The British Broadcasting Corporation (more commonly known as the BBC) is a British public service organisation which operates numerous TV networks and radio stations across the United Kingdom. It was on the TV channel BBC Two that Robot Wars aired from Series 1 up until the second series of Robot Wars Extreme in 2003, before Channel 5 (simply known as Five at the time) acquired the rights to the show for Series 7.
After a 12-year hiatus, Robot Wars returned to TV screens in 2016, with BBC Two airing it once more for a further three series and 22 episodes, before the show was cancelled again.
Robot Wars was originally pitched to the BBC by Mentorn in 1995, but it wasn't until 1997 that a TV series was commissioned. The first series of Robot Wars landed on BBC Two on February 20th 1998, and lasted six episodes. After high viewing figures for the premier series, the BBC aired 127 more episodes of the original show.
Only one of Robot Wars episodes aired on BBC One: the Celebrity Special in Series 4, with the rest airing on BBC Two, although the final three episodes of Robot Wars Extreme: Series 2 were not broadcasted on BBC Two due to Five acquiring the show before their transmission.
In addition to this, Series 5 and 6, as well as both series of Robot Wars Extreme, were fully available to watch on BBC Choice weeks, or sometimes even months, before they appeared on BBC Two. Reboot episodes could also be viewed on the online streaming service BBC iPlayer for up to a month after their televised broadcasts.
Before broadcasting episodes of the original run of Robot Wars from Series 3 onwards, the BBC 2 Ident robot built by Anthony Pritchard would often be used in BBC Two's idents to introduce the programme.
The BBC also run various regional and nationwide radio channels, which were used to promote upcoming broadcasts of Robot Wars and aired interviews with roboteers, fans, and presenters of the show for marketing purposes.
As well as 155 main episodes, the BBC also aired numerous special episodes:
- The Making of Robot Wars - a Behind the Scenes special aired on BBC Two which showcased how the first series of Robot Wars was born.
- The Best of Robot Wars - an episode which aired on BBC Two and featured highlights from Series 2 of Robot Wars, including "Best Stunts", "Best of the House Robots", "Worst Performances" and "Best Battles".
- Robot Wars Revealed - a 14-episode series of behind the scenes information for Series 2 heats, which aired on BBC Choice.
- Meet the House Robots - a 5-minute preview episode which aired exclusively on BBC iPlayer shortly before Series 8, featuring short clips of battles from Series 2, 3, 4 and 5, the four returning House Robots and clips from the new series.
- During the broadcast of reboot episodes, the official BBC Two Twitter account would often live-tweet alongside the airing of an episode, releasing exclusive GIF files of notable moments from the episode.