Who is the Gladiators referee John Anderson and what is he doing now?


JOHN Anderson is the gravelly-voiced Scotsman who holds a special place in the hearts of a generation as the referee on Gladiators.

But there is so much more to him than that – here’s the lowdown on his remarkable career, and what he’s been up to since the iconic TV show called it a day.

 John Anderson was the referee of the cult 90s show Gladiators

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John Anderson was the referee of the cult 90s show Gladiators

Who is John Anderson?

John Anderson was born in Scotland in November 1931 in Glasgow, Scotland.

After starting out as a teacher, he made a name for himself long before joining Gladiators as an athletics coach.

He trained some of the foremost elite British athletes of the 1970s and 80s, including former world record-holding runner Dave Moorcroft and double Commonwealth 10,000m champion Liz McColgan.

Remarkably, he coached an Olympian at every summer games between 1964 and 2000.

John also had success in football after representing Scotland in the sport as a schoolboy, and was the first home Scot to bag a prestigious Full FA Coaching Certificate.

He joined Gladiators at its inception in 1992 and stayed with the show until it ended its original run on New Year’s Day, 2000.

His trademark barking cry of “Contender ready! Gladiator ready!”, made him a somewhat unlikely TV star.

For most of his time as head official, John was ably backed up with Andrew Norgate, his “Official Timekeeper”.

 John returned to officiate the 2008 revival of Gladiators

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John returned to officiate the 2008 revival of Gladiators

What is John Anderson up to now?

John reprised his Gladiators role when the show was briefly resurrected on Sky1 in 2008.

He also has occasional cameos as a referee, such as appearing on two episodes of Top Gear with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc.

Despite now being 85 years old – and surviving a heart attack in 2015 – he has continued to mentor and coach athletics stars in recent years.

In 2014, he tasted yet more medal success when he helped Brit hurdler Will Sharman to a European hurdles silver.

Opening credits for the hit British television series Gladiators



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