Why Robot Wars Failed #2: The Arena

Many things helped to bury Robot Wars and by the end, they did but, hopefully, the new series can learn from these mistakes. This includes something as simple as the arena where the fights were held so, why did this small element help end Robot Wars, let us find out.

Safety Issues


Robot Wars was never known for being the most Health and Safety show on the BBC and the arena was no exclusion. The arenas for the first two series were not adequate for the show and the safety concerns that went with it. The outside railings broke numerous times to the point that competitors would have gone through and into the crowd area if a robot hit the broken barrier or the hole in the barrier was so big, whole robots could go through.

Series 3 was a lot better but, when Firestorm was flipped out of the arena, this caused further concerns leading to the outer polycarbonate box which was used for the rest of classic show. The arena walls were then made out of the same material leading to much-improved safety. However, this would end up breaking numerous times including a hit from Typhoon II in the Grand Final of series 7. Overall safety kept improving but, former judge Mat Irvine said that the robots were getting too destructive for that arena and a new one would need to be built if the show had continued.

Aesthetically Boring

For Series 4, major aesthetic changes were made with blue and greens of Series 3 disappearing for reds and yellows creating a lighter arena and more professional looking setting for robotic combat. However, only small changes would come over the rest of the classic wars with many becoming unwelcome distractions.

Unless you are a diehard fan of the show and can notice the subtle differences of the dropzone, arena spinner and the addition of angle grinders, then you aren’t going to know what series you watching between series 4 all the way through 4 UK main competitions and the two Extreme series. It meant that the show seemed to not evolve or progress, at least to casual fans with the show seeming to be the same throughout the latter run of the show because the arena didn’t change drastically enough between series.

A show becoming stagnant is a huge problem especially, on TV. It has led to major TV shows like Eastenders, Coronation Street & Emmerdale have their sets redecorated or destroyed as they get dated quite quickly and keeps the aesthetics of the show fresh. Robot Wars failed to do that in its original run. I hope it doesn’t happen this time with the new show.

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