- "This is no "Waltzing Matilda", but if Matilda dances with you, it's a dance of death! Her tusks can rip and pneumatically flip, it's a breeze for 'Tildy'! Her spinning rear flywheel is twenty-seven kilos in weight, the matriarch of mayhem, the mistress of mischief, Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda in Series 5
Matilda (occasionally nicknamed Tildy and also known as The Matriarch of Mayhem, The Mistress of Mischief, The Sister of Slice and Dice and The Grandmother of Grinding Metal) was one of the original four House Robots that appeared in the UK TV game show Robot Wars. Present in all series of the UK series and all international versions, Matilda was initially infamous for her unreliability and susceptibility to being attacked by competitor robots, eventually being destroyed by Razer at the end of the Series 4 Southern Annihilator. However, upgrades to her pneumatic tusks and the replacement of her original chainsaw with a vertical flywheel enabled her to become one of the more destructive House Robots in later series.
In addition to her role in the main series, Matilda also regularly appeared in numerous side competitions, notably Robotic Soccer in Series 3 and both the Series 3 and 4 Pinball tournaments. Her design was based on the idea of a mutant alien dinosaur, and her fictional backstory, given in the Robot Wars Technical Manual and a comic in the original Robot Wars Magazine, was that she was a biomechanical creature unearthed from a lost Atlantean civilisation. Jonathan Pearce often described Matilda as the Matriarch of Mayhem across the UK Series, in recognition of her originally being the only female House Robot.
- 1 Design
- 2 Robot History
- 2.1 Series 1
- 2.2 Series 2
- 2.3 Series 3
- 2.4 Series 4
- 2.5 Extreme 1
- 2.6 Series 5
- 2.7 Series 6
- 2.8 Extreme 2
- 2.9 Series 7
- 2.10 Series 8
- 2.11 Battle of the Stars
- 2.12 Series 9
- 2.13 Series 10
- 2.14 US Season 1
- 2.15 US Season 2
- 2.16 Nickelodeon Robot Wars
- 2.17 Dutch Series 1
- 2.18 Dutch Series 2
- 2.19 German Robot Wars
- 3 Appearances in Merchandise
- 4 Gallery
- 5 Outside Robot Wars
- 6 Trivia
- 7 References
In all of her appearances, Matilda’s basic design remained consistent, being based around a mutant alien dinosaur with a 12V motor and armed with front pneumatic flipping tusks and either a rear 3000rpm chainsaw or vertical flywheel as weapons. Her body was made from fibreglass matting, and featured decorative stegosaurus-like spikes, front horns and two LED ‘eyes’ to reinforce the alien dinosaur theme.
- "I thought "Well, a chainsaw's a good weapon, it won't necessarily destroy metal, but it might cut through the plastic outer casing on some robots, it'll cut through aluminium, certainly. So that would be a good robot" And I thought it would be nice to maybe stick that out the bottom of some sort of robot, because it's a bit funny, because it looked a bit like a tail. So there was the basis for Matilda really. … some sort of wild robot, sort of pig, that was probably used to go around and saw up loggings or something like that!"
- — Chris Reynolds on the Sir Killalot and the House Robots DVD
In Series 1, Matilda’s tusks ran on a relatively simple pneumatics system, and were mounted close to the chassis, with her chainsaw being her primary weapon. The tusks were upgraded for Series 2 to lift faster, allowing her to lift robots more easily as she raised them and pushed them across the arena. A spark shooter was also installed for Series 2, but was rarely seen in action.
Matilda received new speed controllers and a complete rewiring for Series 3, which reportedly doubled her top speed and improved her reliability compared with earlier series. Additionally, her rubber horns were briefly swapped with metal ones for this series, but were swapped back after the metal horns tended to break off easily during battles. Even so, her tusks and chainsaw had little improvements, and the latter proved increasingly ineffective against tougher armour used by most competitor robots.
For Series 4, Matilda’s tusks were remounted higher above the chassis, allowing them to lift higher, more powerfully and reliably than before. Additionally, the safety catches for her rear bodyshell were improved in order to stop it from falling off when she was nudged or flipped, a problem that regularly occurred in earlier series. Still, the chainsaw received no modifications, and as in Series 3 could not cause any significant damage to competitors’ armour. She also received new speed controllers, making her twice as fast.
The original version of Matilda was heavily damaged by Razer at the end of the Southern Annihilator, and was replaced by a new version for Series 5 onwards.
