- "Spookily coffin-shaped, with a hydraulic arm to raise any dead metal in its way"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Gravedigger was a competitor robot that fought in Series 3-5 of Robot Wars. It reached the Semi-Finals in Series 3, famously defeating Mortis in its heat, but did not enjoy great success thereafter, being eliminated in the first round in both Series 4 and 5 by Thermidor 2 and Tornado respectively. After its Series 5 defeat, Gravedigger, along with its team, retired from Robot Wars, and did not appear in any other subsequent series.
When it debuted in Series 3, Gravedigger was a brown wedge-shaped robot designed to resemble a coffin, armoured in steel and featuring a front-hinged flipping arm as its weapon, which the team claimed was powered hydraulically. It bore a close resemblance to Series 2 runners-up Cassius, and cost £2,500 to build over four months, but had a low top speed of 5mph, powered by two 1hp motors.
In Series 4, Gravedigger underwent a comprehensive redesign, with the chassis and bodywork modified to feature a taller wedge. Its flipping arm was also fitted with a rear scoop which allowed it to flip robots from the rear as well as the front, while its steel armour was swapped for aluminium and the robot's top panels bore artwork depicting a laughing moon and the Grim Reaper. Additionally, Gravedigger's top speed was increased to 8mph as a result of it adopting go-kart wheels and tyres. However, the rear scoop was unable to reach the floor, its electronics were contained in an OXO tin, and the team had to tone down the power of its flipping arm after it bent under its own weight during testing.
For Series 5, Gravedigger's flipping arm was converted into an axe, but kept the rear scoop part despite it still being unable to reach the arena floor. Additional artwork was also added to the underside of the machine.
- "It's gonna shove the opposition right out of the arena"
- — Dave Chaplin
In Heat F of the Third Wars, Gravedigger was drawn up against fellow newcomers Manic Mutant in its first round battle. The two robots dodged around each other for a brief period, but Gravedigger came out as the winner of the battle after Manic Mutant foolishly drove onto the wedge of Gravedigger, Gravedigger fired the flipping arm, but as Manic Mutant wasn't on it, nothing happened. Gravedigger then turned slightly so that Manic Mutant was on the flipping arm, before then forcing Manic Mutant forwards and over onto its back. Manic Mutant had no srimech, so it couldn't self-right, and was deemed immobilised. Cease was called immediately after the flip, and Gravedigger was declared the winner of the battle.
- "Gravedigger sends Manic Mutant to an early grave!"
- — Craig Charles
With this win, Gravedigger went through to the next round of the Heat. Gravedigger was then drawn up against the Heat favourites Mortis in the second round. This was a battle where everyone in the pits was rooting for Gravedigger. In the battle, Mortis immediately went on the attack with its axe, axing a small hole on the wedge. Mortis forced Gravedigger into Shunt, who axed Gravedigger as well. Mortis then started to lift Gravedigger, but then the newcomers escaped. Shunt then lifted Mortis onto Gravedigger's wedge, and Mortis was flipped onto its side, this somehow caused the right track to jam. Mortis fell back onto its tracks but was pushed back by Gravedigger towards the pit. Gravedigger backed off, with Mortis trying to fire its weaponry to get away, with the weaponry now beginning to jam. Gravedigger then drove underneath Mortis and flipped it onto its back, before pushing it down into the pit of oblivion for the win, much to the delight of the spectators in the pits. Gravedigger then attacked the House Robots and almost ripped off Matilda's shell, but Shunt axed Gravedigger's shell once more before cease was called.
- "...and back in the pits...that's what they felt"
- — Jonathan Pearce, showing the cheering spectators in the pits, as Mortis is pitted
In the heat final, Gravedigger went up against fellow newcomers Darke Destroyer. This battle was rather slow, with Darke Destroyer's blades very ineffective and Gravedigger was unable to flip it. Gravedigger then pushed Darke Destroyer onto the flame pit, before Dead Metal attacked it. Gravedigger could not flip the Darke Destroyer - it threw it across the arena, but it landed on its wheels. Gravedigger continued to push The Darke Destroyer around, finally deciding to push it into Dead Metal's CPZ, however the Darke Destroyer was hit by an arena spike before hand. The impact from the spike forced the Darke Destroyer over onto its back, rendering it immobile. Gravedigger then backed off for Dead Metal to slice into the defeated machine. Gravedigger then decided to shove around Sergeant Bash, as it exited its CPZ, but little was done to either machine. Cease was eventually called and Gravedigger was declared the winner, putting it through to the Series Semi-Finals.
- "Well, how cocky can you get?"
- — Jonathan Pearce, as Gravedigger takes on Sergeant Bash
In the Series Semi-Finals, Gravedigger was drawn up against Steg-O-Saw-Us. Steg-O-Saw-Us was the faster machine, but neither was particularly good at lining up an attack run. Gravedigger's powerful drive gave it significant resistance against Steg-O-Saw-Us' signature push, and Gravedigger almost managed to take Steg-O-Saw-Us out when it pushed the green robot into Sir Killalot's CPZ. With the big house robot pushing forward, Steg-O-Saw-Us ended up on the flipper and it almost toppled over. Thanks to its tail, however, Steg-O-Saw-Us was able to remain grounded and both robots escaped.
