|Also known as||Robot Wars Extreme|
|Created by|| Tom Gutteridge |
|Presented by|| Jeremy Clarkson (1998)|
Craig Charles (1998–2004)
Dara Ó Briain (2016–2018 )
Angela Scanlon (2016–2018 )
|Starring|| Philippa Forrester (1998–2000, 2002–03)|
Julia Reed (2000–01)
Jayne Middlemiss (2003–04)
|Judges|| Noel Sharkey (1998–2004, 2016–2018)|
Eric Dickinson (1998)
Adam Harper (1998–99)
Martin Smith (1999–2004)
Myra Wilson (2000–01)
Mat Irvine (2001–04)
Sethu Vijayakumar (2016–2018)
Lucy Rogers (2016–18)
|Narrated by||Jonathan Pearce|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||10 (Domestic)|
|No. of episodes||146 (Domestic)|
|Running time||30 minutes (1998–99)|
45 minutes (1999–2003)
60 minutes (2003–04, 2016–??)
|Production company(s)||TV21 (1998–2001)|
Mentorn (2001–04, 2016–?? )
|Original network|| BBC Two |
BBC Choice (2001–03)
|Picture format|| 4:3 (1998–2001)|
16:9 (2001–04, 2016–?? )
|Original release||Original series:|
20 February 1998 – 28 March 2004
24 July 2016 –
7 January 2018
Robot Wars is a robot combat competition that was broadcast on British television from 1998 to 2004 and again from 2016 to 2018. The series, centred on the sport of robot combat, involves teams of amateur and professional roboteers operating their own constructed remote controlled robots to fight against each other, whilst also avoiding arena hazards and more powerful "House Robots", which were not bound by the same weight or weapon limits as the contestants. Earlier series included assault and trial courses for competing robots before they were ceased from the first "Extreme" series onwards.
Robot combat is a form of robot competition in which two or more custom-built machines use varied methods of destroying or disabling the other. The machines are generally remote-controlled vehicles rather than autonomous robots, though not exclusively.
In electronics, a remote control is a component of an electronic device used to operate the device from a distance, usually wirelessly. For example, in consumer electronics, a remote control can be used to operate devices such as a television set, DVD player, or other home appliance, from a short distance. A remote control is primarily a convenience feature for the user, and can allow operation of devices that are out of convenient reach for direct operation of controls. In some cases, remote controls allow a person to operate a device that they otherwise would not be able to reach, as when a garage door opener is triggered from outside or when a Digital Light Processing projector that is mounted on a high ceiling is controlled by a person from the floor level.
The show was first broadcast on BBC Two from 20 February 1998 to 23 February 2001, on BBC Choice from 8 October 2001 to 7 February 2003 (later repeated on BBC Two), on Channel 5 from 2 November 2003 to 28 March 2004 before being revived in 2016 and broadcast on BBC Two from 24 July 2016 to 7 January 2018. To date, the show has been broadcast as 10 main series each centred around a single competition, two "Extreme" series with several unconnected events and several special episodes.
BBC Two is the second flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tends to broadcast more "highbrow" programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio channels, it is funded by the television licence, and is therefore free of commercial advertising. It is a comparatively well-funded public-service network, regularly attaining a much higher audience share than most public-service networks worldwide.
BBC Choice was a BBC TV station which launched on 23 September 1998 and closed on 8 February 2003. It was the first British TV channel to broadcast exclusively in digital format, as well as the BBC's second non-terrestrial channel launch.
Channel 5 is a British free-to-air television network. It was launched in 1997, and was the fifth national terrestrial analogue network in the United Kingdom after BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, and Channel 4. It is generally the fifth-placed network in the country in audience share, and has been since its inception.
Jeremy Clarkson presented the first series, with "Master of Mayhem" Craig Charles taking over for the second to seventh series. Philippa Forrester co-hosted the first three series, the fifth and Extreme 2. Forrester also hosted the spin-off series Robot Wars Revealed from 1998 to 1999. The fourth series and Extreme 1 were co-hosted by Julia Reed and the seventh by Jayne Middlemiss. Jonathan Pearce provided commentary for all series. The revived series were hosted by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon.
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for co-presenting the BBC TV show Top Gear with Richard Hammond and James May from October 2002 to March 2015. He also currently writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.
Craig Joseph Charles is a British actor, comedian, author, poet, television presenter and DJ. He is best known for playing Dave Lister in the science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf and Lloyd Mullaney in the soap opera Coronation Street, as a funk and soul DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 2, and as the presenter of the gladiator-style game show Robot Wars from 1998 to 2004.
Philippa Forrester is a British television and radio presenter, producer and author. She has presented shows such as Tomorrow's World, The Heaven and Earth Show and Robot Wars. She has also made wildlife programmes with her husband, Charlie Hamilton James.
Additional series were filmed at the UK venue for specific sectors of the global market, including two series of Robot Wars Extreme Warriors with American competitors for the TNN network (hosted by Mick Foley with Rebecca Grant serving as pit reporter), two of Dutch Robot Wars for distribution in the Netherlands and a single series for Germany. The fourth series of the UK Robot Wars was shown in the US on TNN as Robot Wars: Grand Champions in 2002 and hosted by Joanie Laurer.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Michael Francis Foley is an American author, actor and former professional wrestler and color commentator currently signed to WWE.
Rebecca Grant, is an American actress. Grant is a graduate of the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York with dual degrees in psychology and communication (1992). She was a hostess on NFL Under the Helmet and Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors television programs. After losing her mother to breast cancer, Grant has become an advocate for the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation and participates in the annual Revlon Run/Walk to Eradicate Cancers in Women.
Its merchandising was commercially successful, being one of the most popular selling toy ranges in 2002. It included a mini arena, pullback, friction and ripcord toys and radio-controlled versions of the House Robots.
In 2003, the roboteers themselves formed The Fighting Robot Association and with their associated event organizers, carry on participating in competitions for new audiences. In 2013, Roaming Robots purchased the rights to the Robot Wars brand from Robot Wars LLC and operated their travelling robotic combat show under that name.The use of the name Robot Wars for live shows ceased in early 2017, being renamed Extreme Robots.
With a peak audience of six million viewers in the UK during the late 1990s, the format went on to become a worldwide success, showing in 45 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, China, India, Germany and Italy. In March 2003, it was dropped by BBC Two after eight series and Mentorn announced it was making 22 episodes for Channel 5,concluding with The Third World Championships broadcast in March 2004. Channel 5 later axed the show after one series due to low ratings.
In July 2016, the show returned to BBC Two with a new arena, house robots and presenters. The first episode was well received becoming the top trending topic on Twitter that evening and having two million viewers, more than the last episode of the 23rd series of Top Gear in the same 8pm Sunday slot just a few weeks earlier.The revived show ran for three series, before it ended in March 2018.
Robot Wars was the brainchild of Marc Thorpe, a designer working for the LucasToys division of Lucasfilm.In 1992, Thorpe had the initial idea for robot combat sport after unsuccessfully attempting to create a radio-controlled vacuum cleaner. In 1994, Marc Thorpe created Robot Wars and held the first competition at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Approximately one month prior to the event, Thorpe formed a partnership with New York-based record company Sm:)e Communications, later Profile Records, who provided additional funding.
Between 1995 and 1997, three further Robot Wars events took place in America and in 1995, Profile Records partnered with production company Mentorn to produce and televise a Robot Wars event in the UK. Mentorn acquired the worldwide television rights from Profile in 1995 after Tom Gutteridge (the head of Mentorn) had seen an amateur tape of a San Francisco event.
Gutteridge and one of his producers Steve Carsey created a television format based on the Robot Wars concept. They produced a live event opposite BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, Shepherd's Bush, London and hired Derek Foxwell to build 3 combat robots, 2 of which were named The Mouse and Grunt who would eventually take part in the first UK series of Robot Wars, to take on three American robots, Thor, La Machine and The Master, all of which were veterans of the original American competition. The Controller of BBC Two, Michael Jackson, attended the event, which was not filmed and he promised to commission a series. However, it was not until 1998 that a subsequent Controller of BBC Two, Mark Thompson, fulfilled Jackson's promise and actually commissioned 6 episodes. Gutteridge and Carsey were producers and Foxwell was the technical supervisor and senior technical consultant. He drafted the rules and regulations and was in charge of the pit area and the technical team, which scrutinised the robots, got them on and off stage and helped the contestants prepare and repair their robots. Mat Irvine, initially a member of the technical team, served as a member of the judging panel in 2002 and 2003.
The three person judging panel consisted of Noel Sharkey (head judge on every series: 1998–2003, 2016–), Eric Dickinson (1998), Adam Harper (1998–99), Martin Smith (1999–2003), Myra Wilson (2000–01), Mat Irvine (2001–03), Sethu Vijayakumar (2016–) and Lucy Rogers (2016–).
On the first day, I was in the dressing room and looking in the mirror and looking down at the arena. And they were pulling the robots into the arena on an invisible twine because nothing was working. And I was thinking: "Oh my God, what have I done with my career?" And you know, within the blink of an eye, it was the most watched show on BBC2.— Presenter Craig Charles on the success of Robot Wars in the late 1990s and early 2000s which aired at 6:30 on Friday evening and attracted over six million viewers.
Profile sought no input or consent from Thorpe before doing this and this aggravated the already troubled relationship between Thorpe and Profile Records and indirectly spurred legal disagreements surrounding the ownership of the Robot Wars concept. The legal proceedings surrounding these would last until 6 February 2002.Mentorn used Thorpe as a Consultant on the series, however and the initial series of Robot Wars in the UK was broadcast over six weeks in February and March 1998. It was an immediate hit, with more than two million viewers and a further 18 episodes were commissioned by the BBC that year. 155 episodes were produced in total and the show was seen in 26 countries. Two series were produced in the US for The National Network (now Paramount Network) and a version was also shown on Nickelodeon. Series were also produced in many European countries. Although the series had various directors and producers, all were produced in the UK by Mentorn and executive produced by Tom Gutteridge and Steve Carsey. The initial series were staged in various film studios around London but the stage and pit area became too large to fit into any of the conventional studios, so filming was later moved to an aircraft hangar at RAF Newton.
