Original Gladiator Wolf complained about being cast as the baddie

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Original Gladiator Michael Van Wijk starred as Wolf on the hit series from 1992 until 2000, but surprisingly had some concerns about taking on his legendary alter ego.

Co-star Diane Youdale, also known as Jet, opened up about Michael, who’s now 70, as she reflected on the hit series.

“I can remember walking into the arena for one of the first or second shows and Wolf was sat on the sides of one of the huge Atlasphere event bases,” she recalled.

Diane continued: “He was tucking into a massive bowl of rice and chicken and he started to complain about being cast as the baddie on the show and that he didn’t want to be called Wolf.”

Speaking to ICE36, Diane added: “I can remember saying to him that the role of Wolf was going to be so much fun, and he looked perfect for it.

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“It still makes me laugh to think about it, he said, ‘I don’t want to be the baddie, I want to be the loved one!’

“Of course, in the end he loved the role, and he wasn’t a real baddie, he was like a pantomime baddie.

“He was one of the stars of the show.”

Speaking previously in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Diane, now 53, addressed her snub from the upcoming new series.

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The former Jet star pointed out the new contestants will be tougher competition for the gladiators than they were in the show’s original stint, explaining: “They’ve got functional fitness, good nutrition, good training techniques behind them because our sports science has improved measurably since 30 years ago.

“So the context is going to be in there. So the glads need to be right up there!

“There has to be that difference – some of the contenders probably would have made amazing glads.

“So the Gladiators really do have to show that they are in control.

“But the contenders, if they get that chance to kind of get passed the Gladiators or beat a Gladiator – that, for us as audiences, makes you kind of go, ‘Ah, yes!’

“You want them to win. So the Glads do need to have quite a difference in terms of their prowess to the contenders.

“But I would debate in this day and age how much of a disparity there would be because people’s training methods have improved.

“That’s just one tiny little concern. No pressure on the new Glads, but they will have to be good.”

When asked if she’d like to have been asked to make an appearance on the new series, Diane admitted: “All of the original team who’ve got a sports science or mental health therapist background would be chomping at the bit to go, ‘You know what, use our skills, use our knowledge.'”

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