Gladiators The Wolf reveals BBC snubbed him for return: Am 71 and never been fitter

Gladiators The Wolf reveals BBC snubbed him for return: Am 71 and never been fitter
GBN Videos

By GBN Videos

Published: 08/01/2024

- 12:31

Updated: 08/01/2024

- 12:39

MIKE van Wijk, who played Wolf in the original series of Gladiators, has welcomed the return of the iconic TV programme but revealed how the BBC snubbed his offer to be a part of it.

Van Wijk, 71, told GBNews: “I really enjoyed doing it and to be perfectly honest with you, all joking aside, I could do it right now. I'm 71 years old. I'm 71 years old and fit. I'm strong. I've never stopped training.

He added: “I wanted to take part in some shape or form in the new series, or even be a co-host, but when I contacted them, I got no reply.

“I think they basically wanted to get away from everything to do with the original show and just do it their own way, which is understandable.”

“I think it’s fantastic. I think it's going to be a lot harder for them this time around because of Netflix and Prime and there’s a lot of competition. Whereas before we didn't have all that.

“I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't even go to a shopping mall. I'd be mobbed. I never envisioned it was going to be that big. You just don't realise the power of television.”

Speaking to Andrew Pierce and Ellie Costello, he continued: “Basically, it was a family show. Grandma could sit down with the children and their children and it was just the whole family show.

“There weren't many family shows out at the time and it captured the market.”

Asked whose idea it was for him to play the bad guy, he said: “It was my idea but, because when they said to me your name is going to be Wolf - they chose the names, we had no say in that.

“It was fantastic for me because the character was so strong. They kept me on the show for the whole eight years.”

Asked about his advice for the new gladiators, he said: “I would say create your own character. Don't try and copy anybody else.

“Just be yourself and that will come across to the audience far better if you're yourself rather than trying to copy somebody else.


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