The Series 5/Extreme 1 version of Matilda featured substantial revisions to her weapons, firstly the replacement of her original tusks with brand-new ones powered by upward firing pneumatic rams and a system of air rams and dump tanks. This revised pneumatics system allowed the tusks to fire even faster and made them capable of lifting heavier weights. Most significantly, the chainsaw was made interchangeable with a 27kg (60lbs) vertical flywheel, which was attached to a thick solid steel mounting in order for the rest of Matilda to withstand its power. Initially painted grey, it was later painted pink and given larger teeth in order to be more visually recognizable and to improve its potency (the flywheel had originally intended to debut in Series 4, but was postponed as the construction and completion of Refbot took up too much time). The chainsaw was never used again in the UK series, although it continued to be used in international championships, most notably Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors and Nickelodeon Robot Wars.
- "...devastating weapon! The worst weapon in Robot Wars at the moment, I think, Matilda's flywheel!"
- — Chris Reynolds on the Sir Killalot and the House Robots DVD
In earlier series, Matilda’s armament was comparatively weak to that in her later appearances, and she was often the subject of attacks from competitor robots, which often broke off her tusks (as Spin Doctor did in the Series 2 King of the Castle trial), dislodged her fibreglass shell, or flipped her over (Recyclopse, Cassius, Chaos 2). However, since her Series 5/Extreme 1 upgrades, Matilda became renowned as one of the more destructive House Robots in later series, being capable of causing significant damage to competitor robots and even throwing them out of the arena. As a result, the Series 5/Extreme 1 Matilda remained largely unchanged until the end of Series 7, and has been retired along with the other original versions of the House Robots.
- "She's three times heavier than previous series, but her tusks can now flip upwards of a ton, and if her front doesn't get you, then her rear end will. An enormous 35 kilos HARDOX flywheel which can cleave competitors in two if they don't watch their manners, turning timber into matchsticks in a blink of her demonic red eyes!"
- — Jonathan Pearce describes the upgraded Matilda in Meet the House Robots
For Series 8, a brand-new version of Matilda was made from scratch by Robo Challenge, featuring a revised design and upgraded drive systems and weaponry. She features a new bodyshell and headpiece with a more pronounced dinosaur influence, with a triceratops-like neck-frill lined with spikes and a pair of red LED ‘eyes’, and raised spikes on her rear shell resembling that of a crocodile, painted white in Series 10. Her weight was significantly increased from 116kg to 350kg, and her weapons have been upgraded, with her tusks now flipping at a force of 800psi, and her HARDOX flywheel now weighing 35kg and spinning at 25 revolutions per second (1,500 RPM), with the potential of spinning faster if the drivers willed it. Her headpiece now lifts as part of the tusk assembly, with the tusks now being capable of flipping competitors out of the arena as well as the flywheel.
- "Matilda's disc is certainly one of the most powerful. I would say very likely the most powerful vertical spinner by a good way. However it’s designed to spin slower to try and launch robots rather than tearing them to pieces."
- — Grant Cooper on Matilda's new flywheel
- "Prehistoric Matilda's next up, with hydraulic tusks and a truly lethal chainsaw tail, running at over 3000 revs per minute!"
- — Jonathan Pearce in the House Robot introduction
Matilda was the second House Robot to be introduced into the series. Her tusks were relatively basic back then, and only had a simple lifting mechanism. Often, she would rely more on her chainsaw to attack robots that strayed into her CPZ (as she did with Mortis).
- "...Matilda, who is always in a bad mood. But then wouldn't you be, if you had a chainsaw sticking out of your bottom?"
- — Jeremy Clarkson before the Labyrinth trial, listing the House Robots
The chainsaw itself was largely ineffective against the majority of the robots, as chainsaws are designed for cutting wood, not metal. This was particularly clear in the semi-finals of Heat D; whilst she was able to cut through the wooden body of SAT'arn easily, her saw stopped instantly upon contact with the metal body of The Demolisher.
- "And Matilda's saw comes down! SAT'arn is being chewed, slowly - oh look at that!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda slices into SAT'arn
However, she did manage to cut through the shell of Wedgehog, which was made of metal.
