Monday, December 29, 2008

Gladiators... READY!

I spent Christmas in a farmhouse somewhere remote in Cumbria - there was no mobile reception - you couldn't even get a tv ariel signal. However, the owners had kindly installed Sky in several rooms in the house. I gave up on paying extra for satellite channels a few years ago, realising that most of the best stuff was on Freeview anyway (and increasingly on Iplayer), so it was interesting to scroll through hundreds of channels of absolute nonsense. The typical Sky channel seems to consist of a young woman with a "common accent", a below average IQ, blonde hair and large breasts, standing in a poorly decorated tv studio, attempting to sell something, while badly composed text messages and random numbers whizz across the bottom of the screen.

Sky One retains its spot as purveyor of high-quality trash though. My 5 year old nephew was particularly taken with the relaunched Gladiators, which is as silly, addictive and glitzy as I remember it in the mid-1990s. My nephew is just getting to that stage where anything to do with girls is seen as naff, so he was initially unimpressed by the female gladiators. However, as kitsch and shameless as Gladiators might be - there is a (post-)feminist message in there - women can be just as tough (and still have beautiful hair and nails).

In the episode we saw, the original Gladiators had returned to battle it out with the younger, more pert ones. There were rather cruel flashbacks to the old series, as we saw the likes of Wolf, Hunter, Lightening and Panther as they were in their glory days (although with that said - Wolf was always old. Now he looks a bit like Peter Tatchell on steroids.) I was rather concerned about the old Gladiators - while they had a lot of spirit and pluck, they were now in their 40s and 50s, and bodies aren't as bendy as they used to be. One of the poor lady Gladiators ended up on crutches after she went over on her foot.

My favourite new Gladiator (who has taken the mantle of villain from Wolf), is Oblivion. Charlie Brooker has recently said that the new male Gladiators all sound like gay nightclubs (he's right - there's a gay club called Oblivion about 20 miles from my house).



When Oblivion is not being Oblivion, he is Nick Aldis, a wrestler from Docking in Norfolk. And he is 21. Sigh.

1 comment:

Lost Boy said...

The hotification of TV continues... Have you noticed that the new batch of Gladiators are more physically attractive than the original lot? They also go- gasp!- topless, which never happened on the old show. There was always a spandex vest in the way to spoil the fun.