TWI (part of Mark McCormack's sprawling sporting empire) put the programme together for the BBC in the past. 'We would love to bring it back,' says Stuart Mison, a major cheese at the company, 'but neither ITV nor BBC will look at it as a programme concept. We've got Olympic standard, international team athletes who have told us they are prepared to take part. We have a venue.' They have a team of experts standing by to advise - one of whom is Brian Hooper, the pole vaulter and last European Superstar, crowned in 1984.
Everyone remembers Superstars with affection: who can forget Brian Jacks in mid-squat-thrust, or the majesty of Daley Thompson 'dipping' on the parallel bars? Surely the BBC would be on to a winner if it resurrected the concept? Even BBC spokespersons cluck fondly when the topic is raised. But the official response remains stony and Birtian: it is not the kind of show the modern BBC wants.
Perhaps the greatest superstar of them all, Brian Jacks, is now running a martial arts centre and birthday party business (Karate-chop-o-grams?) in Orpington, Kent. He reports a great upsurge of public enthusiasm for the show as the tenth anniversary of its demise approaches. 'I get so many phone calls,' he reports. 'Superstars was a genuine programme where sportsmen competed with each other on genuine terms.' Brian was British Superstar three times, ran up an identical hat-trick in the European competition, and was crowned World Superstar. He is dismissive of Gladiators: 'I'd love to get five or six old Superstars and compete against them. They wouldn't stand an earthly.'
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