Do You Feel The Power of The Gladiators Reboot?!

Rebooted Gladiators with Barney and Bradley Walsh

Gladiators reboot… READY! In case you missed it, the legendary television show is back. This time the series is on the BBC and it is great. It has kept enough of the fundamentals to appeal to those of us who remember the original, the ‘Eliminator’ with its travelators remains, but there are new games. Obviously, there is a whole new cast alongside incoming presenters Bradley and Barney Walsh.

The Gladiators in the reboot seem to get it – they look amazing and play their roles in an appropriately over-the-top manner. The father-and-son presenting duo is occasionally irritating, but they are generally just energetic and fun. And that is what this show is all about. It is silly and it is fun.

There are knowing winks to the audience, but the series generally takes itself the right amount of seriously. The contestants really care about doing their best. The Gladiators are buff, hyper-competitive and (mostly) sporting. Yes, not many of us are going to ever look like them, but it all encourages health and fitness without being preachy.

Former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg (boo…hiss Pedro Mendes…) has taken over from the iconic John Anderson, now 92. He understands the assignment, delivering the immortal “Contestants…ready! Gladiators…ready!” line with appropriate panache.

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Gladiators Reboot Working

Perhaps surprisingly, it all seems to be working. Yahoo News reported that an average of six million tuned into the first work, peaking at 6.3 million. That means it gave “Dancing on Ice” a great big whack with a pugil stick. The ITV show got just 3.6 million viewers on Sunday. Its channel mate The Masked Singer, which airs on Saturdays, barely fared better. It earned 3.7 million viewers. Whether the BBC can keep up the momentum remains to be seen, but I suspect the series is getting enough attention that it will.

The Gladiators reboot could have been a cringe-inducing disaster. However, it is proving to be one of the surprise family hits of early 2024, and with good reason.

Watch it on BBC iPlayer

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