Viewing figures dropped significantly in the early 2000s, reaching only 1.2 million in the sixth series - the final to be broadcast on BBC Two. Following its move to Channel 5 in November 2003, the show first began airing in a new Sunday night slot and launched with one million viewers; however ratings fell quickly to 800,000 resulting in the show moving to Saturday nights after just three episodes.After Robot Wars ended, an edited half hour version of this series aired on Fox Kids (later Jetix) from 2004.
On 13 January 2016, the BBC confirmed that it would be rebooting the show for a six-part series.The revived series was hosted by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon with Jonathan Pearce returning as commentator. The first episode was broadcast on 24 July at 8pm, the same slot as Top Gear . Some robots from the original series returned, including Behemoth and Storm II, as well as four of the original House Robots, which were upgraded to be heavier, faster, better armed and with new looks. The 2016 series was filmed in a warehouse at Westway Park in Renfrew, Scotland.
The first episode received about two million viewers and was the top trending topic on Twitter with over 20,000 tweets.
A second rebooted series was commissioned with a first celebrity special in 16 years, in which celebrities, such as Olympians Kadeena Cox and Alistair Brownlee and Jonny Brownlee, TV presenters Suzi Perry, Neil Oliver and Maggie Aderin-Pocock, singer Jordan Stevens and radio presenters Scott Mills and Robbie Savage had bespoke robots designed for them by eight major roboteers, who mentored them during the specials.
During its original airing, the first rebooted series was sometimes referred to as 'Series 1', presenting itself as a completely new show. Starting in 2017, however, the BBC began referring to it as Series 8, with the following second series appropriately dubbed Series 9, acknowledging itself as a continuation of the original show.Following the 10th series, it was revealed that the BBC had decided not to renew the show for an 11th, and Robot Wars was cancelled for the second time, to much criticism from fans.
A robot could lose a match in several ways during the knockout format of the show:
Although the format changed several times over the years, these rules remained the same across all series and competitions.
|Series||Competition Format||The Heats||The Semi-finals||The Final||Side and Trial Events|
|1||Six robots in six heats. The winners met in a single melee fight to determine the champion.||All six robots took on the Gauntlet with one eliminated. The remaining five took part in a trial with a further one eliminated. The final four took part in one-on-one Arena battles in a knockout format.||There was no Semi-Final held||The Final was held as a melee at the end of the final heat.||'British Bulldog', 'Football', 'Labyrinth', 'Snooker Octagon', 'Stock Car' and 'Sumo Basho'.|
|2||Six robots in twelve heats. The winners of each heat went into one of two semi-finals. Two robots from each semi-final reached the final show.||All six robots took on the Gauntlet with one eliminated. The remaining five took part in a trial with a further one eliminated. The final four took part in one-on-one Arena battles in a knockout format.||Arena battle knockout of two rounds plus a third place playoff.||'Joust', 'King of the Castle', 'Pinball Warrior', 'Football', 'Skittles', 'Sumo Basho' and 'Tug of War'.|
|3||Eight robots in sixteen heats. The sixteen heat winners reached one of two semi-finals. Two robots from each semi-final reached the final.||Arena battle knockout of three rounds.||Arena battle knockout of two rounds.||'Pinball Warrior', 'Football', the 'Middleweight Melee' and 'Walker Battles'.|
|4||Six robots in sixteen heats. The sixteen heats winners reached one of two semi-finals. Two robots from each semi-final reached the final.||Three-way Arena melee first round before two Arena knockout rounds.||'Pinball Warrior' and 'Sumo Basho'.|
|5||Eight robots in twelve heats. The twelve heat winners reached one of two semi-finals. Two robots from each semi-final reached the final.||Arena battle knockout of three rounds||Arena battle knockout of two rounds, with the three losers of the first round having to compete in a second-chance three-way melee for a place in the second round.|
|6||Arena battle knockout of three rounds. The first round as a four-way melee with two qualifiers.|
|7||Eight robots in sixteen heats. The sixteen heat winners reached one of two semi-finals. Two robots from each semi-final reached the final.||Arena battle knockout of two rounds.||Qualifying bouts for the World Championships and fights from other weight classes|
|8||Eight robots in five heats. The five heat winners would move on to the grand final along with a wildcard robot chosen by the judges.||Round 1 was done the same way as series 6 and 7, but the two winners of each group battle go into a mini league where they fight its three opponents once each, with 3 points for a knockout win, 2 for a judges' decision win and 0 for a defeat of either form, with the top 2 advanced into the heat final and the bottom 2 eliminated. In the event two robots are tied for a qualifying position, the robot who won their bout against the other proceeds.||There was no Semi-Final held.||The final works the same as the heats except the group battles feature three robots as opposed to four, with one robot being eliminated in each melee, similar to the heats of series 4.|
|10||Six robots in five heats. The heat winners move on to the grand final. Robots in second and third place entered into 10 way wild card battle of which the winner would also move into the grand final.||Round 1 was two 3 way battles similar to series 4 which the winners would progress to the heat semi-final. Losers would compete against the losers from the opposite round 1 from which the winners would progress to the heat semi-final. After the two semi-finals, there was a third-place match for a place in the 10-way wild card battle and a first-place battle of which the winner would proceed and the loser would also compete in the 10-way battle.||The 10 way wild card battle took place then the winner joined the 5 heat winners. The rest of the final worked the same as the heats except for the omission of the third-place match.|
There were also two series made for the UK, Robot Wars Extreme, which did not focus on a single championship.
