Grudge Match



Nick Weir and Lisa Rogers


Referee: Barry McGuigan

Announcer: Bobby Bragg


Grundy for ITV, 4 September 1999 to 15 April 2000 (pilot + 6 episodes in 1 series)


Say what you like about Gladiators but for a while at least it was compulsive viewing. Watching the David and Goliath battles of seeing big people beat up little guys with cotton buds gained huge audiences. Perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly, ITV decided to axe it after eight years. Correct because it was getting boring. Bad because there was something slightly comforting about knowing it was on a Saturday night, even if nobody watched it.

But in his infinite wisdom, Davey-boy Liddiment gave Grudge Match the go-ahead. Based on an American show, Grudge Match was just like Gladiators. Except:

  1. It didn't have any Gladiators in it.
  2. The games seem extremely watered down and not very fun to watch at all.
  3. The hosts were a lot more nondescript.

So, not very much like Gladiators at all then.

The idea of two people fighting it out over a grudge was a vaguely interesting one and to win a Grudge you needed to win two out of three games as refereed by Barry 'Bazza' McGuigian, Irish ex-boxer. The winners win a prize and the losers have to do a forfeit.

Sadly, despite the fact that they were set both in the ring and in the swimming pool, the games lack any sort of depth to be interesting to watch. The games run through the usual It's a Knockout techniques - water, foam, gunge, height, and making things big. A few of them show promise but by and large the games don't seem to have any excitement in them other than that they are races. A few are in seemingly bad taste - one game in the pilot basically boiled down to a boxing match. Not many laughs there, missus.

The other problem is that, although they are nice enough people, Weir and Rogers are no match for the Glads V/O (John 'The Sound Sculptor' Sachs) when it comes to sarcastic, amusing and informative commentary. In fact, it's plainly obvious that their commentary is being added on in post production. This was probably the way it was done in Glads, but we didn't really notice. On this show it sticks out like a thumb that's been hit by a rubber salami.

At the end of the day, rather than try something completely new ITV churned out yet another arena show. If they're going to stick with that, we'd rather have a re-vamped Gladiators back, truth be told.


"Don't get mad, get even"


Based on the US show of the same name.

Theme music

Muff Murfin

Web links

Andy Walmsley's set design


Yes, it really was this ridiculous.


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