This Is What The Original Stars Of Gladiators Are Doing Now


If you’re a certain age it’s pretty much a given that you spent your Saturday evenings glued to the spectacle that was Gladiators.

The cult show first hit UK screens in 1992 and ran for an impressive eight years before hanging up its lycra in 2000, reports The Mirror. 

If I remember rightly, the epic show was the highlight of the evening – sandwiched between the casually offensive Big Break and the repetitive dullness of Blind Date.

Many of the Gladiators became household names, taking their on-screen personas to new levels with sponsorship deals and appearances at regional Christmas light ceremonies for years to come.

Some of us were even lucky enough to meet the guys in person – thanks to Cobra and Lightning for the signed photos – but what are they up to nowadays?



Striking fear into hearts every weekend, Wolf (real name Michael Van Wijk)  was the official bad boy of the gang.

Still well and truly in the fitness game, Michael, now 63, runs a successful chain of gyms in New Zealand, where he lives with his wife and their four kids.



Incredibly popular among certain viewers, former gymnast Lightning was a truly terrifying prospect for any competitor – especially if you drew her in ‘Hang Tough’.

Since the show wound up, Kim Betts has been running a pretty diverse range of businesses including a fishery and a beauty parlour.

She has spent 15 years in property development and has now taken up the quiet life – moving to a farm with her husband Frank and their children Lexus and Skye.



Another favourite, especially with presenter Ulrika Jonsson, Hunter – real name James Crossley – reigned supreme above all others, proving as much when he won The Ultimate Gladiator title in The Battle Of The Giants show.

The former Junior Mr England is now 42-years-old and works as a personal trainer, running Chelsea Fitness. He has trained everyone from pop stars to rugby players – but specialises in fat loss and body transformations.



Who can forget Alan Partridge’s favourite Gladiator?

With frightening speed and agility – and those acrobatics – Jet specialised in absolutely legging it up the 36ft high climbing wall and ruthlessly chasing down her prey.

During a live show at Wembley Arena Diane suffered a fall, trapping nerves in her neck, which prompted her retirement from the programme.

Since leaving the show Jet – real name Diane Youdale – has been working as a consultant at a private hospital in North Wales.

She then worked as a teacher, specialising in physical education, dance and general studies before returning to studying and qualifying as a psychotherapist and pilates instructor.



My personal favourite, Shadow was not a man to mess with – who can forget when he literally broke a pugil stick over that guy’s head during Duel.

Unfortunately for Shadow – real name Jefferson King – he was axed in the midst of a steroid scandal.

His bad run didn’t end there either. His marriage ended after a mistress sold a story about their affair before he once again succumbed to drug abuse.

Following several periods in jail, 54-year-old Jefferson has now kicked his addiction and works at a drug rehabilitation clinic.



With that cheeky grin he was one of the heroes of Gladiators and now he’s a real life hero. After his stint on the show came to an end he became a fireman!



Cobra – Michael Wilson – was a late addition to the show, added to the roster just hours before the first episode after originally taking part as a contender.

When the show ended he competed against South Africa in the Springbok Challenge – putting his background in amateur boxing, kick boxing and bodybuilding to good use.

He now spends his days visiting schools and youth clubs delivering motivational speeches.



Scorpio – alias Nikki Diamond – was another firm favourite, taking part in the first three series of the show.

A former Miss Isle of Mann, Nikki returned to modelling and other TV work including a stint as a roving reporter for Watchdog and also wrote a book called Body Dynamics. 

She now runs the Chun Ming Dao Martial Arts Association in Surrey, with her partner Neil.



One of the most powerful and feared Gladiators, Warrior’s fall from grace following the show was pretty epic.

In 1997, Michael Aherne was sent to prison for corruption and perverting the course of justice in a firearms case and received a 15-month jail sentence.

Despite this set back, he bounced back following his release setting up his own business, Mike Ahearne’s Pro Gym, in Birkenhead.