Jet From Gladiators Relives Moment She Heard Her Neck 'Snap' On The Show
Diane Youdale - better known to anyone of a certain age as Jet from Gladiators - has opened up about the time that she knew her career on the fast-paced Saturday night TV show was over, after a bad fall left her with a broken neck.
While being on Gladiators had the dubious perk of starring in the fantasies of teenage boys and Norwich-based broadcasters (AHA!) alike, it was also a fairly dangerous gig, even for the super-fit.
One night, at a live show at Wembley, Youdale - now aged 50 - suffered a nearly fatal accident after falling from the famous pyramid.
Anyone who had a telly during the 90s will remember the setting. There's a gigantic pyramid, and the contestant's aim is to get to the top, whereas the Gladiator pursues them and must drag them off it.
Well, in 1996, Jet took part in the game, but failed to pull off the landing. Instead, she and the contestant crashed to the floor and she heard an all-too-familiar crack in her neck.
Speaking to The Sun, she explained: "I had my contender, bless her, in my arms in a rugby tackle.
"I was flying through the air with her, and by the time I hit the floor at the bottom of the pyramid, my head was in the way."
That's when she heard the noise.
She continued: "I'd heard that snap before when I'd broken ligaments and bones."
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Youdale was just 26 at the time, and feared for whether she'd ever be able to walk again.
Normally, the trained athlete would attempt to make sure that nobody got hurt falling from the pyramid, but on this occasion, she was unable to. She smashed into the mat 'literally pencil-point down', much to the shock of the audience.
She added: "I remember thinking, 'Have I broken my neck?'"
It transpired that she hadn't, but she had compressed her spinal cord, which is also pretty damn serious.
"The fact that I'm flexible meant I didn't break my neck," she explained.
After the near miss, Gladiators removed the event from the show, and Youdale realised her time was up.
She said: "It terrified me so much that I could have sat in a chair for the rest of my life and possibly worse.
"I had a choice, and I made that choice, and that was to leave.
"I just thought, 'I'm out of there.' I'm sorry, but that was too close for comfort."
Featured Image Credit: REX/Shutterstock