|Extreme 1 and 2 Events||These tournaments and themed battles continued over the entire series|
|All-Star Tournament||Knockout tournament featuring the most well-known competitors.|
|Annihilator||Six-way battles with one robot eliminated per round.|
|Challenge Belt||Where robots would try to defend their honour for the challenge belt.|
|Mayhems||Three-way battles to progress to the series annihilators.|
|Tag Team Terror||Two robots team up and fight tag-team style (though usually all four robots were out).|
|Vengeance Battle||This allowed robots with unfinished business or grudges to settle things once and for all.|
|Wildcard Warriors||Newcomers take on established robots.|
|Extreme 2 Added Events||This series followed one theme over each episode|
|New Blood||A new robot tournament.|
|Iron Maidens||Women took control.|
|Minor Meltdown||Children took control.|
|Robot Rampage||A tournament with robots in lower weight classes such as antweight, featherweight, lightweight and middleweight.|
|University Challenge||All robots were entered by Universities.|
|Commonwealth Carnage||All robots were from teams based in the Commonwealth.|
|European Championship||All robots were from teams based in Europe.|
The first series of Robot Wars was presented by Jeremy Clarkson and co-hosted by Philippa Forrester. In keeping with his edgy persona established on Top Gear , Clarkson frequently made tongue-in-cheek jokes about competitors and their robots, such as remarking that a contestant robot called "Skarab" looked like "cheese on toast".
Clarkson left Robot Wars after the first series and was replaced with Craig Charles.Charles, well known as playing the character Dave Lister in the science fiction-themed sitcom Red Dwarf , was seen as taking the programme and its contestants more seriously than Clarkson and was more enthusiastic while presenting it. Charles would close each episode with a four line poem ending with the words "Robot Wars". Charles presented Robot Wars until it ceased production in 2004.
"My son, Jack, was a fan of the first series and said I should get involved. So I made a few phone calls and the rest is history."— Craig Charles speaking on how he got involved with Robot Wars.
In comparison to Charles' background in science fiction, Philippa Forrester was best known as co-host of the science and technology programme Tomorrow's World .Her role on Robot Wars was as the pit reporter who would speak to contestants about their robots before and after battles. Forrester was pit reporter for six of the show's nine series; Julia Reed took the role for Series 4 and Extreme 1 since Forrester was unable to participate in the programme due to pregnancy, but Forrester returned for Series 5, Series 6 and Extreme 2. When the programme moved to Channel 5 for the seventh series, Forrester did not return for unknown reasons, so Jayne Middlemiss took over the pit reporter duties.
Jonathan Pearce was the show's commentator throughout its entire run, becoming one of only two people (the other being judge Noel Sharkey) to appear in every episode of the programme; he commentated in the same loud and enthusiastic manner as his football commentaries.The programme was well known for phrases such as "Roboteers, stand by", "3. 2. 1. Activate" and "Cease!". These phrases were announced by the director, Stuart McDonald and became a recognisable part of the series for the entire duration of its run.
In 2016, Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon were announced as the hosts of the eighth series, with Jonathan Pearce returning as commentator. They reprised their roles in the ninth and tenth series.
Throughout the series, house robots acted as obstacles to competing robots in battles and challenges. House robots were permitted to attack robots that were in the Corner Patrol Zones at the corners of the arena or upon the submission of a competing robot. The house robots were an intrinsic part of the programme's success and merchandising of these robots was highly successful. 100 kg (220 lb) weight limit or weapon rules that contestant robots had to adhere to, the most notable example of this was Sergeant Bash's flamethrower.Furthermore, the house robots were not subject to the
From the Fourth Wars, a non-competitive "Refbot" was present during fights. This robot conveyed officiating signals (such as counting out immobile competitors) on the arena, gave occasional nudges to help battles along and could deploy a fire extinguisher where necessary.
For Series 8, new versions of Matilda, Shunt, Dead Metal and Sir Killalot were constructed. They are considerably heavier with improved weaponry. All the house robots are over 300 kg (661 lb) in weight and Sir Killalot now weighs 741 kg (1,634 lb). Visually, all four look similar to their predecessors, but with significant differences: Dead Metal's head has been enlarged with glowing eyes, Matilda's back-mounted fins have been replaced with smaller crocodilian scales, spikes appear on her frill, her eyes are now red and her whole head section now flips up; Shunt has enlarged wheel protectors and metal chimneys replacing the smokestack; and Sir Killalot's armour and helmet has been entirely redesigned. This was said to be to show the actual shape of Sir Killalot's head, rather than the helmet he is wearing. The other house robots did not return for this series.
