Michael Van Wijk: who is Wolf from Gladiators, will he be in 2023 series reboot, has his son Dean applied?

The original ITV series made stars out of Sharron Davies, James Crossley and host Ulrika Jonsson in the 1990s

Nineties TV sensation Gladiators is set to come back onto our screens in 2023, after the BBC confirmed a reboot was entering production.

The hit series, which was originally broadcast on ITV between 1992 and 2000, made stars out of its cast. Host Ulrika Jonsson and Gladiators Sharron Davies and James Crossley all launched successful careers after appearing on the programme.

The reboot was announced at the Edinburgh International TV Festival in August 2022, and it is expected the new series will feature some old faces alongside newer gladiators.

In an extensive interview with NationalWorld’s sister title BirminghamWorld, one of the show’s original cast members Michael Van Wijk - AKA ‘Wolf’ - said he was excited about the remake.

But can we expect to see his massive biceps on our screens when Gladiators returns next year? Here’s everything you need to know.

Gladiators was a hit show in the 1990s (Image: ITV)

Who is Wolf?

Michael Van Wijk - who was known on Gladiators as ‘Wolf’ - is a 70-year-old bodybuilder. He appeared on Gladiators throughout its initial run of eight series.

The Englishman ran a gym in London before starring on the show. He told BirminghamWorld he would stay up late to watch the original US version of the series and applied to join the UK one after one of his gym members had suggested it to him.

After producers were impressed by a picture he had sent into production company London Weekend Television (LWT), he undertook a series of fitness trials before being incarnated as the character ‘Wolf’. Van Wijk very much played the baddy on Gladiators.

Since the show ended, he has moved to Auckland New Zealand where he runs a chain of gyms.

Will Wolf appear in new Gladiators series?

Wolf told BirminghamWorld he was excited that Gladiators is being picked up again by the BBC. While he said he did not currently know anything about the 2023 reboot - other than that it would be shot in Sheffield - he added he would be interested in appearing on it.

But not in the capacity you might expect. Michael Van Wijk said he would be up for being a presenter rather than one of the Gladiators. He said: "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."

A former Gladiator says he'd love to return to the hit show when it's relaunches next year

Although Wolf has ruled out a return to the ring, he said the character could still play a key part in the new series. This is because his son Dean, 34, has applied to join the cast of the show.

“My son looks exactly like me, he is six-feet tall, he looks exactly like me, he has applied to be a gladiator,” Van Wijk said.

"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.”