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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Charlotte McLaughlin

Gladiators star Falcon dies aged 59

PA Media

Bernadette Hunt, who starred in Gladiators, has died at the age of 59, the TV show has announced.

She was known as Falcon when she competed as one of the female gladiators against contestants on the ITV sports entertainment show in the early 1990s.

Gladiators was originally broadcast from 1992 to 2000 and is to be revived on the BBC with an 11-episode series being filmed this year.

Its website said Hunt’s death on March 14 came after she had been “battling cancer for a number of years”.

The post added: “Bernadette entered the Gladiators arena as ‘Falcon’ during the second series in 1993 and instantly became a firm fan favourite.

“She stayed with the show until its final series (was filmed) in 1999, becoming the second longest-serving female Gladiator.

“Falcon was also a champion bodybuilder, winning the first competition she entered Miss Natural Health in 1992. She went on to win other titles including Miss Novice Britain, Miss London and Home Counties 1992 and Miss South Britain.

“Many fans will remember Falcon as the most lovely, warm, generous person with a beaming smile.

“Our Gladiator family is truly heartbroken with our loss of Bernie. Please respect the privacy of Bernadette’s family at this sad time.”

Her death was confirmed by her daughter through Gladiators TV, the PA news agency understands.

Gladiators did return to TV screens on Sky between 2008 and 2009, and at its peak in the 1990s drew huge audiences to the Saturday evening ITV slot.

The BBC series will see new games alongside classic challenges like fan favourite The Eliminator – the gruelling obstacle course – after the competition kicks off at the Utilita Arena Sheffield around June 2023.

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