Bold text indicates house robots that returned for the new series.
|House robot||First competed||Weight|
|Cassius Chrome||Seventh War||250 (550)||32 (20)||85 (33)||130 (51)||100 (39)||2x24V magnetic drive motors||Two rotary driven interchangeable "fists" and front shovel.||Fastest house robot||Requires attack time, high ground clearance||High speed ramming|
|Dead Metal||First War||112 (247) (original)|
343 (756) (revival)
|21 (13)||70 (28)||160 (63)||100 (39)||Battery driven motors||CO2 power driven 1.4m wide pincers with 300 kg (660 lb) grip and 4000rpm magnesium circular saw which spins at 340 km/h (210 mph)||Synergy of weapons||Poor manoeuvrability||Grabbing a competitor robot and engaging the saw|
|Growler||Sixth War||375 (827)||27 (17)||76 (30)||152 (60)||130 (51)||Six batteries and two electric motors||3,000 psi (21,000 kPa) front jaws; occasionally active rear-mounted flamethrower||Speed and sheer destructive power||Unpredictable||Grabs with jaws to push|
|Matilda||First War||116 (256) (original)|
350 (770) (revival)
|23 (14)||66 (26)||140 (55)||66 (26)||Battery driven engine||800 psi (5,500 kPa) pneumatic tusks that can lift 1.5 t (1.7 tons) and vertical 35 kg (77 lb) Hardox flywheel spinning 25 times per second; formerly a chainsaw tail (S1-4)||Tough exo-skeleton||Lacks self-control||Lifts with tusks or hits with rear weapon|
|Mr. Psycho||Sixth War||750 (1,650)||13 (8)||150 (59)||163 (64)||145 (57)||12 batteries||30 kg (66 lb) hammer and grabbing claw of 5 t (5.5 tons) force||Biggest and tallest house robot||Disabled power source||Hammer strike or claw grab|
|Refbot||Fourth War||120 (260)||11 (7)||130 (51)||140 (55)||90 (35)||Battery power||Front and rear scoops; electric countout; fire extinguisher and coloured card lights||Non-competitive||Non-competitive||N/A|
|Sergeant Bash||First War||120 (260)||13 (8)||90 (35)||140 (55)||90 (35)||Four Batteries||Propane fueled flamethrower and front hydraulic pincers (s3 onwards); ramming spike and rear grinding disc in S1-2.||Long-range weaponry||Limited fuel capacity||Engage flamethrower or grabbing with jaws|
|Shunt||First War||105 (231) (original)|
327 (721) (revival)
|18 (11)||70 (28)||130 (51)||110 (43)||Prototype electric motor||Rear ramming plough, Front lifting 300 psi (2,100 kPa) scoop that can lift 350 kg (770 lb) and titanium-tipped axe that can strike at the speed of 0.25 seconds||High pushing power||Lightest and has no side self-righting mechanisms||Hit with axe or push|
|Sir Killalot||Second War||519 (1,144) (original)|
741 (1,634) (revival)
|16 (10)||130 (51)||120 (47)||120 (47)||Petrol engine||Hydraulic claws with 2.5 tonnes (2.8 tons) of crush force and rotating drill lance (S3-S7); non-rotating spike lance for S2||Heavy with powerful weaponry||Unpredictable||Spike with lance / grab with claw|
There were numerous arena incarnations used during the original run of Robot Wars on the BBC. These arenas were also used by international versions such as Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors in the United States. The arena was approximately 32 by 48 feet (9.8 by 14.6 m). For Series 1 to 3 the arena was not enclosed as such, as the audience were raised above the arena. The increasing sophistication of weaponry from contestant robots - most notably demonstrated by Hypno-Disc in Series 3 - as well as arena hazards prompted producers to enclose the arena entirely in a perspex box 20 feet (6.1 m) high from Series 4 onwards, to protect the audience and production team from debris.[ citation needed ]
In early 2004, the Robot Wars arena was purchased from the television production firm Mentorn by a company called Robot Arenas Ltd., based in the UK, an organization set up by a past competitor in Robot Wars to continue the sport of robot combat in the UK. The arena - valued originally at £11,000 - was sold for scrap in 2005 for £250 by the new owners of the former RAF Newton air base, where the arena was housed. A suit filed against RAF Newton by Robot Arenas Ltd. found that RAF Newton had acted reasonably in the matter and owed no compensation to Robot Arenas Ltd.
In 2016, a new arena was constructed in a warehouse in Renfrew, on the outskirts of Glasgow, for use in the rebooted series. This arena is 15 metres (49 ft) square, with a 6 mm (0.24 in) steel floor and higher bulletproof walls, making it harder for robots to be thrown out of the arena.
