Trivia: Robot Wars

Trivia Tropes

  • Actor Allusion: Red Dwarf was mentioned a lot in Craig Charles' early series. The robot "Scutter's Revenge" (and its followup "Spawn of Scutter") was a reference to the Scutters, Inquisitor from series 2 was named after the title enemy from series 5 episode "The Inquisitor", and Charles himself made a joke about gazpacho soup in one episode.
  • Adored by the Network: At the height of its powers around series 3 and 4, the show was definitely this, to the point where new episodes could be seen up to three times in one week.
  • Channel Hop: From BBC2 to Channel 5.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Christian Bridge joining the Panic Attack team during season 4 after winning a competition in the Robot Wars Magazine.
    • Thor in the video game Arenas of Destruction.
  • Dub Name Change: Their mere existence forced Banpresto to change the title of their series to Super Robot Taisen (Taisen means Wars in Japanese) for all games released in English speaking countries.
  • Dueling Shows: With BattleBots. Both share a common ancestor in the robot combat tournaments held in abandoned San Francisco warehouses in the early 90's.
  • Executive Meddling: Specifically in the case of Storm II. As seen here and here, the producers of the show were unhappy about Storm II not using its 'active weapon' in its semi-final fight (which the revamped Series 7 rules stated must be on every robot, but not necessarily used), thus after failing to influence the judges to give the semi-final to Firestorm 5, they tried (and succeeded) in the final to meddle with Storm II's chances of success: first in its fight against Tornado by raising the pit after they had fallen into it, and secondly in its fight against Typhoon 2 by letting Team Typhoon repair damage to it in between the fight, not letting the house robots fight with it as normal, and not informing the judges of damage done to it (most notably Typhoon 2's drive chains having fallen off). This meant that the fight was given to Typhoon 2 in the judges' decision, prompting large boos from the crowd (albeit in post-production cheering was overdubbed onto the announcement). However, when the judges found out about this Team Storm received individual letters of apology.
    • Also in the Second Wars semi-finals, in the case of Mortis. In the pinball trial, when Mortis first started to move it got stuck on the arena spikes, meaning that it scored 0 points. However, somebody on the production team decided to let Mortis run again. (This at least may have been justified, as the roboteers had been told the spikes would not be used.) However, the usual driver was unhappy about this decision, meaning that another member of the Mortis team drove the robot. In the second attempt, Mortis scored very few points, and the house robots started scoring points for them (note that when the trial was introduced it was explicitly pointed out that points scored by the house robots would not count), and according to the scoreboard, Mortis had scored 100 points. In the televised version, there was no hint that Mortis had been given a second run or that the production team had fixed it. The production team clearly wanted Mortis, the favourite, to reach the final. At least when Panic Attack pushed Mortis into the pit in the next round the executives didn't try and persuade the judges that they shouldn't win. The "Grudge Matches" special at the end of the series included a fight between Mortis and Napalm, the robot eliminated as a result of the above meddling. The intro to the match didn't explain in any detail and made it look as if the Mortis team had been given a second chance by protesting to the judges, when in fact they were given one despite their protests. (Mortis won the grudge match.)
    • Another instance pertaining to The Seventh Wars. With the new producers, a new rule was implemented that all competing robots must have an active weapon. Therefore, robots who only had static wedges and spikes, or were Thwack-Bots (a robot which caused damaged by spinning on it's axis and slamming a clubbing or sharpened weapon into its opponent) were a big no-no. Even STINGER, a former GRAND FINALIST, which had consistently participated in highly entertaining battles and fought reigning champion Chaos 2 to a standstill in series 4, where it placed 3rd overall by a very narrow margin was barred from competing as well, because it didn't have an active weapon. The majority hated this rule. As a kick in the teeth to Stinger, a blunder was made in the entry list and a sit and spin Thwack-Bot, who did nothing, was let in regardless.
    • The Middleweight Championship in Extreme 2 borders on this. Team Typhoon, who were before then had the only good Middleweight in the country, was allowed to enter a second robot somehow. The fight was somewhat farcical as the two Typhoon bots (one of which was a clusterbot, effectively two robots in itself) ganged up on the two other robots and after they were defeated, just spun around on the spot, not attacking their brother.
