Robot Wars: Series 8 (lost unaired pilot of BBC robot combat game show; 2016)
Robot Wars: Series 8 is as the name suggests the eighth season of the BBC robot combat gameshow Robot Wars. It marked a return for the show after a twelve-year hiatus, with six episodes being filmed in March 2016. Prior to filming the six episodes, a pilot episode was filmed in a single day to allow the production team to practice handling the programme.
The pilot episode was recorded on 1st March, 2016, a few days prior to filming for the main series. A total of eight robots competed in the pilot, including Basher, Ka-Pow!, Merlin, Monte, Reaper, Tanto, Turbulence and Wraith. The pilot helped test the format for Series 8, consisting of two opening four-way melees, where two machines would qualify from each. The remaining four robots competed in a new round robin format where robots score points based on whether they won a battle by knockout (three points), or Judges' decision (two points). The format ended with a Heat Final consisting of the two machines who scored the most points in the round robin.
Details of the battles were documented by a Robot Wars Wiki user present during filming. The first melee consisted of Basher, Ka-Pow!, Tanto, and Turbulence. Tanto lost its removable link after driving over Ka-Pow's wedge, and landed hard onto the arena floor after somersaulting in the air. Basher pitted Tanto into the Pit, only to overbalance and fall in itself, allowing Ka-Pow! and Turbulence to qualify. In the second melee, Wraith was forced to withdraw after suffering an internal fire. Merlin and Reaper worked together, flipping Monte around before pitting its opponent after it lost drive to one of its wheels.
In the round robin, Turbulence defeated Reaper by knockout after flipping its opponent, who was suffering from a flipper valve issue that limited how many flips it could achieve. Merlin beat Ka-Pow! after the latter pit itself a few seconds after the battle began. Merlin attacked the House Robots, where Dead Metal grabbed and cut into it with its saw. Merlin would then narrowly lose to Turbulence by Judges' decision, where in a battle consisting of both machines landing flips on each other, Turbulence was deemed to have demonstrated better control and aggression. Due to time constraints, the round robin format ended prematurely, and Ka-Pow! was chosen to face Turbulence in the Heat Final most likely because it was the only machine not to face the unbeaten flipper. Turbulence would ultimately defeat Ka-Pow!, thus remaining undefeated.
According to a team member of Tanto, the Pilot was filmed, but the production team had no plans to air the footage. There were also erroneous claims that the Pilot could not be legally shown because of the presence of BattleBots competitor Beta, when in reality sister machine Basher competed. Team Tauron previously uploaded a behind-the-scenes video of the Pilot on YouTube, but this has since been taken down. Thus, the only available media of the Pilot as of the present day consists of a few photographs taken during filming.
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- BattleBots (found Comedy Central robot combat game show; 2000-2002)
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- Robot Wars Wiki article on the Series 8 Pilot, with the battle details having been written by a reliable user who was present at filming. Retrieved 13 Nov '21
- Reddit post where a team member of Tanto stated there were no plans to air the Pilot. Retrieved 13 Nov '21
- Reddit post containing debunked claims that the Pilot could not be aired because of Beta. Retrieved 13 Nov '21
- Reddit post where Team Tauron shared a now-taken down video consisting of behind-the-scenes footage. Retrieved 18 Jun '17