“The Contenders Become the Gladiators” — Liz Ellis Tell Us All the ‘Gladiators’ Secrets

Liz Ellis is hosting Gladiators

To call Liz Ellis an Aussie icon would be the understatement of the century. As she is an icon of icons. Not only was Liz the captain of the Australian netball team, helping us score numerous medals, she also won 2023’s season of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! 

However, in 2024, Liz is stepping even further into Australia’s hall of fame, as she prepares to co-host the reboot of Gladiators along with Beau Ryan.

Liz spoke with The Latch and shared her thoughts on the show’s refresh after over two decades off the air.

What Is Gladiators?

For those not in the know, Gladiators was a reality TV series that ran from 1995 until 1996. In this show, a number of permanent competitors, called Gladiators, battle against a number of one-time contestants, called Challengers. These battles consisted of a series of wrestling matches, obstacle course races, and aerial-based fights.

According to Liz Ellis, the original Gladiators was a cultural touchstone.

“I watched Gladiators when I was about 20,” Liz told The Latch over the phone. “And remember it being massive. Everyone watched it and talked about it. People just couldn’t believe the fact that these Gladiators, who were larger than life, were also so lippy and so fun.

“So when we were talking about rebooting Gladiators, that really stuck in my mind. I wanted to make sure that these Gladiators were larger than life, that they really embodied the whole idea of being superhuman.”

Fortunately though, Liz believes that all of the new Gladiators possess that same dramatic energy that made the original series so memorable. 

“When we first got on the set that first day, we were calling the cast by their Gladiator names, and they always became sort of sheepish when they called them that,” Liz said. “But by the end of filming, they totally owned it. If you called them by their Gladiator name, they’d turn around and give you their whole character. It was fantastic.”

What’s more, the 2024 version of Gladiators is retaining some other qualities that made the original so special. So let’s jump into those deets.

Gladiators 2024: What’s the Same

The original version of Gladiators had some of the best reality TV challenges ever put on the small screen. And to our delight, Liz Ellis told us that a few of these Gladiator challenges are coming back.

“Powerball’s in there,” Liz shared, “which is the lovechild of rugby league and netball. There’s people being tackled and people trying to score goals. That was my favourite, that was just awesome to watch.

“There’s also pyramid, which is just amazing. Watching the Gladiators and the Contenders tumble up these steps made from foam? It’s just phenomenal.”

As the host of the series, Liz was technically not allowed to climb up the pyramid. However, she was able to sneak in a traversal or two.

“A couple of times, we snuck past the safety guys and got to the top of the pyramid,” Liz said. “But then every time we came down, because I’m such a baby giraffe, the safety guys were like ‘Ahhhh!’ — When I was jumping down, I’m sure they thought I was going to break my neck.”

Yet, for Gladiators 2024 to be successful, it can’t merely be a retread of the original. And according to Liz, they’ve made some substantive changes. 

Gladiators 2024: What’s New

The 1990s version of Gladiators was hosted by Kimberley Joseph and Aaron Pedersen, who aren’t back for the reboot. However, Liz Ellis won’t be hosting Gladiators alone. She will be joined by Beau Ryan, who’s best known for being a professional footy player and hosting The Amazing Race.


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“Beau is so funny,” Liz said. “He’s got lots of energy. He’s like a big energetic puppy, and he’s always trying to make you laugh.

“I loved working with him because I had never hosted an entertainment programme before. I’ve only done live sports. But Beau’s pretty experienced, having come off The Amazing Race and now being one of the co-hosts for Top Gear. So I leaned on him a lot. Beau taught me what the edit might want to look like and how to deliver the lines. He’s so experienced and so generous.”

What’s more, Gladiators 2024 is raising the stakes of this competition. In the original, winners of the final won a Hyundai Sonata. In the reboot, some of the contestants may earn the right to become a Gladiator in 2025.

“The big prize at the end of the series is not just the trophy, it’s the ability to become a Gladiator next year,” Liz said. “So the contenders become the Gladiators. That was a real driving force for them. They put everything on the line. And you know when they get to the end of the eliminations, you know that they have nothing left to give.”

Gladiators 2024: What to Expect

According to Liz Ellis, Gladiators 2024 is going to be a brilliant mix of old and new. It’s going to bring new life to the Gladiators universe. 

“I think the viewers can expect some great family viewing,” Liz said. “At the heart of it is this contest, this David versus Goliath contest. It’s a sporting spectacle wrapped in fun and entertainment. So I think it just makes for some really great family TV.” 

“I’m so excited for it to finally be released because we had so much fun making it. I love working with the Gladiators. I also loved the contenders and them getting their moment in the sun.”

Gladiators is set to premiere at 7.30pm on Monday, January 15, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand. Miss its premiere? Catch up on 10 Play.

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