‘Gladiators’ – Nostalgia Trip

In wich guest blogger Jontosaurus has something to admit…

Jet was well fit. That is how I’m going to start my article – with a whole-hearted confession that yes, I did find her to be the best of all of the female Gladiators. I was probably too young to really understand what to do with my youthful hormones but I understood that Jet was young, attractive and ever so flexible. That was enough for me.

jet
Jet: the object of many boys youthful hormones!

But I digress- it’s that time again where I delve into the annals of television history with very little protective gear and emerge with another artifact from television’s glorious past. It’s another nostalgia trip and, as you’ve probably worked out for my ever so subtle introduction, it’s the time for Gladiators to be put under the microscope. The show actually earned itself a reboot on Sky in the not too distant past.

Gladiators was great fun. Four competitors- two female and two male- entered the show and undertook a whole selection of physical challenges that pitted them against the titular Gladiators, a group of demi-gods who were well oiled, well grafted examples of physical perfection. Robot Wars had the house robots- Gladiators had these guys. All of them were athletes, their bodies perfected and sculpted so that they could face off against others. The competitors, meanwhile, were never quite so good. They were still fitter than the average person, normally with careers as gym instructors or P.E instructors, but they were still often easily beaten by the Gladiators.

I only really remember two of the Gladiators vividly. The first of course was Jet. The other, also obviously, was Wolf, but let’s face it- everybody remembers him. Wolf was clearly a nice guy, but he had been hired to represent a threat to the competitors, and so he went down the ‘WWE’ route of over-acting, shouting loudly and refusing to shake hands even when he was beaten. The crowd loved to hate him, and so did the audience, although by all accounts he was a sweet and gentle guy when the cameras stopped rolling.

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Wolf: grrr baby, very grrr!

Jet, meanwhile, was just elegant. The more said about her, the better, but also the worst, because I don’t want to just go on about her.

The classic moments of the events weren’t just in the personalities, either- they were only a part of it. A whole range of challenges were the real highlights, with the pugils- giant cotton buds used to beat each other over the head with- being fan favourites. Stood on platforms, the competitor and the Gladiator bashed each other until one fell from the platform. It was crazy fun, because the same outcome could be achieved with literally anything that didn’t look as mental as the pugil sticks.

duel
The famous dueling pugil sticks!

There was also the event that saw all four competitors in giant versions of those balls you normally see hamsters running about the living room in. Of course, who can forget the infamous travellator? Imagine trying to run up a slope whilst a strong wind tries to blow you back down. That was essentially the challenge, although there was a more sadistic edge to it. At the end, the competitors faced off in a race, with the highest scoring warrior getting a head start through a variety of obstacles in what always struck me as the most painful race in the world. As they approached the end, exhausted from having climbed vertical walls, swung across cavernous gaps, and having genuinely put every inch of their body through discomfort, they met the dreaded Travellator and you could literally see the hope drain from their eyes.

Every week, we got to watch as people put themselves through pain and suffering for our enjoyment. But mainly, Jet. She was lovely, wasn’t she!

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