Bradley Walsh reveals how Gladiators reboot went from one-hour special to fully fledged series

Virgin Radio

13 Jan 2024, 16:20

Consummate host, Bradley Walsh, is just as excited and surprised about the reboot of beloved nineties gameshow Gladiators as the audience.

Known across the nation for his cheeky charm and whacky wit on The Chase, host Bradley Walsh is hoping that he can use his talents to raise the bar on The Gladiators reboot above that of its predecessors.

First starting out on ITV back in 1992, the gameshow has previously had a reboot back in 2008 and 2009 on Sky One but was not renewed for any further instalments.

That was until 2022, when production company Hungry Bear got into talks with MGM Alternative UK, who owned the rights to the show, to relaunch the format for a one hour special on BBC One.

Somewhere behind the scenes though, both production companies managed to find the resources and production facilities to create a full on series.

A new batch of Gladiators were then quickly found, with them starting to make appearance on television as far back as May of last year, they also managed to squeeze in one final appearance on screens before the year was through on the Strictly Finale.

Also in May of that year, it was confirmed that Bradley and his son, Barney, who had previously appeared together on series Breaking Dad, would be hosting the new version of the show.

Bradley's wife and Barney's mum, Donna, had worked as a choreographer for the cheerleaders on the original show, so the move to final takeover seems to be a full circle moment for the family.

Bradley enthusiastically, exclusively to, recalled his amazement at how the show became a full series: "Yeah, from what started out as an idea of just a nostalgic one-off. For me and Barney as a family sort of nostalgic look back at the show, ended up into a series."

Initially believing they'd only be able to draw interest for that one-off, Bradley remain aghast, adding:"It's just amazing, really. And I don't know how they pulled it off at Hungry Bear [production company]. But they did. And they've done the most fantastic job, and really amazing. And it was great to work on it."

Once the train left the station on production, it was all hands on deck to get the show filmed with in a limited timeframe of just under a fortnight, but fortunately that made the cast crew come together to build the best show.

Bradley explained: "It was so, so collaborative, and after a couple of days, we all sort of got into the swing of things.

"I mean, the first couple of shows were, you know, they were very like, Wow, we got to try and get this done in 11 or 12 days. God knows how we're gonna do it. But that for me, I don't know about you [looking to son Barney]. But that for me, I thought, I don't know how we're going to do this. But we did."

Ever the humble every man of tv, Bradley then closed out his thoughts by once again commending the crew: "And I got to hand it to Hungry Bear, but you really do. I mean, it's extraordinary.

"Considering it took so long to get to the point of doing this series, because as I said it was we're only going to make a one hour show or one off nostalgic look at gladiators ended up doing 11 hours on it. So it's it's it. I mean, I don't know how they did it. Amazing. So good. Good for them."

Gladiators returns to our screens tonight, 13th January 2024 at 5:50pm, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.