Gladiators came back with a bang to British TV screens on Saturday, making light work of ITV’s The Masked Singer.
In the latest line of UK TV reboots, the series in which members of the public take on the gladiators in challenges was watched by more than 6M viewers with a 38% share, comfortably becoming the BBC’s most-watched new show of the year and topping the weekend ratings chart.
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Helmed by Bradley Walsh and son Barney, the hour-long show that aired from 5.50 p.m. GMT (9.50 a.m. PT) peaked with 6.3M and comfortably beat ITV’s The Masked Singer, which is now into its fifth season and was watched by 3.7M from 7 p.m. GMT.
The rating would have been particularly frustrating for ITV as Gladiators aired on that channel for eight years and 13 seasons in the 1990s, making icons of its gladiators. It was briefly restarted by Sky One in the late-noughties but only ran for a further two seasons, but the BBC announced it was bringing it back with fanfare last year. The show sees contestants battle against one of the resident gladiators in physically challenging events, with the objective being for the contestant to secure points for the final event, The Eliminator.
Gladiators is the most successful of the recent UK TV reboots, comfortably besting Survivor and Big Brother from late last year on the BBC and ITV respectively. Gladiators was produced by Hungry Bear and MGM Alternative UK, a division of Amazon MGM Studios.
The rating would have made for happy reading for BBC bosses as ITV has been winning all the plaudits over the past week or so due to the success of Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which ITV said over the weekend is now its biggest new drama launch in over a decade, beating Downton Abbey. The series, which has brought the post office scandal to the forefront of the British news agenda, is the top-rated new drama across all channels since the BBC’s Bodyguard in 2018, ITV said.
Holly Willoughby returns
On Sunday, Holly Willoughby made her return to TV on Dancing on Ice to 3.6M viewers.
Willoughby was appearing on TV for the first time since quitting ITV’s This Morning following a nightmare year in which a plot to kidnap her was foiled and Phillip Schofield, her former co-host, resigned after admitting to a relationship with a much younger colleague.
Schofield also used to present Dancing on Ice and he was replaced by Stephen Mulhern on the skating dance format, which is effectively ITV’s version of Strictly Come Dancing.
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