The classic 1970’s show Superstars is returning to television. Superstars will be presented by Sharron Davis and Jim Rosenthal, and will pit athletes from different sports against each other. Unlike the original 1970s format, athletes will be divided into four teams to compete against each other.
The classic Superstars vest will be worn again. It seems that the vest will not be brought up to date, as the producers prefer the retro look of the old Superstars blue vest with yellow seams.
Superstars will show on Friday nights at 8pm, so likely to become essential viewing for sports, athletics and fitness enthusiasts. The first of 8 shows will start on Friday 11th July.
The original Superstars was presented by David Vine and ran for 12 years on BBC1 from 1973. It featuring many sporting heroes, with regular appearances from Brian Jacks, plus sporting icons such as Jackie Stewart and Bobby Moore.
This series of Superstars is being sponsors by Maximuscle, the leading UK supplier of fitness and strength supplements.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s shows the Superstars contenders participated in 10 different sporting events, including a 100 meter sprint, 800 meter run, obstacle course race, weightlifting, football, rowing, tennis, bicycle racing, gym test, and swimming. The sports used have varied somewhat over time and between the European and American competitions. Points are awarded for the position in which the competitor places in each event. The competitor with the most points at the end of all 10 events is declared the champion.
Superstars was really the first show on television that gave viewers a greater insight into sporting personalities. During competitions commentary is often impersonal, and the sports personalities, the Superstars, are distant. However, in the TV show, the viewer can really see how motivated the athletes are, experience their pain and marvel at their motivation.
The Superstars of the 70’s and 80’s:
The finalists of 1978 include Brian Jacks (judo), Lynn Davies (athletics), Andy Irvine (rugby union), Dave “Boy” Green (boxing), Ian Neale (gymnastics), Tim Crooks (rowing), Brian Phelps (diving), Gordon Hill (football).
Brian Jacks was one of the most popular Superstars. He was not very well known until the participating in the competitions, but excelled in the gym trials. He was a martial artist, a Judoka. Brian won Britain’s first judo medal at a 1967 world championship, in Salt Lake City. He and gained a second bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Brian Jacks won Superstars twice, and now divides his time between Kent and Thailand and runs a martial arts centre in Orpington.
The Superstars competition was dominated by athletes, martial artists, rugby players and gymnasts. However, some excellent performances came from other sports, such as swimmer Robin Brew in 1985, Motorcyclist Eddie Kid in 1984, Diver Brian Phelps in 1978 and tennis players John Lloyd in 1984 and Annabelle Croft in the 2003 revival.
Hopefully the new Superstars show will be as exciting, and as motivational, as the last series. Seeing a professional athlete pumping out 100 dips in a minute has to be one of the most motivational and inspiring images on television. If that doesn’t make people get up and start exercising, nothing will!