Rather than using her tusks to flip other robots, Matilda instead used them to ram them. This proved very effective during the Gauntlet, where she was often placed right at the end of the run. One of the most notable instances involved her pushing back Prince of Darkness just as it had crossed the line, taking it back several metres. Luckily for the contestant robot, she got stuck, allowing it to complete its run. Similarly, during Grunt's Gauntlet run, Matilda managed to pin Grunt against the wall, trapping it there. Grunt only managed to escape when Matilda left of the pressure for a moment.
Matilda holds the dubious honour of being the first House Robot to be defeated in the arena (not including Shunt's defeats in the Sumo trial). During the British Bulldog trial, Matilda attacked an immobilised Recyclopse, and was pushed onto its tongue by Mortis, who had reached the end. She was promptly flipped over, the first time a house robot had ever been overturned.
- Jeremy Clarkson: "You! You! You hurt one of my pets!"
- Rex Garrod: "I'm pleased!"
- — The post-Trial interview
Rex Garrod had stated his intention to overturn one of the House Robots after completing the Gauntlet, which Jeremy Clarkson stated was "impossible".
- Jeremy Clarkson: "Well you were confident before you started, now you must be feeling even better."
- Rex Garrod: "Not really, I wanted one of them to go over."
- Jeremy Clarkson: "You wanted one of our House Robots over?"
- Rex Garrod: "Well that's the game, isn't it?"
- Jeremy Clarkson: "It's a game, but it's also impossible!"
- — Recyclopse's post-Gauntlet interview
Matilda also became stuck on the springs whilst attacking Krayzee Tokyo in the Gauntlet, then suffered an internal breakdown and started billowing purple smoke. During Cunning Plan's run, she drove onto a grille whilst chasing Cunning Plan, becoming stuck, even though only one wheel was on the grille.
Matilda was used in only two of the trials. Aside from British Bulldog, she was only used in the Labyrinth trial of Heat E. She was used towards the end of the course, where she blocked REALI-T from reaching the end. Full Metal Anorak, which had reached the end, came in behind her to try and move her out of the way to help its fellow competitor. In retaliation, Matilda went after Full Metal Anorak, pinning it against the fence.
- "But look at this - he's fed up with waiting - I think he's trying to help out the others, I'm not too sure... yes he is! He's giving Matilda a shunt up the backside! Remember what's in that backside Full Metal Anorak - a vicious saw!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
- "Matriarchal Matilda, returning with improved titanium tusks and a reinforced chainsaw tail."
- — Jonathan Pearce in the House Robot introduction
Matilda's pneumatic system was reworked slightly to make the tusks lift faster. It was this series that Matilda used her spark shooter, however, it was rarely seen.
As in Series 1, Matilda's chainsaw was only really effective against robots that were not armoured in metal. For example, in Heat A, she easily cut through the polypropelene shell of Panda Monium, and she also cut through the wooden wheels of Broot. She could only scratch the aluminium armour of Corporal Punishment, and failed to cut through Leighviathan's stainless steel shell. However, there were some exceptions, with Matilda being able to slive through Oblivion and Talos, despite them having metal armour. by cutting into its wooden wheels, and also cut the arial off Plunderbird 2 in the Semi-Finals.
The lifting mechanism on her tusks was improved, so it was now powerful enough to overturn robots. She managed this twice in the first episode; toppling over Piece De Resistance in the Skittles trial, then Panda Monium in its battle with Napalm. She also toppled Razer over after it broke down, allowing the other House Robots to attack the vulnerable underbelly.
The tusks were also useful in the Gauntlet to lift up robots and force them back. She did this to Griffon, which she lifted up, then pinned in with the help of Shunt. Talos was similarly lifted up and pushed back, and in the Semi-Finals, Matilda lifted up Haardvark with her tusks and started pulling it back, almost resulting in its elimination.
Matilda was used in many of the Trials throughout the series. In Heat A, she was one of the House Robots used in the Skittles trial. Notably, after Cease was called Demoltion Demon's run, Matilda lifted it onto its side, and after Sir Killalot turned it over, carved a large scratch into the base.
In Heat C and Heat I, Matilda was used in the Joust Trial. She was chosen because she was the only one of the House Robots that could be relied on to drive in a straight line. Her tusks proved useful in lifting robots up and pushing them back or off the central platform. She managed to push four of the competitors back down the course and knocked three of them off the central platform. Only one competitor, All Torque, managed to beat her. It gained full momentum and smashed into Matilda, following this up with a series of rams to push Matilda down to the end, then pushed past her.
