MGM sports entertainment format Gladiators is returning to the UK, after the BBC confirmed an 11-part season for 2023 alongside a swathe of unscripted commissions including Blue Planet III.
Gladiators, which is being produced by Hungry Bear Media and MGM Television UK, will follows contestants as they compete against each other in an array of challenges testing speed and strength.
The new series will include brand new games alongside classic challenges from the show, which aired on ITV in the early 2000’s before being briefly revived for Sky in 2008.
Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted, told delegates at the Edinburgh TV Festival that the show would be “joyous, escapist TV”.
Dan Baldwin, MD of Hungry Bear, said: “It’s the perfect time for Gladiators to return. What other show combines electric excitement, superheroes, giant sponge fingers, elite athletes, and a pinch of pantomime? Watch out for the new breed of superhuman, supersized, superstars bursting on to your screens on BBC One and iPlayer.”
Dom Bird, SVP of MGM International Unscripted Television, added: “It’s going to be an epic series, pushing our next-level Gladiators and contestants to the very limits of their physical abilities.”
Blue Planet III
Phillips also unveiled new commissions including Blue Planet III, the latest instalment of the BBC Studios Natural History Unit produced show, which the broadcaster said would “use the very latest in underwater filming techniques to reveal brand new and untold stories from magical underwater worlds.”
Other commissions include Signs For Change (working title), which will see Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis asking if enough is being done around incision of deaf individuals. It is being made by Rogan Productions.
Finally, three-part history series Spy Wars: The Eighties will tell the hidden story of the real-life spies and traitors embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse during the Cold War. BBC Studios produces.