Gladiators: release date, hosts, gladiators, referees and everything we know

 A group shot of the Gladiators from the new BBC reboot.
A group shot of the Gladiators from the new BBC reboot.

Gladiators is headed to the BBC very soon!

The original Gladiators aired on ITV between 1992 and 2000 and had a brief revival on Sky in the late 2000s. After disappearing from our screens for over a decade, the challenge show is making a big comeback on the BBC.

In mid-January 2024, we'll be introduced to a whole new generation of superhuman athletes who'll be competing against everyday contestants in this ultimate test of speed and strength.

Announcing the exciting news, Kate Phillips, Director of Unscripted at the BBC, said: "Gladiators is back and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to watching a Saturday night spectacle like no other.

"Will the contenders have the will and the skill to succeed against our mighty new Gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out!"

Here's everything we know about Gladiators so far...

Gladiators release date

The BBC has finally confirmed that Gladiators will begin airing on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 5.50 pm, giving the show a primetime slot.

You'll also be able to stream episodes of the series on BBC iPlayer. And if you're looking for other shows to enjoy, check out our lists of the best BBC comedies and best BBC dramas that we think you should be streaming right now.

What should we expect from Gladiators?

Gladiators looks to be exactly what you'd expect from the bombastic show's return. We know that the reboot will include some brand-new challenges along with some old favourites, culminating at the end of each episode with "The Eliminator", which is back for the final competition.

Dan Baldwin said of the reboot: "It’s the perfect time for Gladiators to return.

"What other show combines electric excitement, superheroes, giant sponge fingers, elite athletes, and a pinch of pantomime? Watch out for the new breed of superhuman, supersized, superstars bursting on to your screens on BBC One and BBC iPlayer."

The new Gladiators logo.
The new Gladiators logo.

Who are the Gladiators?

CrossFit star Zack George and professional rugby player Jodie Ounsley were the first two names to be revealed via social media. Their Gladiators personas are Steel and Fury.

Bodybuilder Jamie Christian Johal, former Olympic bobsledder Montell Douglas, and former international athlete, Matt Morsia, are also joining the competition.

Together they are Giant, Fire and Legend respectively.

Team GB sprinter, Harry Aikines Aryeetey is lightning-fast and a ball of energy, which is why he's taking on the role of Nitro.

Speaking about the opportunity, Harry said: "Becoming a Gladiator is another great achievement! A childhood dream come true! You never know what is coming in life, each day is there to be enjoyed and savouring all opportunities is a must! It literally gives me energy and strength! I can’t wait to be in the arena and bring Nitro to Gladiators!"

Meanwhile, 6ft bodybuilder Livi Sheldon is striking and indestructible which has earned her the name Diamond.

Livi has cited her uniqueness, saying: "When I was growing up I used to get picked on for being taller than everyone else. Now I get to show everyone that being unique is your superpower. I can’t wait to get into the arena and take on the contenders as Diamond”

Gym owner and competitive weightlifter Sheli McCoy joins as Sabre, and said: "I truly hope Sabre will inspire and empower the younger generation of strong capable females just as the Gladiators I once watched inspired me to be a confident athletic women. It is Sabre’s time to shine - here come the powerful girls!"

Alex Gray is part of the lineup as Apollo. He was the first British rugby player to transfer over to the NFL where he played for the Atlanta Falcons, so his sporting background is perfect for the competition.

He said: "Gladiator ready?? You better believe I am!! After playing Rugby and in the NFL, the opportunity to inspire as Apollo is a dream come true. I plan on leading from the front and never giving up"

Finally, 20-year-old Emily Steel is the youngest Gladiator in the current line-up, but don't underestimate her! She goes by Dynamite for the new series and has experience competing in swimming at a national level.

She said: "I’m too young to remember the original Gladiators, but my parents loved it and suggested I try out. Dynamite really does represent who I am and I’m excited to showcase what I can do in the games."

The next star is Athena, aka Karenjeet Kaur Bains, who chose her name because she is a "combination of brain, brawn and beauty".

Karenjeet has won 3 Gold and 2 Silver Commonwealth Powerlifting medals and currently holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Bodyweight Squats in a minute”.

Speaking about taking part, she said: "I represent all those from diverse and minority backgrounds, especially women, that have ever been denied the opportunity to pursue their dreams in sport. I hope I can be a role model and show the levels a female can achieve, if she is given the opportunity to follow her passion and given the wings to fly!”

Former elite gymnast  Ella-Mae Rayner joins the lineup as Comet, who had a semi-professional career in Diving before starting her degree in Sport Science. During her time at University, she successfully coached and competed in University Cheerleading Championships.

Speaking about being Comet, Ella-Mae said: "I’m absolutely thrilled to be Comet. I loved watching Gladiators growing up. I specifically remember Jet, she was an icon for me as a child and one of the reasons I become a gymnast. I can’t believe I will be following in her footsteps. It really is a dream come true”.

Bodybuilder Matty Campbell is Bionic, his name chosen due to the fact he's "massive and strong", like a machine!

Speaking about taking part, Matty said: "Never in a million years did I expect to get the call to be a Gladiator, it's a feeling that’ll never sink in. I’m just a normal lad from Teesside! All the training and hard work has finally paid off for me, I can’t wait to get started!"

Sports model and fitness coach Jade Packer is a quick, electrifying, unstoppable force, earning her the name Electro.

Jade said: "I hope Electro can spark an unstoppable pursuit for a new generation of athletes. I’m ready to light up the arena with a different kind of energy."

Team GB Bobsleigh competitor Toby Olubi is "terrifyingly fast and unstoppable", giving him the name Phantom. He and his team broke the world record for the fastest ever bobsleigh at 97 mph, so he's used to speed!

Toby said: "This is a dream come true for me. I’m a 90’s kid so the Gladiators of past were my version of real life superheroes. Now I’ve got the chance to don the big “G” and be an inspirational figure myself.

"Gladiators is all about stepping up against the odds and bringing the best version of yourself. We will be given the biggest entertainment platform to represent that ethos and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful to be a Gladiator…. Let the show begin!!"

Finally, boxer and bodybuilder Quang Luong rounds out the line-up as Viper.

Speaking about taking part, he simply said: “I was born to be a Gladiator. I am strong, powerful and just like a Viper I can attack with speed.”

Who are the Gladiators hosts?

Gladiators 2023 has confirmed that father-son duo Bradley and Barney Walsh will be taking on hosting duties for the revived series.

The news was announced on social media, where the former Doctor Who star and The Chase host Bradley said: "Wow! I can’t believe that I’ve been asked to be part of this iconic show. I used to sit backstage, or in the audience, every week watching my wife be part of this juggernaut and now I get to co-host a new version of GLADIATORS!!! Saturday night family entertainment at its best...ARE YOU READY ?!"

Who are the Gladiators referees?

Mark Clattenburg refereeing a football match during the 2019 Chinest Football Association Quarter Final
Mark Clattenburg refereeing a football match during the 2019 Chinest Football Association Quarter Final

Ex-Premier League Football referee, Mark Clattenburg, former English international netball player Sonia Mkoloma, and fitness professional, firefighter, and athlete Lee Phillips have been named as the referees.

All three of them will bring their vast knowledge to the table, helping to oversee the tough challenges throughout the competition.

Is there a trailer?

Yes! A Gladiators trailer was shared on the show's official YouTube channel, and it gives us a taste of the carnage that's due to be on our screens very soon. Check it out here: