Robot Wars is a robot combat competition that was broadcast on British television from 1998 to 2004 and from 2016 to 2018. Each series involves teams of amateur and professional roboteers operating their own constructed remote controlled robots to fight against each other in an arena formed of steel and bullet proof glass fitted with arena hazards and containing areas occupied by hostile and heavier "House Robots". Earlier series included assault and trial courses for competing robots.
|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||9 (Original)|
|No. of episodes||124 (Series 1–7)|
|Running time||30 minutes (1998–99)|
45 minutes (1999–2003)
60 minutes (2002–18)
|Production companies||TV21 (1998–2001)|
Mentorn International (2001–02)
|Original network||BBC Two|
BBC Choice (2001–03)
BBC One (2000, one episode)
|Original release||Original series:|
20 February 1998 – 28 March 2004
24 July 2016 –
7 January 2018
The original version of the show was 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) and on Channel 5 from 2 November 2003 to 28 March 2004. A revival was 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.
Jeremy Clarkson presented the first series, with Craig Charles taking over for the second to seventh series. Philippa Forrester co-hosted the first three series, the fifth, sixth 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. The revived series were hosted by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon. Jonathan Pearce provided commentary for all series.
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.
Its merchandising was commercially successful, being one of the most popular selling toy ranges in 2002 produced by Logistix Kids. 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.
Profile sought no input or consent from Thorpe before doing this, which 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. TechTV (and later G4techTV/G4) in the US aired the UK series proper. 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 Bravo from after 2004, on Dave from 2010 and on Challenge & Sky History from before 2016.
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.[non-primary source needed] 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.
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 has been axed for the second time, the complete cancellation was met with backlash 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, with the two winners advancing to the Grand Final.||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.||There were no Side or Trial events or Qualifying bouts held|
|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.||There were no Side or Trial events or Qualifying bouts held|
|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.||–||Robot rebellion||Robots Face the House 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. (Similar to the World Championship)|
|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. He was also often known as the "Master of Mayhem" when introduced at the start of episodes from Extreme 1 onwards. 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.
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. Furthermore, the house robots were not subject to the 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.
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, tallest and 2nd strongest 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||520 (1,150) (original)
741 (1,634) (revival)
|16 (10)||130 (51)||120 (47)||120 (47)||Petrol engine||Hydraulic claws mounted on lifting arm 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 and seemingly invincible||Easily Toppled, Flammable||Spike with lance / grab with claw. Can lift grabbed robots off the floor.|
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.
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.
Throughout Robot Wars' run, arena booby-traps were introduced and amended. Generally, traps which proved ineffective were omitted in later series, however some traps proved to be a success (such as the Pit of Oblivion, Floor Flipper and the Drop Zone) and were retained. The assorted traps 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|
|3||Chaos 2||Hypno-Disc||Fire Storm/Steg-O-Saw-Us|
|5||Razer||Bigger Brother||Firestorm 3||Hypno-Disc|
|7||Typhoon 2||Storm 2||Tornado||X-Terminator|
|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 from Logistix Kids had stopped production when it was introduced for The Seventh Wars and the toys would have resumed production by Series 8, 9 or 10, but this did not happen until Hexbug did so rather late in 2018. There were also pullback and ripcord toys of the Series 3, 4, 5, 6, Extreme 1 and Extreme 2 Competitors 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.
Minibots were a series of small die-cast replica robots. The range included all of the Series 3, 4, 5 and Extreme 1 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 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 and Ultimate Archive Collection 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. The Complete Compendium 2017 contained 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 large 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.
All episodes were announced by Jonathan Pearce.
|Series||Start date||End date||Network||Hosts||Judges[note 1]||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||BBC Two/BBC One[note 2]||Julia Reed||Myra Wilson||19|
|5||6 May 2002||27 May 2002||BBC Choice/BBC Two||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[note 1]||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|
|20 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|