As Gladiators returns to TV, where are the original cast now? From drug-fuelled plot to winning Miss Universe | The Sun

GLADIATORS is coming back – 22 years after the show was dramatically axed.

But while the pugil sticks, lycra and dramatic music are all set to return, the original stars are unlikely to given their age.

Now in their 50s, 60s, many of the cast have lived lives every bit as dramatic as the action that plays out on TV.

Here, we take a look at what the original Gladitors are doing now…


Shadow was once one of Gladiators' brightest stars – but now he's a convicted criminal.

He was axed from the show in 1995 after testing positive for steroids, and he battled substance abuse issues in the years after.

Cops released a shocking mugshot of the former bodybuilder, real name Jefferson King, after the 59-year-old admitted taking part in a drug-fuelled blackmail plot.

He demanded £1,000 from a mum for the safe return of her son who was allegedly being held hostage by a gang.

King was jailed for six years and three months in 2021 for his role in the plot.


Glamorous Diane Youdale was beloved by fans around the country as Jet.

Now 52, she recently hinted at a troubled love life which left her needing to “decompress”.

But speaking on the Celebrity Catch Up podcast, she added how she is now ready to find love again.

She said: “I’ve been single for some time. But I thought this year I may start dating because I’ve thought, ‘I’m not going to be alone for ever’.”

Diane, famed for her hair-flicking and cartwheels, left in 1996, aged 26, after fracturing her neck in a fall.

She is now a pilates instructor and runs her own counselling business.

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Buff Kim Betts has won bodybuilding Miss Universe and has 10,500 Instagram followers.

The former gymnast has spent 16 years in property development and running her beauty parlour and fishery.

Kim, 50, lives on a farm with her hubby and two kids.


Sharron Davies was probably the most famous of the Gladiators. Before joining the team she was a Team GB Olympic swimmer.

The mum of three, now 59, took a break from swimming aged 18 and built up a career as a TV presenter.

She was also on Dancing On Ice on ITV in 2010.

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Bodybuilder Michael Van Wijk took on the role of the show’s pantomime villainCredit: Rex
Wolf reunited with his Gladiators co-starsCredit: Rex

Indian-born bodybuilder Michael Van Wijk took on the role of the show’s pantomime villain, drawing boos from the crowd as he used every trick to make life tough for the contestants.

In 1994 he played one match for the reserve team of Gillingham FC. But after appearing in all eight series, Wolf moved to New Zealand and opened a chain of gyms.

The 69-year-old dad of four also took up cage fighting.


A former British pole vault record holder, Kate Staples broke her neck on Gladiators game Pole Axe in 1996 but made a full recovery after surgery.

Zodiac left Gladiators before the 1997 series, as she was pregnant with daughter Ella, whose dad is former Gladiator Trojan – and who counts Jet as her godmother.

Kate, 56, now runs schools coaching clubs with former Olympic gold medal decathlete Daley Thompson.


Baby-faced beefcake James Crossley was just 19 when he joined the show and was crowned the Ultimate Gladiator in the 1999 final showdown, Gladiator vs Gladiator.

He was rumoured to have dated the show’s host Ulrika Jonsson, something she confirmed in her 2002 autobiography.

Now 49, the bodybuilder is even more muscly and runs a personal training business.

James is now a strength and conditioning coach, he teaches yoga and gong baths in London.

He is also a “fit at 40” ambassador with his DVD “fit at 40 plus” available on Amazon.

He’s a keen musician and has two adorable bulldogs. 


Former British heptathlete Judy Simpson competed at three Olympics and won medals at another three Commonwealth Games.

She was also awarded an MBE because of her sporting achievements.

After Gladiators the 61-year-old continued to work in the fitness industry.

She suffered tragedy in 1999 when her baby daughter Joan Mary died of meningitis.


Part of the original line-up, Mike Lewis competed in all eight series.

The former bodybuilder joined the ITV show after working at a gym in central London.

When he left the series he became a firefighter.

Now 58, he was last seen on Gladiators’ successor, Ninja Warrior, in 2015, where he proved just as agile as his fans remembered.

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