Scaffolding experts Hardy Services have faced many challenges but none quite like this one – to design and build a huge replica mountain for ITV’s new Saturday night blockbuster show, Ninja Warrior.

The show is billed as the toughest obstacle course on television and starts a nine-week run this Saturday. It’s already been a smash hit in the USA, Japan, Malaysia and Sweden and will be hosted by Ben Shephard, Rochelle Holmes and Chris Kamara. Producers say it’s the ultimate test of strength, speed and courage.

Paul Hardy, managing director of the Burnley-based company explained: “The obstacles become progressively more difficult with only the very best contestants getting through to the final challenge, to scale Mount Midoriyama.

“It was a great order to land but we only had five working days to commission the design from structural engineers, order the materials and then build it in time for the filming at Manchester Central”.

Warren Birnie, Hardy’s scaffolding manager, led the work. He said: “It’s absolutely massive – 23m tall, 21m long and 7.5m deep. We had the plans from the other shows but we had to get design engineers here to re-draw them to make sure everything complied with health and safety rules in the UK. Then a team of seven of us had to build it.

“The heats involved 250 contestants and only the very best made the final to have a go at the vertical mountain. That really is quite a challenge. It’s never been climbed successfully in the USA and only four times in Japan.”

For Paul Hardy, this latest contract made quite a change. He said: “We’re usually outside in all weathers, refurbishing churches and other historic buildings, but it’s been great to prove we have the expertise to design and build something unique like this so quickly.”