The original Gladiator star has questioned what the show’s revival will look like, warning that stricter health and safety regulations will “take away that excitement.”
The popular entertainment sports show is set to return next year as an 11-episode series on the BBC. It features new games and classic challenges like the fan-favorite Eliminator, a grueling obstacle course.
Former gladiators Kim Betts and Sharon Davis, known to fans as Lightning and the Amazons, appeared on BBC Breakfast on Friday to talk about their comeback.
Davis, 59, said:
“Going forward, I think it will be very different from what it was then.”
Betts, 50, shared Davis’ concerns, revealing that even when the original show was running, changes were made due to health and safety rules.
“It’s a big change,” she said. “When we first started, the kind of six-foot free fall we were doing without a harness just crashed onto her mat.
“It’s great if you’re not afraid of heights and are more conscious about falling, but health and safety have been around for years and you need to be hooked up to a harness.
“We remove the element of fear and excitement from our home viewers.
“I know some people have been seriously injured because of it…so I completely understand that. I have been to many events.
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“It takes away the excitement factor.”
The show, which will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, will return with a new generation of ‘superhumans’ competing against competitors in the ‘ultimate test of speed and strength’, the BBC said.
Davis, a former Olympic swimmer, explained that he suffered an injury not long after starting the show, recalling “a good memory, but a tough one.”
“I was avoiding it for a while after seeing how much everyone was injured,” she said.
“Then, in my first year, I had a crack in the ACL[anterior cruciate ligament]in my knee.
“So it’s a good memory, but a hard one, because we were recording two or three shows a day, often starting early in the morning and ending at 10 at night.”
At its peak, Gladiator, which ran from 1992 to 2000, echoed on TV screens on Saturday night ITV slots with “Contenders, are you ready? Gladiator, are you ready?”
Betts, the British former gymnast and the longest-serving gladiator, said he had not been asked to participate in the show’s reboot.
She said: “I haven’t been asked. I know a lot of people want the old stuff involved.”
When asked if he would like to participate, Betts added: I mean, I’m his 50 and one of his young gladiators. Do people want to see 50-year-olds running around in bikinis?
“But it’s nice to get involved and try to help it be as successful as it was before.”
Filming for Gladiator will take place next year at the Utilita Arena Sheffield.