Series 8 (also referred to as the 2016 series) marked the return of Robot Wars to television after a 12-year hiatus. The series was presented by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon, with Jonathan Pearce returning as commentator. Professor Noel Sharkey returned as a judge, alongside new judges Professor Sethu Vijayakumar and Lucy Rogers.
The show took place in a new, upgraded Robot Wars Arena. Representing the House Robots, Matilda, Dead Metal, Shunt and Sir Killalot made a return to the arena, having been rebuilt with major upgrades, and appeared in their own promotional teaser trailers. These teasers used the versions of the House Robots that appeared in Robot Wars: The Seventh Wars, rather than their upgraded versions.
A 2016 series of Robot Wars was first announced online via a BBC News article on the 13th January 2016. It revealed that the BBC, along with Mentorn Scotland, would be shooting 6 episodes in a new, purpose-built, bullet-proof arena in Glasgow. This arena began construction on February 18th, 2016.
Shooting of the televised episodes began on March 4th, ending on March 14th. A private filming session was previously held on February 29th, and a pilot episode with a live studio audience was filmed on March 1st.
On May 4th 2016, the Robot Wars website, formerly used for the live events, was taken over by the BBC, and is currently the show's official website.
The first official footage of Series 8 was released through three teaser trailers on June 25th 2016. These trailers confirmed the first three competitors in the series; Thor, Sabretooth and Storm 2. On July 2nd, a launch trailer released, featuring many of the new and old competitors. A press pack was released on July 7th confirming the rest of the competitors as well as the format of the show and some of the changes made to the House Robots.
On July 11th, a short preview, Meet the House Robots, was released on BBC iPlayer. Heat 1 first aired on July 24th, 2016, with the Grand Final airing on August 28th. The timeslot for the series was Sunday evenings, at 8pm.
Series 8 was re-run on BBC Two over the 2016 Christmas period, airing daily at a 10am timeslot, leading up to the airdate of Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars.
On January 2017, BBC online media officially acknowledged the reboot as "Series 8" of Robot Wars for the first time.
The series consisted of six episodes, involving five heats and a Grand Final, with a sixth finalist being chosen as a wildcard by the judges. There were eight robots per heat, of the forty in total.
Four robots fought in each first-round qualifier, of which there were two per heat, allowing two robots to qualify through them, like the two series prior. In the second round, a round robin format is used, where the four robots to qualify out of the first round in each heat will all face each other in a head-to-head battle, even if they had already met in the first round. A certain number of points is given to a robot, based on whether it lost (0 points), won via KO (3 points), or won via Judges' decision (2 points). The two robots with the most points fight again in the Heat Final.
The Grand Final is the same structure as a normal episode, but with three robots in each eliminator battle instead of four. Two robots progressed from each eliminator, and faced-off against each other in head-to-head battles, with the two highest scoring robots progressing to the final battle of the series.
The nature of this format meant that despite having the joint fewest episodes of any series and the third fewest competitors, the eventual Series 8 champion was required to compete in more fights (10) than the winners of any other series (3 in Series 1, 5 in Series 2, 7 from Series 3-7, 7 in Series 10). Series 9 would later repeat the requirement of 10 battles to become champion.
Heat 1 Edit
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Heat 1
- Kill-E-Crank-E vs Nuts vs Razer vs Terrorhurtz: Nuts & Terrorhurtz qualified
- Behemoth vs Bonk vs Carbide vs The General: Behemoth & Carbide qualified
- Carbide vs Terrorhurtz: Terrorhurtz won by KO
- Behemoth vs Nuts: Behemoth won by Judges' decision
- Behemoth vs Terrorhurtz: Behemoth won by KO
- Carbide vs Nuts: Carbide won by KO
- Behemoth vs Carbide: Carbide won by KO
- Nuts vs Terrorhurtz: Terrorhurtz won by Judges' decision
- Carbide vs Behemoth: Carbide won
Heat 2 Edit
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Heat 2
- DisConstructor vs Shockwave vs Thor vs Tough as Nails: Shockwave & Thor qualified
- Chimera vs Draven vs Foxic vs M.R. Speed Squared: Foxic & M.R. Speed Squared qualified
- M.R. Speed Squared vs Thor: Thor won by KO
- Foxic vs Shockwave: Shockwave won by KO
- Shockwave vs Thor: Thor won by Judges' decision
- Foxic vs M.R. Speed Squared: M.R. Speed Squared won by Judges' decision
- Foxic vs Thor: Thor won by KO
- M.R. Speed Squared vs Shockwave: Shockwave won by KO
- Thor vs Shockwave: Shockwave won
Heat 3 Edit
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Heat 3
- Dantomkia vs Glitterbomb vs King B Remix vs Overdozer: Dantomkia & King B Remix qualified
- Big Nipper vs Or Te vs Supernova vs TR2: Big Nipper and TR2 qualified
- Dantomkia vs King B Remix: Dantomkia won by KO
- Big Nipper vs TR2: TR2 won by KO
- Dantomkia vs TR2: TR2 won by KO
- Big Nipper vs King B Remix: Big Nipper won by KO
