If you have curly muscles and think you look good in light lycra, you might be a contender for the Nineties revival hitting wrestlers.
The BBC is looking for “superhumans” to take part in the revived game show, which will begin filming next year.
He said: I saw destructive forces enter my life. My destructive choices were slowly killing me.”
After joining the original ITV show for his fifth series in 1996, earning £2,000 an hour, he started hanging out with celebrities and got engaged to model Katie.
He thought Hollywood would soon be tempted – but instead, Warren developed a drinking habit, broke up with Katie, and, after disqualifying wrestlers in 2000, struggled financially.
He said, “The higher I went, the more I had to go down.”
Now TV production company Hungry Bear Media, which is behind the revival, is asking willing Gladiators to send in their applications.
Warren, 50, who lives in York with his wife and two children, believes they will need to be strong men and women who don’t want to settle for second place — and warns against waking up to a “sharing is what matters” approach.
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He said, “Even though it was the first reality TV show, I think it celebrates people for the right reasons.
“People were in competition and it was a healthy competition, which was bringing out the best in each other.
“When I faced another contestant or wrestler, it was all in the spirit of sportsmanship that I loved.
“I think these days we worry about offending each other, or the idea that we shouldn’t compete because there is no such thing as second place. No, we have to harden a bit.”
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Wrestlers critiqued for the first time on our television screens in 1992 with Sun columnist Ulrika Johnson and former soccer player John Fashano Presenting a rush fight of muscle.
At its peak, it attracted 16 million viewers and turned likes Michael van Wejk Wolfe and James Crossley as Hunter and Kim Bates as Lightning in Familiar Names.
Viewers loved seeing these wrestlers compete with members of the audience in the arena.
Ace and his teammates will have to defeat these contenders in a series of rounds, causing them to fall off the hanging rings of the Hang Tough or blocking the path of giant hamster ball “horns” in the Atlaspheres.
The previous attempt to revive gladiators on Heaven in 2008 lasted only one year. The new 11-episode series promises to revive many of the original challenges, ending once again with the fearsome Eliminator attack cycle.
Warren was a roofer from Harlow, Essex when he signed up for the original show. He recalls: “I always wanted to be successful, I always wanted to be accepted.
“I was a shy kid and was an insecure person and was always on the lookout for flattery and acceptance. I thought showbiz meant you got fame and fortune and lived happily ever after.”
With his blue eyes, 48-inch chest and 6-foot-1-inch frame, Warren as ice wrestler proved an instant hit with female fans. Two years later he began dating Katie, who was known at the time as the model Jordan.
He was the first man she agreed to marry, but their engagement did not last. Her ex-fiancé joked, “I think Katie might have been lucky – what do you think?”
Their relationship lasted only 18 months – thanks to the pressure of being in the public eye. “We both bear the same amount of responsibility for the breakdown of our relationship,” Warren said.
“We were young, and we courted the press. We were very similar people, we came from working-class backgrounds and we got along very well, but the pressures of fame caused the relationship in many ways.” They parted ways on good terms, with Katie commenting that Warren was one of her few friends who didn’t cheat on her.
The problem was that both of them were so busy looking for success that they didn’t have time for each other. Warren said, “My idol was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s a man who conquers the world with his muscle.”
I think these days we worry about offending each other, or the idea that we shouldn’t be competing because there’s no such thing as a second place.
“I thought that’s what I would do – I would go to Hollywood and become a movie star. Another wrestler, a Trojan – Mark Griffin – did it. He made it to Hollywood and was appearing in films with the likes Jane Claude Van Damme. “
Like many bodybuilders, Warren was so desperate for his bulging calves and biceps that he took banned growth hormones. But wrestling producers warned him that if he keeps taking it Steroids will be abandoned.
Warren said, “I drank on steroids, and then you got on the TV show. On the TV show they did a drug test for you. So they said, ‘If you’re on any steroids, the level should go down, otherwise we’ll fire you.’ So that was a real blessing that came.” It wrestlers for me, because in the sport of bodybuilding, steroids are prevalent.
“The truth is that steroids are fatal. I was very lucky.”
It wasn’t easy to quit the party lifestyle that came with being a TV celebrity. Instead of living the life of an athlete, Warren began to smoke and drink alcohol heavily.
He admitted, “I was an athlete and an athlete on a TV show that required me to get fit, but I started picking up some habits I never thought I would, like smoking, drinking alcohol, and a lot of that.”
After the show was canceled in 2000, Warren soon found that casting agents weren’t knocking on his door.
Instead of working on Hollywood movies, he found himself starring in pantomime.
Eventually he returned to the construction industry and his wages dropped to £20 an hour.
“Once the bubble bursts, fame and fortune do not bring success and happiness,” Warren said.
Warren realized that he did not find fulfillment in showbiz parties, and then began to look for it in religion. He asserts that thanks to his Christian faith, he managed to quit tobacco and now drinks alcohol only socially.
These days he is a preacher whose work includes visiting schools across his estate in North Yorkshire.
Still keeping fit, he hopes the return of the wrestlers will convince today’s kids to get more exercise.
He said, “I thought it would be good for the wrestlers to come back. I think we need a TV show to promote health and fitness because we have issues now in this country with obesity and diet and those kinds of things.”
“Children need role models and take care of themselves physically.”
Warren also hopes that 44-year-old Katie, who has been married three times and recently spent in rehab, can change her life as he did.
He said, “I pray for her because in this way of her life it is very difficult to keep upright and narrow, and it is very difficult to trust people. I pray that her family stays together and I pray that she settles down and finds peace and happiness.”
But just because Warren is a preacher these days, that doesn’t mean he won’t be coming back as an Ace. He’s back to watch Sky Gladiators and says his door is also open for the BBC.
He added, “If God had sent me to the top of the arena with a stick in my hand and asked me to hit someone on the head, I would have done it.”