Robot Wars (partially found footage of robot combat show qualifying auditions and battles; 1998-2003)

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Issue 6 of the Robot Wars Magazine detailing some of the Series 4 qualifying battles.

Status: Partially Found

Robot Wars is a British robot combat game show produced by Mentorn. Broadcast on BBC Two and Channel Five from 1998-2004, and from 2016 to 2017, the premise involved machines built by amateur and professional engineers battling one another in an arena. Due to the show's popularity in its original run, it received more entrants than slots present for the series. Thus, qualifying auditions and battles were held to assist in selecting competitors for the show, with at least some being recorded.


While Robot Wars: The First Wars had no audition stage due to a lack of competing machines, its overall popularity led to an influx of teams seeking to compete from Series 2 onwards.[1] Thus, an auditions stage was held in the months prior to filming of Series 2 to enable roboteers to demonstrate their robots' capabilities and entertainment value within an obstacle course.[2] Little is known surrounding highlights at the auditions, although TinWeb lists various robots that ultimately were not selected for the show, including Armageddon, Medi-Junk, and the six-legged walker Hairy.[3] According to Team Panda, who entered Panda Monium for Series 2, the Series 3 auditions were relatively similar, consisting of a weigh-in, photos being taken, a technical check, and a driving test.[2][4] A TinWeb forum post documented some highlights, like Reaper (later Undertaker) slamming into bricks at full speed, and Corporal Punishment failing every driving test by ignoring the examiner's instructions.[4] At least two robots were allowed to utilise their robots during the auditions; these included Hypno-Disc, who destroyed a few cylinder blocks with its flywheel,[5] and Toecutter, who sliced a melon with its blade.

When Robot Wars started primarily focusing on robot combat exclusively, the auditions were changed to head-to-head fights between hopefuls.[6][1] 32 robots automatically qualified as seeded machines, with a further 64 spots available.[1] It was also the first instance of Robot Mayhem, which was Robot Wars' first ever live event.[1] Issue six of the Robot Wars Magazine helped document some of the fights and demonstrations, including House Robot Sir Killalot dismantling exhibition machine Teddybot.[1] A similar format was utilised for Series 5's qualifiers, this time having battles take place in live events across the United Kingdom and also featuring seeded machines like Razer and Panic Attack helping producers decide who should qualify for the show.[7] For both Series 4 and 5, winning a battle was not enough to guarantee qualification, with Mincer and Sharky winning their battles but were overlooked in favour of other machines.[8][9] Two-thirds of winners were ultimately selected for Series 4, however, with the remaining third being given discretionary places.[6]

Finally, Series 6 and 7 qualifiers consisted mainly of four-way melees, reflecting the first-round matches of the show. Winners of these battles automatically qualified for the show.[10] Notably, Series 7 champions Typhoon 2 lost both of its Series 6 and 7 qualifying battles,[11] and even failed to qualify for The Sixth Wars. A few controversial moments happened during these battles, including 8645T 2 being disqualified for damaging the arena floor with its axe in the Series 6 qualifiers, and Mean Streak being immobilised by Brutus Maximus after the latter used an illegal net, giving Mean Streak the win and thus entry into Series 7 by default.[10] For Series 8-10, robots were selected based on the review of applications by the producers.[12]


While a few photos of the Series 2 and 3 auditions have resurfaced and can be primarily found on the Robot Wars Wiki, little footage has been made publicly available. Footage of Toecutter slicing a melon was televised during the machine's appearance in Heat K of Series 3, while Hypno-Disc's audition at the same series was included in Robot Wars: Ultimate Warrior: Hypno-Disc. According to an official statement on qualifying for Series 4, it was claimed that some of the showcased battles might be televised, suggesting at the very least some were recorded.[6] This may prove valid when a BBC Wales segment resurfaced on YouTube, reporting on the Cardiff leg of the Series 5 qualifiers, containing footage of battles like Panic Attack vs Evil Weevil.

Ultimately, however, most qualifying footage remains lost. A few battles have resurfaced thanks to recordings from roboteers. Among these include The Stag vs Gyrobot vs Scrap Dragon vs Shell Shock in Series 6; Chompalot vs Biothan vs Edgehog in Series 6; Gyrobot vs Terror Turtle vs Fluffy vs an unidentified silver machine in Series 7; M2 vs King B Powerworks vs Pressure vs Thunderpants in Series 7; and Gravity vs Mechaniac vs RCC 2 vs an unidentified machine, also in Series 7. It is also known that Shredder Evolution's team had a record of their Series 7 fight, but it is ultimately inaccessible on its website.[13] For many years, a Series 5 qualifier between Dome and Vader was only partially accessible, courtesy of a Team Vader promotional video.[14] On 7th July 2024, Paul Rose uploaded the full battle onto YouTube via his BoltKnocker channel.



The Stag vs Gyrobot vs Scrap Dragon vs Shell Shock.

Chompalot vs Biothan vs Edgehog part 1.

Chompalot vs Biothan vs Edgehog part 2.

Gyrobot vs Terror Turtle vs Fluffy vs an unidentified silver machine.

Gravity vs Mechaniac vs RCC 2.

M2 vs King B Powerworks vs Pressure vs Thunderpants in Series 7.

BBC Wales segment on the Cardiff leg of the Series 5 qualifiers.

Behind-the-scenes at the Series 6 qualifiers.

Footage of Toecutter slicing a melon at the Series 3 auditions (8:20-8:30).

Footage of Dome vs Vader (6:25-7:54).


See Also

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Issue 6 of the Robot Wars Magazine detailing the Series 4 qualifiers (image found on the Robot Wars Wiki). Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robot Wars 101 summarising auditions for Series 2 and 3. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  3. Archived TinWeb listing photos of the Series 2 auditions. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 Archived TinWeb post discussing Series 3 auditions. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  5. Hypno-Disc website detailing the machine utilising its flywheel during the Series 3 auditions. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Archived official Robot Wars statement on the Series 4 qualifiers, also noting some battles may be televised. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  7. Robot Wars Magazine promoting the Series 5 qualifying live tour (image found on the Robot Wars Wiki). Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  8. Archived M2 website noting Mincer winning its qualifying battle but not being selected for Series 4. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  9. Archived Loadsadamage website noting Sharky failed to qualify for Series 4 despite winning its battle. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 Archived Constrictor website detailing the Mean Streak battle and controversy. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  11. Twitter post from Team PP3D noting that Typhoon 2 lost its Series 7 qualifying battle. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  12. Application form for entering the reboot version of Robot Wars. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  13. Archived Shredder website where under the Footage tab, a video of Shredder Evolution's Series 7 battle is inaccessible. Retrieved 28 Apr '22
  14. Team Vader promotional video containing some footage of the Dome-Vader Series 5 qualifier. Retrieved 11 Jul '24