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Throughout Robot Wars' run, arena hazards were introduced and amended. Generally, hazards which proved ineffective were omitted in later series, however some hazards proved to be a success (such as the Pit of Oblivion, Floor Flipper and the Drop Zone) and were retained. The assorted hazards in the arena that changed from one series the next included:
|1||Roadblock||Bodyhammer, Robot The Bruce, Recyclopse, Cunning Plan, T.R.A.C.I.E.|
|Series||Winner||Runner-up||Third Place||Fourth Place|
|5||Razer||Bigger Brother||Firestorm 3||Hypno-Disc|
|7||Typhoon 2||Storm 2||Tornado||X-Terminator|
|8||Apollo||Carbide||TR2, Thor, Shockwave, Pulsar|
|9||Carbide||Eruption||Ironside 3, Aftershock, Concussion, Apollo|
|10||Eruption||Carbide||Nuts 2, Behemoth, Rapid, Magnetar|
|International League Championship||Razer (England)||Diotoir (Republic of Ireland)|
|First World Championship||Razer (England)||Behemoth (England)||101 (England)||Diotoir (Republic of Ireland)|
|First Celebrity Special||Pussycat (Adam Woodyatt)||Diotoir (Vic Reeves)||Gemini (Anthea Turner & Wendy Turner)||Sir Chromalot (Shane Lynch)|
|Championship||Winner||Runner-up||Third Place||Fourth Place|
|Tag Team Terror||King B3 & 101||Firestorm 2 & Scorpion||Bigger Brother & Plunderbird 4||X-Terminator 2 & Invertabrat|
|Annihilator North||Spikasaurus||Dominator 2|
|War of Independence||Mortis (UK)||Frenzy (USA)||Ming 2 (UK)||Panic Attack (UK)|
|Second World Championship||Razer (UK)||Drillzilla (USA)||Manta (USA)||Tornado (UK)|
|The Forces Special||Anvil (Royal Air Force)||Mega-Hurts (Royal Navy)||Oblark (Fire Brigade)||Sub-Version (Submariners)|
|UK vs. Germany||Fluffy (UK)||Das Gepäck (Germany)||259 (UK)||Delldog (Germany)|
|All-Stars||Pussycat||Dantomkia||Kat 3||Panic Attack|
|Third World Championship||Storm 2 (UK)||Supernova (Sri Lanka)||Crushtacean (South Africa)||Tough As Nails (Netherlands)|
|Battle of the Stars||Arena Cleaner (Scott Mills & Chris Stark)||Kadeena Machina (Kadeena Cox)||The Cat (Suzi Perry)||Robo Savage (Robbie Savage)|
|World Series||UK (Apollo, Terrorhurtz, Sabretooth, Gabriel 2)||UK (Eruption, Thor, Concussion, Big Nipper)||Rest of the World (Diotoir, Cobra, Rabid M8, TMHWK)||Rest of the World (Cathadh, Terror Turtle, THE BASH / Tough As Nails*, Weber)|
Pullback and friction toys were made of all the House Robots, with the exception of Cassius Chrome as the toys had stopped production when it was introduced for The Seventh Wars and the toys would have resumed production by Series 10 but this did not happen until Hexbug did so rather late in 2018. There were also pullback and ripcord toys of Chaos 2, Dantomkia, Firestorm, Hypno-Disc, Panic Attack, Pussycat, Razer, Stinger, Tornado, Wheely Big Cheese and X-Terminator 2. Each came with an accessory.
There were remote controlled versions of Shunt, Matilda, Sir Killalot and Growler. There were also smaller remote control battlers, which had "immobilisation spots" on the rear of the toy. Sgt. Bash and the competitor robot Tornado were the only two made. These were smaller than the other remote control robots mentioned above.
There were customisable kit toys of the House Robot Matilda and competitors Hypno-Disc and Panic Attack. A Sergeant Bash pitstop kit was prototyped but never released.
Minibots were a series of small die-cast replica robots. The range included all of the Series 5 House Robots along with competitor robots Chaos 2, Dominator 2, Firestorm III, Gemini, Hypno-Disc, Mega Morg, Panic Attack, Plunderbird 5, Pussycat, Razer, Suicidal Tendencies, Tornado, Wheely Big Cheese, Wild Thing and X-Terminator 2. They had an interactive replica arena and two additional playsets.
Several VHS videos were released of the show. These included "The First Great War" a look at the making of Series 1, "The First World Championship" which was released exclusively on video at the time and the "Ultimate Warrior Collection" featuring exclusive access to the teams of Chaos 2, Hypno-Disc and Razer, along with footage of their battles. Along the same lines an "Ultimate Archive Collection" was released showing exclusive footage of the House Robots and their operators along with some of their greatest battles and most embarrassing moments.
The Ultimate Warrior Collection, Ultimate Archive Collection and First Great War were also released on DVD. The footage and content remained the same as the VHS releases. Series 8 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 29 August 2016, making it the first full series of Robot Wars to be released on home media. It was later released digitally. Series 9 and 10, along with the "Battle of the Stars" specials, were released on 11 December 2017 as a 5-disc DVD box set.
Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem is the first game based on the show, released on Game Boy Color in 2000. It was followed in 2001 by Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction on PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows and Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction on Game Boy Advance. After the first three titles sold over 250,000 copies, a fourth and final game, released on Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows and Xbox in 2002 was called Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction .
A huge array of other merchandise was produced due to the success of the show. Items available included mugs, glasses, mobile phone covers, toiletries, stationery, clocks, watches, bedding, curtains and clothing. The show even produced an unsuccessful single, which peaked at number 51 in the UK singles charts in December 2000, called "Sir Killalot Vs. Robo Babe - Robot Wars (Android Love)".A custom made game officially licensed under Robot Wars LLC was started on in October 2013, using the Robot Arena 2 video game as the base engine. It featured many robots from the TV series as well as robots competing in the newer live events. It also included the original Robot Wars arena and various live arenas. It was released to the public in September 2015 and an updated version which included more robots was released in February 2016. A smaller update was released in January 2017, adding two new robots. Another update came in August 2017 which added the new Robot Wars arena from the current series and another new arena as well as some unreleased robots from the beta and robots that were due to be released in a cancelled expansion. It is only available for Microsoft Windows.
