The Millennium ExperienceChronicle of the Future

Bloody good fun

16.08.43: TWO THOUSAND years after the Roman Emperor Claudius, a huge colosseum in Las Vegas is drawing capacity crowds of 150,000 to watch modern-day gladiators battle to the death.

The event is a global broadcasting spectacular attracting billions of bloodthirsty viewers.

The original gladiators were slaves, Christians or prisoners of war; their 21st-century counterparts are mostly former special forces soldiers or martial arts experts. Successful gladiators receive great acclaim and colossal cash prizes. They make it into the Hall of Fame if they survive 10 bouts, becoming emperor for a day with the power to give a thumbs-up - or down.

In a sanitised world, the concept of gladiatorial contests complete with lions, elephants and chariot races is proving a huge success, but few believe it can last and the Las Vegas shows may have to close. James Martin, a GladWeb spokesman, defended the Blood Games: "Gone are the days when families huddled around their sets to watch soap operas or the Olympics. This is the ultimate sporting contest, watched from the s