Gravedigger made a second successful flip on Steg-O-Saw-Us, this time by Matilda's CPZ, but Steg-O-Saw-Us was righted by the House Robot's tusks. Steg-O-Saw-Us finally tried to bring its tail into play, but succeeded only in raising its whole body off the ground. The battle ended with Steg-O-Saw-Us pushing Gravedigger slowly round in circles. The match went to a judges' decision, which went in favour of Steg-O-Saw-Us, despite the two flips and Jonathan Pearce's assertions that Gravedigger had been more aggressive.
- "Well, what do I know?"
- — Jonathan Pearce, following the decision, after believing Gravedigger should have won
- "Capable of sinking any opponent six feet under!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, on the new lifting arm
A redesigned Gravedigger returned for the Fourth Wars as the number 13 seeds, and this certainly turned out to be unlucky. The team went into the heat full of promise and as the favourites, but after needing to gear it down, its flipping arm weapon did not work at all in its opening battle, where it was drawn up against Kronic the Wedgehog and Thermidor 2. Gravedigger still managed to hold its own, but unfortunately, despite managing to slam Kronic the Wedgehog and Thermidor 2 around but at the same time staying out of major trouble, Kronic the Wedgehog suddenly lifted Gravedigger onto the arena side wall as both were near it. This meant Gravedigger was unable to move, just then, Thermidor 2 came in and flipped the seeded machine onto its side. With the flipping arm not working, Gravedigger couldn't self-right, and was deemed immobilised. The house robots then moved in for the kill, Sir Killalot plucked it up and then spun it around before dumping it down back onto its wheels. Gravedigger started moving again just before cease was called, charging into Matilda, but it was deemed immobilised.
- "Lined up to enter the arena first, Tornado, hoping to send Gravedigger six feet under."
- — Philippa Forrester, before the battle
With the new axe weapon, Gravedigger had an unfortunate draw in the first round of the Fifth Wars, as it was drawn up against the number 12 seeds Tornado. Gravedigger charged at Tornado immediately and attempted an attack with the axe. Tornado then swiftly drove away towards the CPZ, this meant that Gravedigger had left themselves open from an attack from the back. Tornado began attacking with the drum on the rear scoop and then went for the side of Gravedigger when the rear scoop fired. Gravedigger however turned around to face Tornado and smashed down on top of Tornado with the axe. Tornado tried to drive away but Gravedigger again attacked with the pickaxe. Tornado once again attack the vulnerable sides of Gravedigger and pushed them across the arena and into the arena side wall. Gravedigger had now slowed down and missed a few attacks on Tornado. Soon, the axe lost effectiveness and Tornado began pushing them around the arena. Gravedigger were then immobilised next to an angle grinder, near Sir Killalot's CPZ. Tornado pushed them near Sir Killalot and drove and slammed the pit release button. Sir Killalot grabbed Gravedigger's double headed axe and carried it for a bit before letting it down for Refbot to count it out, with Tornado gently nudging Gravedigger while the Refbot did count it out. However, Sir Killalot attempted to lift Tornado with its lance but Tornado escaped. Sir Killalot then carried Gravedigger by its axe and dangled it over the flame pit. After this, they were put by the pit by Sir Killalot, quickly revealing a sad face on the underside of Gravedigger. The House Robots allowed Tornado to finish off Gravedigger. It took a few light shoves, but soon Gravedigger was forced down into the pit of oblivion, eliminating it from the competition. Gravedigger was retired after this loss.
- "When it first started out, I thought Gravedigger looked fairly dangerous"
- — Craig Charles, to the victorious Tornado team
|GRAVEDIGGER - RESULTS|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Semi-Finals, Round 1
|Heat F, Round 1||vs. Manic Mutant||Won|
|Heat F, Round 2||vs. Mortis||Won|
|Heat F, Final||vs. Darke Destroyer||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Round 1||vs. Steg-O-Saw-Us||Lost|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
13th Seed, Heat, Round 1
|Heat G, Eliminator||vs. Kronic the Wedgehog, Thermidor 2||Eliminated|
|The Fifth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat G, Eliminator||vs. Tornado (12)||Lost|
- Wins: 3
- Losses: 3
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Semi-Finals, Round 1|
|The Fourth Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Fifth Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
- In its final two appearances in the main competition, Gravedigger fought in Heat G and was defeated in its first battle.
- Gravedigger was one of six seeds in the Fourth Wars to be eliminated in Round 1 of the main competition, and the second highest ranked seed to go out (being seeded 13th), this also making it the third highest ranked seed in Robot Wars history to go out in Round 1 (excluding Terrorhurtz).
- Gravedigger, at number 13, was the highest ranked seed to lose its seeding the following series.
- The original Robot Wars Magazine incorrectly stated Gravedigger as having lost to Spawn of Scutter in Series 4. Gravedigger never fought Team Scutterbots on Robot Wars, despite both teams appearing in the same Heat in the following series.