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All episodes were announced by Jonathan Pearce.
|Series||Start date||End date||Network||Hosts||Judges||Commentator||Episodes|
|1||20 February 1998||27 March 1998||BBC Two||Jeremy Clarkson||Philippa Forrester||Noel Sharkey||Eric Dickinson||Adam Harper||Jonathan Pearce||6|
|2||6 November 1998||5 March 1999||Craig Charles||15|
|3||3 December 1999||21 April 2000||Martin Smith||19|
|4||22 September 2000||23 February 2001||Julia Reed||Myra Wilson||19|
|5||6 May 2002||27 May 2002||BBC Choice||Philippa Forrester||Martin Smith||Myra Wilson||Mat Irvine||15|
|6||16 September 2002||4 October 2002||Martin Smith||Mat Irvine||15|
|7||2 November 2003||7 March 2004||Channel 5||Jayne Middlemiss||19|
|8||24 July 2016||28 August 2016||BBC Two||Dara Ó Briain||Angela Scanlon||Noel Sharkey||Sethu Vijayakumar||Lucy Rogers||Jonathan Pearce||6|
|9||5 March 2017||16 April 2017||6|
|10||22 October 2017||3 December 2017||6|
All Extreme episodes premiered on BBC Choice.
|Series||Start date||End date||Hosts||Judges||Episodes|
|1||8 October 2001||26 October 2001||Craig Charles||Julia Reed||Noel Sharkey||Martin Smith||Myra Wilson||Mat Irvine||15|
|2||13 January 2003||7 February 2003||Philippa Forrester||Martin Smith||Mat Irvine||16|
|31 December 1998||The Making of Robot Wars|
|12 March 1999||The Grudge Matches|
|19 March 1999||The Best of Robot Wars|
|15 September 2000||International League Championship|
|27 December 2000||Celebrity Special Championship|
|28 December 2000||Tag Team Terror|
|29 December 2000||Northern Annihilator|
|30 December 2000||Southern Annihilator|
|31 December 2000||War of Independence|
|16 November 2001||The First World Championship|
|14 December 2001||The Second World Championship|
|21 December 2001||Forces Special|
|10 January 2003||UK vs. Germany|
|14 March 2004||Annihilator|
|21 March 2004||All-Stars|
|28 March 2004||The Third World Championship|
|11 July 2016||Meet the House Robots|
|28 December 2016||Battle of the Stars: Episode 1|
|29 December 2016||Battle of the Stars: Episode 2|
|31 December 2017||World Series: Episode 1|
|7 January 2018||World Series: Episode 2|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Robot Wars (TV series)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robot Wars .|
BattleBots is an American robot combat television series. Competitors design and operate remote-controlled armed and armored machines designed to fight in an arena combat elimination tournament. For five seasons, BattleBots aired on the American Comedy Central and was hosted by Bil Dwyer, Sean Salisbury, and Tim Green. Comedy Central's first season premiered on August 23, 2000, and its fifth and last season ended on December 21, 2002.
Chaos 2 is a combat robot from the UK Television Series Robot Wars, designed and built by self-employed mechanic George Francis, from Ipswich, and operated by Team Chaos. Twice winner of the UK Robot Wars Championship and the only robot with that distinction, it was the first robot to use its flipper to throw its opponents out of the arena altogether. This machine was also the first to defeat Hypno-Disc in Series 3. Its flipper is commonly considered to be one of the most powerful in Robot Wars, although it is not as powerful as the catapult-style flipper of Wheely Big Cheese. However, its weapon is superior in terms of efficiency, but has a limited supply of CO
2, which provides the power for the weapon. The robot has been reincarnated several times over the years, previously appearing as Robot The Bruce and Chaos. Its flipper was also used as a self-righting mechanism when the robot was inverted, flipping the entire robot over in a half-somersault so it could continue fighting.
Hypno-Disc was a contestant entry in the Robot Wars TV series, and was one of the first robots to use the kinetic flywheel weapon — a highly damaging weapon that succeeded in heavily damaging and destroying great many robots. Hypno-Disc's design, however, was somewhat basic, and its high ground clearance made it an easy target for robots armed with flipping weapons, such as Chaos 2. Hypno-Disc was the creation of the Rose family — twin brothers Derek and David, and their father Ken. It was the first competitor robot recreated in toy form when the Robot Wars pullback toys were released.
Roadblock was a combat robot that competed on the British television series Robot Wars. Constructed in 1997 by A-level students from Bodmin Community College, the robot was initially called "Road Rage" but was renamed in response to a request from the programme's producers. Both names were derived from the robot's distinctive construction from metal roadsigns. Roadblock was champion of the first series of Robot Wars and finished in third place for the second series. Although Roadblock was armed with a circular saw weapon, its success was primarily due to its wedge-shaped body—Roadblock could drive underneath opponent robots and invert them, rendering many immobile.
Razer is a combat robot that competes on the British television series Robot Wars. It was constructed by Simon Scott and Ian Lewis from Bournemouth; the team later expanded to include webmaster Vincent Blood. Razer was designed and constructed in 1998 to participate in the second series of Robot Wars, but subsequent modifications and improvements enabled it to remain competitive until its retirement after the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. Despite gaining a reputation for being unreliable, it was champion of the fifth series of Robot Wars, runner-up in the sixth, and won the first two Robot Wars World Championships.
