Imagine spotting a gladiator at your local train station and watching them posing for photos with commuters in tight lycra. Now, imagine them hauling your heavy luggage down the stairs!
Travellers on Thursday afternoon did not have to imagine as stars of the rebooted series of Gladiators were present on the main concourse and on platforms at Sheffield train station to promote the new series.
Giant and Steel, two of the new Gladiators in the BBC series, could be seen carrying heavy passenger luggage as well as signalling one lucky London EMR train for departure. Giant, aka Jamie Christian Johal, was delighted to ‘entertain’ crowds at the station, despite the cold temperatures and lack of layers.
He said: “It’s amazing to show you’re trying to do good for the community and entertain people. I love to entertain people.”
Gladiators: the new series
Gladiators first appeared on TV screens back in 1992 and was shown on ITV. It then returned on Sky in 2008 but was taken off air after just two seasons. Ulrika Johnson, Ian Wright and Caroline Flack were just some of the presenters in the previous series.
The BBC have rebooted this classic show and filming took place in Sheffield, at the Utilita Arena in the summer.
Giant, from Derbyshire, said: “It’s very surreal (to be apart). Having watched the show as a kid it just feels like a dream come true.”
Meanwhile Steel, from Leicestershire, said: “It’s absolutely amazing! It’s like a dream come true.”
New games have been added to the show although the original format still remains, including the famous travelator as part of the final game. It is hosted by father and son pair, Bradley and Barney Walsh.
They were both praised highly, with Giant saying, “they went together like cheese and ham”, while Steel said, “they were really funny and the chemistry between them was perfect”.
The Sheffield crowd
Crowds of around 4,500 excited fans gathered each day to watch the filming at the Arena back in June last year. Giant, who stands at 6’5’’, said: “It was electric, like something out of a film. Just being there with kids shouting your names, chanting and wanting you to do well.”
Steel, aka Zack George, praised the impact of the Yorkshire crowd. He said: “The crowd was amazing. The first time I stepped out on stage and you felt that energy, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
Handwritten banners were created by members of the crowd, both young and old, in support of their favourite Gladiators.
The two muscle-men drew attention from staff, commuters and passer-bys alike with many asking for photographs with the new BBC stars. Chris Sedgewick, customer service officer at Sheffield station, said: “It has been quite exciting. It certainly stirred up the crowd a little bit. The new series is great for the city.”
Gladiators will return with an 11-episode season starting on BBC One and iPlayer on Saturday 13 January at 5.50pm.