Gladiators – Dunfermline Club and their favourite moments

Dunfermline Club memories of Gladiators

“Contender ready! Gladiator ready!”  

Were you watching the latest re-boot of Gladiators on Saturday? Sporting Memories members at Dunfermline certainly were. Comparisons were made of this series to the original and, while the club decided to reserve judgement, a lot of fun memories were shared.  

  • “Remember that Wolf chap, everyone loved to hate him” -more on Wolf later…. 

  • “Who was that swimmer girl?” – it was Sharron Davies 

  • “Was that Fashanu chap a presenter or Gladiator?” – he was a presenter. 

  • “Apollo, Hunter…aye they had great names.”  

As the conversation deepened some amazing coincidences started to emerge about Gladiators. 

John Anderson – the Referee 

No-one had forgotten the iron glove of John during his time on the show. Nobody messed with Referee Anderson. But did you know that Scotsman John lived for many years in Dunfermline where he worked as a teacher and then sports coach. Indeed, he coached some of the UK’s most elite Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games athletes. 

He was coach to an Olympian at every Olympics from 1964 to 2000 and has coached five world record holders and an estimated 170 GB Internationals in every Track and Field event. 

Plaudits included representing Scotland as a schoolboy footballer, becoming the first home Scot to gain the prestigious Full FA Coaching Certificate (then only four were awarded per year), being one of only two confirmed recipients (along with Wilf Paish) of every British Senior Coaching award available, and founding Maryhill Ladies AC in Glasgow. 

He also coached world record-holding runner Dave Moorcroft and double Commonwealth 10,000m champion Liz McColgan. 

John is still active despite reaching the grand age of 92.  

Wolf – Michael van Wijk. 

Wolf was the resident bad guy of the Gladiators since the first series and was probably one of the most popular Gladiators ever.  As contenders, the audience and in some cases the Gladiators’ presenters found out- Wolf hated losing.  He was such a popular star that he was always a sure-fire attraction anywhere he went. 

Volunteer Alex Kilgour reminisced back to when he was Commercial Director of a local tourist attraction. He booked Wolf to come along and sign autographs. Over 3,000 turned up! Alex picked him up from Edinburgh Airport and coming over the Forth Road Bridge he had his car windows down. Wolf asked him to close them as it was “messing with his hair”! However, despite his touch of vanity, Alex remembered him as a lovely man and that he stayed much longer than needed to make sure all the kids in attendance got their autographs and photos. 

The Voice of Gladiators 2024 

When the show originally aired the commentator was John Sachs. John anchored the show from 1992 – 1999. With his radio and TV broadcasting background he brought a real entertainment vibe to the shows. 

Fast forward to 2024 and our very own patron, Guy Mowbray, has stepped into the Gladiators commentating box. Guy is well known for his measured tones and always carefully finding the right phrase for each specific moment.  He brings a considered tone to proceedings and acts as a good counterpart to some of the more “enthusiastic” chatter. Guy has been a staunch supporter of Sporting Memories and we are indeed honoured to have him as one of our patrons. 

Local Girl does us Proud 

What a surprise for local viewers on Saturday when Kerry Wilson from Oakley, Dunfermline appeared as a contender. Kerry, who is a dog walker as well as Scotland’s Elite Downhill Champion Mountain Biker in 2021 and 2022, smashed her way through to the quarter finals after an amazing performance.  

Although the show was filmed a few months back, Saturday was also the first time that Kerry had been able to watch it. She remains tight lipped about any future episodes. However, Sporting Memories Dunfermline Club will be cheering their local lass when she next appears. And those dogs had better watch out – no nonsense on walkies with Kerry! 

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