Gladiators: Exeter Chiefs star ‘buzzing’ ahead of bold move to become ‘Fury’ on TV show

Adam Kyriacou
Jodie Ounsley and old Gladiators split

The reboot of much-loved TV series Gladiators will feature a rugby player after it was confirmed that Exeter Chiefs wing Jodie Ounsley is being cast.

Ounsley, who is a former England Sevens player, will leave the Premier 15s outfit to become a regular on the TV show on BBC One, starring as ‘Fury’.

The 22-year-old women’s rugby star has already made a name for herself when becoming the first deaf player to feature for England Sevens in 2019.

Buzzing to be involved

However, this decision to leave the sport in favour of featuring on Gladiators is quite the decision from the former British Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion.

“I’m buzzing,” Ounsley told BBC Sport about her new venture.

“Watching Gladiators growing up, I was always in awe of their strength and power, and now I am one.

“I hope contenders are ready to feel the Fury.”

Gladiators was once a Saturday evening staple in front rooms across the world, as the likes of ‘Rhino’, ‘Jet’ and ‘Lightning’ became household names.

It was first televised in 1992 on ITV before last airing in January 2000. Sky later ran two series of the programme from 2008 to 2009 before it ended.

But now the BBC are looking to give the show a reboot, with filming taking place in June, as the creators continue to put together a Gladiators line-up.

Bradley Walsh to co-host

It’s already been confirmed that ITV’s The Chase host Bradley Walsh will host the show alongside his son Barney, with Bradley set to be a big drawcard.

Rugby fans now have their own incentive for watching as Ounsley, who has two tries in six appearances for Exeter Chiefs this season, looks to impress.

She made her club debut in November 2022, after joining from Sale the previous summer, with Exeter currently sitting atop the Premier 15s standings.

Adding to the story is Ounsley’s father, Phil, was a former professional mixed martial artist and appeared as a contestant on Gladiators back in 2008.

READ MORE: Jack Nowell: ‘Every good thing comes to an end’ – departing Exeter Chiefs star pens emotional farewell