Gladiators producers ‘rejected Wolf’ but changed minds as crowd went ‘ballistic’

Gladiators star Michael Van Wijk has revealed that producers rejected his idea for Wolf to be bad.

The 69-year-old appeared on all eight series of the hit ITV show and quickly became a fan-favourite due to his villainous antics.

During the shows run from 1992 to 2000, there was no Gladiator quite like Wolf who managed to get the crowd going the minute he set foot into the arena.

READ MORE: Gladiators' Wolf nearly missed out on show but raunchy Page 3 snap landed him spot

In an exclusive chat with Daily Star, the gym owner revealed that he pitched the 'Big Bad Wolf' idea to producers and explained that it stemmed from him wanting to stand out from other Gladiators.

He said: "When we got to the shows I looked around I thought 'Wow, look all these fit strong, fantastic looking people, how can I stand out to this crowd?' Especially because I was also the oldest and everyone else looked so good.

"So I said to the producers when we were doing the first series, 'Can I be bad?' And they said, 'No' because everyone has to have this squeaky clean image and this is Gladiators," he continued.

"I said, 'But the name is Wolf. You know, big, bad'. So I said 'Can I just do it for one show and if it doesn't resonate or doesn't work or if you don't think it's any good I promise I'll never ask you again'.

The gym owner went on to say that it was the incredible reaction from the crowd that made up producers' minds.

The former Gladiator said: "So they said 'Alright'. So we've opened one show and I tried to be bad and obnoxious and the crowd just went ballistic and loved it. And the producers said 'Alright you've got it, you're the baddie'."

The BBC have confirmed that Gladiators will return to screens next year and Wolf has already admitted he is up for returning as a Gladiator or a presenter.

And it seems the feeling is mutual because former Gladiator Jet, whose real name is Diane Youdale, also expressed an interest in returning to the show while speaking on the Gladiators podcast, GladPod

She said: "I have a huge presenting and broadcast background so I do have some credibility in that area. But, for me, my credibility really does lie in having been there and having done the show."

The 52-year-old added: "I would love to be one of the key anchors, of course – who wouldn’t?"

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