Panic Attack was a robot that competed in the British television show Robot Wars. In Series 2, it was just a box, with a set of electrically powered lifting forks, powered by a homemade system. It was emblazoned with the image of a spider. The spider was the result of a school competition to come up with a design of something that made you panic. A 12-year-old girl designed the spider. With his prize money from Series 2, Kim built a newer machine. This one had a srimech, a new body shape, and more effective forks, which were capable of completely overturning opposing machines. The top-mounted self-righting mechanism proved to be unreliable, and was eventually removed. Added in Series 4 were a set of side "skirts" to prevent all but the lowest of robots from getting underneath it, as well as sloping sides. The fourth model had improved skirts, and the srimech was updated to a top flipper, which was the favourite with the driver Kim Davies, who stated it was, in his opinion, the best version.
Tornado was a competitor on the UK TV series Robot Wars, noteworthy as the champion of the sixth series.
Typhoon 2 was a robot in the UK television series Robot Wars, noteworthy for being the final champion of the show before it was cancelled. It was a full-body spinner with cutting claws. In two battles in series 7, which it competed in, it knocked out the arena wall, causing the match to restart. It was created by 870 Dreghorn Squadron's Air Cadets from the Air Training Corps and painted to resemble the RAF crest. Named after the Eurofighter Typhoon. The team also had a 3-time middleweight champion called Typhoon, a Lightweight called Typhoon Thunder which also makes Typhoon Twins with Typhoon Lightning, and a featherweight called Typhoon Cadet. Gary Cairns, the team captain, later ran a 3D Printing business and fought in the 2016 Robot Wars with PP3D, which reached the second round group stage in its heat, but lost, ironically, to Storm 2 in the decisive battle, before losing at the same stage a year later due to control problems in its battles.
Nickelodeon Robot Wars is a game show that aired on Nickelodeon from August 25, 2002 to October 6, 2002. Hosted by Dave Aizer, the show was Nickelodeon's take on Robot Wars, the popular and long-running robot-fighting game show. The show was canceled after one season, and subsequently aired on Nickelodeon GAS.
X-Terminator was a fighting robot which competed in Robot Wars since series 3. For Series 3 it was painted red, although in series 4 onwards it was silver. The armour was made of aluminium. It used to be armed with an axe and flipping scoop for series 3-6, but for series 7 Marlon Pritchard and Simon Baldwin changed it to a vertical cutting disc. X-Terminator's best result was coming 4th Place in Robot Wars Series 7.
Robot Wars: Arenas Of Destruction is a 2001 action game published by BBC Multimedia and released for the PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows, based on the BBC television series, Robot Wars.
Rescue Robots is a British game show, produced by Mentorn and shown on ITV in 2003, presented by Anna Williamson. One series of 15 episodes was produced but only 7 episodes were aired.
Storm 2 is a robot that competed in the British television game show Robot Wars. It was a small invertible box-shaped robot with a wedge on the front. The robot was originally built with no weapons but the team was asked to add an active weapon in order to take part in the seventh series, so the team came up with a built-in lifting arm, very similar to the American robot BioHazard. However, it was not the weapon but the immense speed and power of the robot that did the most damage to its opponents, managing to throw The Steel Avenger out of the Arena in its Series 7 heat final. The robot competed in the seventh series of Robot Wars, winning The Third World Championship at the end of the series, having won the 16th seed into the competition by being victorious in the New Blood Championship of Extreme 2.
Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction is an action game developed by Climax Development and published by BBC Multimedia under their game development label Gamezlab in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows and Xbox. It was given a release in the run-up to Christmas to build on the success of the three previous games, which had sold over 250,000 copies.
In robot combat, a self-righting mechanism or srimech is a device used to re-right a robot should it get flipped. Biohazard of BattleBots, was the first robot to self-right.
Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction is the third video game based on the British game show Robot Wars. It was the third of four games based on the show, with the first three selling over 250,000 copies. It was developed by Crawfish Interactive and published by BBC Multimedia and was released exclusively for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It was also released in the US by Vivendi Universal Games. The game is based on Series 4 of Robot Wars.
Thomas Michael Gillan "Tom" Gutteridge is a British television director, producer and executive. He was formerly Chief Executive of FremantleMedia NA, having previously been founder and Chief Executive of Mentorn, from 1985 to 2001. In 2016 he was appointed Executive Producer of the television series BattleBots, which, after two seasons on ABC, in 2018 moved to the Discovery and Science Channels. He started his career as a BBC journalist.
Pussycat was a robot that appeared in the TV show Robot Wars. It was unique as it was a pyramid shaped robot that could drive on its base or on either side or even on the sides of its wheels until it flipped back onto the tyres. It made its debut in the Third Wars and competed in all series from then onward, bar the Sixth Wars, until the show's final series, the Seventh Wars.
Slicer was a robot from the Netherlands that appeared in the Dutch version of TV show Robot Wars. Named after a meat slicer because of its weaponry, a spinning drum, it won the first series but did not return for the second, thus being undefeated. in the process it was one of the few robots to never lose a battle. The team consisted of Erik de Vrijer, who previously entered the First World Championship in UK Series 3 under Techno-Lease, and Jos Boon.