Robot Wars will make its much anticipated, and long awaited, return to UK screens this Sunday 24th July at 8pm.
A total of 40 robots will battle it out for a place to be in the Grand Final. Each episode will begin with group battles, followed by head to heads and a final with only one winner per episode. Winning robots can defeat their opponents by flipping them into the trench outside the arena, maneuvering them into the pit of oblivion, and immobilizing them for ten seconds.
See the history of the 8 robots to fight in the first episode.
For the millions that grew up watching, Robot Wars formed a seminal part of their childhoods and teenage years. It showed them how to laugh, love, cry and cheer and moreover that engineering and science can, from time to time, be pretty cool.
It ran from 1998 to 2004 and from Sunday it’ll go back to its original home of a prime time BBC Two Sunday evening slot. It’s a show which gave us so many moments of TV magic, many of which involve fan favourite Hypno-Disc, such as that comeback by Bigger Brother, the defeat of Robogeddon and the decimation of Splinter.
The new six part series will be presented by comedian and presenter Dara Ó Briain, best known for Mock the Week. Irish presenter and The One Show reporter Angela Scanlon will be the pit reporter whilst commentator Jonathan Pearce will return for the reboot. Pearce’s involvement will be music to the ears of football fans and Robot Wars purists alike.
Should any battles end in a draw a panel of judges has been appointed too to make those tough decisions. Robotics experts Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Dr. Lucy Rogers and Professor Noel Sharkey make up this panel. Their decisions will be based upon three sets of criteria; damage, aggression and control.
Ó Briain said of his new role: “I am thrilled to be presenting Robot Wars. For too long, the schedules have cried out for a show in which dedicated amateurs, toiling day and night, handcraft sophisticated automatons built on the delicate interplay of hand-wired servo motors with custom-built circuit boards and fingertip motion control, just to see them get smashed to pieces by a dustbin carrying a massive hammer.”
“It’s war, and how I love it so.” – Ó Briain
It’s been confirmed that four of the House Robots will return. The promise is that they’ll be three times heavier, faster and more dangerous. They’ll also have a larger arena to play with.
The household names of Shunt, Sir Killalot, Matilda, and Dead Metal will return, new and improved. Sadly there’s no space for Sergeant Bash but maybe this’ll be a surprise down the line…a man can dream. New Matilda can flip upwards of a tonne, new Sir Killalot weighs 750kg and new Dead Metal has a top speed of 13mph with its trademark pincers and a lethal magnesium spinning cutting blade to slice competitors down. So that should be enough to be entertained by for now.
Alan Tyler, BBC acting controller of entertainment commissioning, said of the improvements for this series: “It is remarkable to see how much more powerful these robots have become since the series last aired, with battles now staged in an arena that is literally bulletproof, and yet, the show is still fundamentally driven by the eccentricity of the brilliant brains behind the machines.”
Technological advances unsurprisingly mean that the robots will be far more impressive and formidable.
They’ll be more nimble too, and producers have promised that advances in robotics will be accounted for which will mean different types of fighting. Flipping was an old favourite but one of the show’s producers, Andrew Robertson told The Week: “Flippers were the traditional old-school fighting robot, but now you’ll start to see the arrival of a new breed of fighting robot with Mecanum wheels or incredibly complex engineering. This series feels like we’re seeing the birth of a new generation of super-fighting-robot.”
The improvements to the robots mean that the new arena has had to be upgraded too. The state of the art battle arena in Glasgow features bulletproof glass to protect spectators from any flying pieces of shrapnel.
Is anyone else excited?