If you are a loyal Gladiators fan from back in the day, you only have days to go until the long-awaited gameshow reboot airs on BBC.

But for those wanting to meet the contestants before the first episode of 2024, you’re in luck as one of the 16 “superhumans” hoping to show off their speed and strength is from Middlesbrough.

Bionic (Matty Campbell) is a 6ft 6in bodybuilder who can deadlift 300kg – the equivalent of lifting 66 PS5 consoles.

Who is BBC Gladiators star Bionic from Middlesbrough?

Matty described Bionic as “a machine,” adding: “As soon as that game starts, he’s in the zone. he’s got to get the job done. As soon as that whistle goes, that's it, he’s into competitive mode."

Commenting on which classic challenges he was most excited about to master, he said: “I already knew that I'd be good at Duel. It was Gauntlet that I wanted to master.

“Whilst I'm really big and quite intimidating, you also need to be quick and good foot placement is important playing Gauntlet.”

The BBC recently announced the referees for Gladiators, including Mark Clattenburg, Sonia Mkoloma and Lee Phillips.

Matty spoke about the local connection he had with Mark as he looked back on memorable moments from working with the trio.

He explained: “Me and Mark have a fun, love hate relationship because he's a Newcastle lad and I'm from Middlesbrough and the whole football rivalry, especially with him being a former ref.

“We're always messing about backstage.”

After being involved in an accident, it was his rehabilitation that led Matty to "fall in love" with the gym as he went on to become a bodybuilder, reports the Gladiators website.

It said: "As a child he used to sprint and play football, reaching Academy Level. He had hoped to become a Pro until he was involved in an accident, it was his rehabilitation that led him to finding the gym.

"Despite having never previously been a gym-goer, he found that he had an ability and he started gaining muscle. He soon fell in love with the gym and subsequently started Bodybuilding."

Bionic isn’t the only local contestant appearing on the show as he joins Apollo (Alex Gray) from County Durham.

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When does Gladiators start on BBC?

The series which was filmed in Sheffield last year, will launch on BBC One on January 13 at 5.50pm and be available to rewatch on BBC iPlayer.

The Chase presenter Bradley Walsh and his son Barney will host the 11-episode series, which will see the Gladiators take on contenders in new and old games, culminating with classic challenge The Eliminator.

As well as bodybuilders, among the Gladiators line-up are Olympians and weightlifting champions.