Australian Ninja Warrior: Rebecca Maddern on the revenge of Mt Midoriyama

Australian Ninja Warrior

• Plus what happened when she tried the course herself

Last year’s Australian Ninja Warrior ended with Mt Midoriyama being conquered, and now the show has returned bigger and better in 2021 with a new set of challenges for its contestants.

Mediaweek spoke with Australian Ninja Warrior host, Rebecca Maddern about the show’s new season and what we can expect from the new and improved course.

Luckily one hurdle that wasn’t involved in the production of the show was the Covid-19 pandemic with Maddern saying that they were able to pre-film in Sydney before the recent outbreak in the area.

“Last year’s season we just got done in the nick of time, but this season was seamless.”

While the show is expected to once again perform strongly in the TV ratings, Maddern said that the series will have at least one extra viewer this year.

“My daughter is now three, before this point she was too young to stay up or understand it, but now she is into her sport. This will be the first year that I might let her stay up past her bedtime and watch the first half hour of the show.”

The Bigger and Better Course

Maddern said that the fact that Mt Midoriyama was finally conquered by Ben Polson made it a tough task to come out with something different, but she described the result as extraordinary.

“There is not just one or two changes, everywhere you turn on this course there is a new element that is added.

“Not only have we added 20+ brand new obstacles that have never been seen before in Australia, we have added things like competitors getting to choose which path they go down with two Ninja Warrior courses side by side. They get to make a decision on which way they want to go.

“If they win the heats and win the Power Tower challenge, they get this golden ticket that shoots them straight through to the Grand Final and miss the semi’s all together.

Maddern said that everywhere people turn in season five there will be a brand-new element that will create completely new dimensions to the format.

“I was terrified when I was walking the course and saw that there was an underwater obstacle because that just flips the whole competition on its head. We have always told the ninjas to beware of the water otherwise you will be out, and in this season we are asking them to dive into the water!”

Working with Nick Kyrgios

Another big change to season five was the addition of tennis ace Nick Kyrgios to the team, an addition that Maddern described as absolutely brilliant.

“We didn’t just get him in as a gimmick, Nick Kyrgios actually loves Australian Ninja Warrior and that’s why we wanted him to be a part of season five.

“You are going to see a new side to Nick Kyrgios, he is in absolute awe of what these athletes can do. I remember a moment that Nick was being introduced to the course before the ninjas got there and his jaw dropped, he couldn’t believe how difficult and how big the obstacles were in real life.”

Maddern also said that the environment of this show will show Australia the real Nick Kyrgios.

“Nick is really fun, and you probably don’t see the fun side to Nick Kyrgios when he is in the middle of a tennis tournament. And then he brings that extra layer of expertise being an athlete, so we get that side of him.”

Trying her own luck

Despite not being allowed on the course Maddern has admitted to having a sneaky try herself.

“Between you and me, I have video evidence on my phone of me trying the course. When I say trying the course, one of the steps leading up to the Power Tower is what I attempted, and let’s just say I didn’t make it.

“That is just one step, ONE STEP! I couldn’t even get up one step and there is athletes running up five or six steps at full pace in a race and I couldn’t with all the time in the world get myself up on the shelf.”

Maddern also admits that there is a host that has done much better than her on the course too.

Shane Crawford did one of the obstacles and he put us all to shame. I was unsure if a retired athlete still had it in him, but he has a good ticker.

The Future

Maddern said that she plans to host Australian Ninja Warrior as long as Channel Nine will let her.

“I probably see Ben (Fordham) and I hosting this show till we are about 75! We are never going to run out of willing athletes in Australia, and Australians love their sport so it’s an open ended ticket I say.”

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