This week’s Childhood Hero comes in the form of everyone’s (especially Alan Partridge’s) favourite Gladiator, Jet. Jet (real name Diane Youdale) appeared in the show between 1992 and 1996 before an injury sustained on the Pyramid forced her to retire. Here Harry Harland accepts the Duel, runs the Gauntlet and poses some (Hang) Tough questions to her… I’ll get my coat.
Did you get to choose “Jet” as your name? If so, why? If not, what name would you have liked to have?
‘Jet’ was given to me by Nigel Lythgoe, our then Director. Apparently I was quick on all the try out events! Not sure what else I would have called my Gladiator persona… I’m not a very combative type so something soft or natural Aqua (has to be Latin of course).
Was there ever any rivalry between you and Lightning for who was the “sexiest” Gladiator?
I think Kim was by far the best female Gladiator. She did the whole series when I left following a nasty accident. As for ‘sexiness’ that is purely not for either of us to say. Only those watching!
I always thought you were pretty unbeatable on the wall, did you consider that your strongest event?
That and Hang Tough. I lost once I think or can only remember in 4 years. I had damaged an ankle so the upper body agility events like Lightening were our strongest. Being former gymnasts helped too!
Did you get any say in what events you were put up for?
No, but they liked those who were naturally good at certain events as each series progressed (quarters, semi and finals) to be on. The contenders who were getting fitter and stronger each year were really challenged then.
How did you feel being the object of Alan Partridge’s desires? Did they contact you before writing that bit in the script (Alan keept a framed photo of Jet on his bedside table at the Linton Travel Tavern)?
Hilarious. Even had a conversation with a producer this morning who said that that was a moment ‘Jet’ was immortalised. I wasn’t sure how to take it at the time but I have become a fan of all of Steve Coogan’s work and no, I wasn’t asked!
How nasty was Wolf really?
Puppy dog. He was really put out about having to be the baddie initially… after the first series was aired and his popularity and success established – Nuff said. Brilliant panto baddie and a nice guy.
How did you feel about Phil “The Power” Taylor stealing your entrance music?
Do you know, you can remember more than me – I think he was giving me a good run for my money! Thanks for reminding me! That’s funny!
What song are you more bored of: Another One Bites The Dust or The Power?
Neither! They are both great tracks whether we used them or not, and they always make me smile now.
Footballers are always arguing with the referee. Would you have dared to give John Anderson any backchat?
Oh yes, had he made a mistake about something and cost me… no worries. He happened to be pretty good at his job throughout my time there though, so no showdown!
Did you ever used to take each other on at the events off camera? If so, who was really the best Gladiator?
Aaaarrgghh Harry, I think the boys secretly wanted to Joust each other and would ‘sort of’ go there. The thing was, we played for wins and often with some injury occurring when going full on… so, we all learned very early on to not ‘go there’ unless it was on camera and counting for the team. Little injuries were always happening and then some not so little and it really would then hamper your whole season.
What’s the weirdest bit of fan-mail you have ever received (other than this questionnaire!)?
This is a great questionnaire. A photo album of my bum. From front cover to end shot. My bum. I was sensitive at the time but now just laugh!
How many times have you turned down offers to go on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here?
Oooh not saying…
Did you ever get any offers to be in action films?
I used to. I did quite a bit and enjoyed the discipline and technical side of stunts especially one take shots.
You obviously had to be in pretty good shape for Gladiators, with the London Olympics coming up, what event would you have liked to represent team GB at?
If I was still Olympic 4 piece Gymnastic fit…that. I was 14 when I retired from Gym, just a while ago then. Creative sports get me like synchro swimming. I went on to be a choreographer so anything creative, pretty and with endurance.
And finally… What was the best thing about being on Gladiators?
Still being able to talk about it now, although the memories have started to fade it amazes me how many people still love the show, its memories and who their favourites were. Priceless to have been part of such a fun iconic show. Thanks for helping me with my memories Harry!
Trivial Pursuits would like to thank Diane for her time in kindly talking to us. Diane is currently the founder of Soul Dynamics, a group delivering bespoke therapy, counselling and fitness programmes from practices in London, Manchester and Newcastle. Find out more here: http://www.souldynamics.co.uk/