For makers with an interest in robotics and mechanical engineering, there was always a way to fix them in their seats: put Robot Wars on the TV. Launched in 1998 on BBC Two, the show saw remote control robots constructed with one purpose in mind: destroying their opposition in a battle arena on the grounds of the former RAF Newton air base, using techniques ranging from flipping the rival robot over to slicing it into pieces with circular saws, axes, and pincers. Not for the faint of heart, but good clean robot-smashing fun all the same.
Sadly, Robot Wars ceased filming in 2004 and various repeats and international equivalents aside the field of robot combat has never again graced our screens - although it has enjoyed a smaller-scale continuance via a series of live tours - until now. The BBC has confirmed that the original production company has been commissioned to create a brand new series, comprised of six hour-long episodes, in a brand-new arena following the sale of the original for scrap in 2005.
"Robot Wars is an absolute TV classic and I'm thrilled to be updating it for the next generation of viewers," BBC Two controller Kim Shillinglaw said of the new series in the broadcaster's announcement. "With new technological advances making for an even more exciting and immersive experience, this is a fantastic example of the kind of content-rich factual entertainment that BBC Two excels at."
"It is remarkable to see how much more powerful these robots have become since the series last aired, with battles now staged in an arena that is literally bullet proof," teased Alan Tyler, the BBC's Acting Controller of Entertainment Commissioning. "And yet, the show is still fundamentally driven by the eccentricity of the brilliant brains behind the machines. We are excited to bring this clever new incarnation not only to an audience who loved the original but also to those who may be discovering it for the first time."
The BBC has yet to announce a schedule for the new series' first broadcast, but we're certainly going to be watching when the arena opens for business.