Gladiators revival: former Gladiator Wolf suggests son could take up mantle ahead of 2023 TV return
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Saturday evening television’s favourite “baddy” has revealed that he’d love to take part in the upcoming Gladiators revival, but that his son could take over his iconic role. 70 year old Michael Van Wijk, known to many 90s kids as Wolf, has expressed an interest in the upcoming series but in a completely different role to that he made famous.
Instead, Van Wijk has suggested that his 34 year old son, Dean, take up the mantle of Wolf, leaving the former anti-hero to focus on presenting the series, set to start filming in Sheffield in the new year. “My son looks exactly like me, he is 6ft tall,, he has applied to be a gladiator” he revealed.
"He hasn’t said he is my son, but he has sent his details off. He is super fit, muscular, an amazing athlete - he wants to be the new Wolf. His enthusiasm is the same as mine and his sense of humour is the same as mine, I think he would go down really well.
“I would love to go back and do the show, I am fit enough to do it, fitness isn’t the problem, but I don’t think they would take me on at 70. I would like to be a presenter on the programme this time” he admitted.
As Wolf, Van Wijk captured the attention of audiences during his run on Gladiators between 1992 and the show’s subsequent cancellation in 2000, including catching the eye of celebrity fans. One of which was a fresh faced Robbie Williams, who Van Wijk claims asked him for a picture and revealed he was a big fan.
He also captured the attention of the ladies, who were enamoured with the hulking, slightly tormented character he portrayed in the show. “I was doing pantomime and I was staying in a hotel with my wife, Paula, 54, and we made friends with the manager of the hotel. One day we came back from an evening meal, and they called us over and were laughing.
"They said how two girls came up in short mini skirts all dressed up and they said, Wolf has asked for us to be let in his room and wait for him. The manager replied with ‘that’s funny because he is here with his fiancé and they have just gone out for a meal’ and then the girls ran away.
"My wife would call them hoverers - they would be hovering all dressed up waiting to get an autograph and then they would sneakily give me their phone number and ask me to give them a ring."