- King B Remix vs TR2: TR2 won by KO
- Big Nipper vs Dantomkia: Dantomkia won by Judges' decision
- TR2 vs Dantomkia: TR2 won
Heat 4 Edit
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Heat 4
- Apollo vs Kan-Opener vs PP3D vs Sweeney Todd: Apollo and PP3D qualified
- Eruption vs Sabretooth vs Storm 2 vs Terror Turtle: Eruption and Storm 2 qualified
- Apollo vs PP3D: Apollo won by KO
- Eruption vs Storm 2: Storm 2 won by Judges' decision
- Apollo vs Storm 2: Apollo won by Judges' decision
- Eruption vs PP3D: PP3D won by Judges' decision
- Apollo vs Eruption: Eruption won by KO
- PP3D vs Storm 2: Storm 2 won by KO
- Apollo vs Storm 2: Apollo won
Heat 5 Edit
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Heat 5
- Chompalot vs Ironside3 vs Pulsar vs Thermidor 2: Chompalot and Ironside3 qualified
- Beast vs Crazy Coupe 88 vs Gabriel vs Infernal Contraption: Beast and Gabriel qualified
- Gabriel vs Chompalot: Gabriel won by KO (After this battle, Chompalot were forced to withdraw, and were replaced by Pulsar)
- Beast vs Ironside3: Ironside3 won by KO
- Pulsar vs Beast: Pulsar won by KO
- Gabriel vs Ironside3: Ironside3 won by Judges' decision
- Gabriel vs Beast: Gabriel won by KO
- Ironside3 vs Pulsar: Pulsar won by KO
- Pulsar vs Gabriel: Pulsar won
Grand Final Edit
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Grand Final
Wild Card: Thor
- Thor vs TR2 vs Pulsar: Pulsar eliminated
- Carbide vs Shockwave vs Apollo: Shockwave eliminated
- Thor vs Carbide: Carbide won by KO
- TR2 vs Apollo: Apollo won by KO
- Carbide vs Apollo: Carbide won by KO
- Thor vs TR2: TR2 won by KO
- Carbide vs TR2: TR2 won by Judges' decision
- Apollo vs Thor: Apollo won by KO
- Carbide vs Apollo: Apollo Won
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Pilot
Before filming of the main series took place, a pilot episode was recorded on March 1st to test the camera equipment, which would never be aired as part of the main series.
- Basher vs Ka-Pow! vs Tanto vs Turbulence: Ka-Pow! & Turbulence qualified
- Merlin vs Monte vs Reaper vs Wraith: Merlin & Reaper qualified
Note: Wraith had technical problems and was forced to withdraw.
- Turbulence vs Reaper: Turbulence won by KO
- Turbulence vs Merlin: Turbulence won by Judges' decision
- Ka-Pow! vs Merlin: Merlin won by KO
- Ka-Pow! vs Turbulence: Turbulence won
NOTE: Ka-Pow! was put through to this stage due to time constraints
- Main article: Robot Wars: Series 8/Whiteboard matches
During the filming of the main series, a number of non-championship battles took place to entertain the audience during filming. These "whiteboard matches" were largely untelevised, with clips sometimes being used in the opening sequence of the show.
- Eruption vs Infernal Contraption: Eruption won
- Eruption vs Shockwave: Eruption won
- Behemoth vs Gabriel: Gabriel won
- Eruption vs Behemoth: No winner declared
- Infernal Contraption vs Turbulence: Infernal Contraption won
Five robots are known to have qualified for the series, but could not compete due to technical difficulties. Prizephita Mk 3 withdrew after an internal fire a week before filming, Armakillo and Doomba withdrew from Heat 3 on-set, the latter due to being faults with motor controllers. Pod was forced to withdraw from Heat 5 as it was overweight, and Crackers 'n' Smash withdrew due to being unfinished, although footage of the team's VT was still used in the opening sequence of the series.
|Episode||Weekly rating||28 day rating||BARB ranking|
|Heat 1||2.58 million||2.76 million||3rd|
|Heat 2||2.34 million||2.42 million||5th|
|Heat 3||1.78 million||1.97 million||12th|
|Heat 4||0.86 million||N/A||Outside top thirty|
|Heat 5||1.85 million||2 million||17th|
|Grand Final||1.84 million||1.89 million||10th|
Overall, the series' ratings on BBC Two proved to be successful, enticing the BBC to renew the show for another series. Heat 1 attracted 2.58 million within the first week of its original broadcast, before attracting another 180,000 by twenty-eight days. Henceforth, it became the only episode of Series 8 to rank within the top three highest weekly rated BBC Two shows according to BARB. Sources such as The Guardian stated that Heat 1's rating managed to beat the finale of Top Gear, which drew 1.9 million viewers.
However, from Heats 3 to 5, the ratings began to tank due to the broadcasting of highlights of the 2016 Olympics. Heat 3 did recover by gaining an additional 190,000 viewers by twenty-eight days, more than any other Series 8 episode, to receive 1.97 million viewers overall. Heat 4 was the worst affected, attracting just 860,000 viewers within a week and becoming the only episode to rank outside the top thirty highest weekly rated BBC Two shows. Nonetheless, ratings started to recover after Heat 4, being consistent at around 1.8 to 2 million viewers per episode.
- ↑ http://www.fightingrobots.co.uk/threads/12907-bbc-robot-wars?s=d7aea5390afd61700024e64700115aca
- ↑ Media pack available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/robotwars
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0873k9n/episodes/guide
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/DoombaRobot/posts/1790114654610554?comment_id=1790896784532341&reply_comment_id=1790917177863635¬if_t=feed_comment¬if_id=1477495726018747
- ↑ The Guardian's report on Heat 1's rating