BBC breaks 13-year robot peace by bringing back Robot Wars to UK TV
It’s been 13 years since Craig Charles introduced Robot Wars to a nation baying for the blood (or oil) of battle-ready robots. “Pit, pit, pit” they’d chant as fan-favourite Sir Killalot used its lance to pierce the hide of some poor pre-pubescent teen’s after-school project.
Back in 1998, and all the way up until its finale in 2003, Robot Wars was just harmless fun. But, having been dragged from the depths of the BBC’s owned product licences, a 2016 Robot Wars will be a wholly different place.
“The redeveloped Robot Wars proved compelling – offering a mix of real people, real passion and raw power,” stated the BBC’s Alan Tyler, before confirming that these robotic battles to the death will take place in a “literally bulletproof” arena in Glasgow. If that’s not evidence enough that Robot Wars intends to come back with its robotic fists swinging in punchdrunk fury, you only have to look at the technological advancements over the last 13 years.
Whereas the battling robots of yore used to have flippers, spinning disks, flails and the occasional flamethrower or chainsaw (we’re looking at you Sgt. Bash and Matilda), a 2016 era of robots could be far more frightening.
How about a drone that can drop death from above, or a swarm of tiny drones that engulf an arena? After all, someone’s already invented a drone with a gun strapped to the front of it, perfect for a bullet-proof arena. Perhaps we’ll see the dawn of battling dog-like robots courtesy of Boston Dynamics, or maybe even humanoid robots duking it out Real Steel-style to be the number one.
Chris Brogden, creative director of Robot Wars’ executive producer Tinopolis, believes that Robot Wars “promises to be quite the competition, [featuring] new and improved robots, with extraordinary innovation and power in these updated machines”. That said, even with all this extra computing power and near-infinite potential for robot bloodshed, it’s more than likely these new robots will be powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero and made in a garden shed by John and Timmy, aged 38 and 13 respectively.
Interestingly, the Birmingham-based Robo Challenge has confirmed its involvement with the series relaunch, indicating we could be seeing some creative new house robots for competitors to go up against.
Robo Challenge has a long and storied past of creating some incredible robots for commercial projects and building many of the contraptions you see on The Gadget Show. And so their involvement with a Robot Wars reboot can only be a good thing.
Clearly the BBC isn’t messing around with its desire to rekindle robot conflicts, but let’s hope some of Craig Charles’ wonderful show-ending rhymes make it back into this series.
If these DARPA Challenge robots are anything to go by, we have nothing to fear about robots rising up to kill us all