Fans of 1990s Saturday night television rejoice – after a short-lived reboot over a decade ago, preposterous adversarial sports entertainment show Gladiators is making another comeback

Contenders ready?

They will be by the time the show airs. The BBC has announced it will bring the much-loved extravaganza back to our screens in an 11-part revival to air on BBC One and iPlayer in 2023. First shown on ITV between 1992 and 2000, it was revived by Sky in 2008 for a single year.

Gladiators ready?

Likewise the cast of well-toned and immaculately coiffured ‘super-humans’ who provide the muscle/eye candy will be primed and primped and ready to go when the starter’s whistle is blown. Remember their names? How could you forget Hunter, Panther, Cobra, Warrior, Wolf and Jet? Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies joined the show as Amazon for series four and among the others to have strutted their stuff in lurid, skin-tight Lycra is James Crossley, star of Channel 4 reality show The Circle, and Jane Omorogbe, now a successful motoring journalist but better known to fans of Gladiators as Rio. Only one contender has ever returned as a Gladiator: series three winner Eunice Huthart, who became Blaze. Another notable victor was Olympic diver Jane Smith, who won the 1998 series and the Champion of Champions competition the following year.

And the format?

You don’t change a winning team, so it will look and feel much like Gladiators of old, right down to fan favourite The Eliminator, the assault course round which ended each show. However alongside the “classic” challengers there will be new games and, of course, plenty of new faces as the Gladiators of the 1990s are now well into their 40s and 50s. Glasgow-born sports coach John Anderson, the voice of Gladiators, is now 90.

Who are the presenters?

Helming the original series when it launched in 1992 were Ulrika Jonsson and former footballer John Fashanu. He was replaced by former England rugby union star Jeremy Guscott in 1997 but returned for another series in 1999. As for the revamp, the BBC is staying tight-lipped on that front. Watch this space, as they say.

What else do they say?

“Gladiators is back, and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to watching a Saturday night spectacle like no other. Will the contenders have the will and the skill to succeed against our mighty new Gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out!” Those are the words of the BBC’s Kate Phillips, head of the broadcaster’s confusingly named Unscripted department. Dan Baldwin, managing director of the BBC’s production partner Hungry Bear, is equally bullish. “It’s the perfect time for Gladiators to return,” he says. “What other show combines electric excitement, superheroes, giant sponge fingers, elite athletes, and a pinch of pantomime?”