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Robot Wars rebooted by BBC 2, new series to start in 2016

Robot Wars rebooted by BBC 2, new series to start in 2016

Hit BBC television show Robot Wars is to return for a new series on BBC2 later in 2016, it has been announced.

The show, which ran for 7 series between 1998 and 2004 on UK channels BBC 2 and Five, is being revamped before 6x60 minute new episodes air later this year.

Robot Wars was essentially a knockout competition that allowed teams to enter homemade fighting machines and battle against robots from other teams inside a specially built arena. Since the show last aired in 2004 robotic technology has moved on considerably, and the robots expected to compete in the new series will be more deadly than ever before.

With that in mind, producers have announced that the 2016 series will take place in a so-called "bullet proof" arena, designed to keep the live audiences safe from even the most dangerous weapons that appear.

Initially hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and Philippa Forrester, the first series of Robot Wars aired in 1998 and featured 36 robots. Its popularity quickly grew and by the early 2000s Robot Wars became one of BBC 2's highest rated shows.

Craig Charles took over the hosting duties for the second series and the show went from strength to strength, even spawning two spin-off series called Robot Wars: Extreme before being cancelled by Five in 2004.

Presenting line-ups for the 2016 series have yet to be confirmed. A few hours after the announcement that the series was returning Craig Charles tweeted that while he hasn't heard anything from the producers yet, he would 'love to do it'.

Even before the show's cancellation, several Robot Wars competitors had begun organising live shows based on the series, which continue to this day and help support the shows enduring appeal.

The cultural impact of Robot Wars was huge, and the show was credited with sparking increased levels of interest amongst younger people in robotics, engineering and electronics.

The iconic Robot Wars House Robots

Some of the iconic Robot Wars House Robots - Dead Metal, Matilda, Sir Killalot, the Refbot, Sgt Bash and Shunt

A huge part of the show's appeal was the House Robots - immensely destructive and impressive looking machines constructed by the BBC's Visual Effects Department. The first four - Shunt, Matilda, Dead Metal and Sergeant Bash - were later joined by Sir Killalot, Mr Psycho, Growler, Cassius Chrome and Refbot.

So far there has been no word on whether the House Robots are likely to return for the new series, and if they did then they would likely need some serious upgrades to keep up with the newer, more destructive competitor robots of today.

Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, says: "Robot Wars is an absolute TV classic and I'm thrilled to be updating it for the next generation of viewers. 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."

The new series of Robot Wars will be recored in Glasgow, Scotland by Mentorn - the same company responsible for the original show. An exact air date has yet to be confirmed, but it looks like we can expect to see the show back on BBC 2 later in 2016.

Read the official BBC announcement