode 2 and now being rushed to a conclusion over 2 weeks before the official Aussie ratings season begins.

    1. Greg

      Yes I did, extremely low budget. Gladiators not very well cast. Odd choice of games. Tilt, Pyramid two very bold choices due to the injuries caused in those events in the past.

      Watching that makes me appreciate our version being done right.

  13. Henry R

    6 millions is a crazy figure. So pleased for them.

    Got to feel sorry for the producers of Survivor at this point.

  14. Stephen

    Pretty much as good as I was hoping for after attending the recording of the first quarter-final. That is to say, very good and very much feeling like a 21st century revamp of the original. Thank goodness the Seven Nation Army chant to introduce Bradley and Barney seems to have just been for the audience and not for transmission!

    I didn’t notice as much drone camera footage as I expected — they sent one whizzing round each game before starting, but the game introductions didn’t seem to make too much of it, though I did clock a drone camera going through the basket of Collision. Speaking of games, I think they struck a nice balance between returning classics and new ones for a first episode.

    I thought the magic of TV might make it all look much bigger than it was person (and as vast as Birmingham seemed to my child mind in the 90s), but it didn’t really. Unlike the Gladiators themselves, whose muscles seemed even bigger than they did in person.

  15. Brig Bother Post author

    Gauntlet’s miles too easy, eight successes in eight attempts. I think the gutter is too wide, too easy to slip through.

    Liked The Edge, although three points a crossing feels like too much, not sure why they didn’t just go with two. Also feels TV odd to have such an ultra high variance game Game Two, if you’re not saving Duel for the end that’s where it ought to be really.

    I don’t know if he’s the best Gladiator, but Legend certainly is the one with the comedy chops.

    1. Karen

      I don’t think Gauntlet is too wide, it looks narrower than the original but it is way too short. Also I think Duel was intended as game 5 given that The Edge was still set up in the background during The Wall.

  16. Daniel

    You know this week was better than last week somehow i think because the pace was quicker and they got on with the games faster than last week without too much chat in between. I tell you what this reminds me of Splatalot! on CBBC which used to be presented by Dick and Dom the fact that they have attackers and defenders brings back memories of when that used to be on obviously that was less violent compared to this and that involved water this didn’t. The games are fantastic The Edge , The Wall and Powerball were all new to this week and all three was just so much fun to watch honestly it feels like some nostalgia back from the 90s when i watch it feel as if the show has a fresh vibe for the present day but brings back hints of that old gameshow style which i really like. This is one of the BBC’s best works yet they have made this very watchable from the theme tune , the games , the hosts , the crowd , the gladiators everything just works so well unlike Jeopardy and Wheel Of Fortune which were total flops on ITV. My family are so into this some of them never sit and watch this type of show but it just brings togetherness on a saturday evening. Sadly on February 3rd the show has been moved to 7:10pm due to the six nations so regretfully i may have to watch on catch up but The Masked Singer is more important considering they leak results online of that straight after the show so best to watch live to avoid spoilers 😉

  17. Mark A

    Funny how, for the first time this series, its the female contenders going first. Maybe they will alternate as the series goes on?

    Also, Is it just me, or does The Edge resemble The Vortex from The Adventure Game?

    1. Karen

      My immediate thought when I saw The Edge was that someone found the Dark Knight set from Incredible Games in a warehouse.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.