Robot Wars is back, with more science and destruction

13 Jan 2016

Let’s hope that robots don’t become sentient any time soon, with the news that the BBC is to bring back the incredibly popular show Robot Wars with more destruction and more science.

With Craig Charles (and briefly Jeremy Clarkson in the first season) presenting and Jonathan Pearce doing his best to sound calm amid the robotic deathmatch going on below, Robot Wars was easily one of the most-loved showed by young and old alike in its six-year run between 1998 and 2004.

Now, 12 years later, we’re finally going to see it return to our screens as part of a six-part series, which plans on representing the robotic technological advancements made in the intervening period.

For those with memories of the show, the names Sir KillaLot, Matilda Hypnodisc and Chaos 2 will all be familiar, with some likely to return.

While many of the details have yet to be revealed by the broadcaster, the Wars will take place in a purpose-built arena in Glasgow with what it is describing as a state-of-the-art camera setup to see every nook and cranny in the new generation of destructive robots that hopefully won’t be programmed to feel pain.

Bulletproof stage

Given that the release issued by the BBC cites more science, perhaps it is likely that we’ll also get to see more of the actual development of these killer robots, with the aim of teaching youngsters at home some of the fascinating elements of the building of robots in general, rather than ones that can take over the world.

Explaining what’s in store, Alan Tyler, the BBC’s acting controller of entertainment commissioning, said: “The redeveloped Robot Wars proved compelling, offering a mix of real people, real passion and raw power. 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. We are excited to bring this clever new incarnation, not only to an audience who loved the original but also to those who may be discovering it for the first time.”

I’m personally hoping for something like this rather insane 18-robot free-for-all. The horror … the horror.

The Razor robot featured on Robot Wars image via Alex Healing/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic