Former Gladiator Star Cobra Shares Life in Kent and Thoughts on New BBC Show: Exclusive Interview

Gladiator Legend Cobra Shares Life in Kent and Thoughts on New BBC Show

Former Gladiator star Cobra, known for his impressive height, smile, and flexibility, recently opened up about his life in Kent and his opinions on the new BBC show, which many fans are eagerly anticipating. Michael Wilson, who captured the hearts of the UK audience three decades ago on the hit ITV show, spoke exclusively to KentOnline about his time on set, his love for animals, and why he believes the new show won’t be able to live up to the original.

Born and raised in Crayford, near Dartford, Wilson attended the same school as Harry Potter star Sir Michael Gambon. Despite his fame and success on Gladiators, Wilson now resides in St Mary’s Bay after moving from his previous flat in Folkestone. The 60-year-old shared his thoughts on the return of the beloved show, which once captivated audiences across the country.

“I was 29 when I made my first appearance on Gladiators. People used to tell me I looked young for my age, but now it’s the opposite. That’s what happens when you’re constantly being hit in the head with pugil sticks,” Wilson joked.

Originally, Wilson had applied to be a contestant on the show, but he was offered a role as a standby Gladiator instead. He took three weeks off work to participate in mixed martial arts training, and one of the producers noticed his impressive skills and offered him a spot on the show.

Speaking about life as a Gladiator, Wilson shared, “It can get a bit boring at times. There’s a lot of repetition, like making appearances at shopping centers and theme parks. But the pay was fantastic.”

Wilson is still active in the public eye and often makes appearances as his iconic Gladiator persona. He also mentioned that work is always “ticking over,” but he is now mortgage-free and enjoying life by the seaside. He currently cares for six badgers, foxes, two chihuahuas, a shih tzu, and a stray cat that he fed tuna to and kept returning. However, Wilson has faced several health issues due to his intense training and a stunt accident while working on the Bollywood film Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha in 2017.

Reflecting on his time on the show, Wilson shared some memorable moments, including meeting Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, at Euro Disney in 1995. He also met Diana Ross while filming a show, and she even gave him a one-woman performance in front of an empty crowd.

Addressing rumors about his alleged heavy drinking on the show, Wilson admitted, “I was probably tipsy three times, but that’s because we never knew when we would be back on the show.” He explained that he would often be out with friends and receive a last-minute call to participate in the show.

Wilson has watched the new Gladiators show on the BBC and expressed his admiration for former Hythe teacher Matt Morsia. However, he believes that the new show won’t be able to live up to the original, comparing it to buying a Rolex from a market – it may look the same, but it’s just not as good. He also shared that he was disappointed that none of the original Gladiators were invited to be a part of the new show, as he believes they could have offered valuable advice and tips to the new cast.

Now living in a bungalow with his partner and their many pets, Wilson hopes that the new show will inspire children to get off their feet and enjoy the great outdoors. As a self-proclaimed animal lover, he also helps rescue injured birds and animals in need.

Wilson also opened up about how the loss of his father helped shape his positive outlook on life. His father passed away just moments before the first live show in Wembley in 1992. Wilson shared, “My dad told me to enjoy every day, and that’s what I try to do.” With his positive attitude and love for life, it’s no wonder that Cobra remains a beloved figure in the world of Gladiators.

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