I say Robot, you say Wars

Fresh off the back of seeing the Grand Tour being filmed, beloved and I were off again on Tuesday to watch the filming of next years Robot Wars.

Prompted by news reports that the last series had been filmed in a disused warehouse in Glasgow I had hunted down the ticketing agency involved and managed to get hold of free priority tickets for the morning recording session and stand by tickets for the afternoons celebrity special.

Turning up started with the usual waiting, once we had finally got through the roadworks that had inconveniently been set up on the access road, once again, having been tagged we sat in a tent, this time with hot food on offer (At a price, and after a long long queue). Then were ushered through to a large, cold warehouse, but with the luxury(?) of seating for all.

Then the waiting started over, this time whilst repairs were effected to the arena

20161206_101007In this case the spikes being ground to nice sharp points

20161206_101616  And then the show was ready to begin.

A big difference between this and the Grand Tour was that instead of seeing a whole episode being filmed we got to see a series of battles from different episodes, being later in the filming week these were the head to heads and episode finale’s. With the benefit of hindsight this makes sense, as it gives the teams longer breaks between battles to fettle and repair their robots. The downside for the audience is that the action then becomes somewhat disjointed, exacerbated by the fact that there is very little information given on what is actually happening, a classic example being interviews recorded in the workshop area being shown on the monitors with no attached audio.

But finally the battles began


And jolly exciting some of them were


And now we were getting to hear the interviews being recorded


And then some real excitement, as in what was apparently a first for the show, a robot being pushed under, rather than onto, the flipper. Getting well and truly stuck.


After a lot of headscratching and making safe of the robots (It wasn’t explained but became apparent that no one goes in the arena until all robots are disabled, and only one robot at a time is enabled or disabled by a physical lock. This led to some incredibly tender scenes were disabled robots are gently carried to the access areas by the house robots to be made safe) the robot was prised out,


and the battle re-run, because apparently this is not covered in the rules.

We also witnessed some of the camaraderie between the teams with one team, victorious in winning the episode finale, were perfect gentlemen in not inflicting further damage on their opponent. The house robots however moved in and completely, and I mean completely, destroyed it. I can only assume that the losing team were generously rewarded for the wanton destruction as they will need to build a complete new robot.


And it led to a great end of show interview.

There is a lot more I could tell you, about the audience deliberately ruining interviews, about some of the more charismatic entrants, and robots. about half ton wheels flying off at speed into the safety glass, about the audience baying for blood, about contestants being filmed storming out of the arena, about who won, and who lost. But all these things are best left for you to experience by watching the show.

For us, it was a fascinating insight into what actually happens in the show, but could have been better had someone taken the time whilst we were waiting to impart and clarify some of this to the audience. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the experience of seeing the battles live, we did feel that we were their simply to add atmosphere to the final product rather than being involved in it as we were with the Grand Tour. So, Clarkson and company easily win this head to head!
Oh and the title of this post? The chant used by the warm up guy to build up the audience for each battle


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