Gladiators was one of the most popular shows out there back when we were all kids as you would tune in weekly to see Wolf, Shadow, Jet and the rest of the gang beat the shit out of losers who thought that they were way tougher than they actually were.
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Given that the Gladiators were at the peak of physical perfection, you might have expected that they spent their off time relentlessly working out, but the truth is that they were actually indulging in sex and drug fuelled parties all the time. For some reason, 56 year old Michael Wilson – better known as Cobra – decided to spill the beans about what was really going on to The Mirror, including Shadow’s battle with drug addiction.
Here’s what he had to say:
I was mucking about pranking, I had so much fun. It was brilliant I was with a lot of mates with similar interests, we were all similar age, it was fun…
There were end of show parties, when we had international Gladiators come over, we would be up all night boozing.
I used to drink too much during the first three years, we didn’t know whether we would be asked back, so we would party.
Ironically I never used to drink a drop before I was on Gladiators.
We never had to drive any where, we had hospitality twice a day… so there would be wine and booze and stuff flowing.
We used to have a school report and go in and see producers and they would say you’ve been drinking too much, partying too much.
There were loads of [offscreen romances], not so much for me, but… the room next to me was noisy.
Every now and again there was a bit of banging on the walls.
A lot of them were in relationships, but there were a couple of young single fellas there [who did alright for themselves].
They knew Shadow was doing cocaine and steroids for six months and they turned a blind eye to it.
He was a big star, it was a TV show not the Olympics, although we were being drug tested by the same people who did Olympians.
They [the producers] said to the drug testers that they were going to get him help.
They built him up to be such a big star, there was so much pressure on him.
He phoned me a few times and wanted to borrow more money.
He already owed me some money as I paid his hotel bill and stuff, but I feel guilty for not helping him more.
I did have a few phone calls with him later on.
I didn’t know how bad his drug problem was and I was like I didn’t want to give him [any money] it was going to go on that rubbish [drugs].
He was a lovely bloke.
A genuine softie. I’d like to see him now. I don’t know where he’s gone.
Damn. I just thought Shadow was a major beast and had no idea what turmoil he was going through. Apparently he’s now sorted himself out and works as a drug addiction counsellor, so at least it sounds like he’s managed to turn his life around. Hopefully him and Cobra can meet up for another run around The Eliminator sometime soon.
For more of the same, check out this Gladiators reunion from a couple of years back. Damn we’re old.