      • Made even worse with the fact that the one part of the clusterbot was immobilised in the qualifier, which the rules state should've meant the robot was eliminated, but was allowed through anyway.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: One of the roboteers in a series 5 heat is now recognisable as stand-up comedian Daniel Sloss.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The odd VHS and DVD specials exist, and the show still exists in reruns, but no full release of championships have been made. The only complete episode to receive a commercial release was the First World Championship. For now your only hope for watching all the episodes is if you recorded them, or if someone posted the episode on YouTube.
    • Fortunately, most of the episodes are now on YouTube, with just the American series left.
  • Missing Episode: Previously thought to be the entire show, though more are popping up. In the past, German, Dutch and US Robot Wars are thought to have been lost, though all but the latter is now on YouTube. Similarly, the International League Championship was thought to be gone in similar fashion.
    • The Pilot episode MTV made is likely to remain missing for a long time. The only evidence of it even existing are a few references on some of the competitors' websites (most of which no longer exist).
  • The Pete Best: Team Cassius. Their first robot reached the final of the First and Second Wars (and some believe it threw the final battle in the Second, because the winner, Panic Attack, were donating their sponsor money to charity and would've got more for winning). Their robot in the Third Wars was one of the best, although it fell very early and the team retired in protest of lax safety regulations before the Fourth Wars, just as the show became popular.
    • Mick Cutter especially so. He left Team Chaos at the end of the Second Wars to join Team Cassius and didn't enter after Team Cassius pulled out. Team Chaos won the championship that year, and the year after, becoming one of the most popular and successful robots.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Martin Smith went from being a roboteer with Cruella in the first and second series to be a full-time judge from the third series onwards. Justified since, while the competition is open for anybody with any skill, quite a lot of the roboteers are very capable and qualified with robotics outside of Robot Wars (indeed, at the time of his ascension, Martin Smith was a professor of robotics at the University of East London).
    • Also Jamie McGarry, who was the webmaster of the Panic Attack fan site for several years; when it became promoted to the official Panic Attack website, he was invited to join the team for the Seventh Wars.
    • Anyone who liked the show and had the know-how could be one. Numerous teams were inspired to build and compete after seeing the show on TV.
  • Screwed by the Network: Suffered this from both the BBC and Channel 5. Three episodes from Extreme II were never aired on terrestrial television, and the show in general got shunted around the schedules a lot, to the point that in the last series only about two episodes were shown in their originally advertised timeslots. Channel Five also moved it from its well-known Friday timeslot to Sunday evenings.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The "Peoples' Challenge" in Extreme gave the viewers the option to choose which robots they'd like to see fight each other, and Hypno-Disc vs. Razer was actually the winning choice, but both teams decided it wasn't worth the damage to their robots. Outside of that, the two robots came maddeningly close to meeting in the series 5 grand final and the first two All-Stars tournaments, but it never quite happened.
    • Seen in many cases throughout the shows run, notably in the first wars when Plunderbird 1 was eliminated in the gauntlet despite being in the same heat as a stock robot (kamikaze robot made to make up numbers), or several robots breaking down at critical moments where they were in complete control (or between rounds, which prevented the chance of Razer fighting fellow crusher Suicidal Tendencies)
    • An incident in the pits during the Third Wars and the resulting investigation caused several events to be cancelled and the rest shortened and many robots would never be seen because of this. Notably among them were the alternative weight class championships (except for the middleweight championship, which was reduced to a single battle), which would never really kick off again. Nowadays, you'll be lucky to find a roboteer with a robot that's not antweight, featherweight or heavyweight.
    • Some of the robots that were turned away for Series 7 include Mortis, Dutch champions Slicer and Pulverize R and Sir Chromalot.
    • Team Cassius left the show in protest of the lack of safety regulations following the accident during the Third Wars mentioned above. Their robots had all been among the best in the series they competed in and likely would have done well in the later series.
  • The Wiki Rule: Has its own wiki that is the only place on the internet to list all results ever.

General Trivia

  • Rex Garrod, captain of the Cassius team, was also the inventor of Brum.
  • Pressing the Pit Release button had no direct bearing on the pit descending - there was somebody whose job it was to notice the button being pushed and make the pit go down. (On at least one occasion he missed the button being hit and the robot had to do so several times before it went down.)