TV review: Robot Wars – BBC Two
- Henry Northmore
- 20 July 2016
'Three, two, one: Activate!' as Dara O'Briain and Angela Scanlon host the return of the Robot Wars
It's been over 10 years. Now Robot Wars is back for 2016. If you remember the original through misty eyed nostalgia you'll love RB 2.0. Basically the same format but pumped up on cyber steroids. The robots are bigger and more powerful than ever before.
Each episode pits eight teams of amateur mechanical combatants against each other. Opening with a royal rumble style four robot group battle. There are two hours for repairs between each round, then the survivors progress to a head-to-head before a final show down. All building to a grand final to close the series.
The real thrill is watching the various weird and wonderful machines clash. A maelstrom of axes, flailing chains, grinding metal-on-metal. Some of the robots are ingenious, team Nuts kooky creation even releases two mini-bots to baffle opponents. 'Spinners' (basically high powered blades spinning at ridiculous speeds) are a real game changer causing mayhem and destruction. The house robots that harass the contestants are more intimating than ever. Sir Killalot is now over ¾ of a ton of hardened steel, gears and motors.
Over excited commentator Jonathan Pearce is back, adding some nice continuity across the years. Effectively building the hype as the robots clash in a 90 ton purpose built fighting arena just outside Glasgow. New hosts Dara O'Briain and Angela Scanlon work incredibly well together and seem genuinely enthusiastic, getting stuck in with the teams backstage in the pit.
And it's the team members who make Robot Wars. They are the human heart at the centre of this mechanical monster that makes it so watchable. They're passion is infectious. Weirdly despite the high tech on display Robot Wars feels strangely old fashioned. It's a bit repetitive, kinda silly, incredibly geeky but a lot of fun.
Robot Wars starts on BBC Two, Sun 24 Jul, 8pm.