Gladiators: fans left fuming after 'thousands' of live show attendees not admitted to Sheffield recording

One fan branded the organisation of the tickets for the first show's live taping as "unethical"

Fans queueing to watch Gladiators being filmed at Utilita Arena Sheffield on Thursday, June 1. Many people who had applied successfully for free tickets to watch the new BBC series being filmed have told how they were turned away as it reached capacity.Fans queueing to watch Gladiators being filmed at Utilita Arena Sheffield on Thursday, June 1. Many people who had applied successfully for free tickets to watch the new BBC series being filmed have told how they were turned away as it reached capacity.
Fans queueing to watch Gladiators being filmed at Utilita Arena Sheffield on Thursday, June 1. Many people who had applied successfully for free tickets to watch the new BBC series being filmed have told how they were turned away as it reached capacity.

Fans hoping to be a part of the brand new rebooted Gladiators series were let down by the liveshow’s ticketing company after families arrived at the arena only to be turned away - despite having tickets

The show, which is due to air on BBC later this summer, is currently filming at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, with recording taking place from Thursday 1 June until Sunday 11 June. Ticketing company Applause Store were in charge of allocating of free tickets to fill the audience in the arena.

However, on the first day of shooting frustrated fans allege that thousands were left standing outside the venue, after the ticketing company oversold the show.

One attendee, who asked not to be named, described the situation to NationalWorld as “unethical at best”. The live recording shows of Gladiators had been targeted towards families, with parents travelling from across the country to take their children along to the event. 

“People queued for two hours, and there were many families and young children, including a lady in front of us who had a teenager in a wheelchair,” they said. “There were a lot of people who had spent money on t-shirts and banners to bring with them as they stated that they encouraged you to do this on the tickets.”

The BBC have announced the full cast joining its reboot of the popular challenge show Gladiators. (Credit: Nick Eagl / BBC / Hungry Bear)The BBC have announced the full cast joining its reboot of the popular challenge show Gladiators. (Credit: Nick Eagl / BBC / Hungry Bear)
The BBC have announced the full cast joining its reboot of the popular challenge show Gladiators. (Credit: Nick Eagl / BBC / Hungry Bear)

The lack of communication over the loudspeaker system was also a point of frustration for those standing in line for hours before the show started, they said. Attendees were encouraged to arrive as early as possible in order to gain entry to the show, however some of those hoping to be in the audience were turned away as early as 11am. 

“They had a tannoy system and at one point around 11.45am it said ‘test....test’ very clearly, but they made no announcements on it to explain that people would not get in. They relied on a member of staff to walk up and down and shout instructions.  

“The individual staff were helpful but the whole ethos of the company appears to be "we do tell you that you might not get in, so it's up to you to take the chance". It's a really badly designed system.”

The Applause Store website’s terms and condition section does explain terms of the show to those who snapped up free tickets. It reads: “Sadly not everyone we send our eTickets to uses them, so we have to over-issue more tickets by a percentage to compensate for these no-shows to ensure a full venue/studio/location.”

However, the extent to which the show was oversold saw a huge crowd of people shut out from the taping. The attendee said: “By the sounds of it, they sent out 10,000 invitations for 3000 seats. We travelled down from Newcastle and stayed overnight - I'd estimate the overall cost to be around £100 including petrol.”

Another angry hopeful attendee said on Twitter: “Your tickets for gladiators state a small percentage of tickets are over issued to avoid empty seats. 10,000 tickets issued for 3,000 seats is not a small percentage as stated on your emails that’s 300% over issue and is appalling!”

Following outrage from those who were not admitted to the live recording, Applause Store said in a statement: “We apologise for any disappointment caused yesterday morning. Due to an unprecedented demand for tickets for the recording of Gladiators at Utilita Arena Sheffield, we reached full capacity sooner than anticipated, which sadly meant we couldn’t accommodate everyone that turned up for the recording of the show. 

“As clearly stated on all our free tickets and on our website, entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to venue capacity and entrance is not guaranteed. All scanned tickets will receive priority tickets to a different show in the future.”