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Gladiators’ Wolf is ready for Dean Van Wijk’s 2023 reboot

His father Michael Van Wijk made his name as Wolf when he played in eight seasons of Gladiators.

But after his Michaels run from 1992 to 2000, his son Dean, 34, wants to follow in his 70-year-old father’s footsteps when the game show makes a comeback next year after signing up for the reboot — and he’s even from plan to go under the name Wolfswelp.

“I’ve always wanted to wear Lycra and chase people,” Dean said The sun. While Michael added, “I believe he can take the contenders to shreds like I used to.”

Family Affair: Dean Van Wijk (Pictured) Hopes To Follow In The Footsteps Of His Father Michael, Who Rose To Fame As Gladiators' Wolf, During The Game Show'S 2023 Reboot

Family affair: Dean Van Wijk (pictured) hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father Michael, who rose to fame as Gladiators’ Wolf, during the game show’s 2023 reboot

In its heyday, the program drew 13 million viewers, with the hit 1990s TV show featuring members of the public battling it out against a cast of bodybuilders and gymnasts known as Gladiators.

And while fitness fanatic Dean is confident he’s up to the challenge, he knows he’s got big boots to fill when it comes to matching up with his dad.

“It’s a little daunting to think about,” he explained. “Especially because he was number one with his character.

Fighting Fit: Michael Appeared As Wolf In The Show In Eight Series From 1992 To 2000 (Pictured In 1992)

Fighting Fit: Michael Appeared As Wolf In The Show In Eight Series From 1992 To 2000 (Pictured In 1992)

Fighting Fit: Michael appeared as Wolf in the show in eight series from 1992 to 2000 (pictured in 1992)

‘But I’m ready. I can’t be exactly like him, but I’ll try to bring something different to the show.”

Dean said he got a taste for appearing on the show when he was a kid after his dad made him a mini lycra costume to match Wolf’s and Michael wore him on his shoulders around the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, where the program was filmed.

However, it remains to be seen if Dean will make it onto the show as the cast has yet to be announced and tens of thousands of aspiring gladiators would have tried out.

Aspirations: Dean, Who Has Not Yet Been Confirmed As One Of The Cast But Has Signed On For The Reboot, Said: 'I'Ve Always Wanted To Wear Lycra And Chase People'

Aspirations: Dean, Who Has Not Yet Been Confirmed As One Of The Cast But Has Signed On For The Reboot, Said: 'I'Ve Always Wanted To Wear Lycra And Chase People'

Aspirations: Dean, who hasn’t yet been confirmed as one of the cast but has signed on for the reboot, said: ‘I’ve always wanted to wear Lycra and chase people’

The BBC confirmed this summer that the show will be making a comeback with an 11-episode series, welcoming a new generation of ‘supermen’ who will take on contestants in the ‘ultimate test of speed and strength’.

Originally hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu, the program will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and will feature a host of new games alongside the classic challenges that old fans will know and love.

Each show concludes with the ultimate fan-favorite challenge: the intense obstacle course known as The Eliminator.

Happy Memories: Dean Said He Got A Taste For Appearing On The Show When He Was A Kid After His Dad Made Him A Mini Lycra Costume To Match Wolf'S

Happy Memories: Dean Said He Got A Taste For Appearing On The Show When He Was A Kid After His Dad Made Him A Mini Lycra Costume To Match Wolf'S

Happy memories: Dean said he got a taste for appearing on the show when he was a kid after his dad made him a mini lycra costume to match Wolf’s

The rebooted program will be filmed at Utilita Arena Sheffield in 2023, with new hosts yet to be announced.

And while Dean’s dad Michael looks back fondly on his time on the show and says he’d love to return, he admits he doesn’t think series bosses will let him make a comeback at age 70.

Michael recalled how he used to hang out with celebrities when he regularly appeared on screen as Wolf, with pop star Robbie Williams once describing himself as one of his “huge fans”, before asking for a picture with him.

At its peak, Gladiators drew huge audiences to its Saturday night ITV slot as the famous call of ‘Contenders Ready? Gladiators ready?’ echoed across the TV screens.

Kate Phillips, the BBC director of unscripted, said of the reboot: ‘Gladiators is back and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to an unrivaled Saturday night spectacle.

“Will the contenders have the will and skill to succeed against our mighty new gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out.”

The new series is produced by Hungry Bear Media and MGM Television UK.

Scot Cru, executive vice president of global formats and Unscripted Content for MGM Television, added: “Gladiators is a format that resonates with viewers around the world.

“We are delighted to bring this respected series to the BBC and can’t wait to introduce our UK Gladiators.”

In The Past: While Dean'S Dad Michael (Pictured) Looks Back Fondly On His Time On The Show, He Admits He Doesn'T Think Series Bosses Will Let Him Make A Comeback At Age 70

In The Past: While Dean'S Dad Michael (Pictured) Looks Back Fondly On His Time On The Show, He Admits He Doesn'T Think Series Bosses Will Let Him Make A Comeback At Age 70

In the past: While Dean’s dad Michael (pictured) looks back fondly on his time on the show, he admits he doesn’t think series bosses will let him make a comeback at age 70

Hungry Bear general manager Dan Baldwin said of the show’s big comeback, “It’s the perfect time for Gladiators to return.

What other show combines electric excitement, superheroes, giant long fingers, elite athletes and a pinch of pantomime?

“Beware of the new breed of superhuman, supersized superstars appearing on your screens on BBC One and iPlayer.”

The classic show, originally broadcast on ITV, made famous names of the Gladiators, including Wolf, Jet, Lightening, Nightshade, Hunter and Warrior.

The format – which originated in the US – was emulated in Australia, South Africa, Russia, Finland, Germany, Nigeria, Denmark and Sweden.

The series was watched by over 14 million viewers and gruff referee John Anderson – known for his catchphrase ‘Contenders Ready? Gladiators ready?’ – stood ready to rein in the gladiators and contestants.

But the show was axed in 1999 after losing more than half of its viewership in later series to six million.

It has seen many spin-offs and was briefly revived by Sky One in 2009, but only lasted for two series.

Viewers, Are You Ready?! The Hit '90S Tv Show Gladiators Will Return To Screens Next Year After More Than 20 Years, It Has Been Confirmed

Viewers, Are You Ready?! The Hit '90S Tv Show Gladiators Will Return To Screens Next Year After More Than 20 Years, It Has Been Confirmed

Comeback: It comes after the BBC announced that the show – which drew 13 million viewers on ITV at its peak – will return to our screens in 2023 (pictured in 1995)

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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