Gladiator Panther’s unrecognisable transformation after horror injury on show

Gladiators legend Panther rose to fame after appearing in the show's first five series back in the 90s – but after a horrific injury that stunned fans, you might not even be able to recognise her now.

Panther, whose real name is Helen O’Reilly, joined the Saturday night family favourite show in 1992 but left in 1996.

Before joining the programme, she was a champion bodybuilder and became one of Britain's top women bodybuilders.

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On the show, the Blythe-born athlete was often seen bossing the more physical events such as Gauntlet, Atlaspheres, Joust and Whiplash due to her bodybuilding background.

However, many may remember that she was involved in one of the most horrifying accidents in the history of the show.

While competing in the Tilt, Panther fell head first and sustained serious neck and back injuries which took five months to recover from. To everyone's shock, she returned to the show for its fifth series before quitting for good in 1996.

Speaking of her experience on the show, she has previously said: “It was great, it inspired so many people into sport, to be able to be strong and feminine at the same time. We still get messages today, 25 years later, of people still being inspired to go to the gym.”

When Panther was on the show, she had long brunette hair with a fringe but she has since gone blonde. In previous interviews, she has stated people don’t recognise her as she has changed so much in the years since she was a household name.

She continued: “I think I've changed quite a lot… most people don't recognise me… age, hair, colour change and of course I don't wear the trademark Panther Lycra anymore.”

After the show ended, Helen opened her own fashion boutique school with Gladiator co-stars Vogue and Saracen.

The 60-year-old now runs her own gym, Panthers Gym, in Uxbridge where she preps other women and travels all across the globe judging bikini girls, fitness girls and men's physique and bodybuilding contests.

Her business pages on social media also state that she is a Personal Coach.

Asked if the show could ever return a couple years ago and whether she would take part, Panther insisted: "There is a demand for it. But I am 58, I don't know if I am a bit past it."


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