- "Oh, something's come off! It's the cuddly toy Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda is pushed back to her end
In Heat E, Matilda was used in the King of the Castle trial, along with Shunt. Originally, Dead Metal was used, but after the first competitor's run, where Killertron used its axe to hook onto Dead Metal, Matilda was substituted. Her tusks were useful for lifting up competitors to push them off the platform, which she did to ORAC and Technophobic, although she drove off the platform herself whilst pushing Technophobic with Shunt's help. When King of the Castle returned in Heat E, Dead Metal and Sergeant Bash were used instead.
- "In defence, the mighty Matilda, giving hope to women footballers the world over."
- — Jonathan Pearce
She unwittingly led to the first goal, as she was lifting Cassius, which left Loco free to score. After Cassius scored, Matilda flipped GroundHog against the railings, so the trial was stopped early, and Sting was eliminated as it was immobile first.
Matilda took over Dead Metal as the House Robot in the Tug of War Trial in Heat J. For this Trial, her chainsaw was removed and the chain was attached to her rear. She managed to pull four of the five competitors into the pit. Matilda was unable to gain an advantage on Kill Dozer because of the latter's scoop digging into the floor. This prompted a girl in the audience to turn around her Matilda sign to reveal a sign rooting for Kill Dozer.
Matilda played a major part in two of the biggest shocks of the Second Wars. First, during the Heat B final between Chaos and Mace, Mace pushed the seeded Chaos into Matilda, who pushed it away, toppling it over, from which it was unable to self-right. In the first Semi-Final, during the battle between Panic Attack and Mortis, Panic Attack pushed Mortis into Matilda, who lifted it up with her tusks. With Mortis's tracks off the ground, Panic Attack and Matilda pushed it straight into the pit.
- "Matilda's lost her tusk! She's toothless! History is made! The tusk is battered and broken and off! A visit to the dentist needed!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Also, during the Heat Final of Heat H, Cassius exploited Matilda's ground clearance and flipped her over, very similar to how Rex Garrod's previous entry, Recyclopse, had flipped her over in the British Bulldog trial in Series 1.
In Mortis' Gauntlet run, Mortis attacked Matilda with its axe, bending the chainsaw and breaking Matilda's camera. Mortis hovered by Matilda, scaring the House Robot away with the axe until a space was cleared for it to cross the finish line.
- "He's over the finishing line. Now this is an arrogance of power, taking on the House Robots!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Not satisfied with the damage, Mortis continued chasing Matilda towards Shunt. Shunt managed to box Mortis in, and perch it on the side of the pit. After a few seconds of struggling, eventually Mortis was sent down the pit.
Attacks from competitors were not the only problem Matilda had in this series. The chain fell off her chainsaw three times, including the Internet Insurrection and Rameses II's Gauntlet run, where she had been ripping up the competitor's high-density industrial polyethelene shell before the chain broke. She also fell off a ramp and became stuck in Rottweiler's Gauntlet run, and reversed into the pit during Roadblock's Pinball run in the Semi-Finals.
- "Entering our theatre of war, the matriarch of mayhem, Matilda! With tusks of steel and a chainsaw capable of piercing the toughest of armour plating, and destroying all opponents!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda in the House Robot introduction in Heat A
Matilda received new speed controllers and was completely rewired for Series 3, reportedly doubling her top speed and "to avoid and embarrassing smoking circuitry like in Series 2". Her soft rubber horns were also swapped in favour of metal ones. This would be her only year with metal horns though, as they frequently snapped off.
Matilda's chainsaw was making even less impact on robots, as there were even fewer robots. Her chainsaw was becoming her secondary weapon in favour of the unchanged tusks. She only managed to scratch the shell of Robocow, but was unable to damage robots with metal armour such as Shark Attack. One exception was Rattus Rattus, which she managed to cut through. She was able to cut through fibreglass, which she did to Judge Shred and Twn Trwn, which she cut the ear off of one of the decorative heads.
Matilda was the victim of a number of attacks by competitors in this series, more than any of the other House Robots, and she often came off second best. She was flipped over several times across the series; by Facet, Panic Attack, Inquisitor Mk 2 and Chaos 2, who celebrated its victory over Hypno-Disc in the Grand Final by flipping Matilda over. In Round 1, Chaos 2 had tried to flip Matilda over after defeating Crocodilotron, and although it could not get her over, the flips did result in the chain slipping off her chainsaw.
- "And now the cricket fans trying to bowl a maiden over! Look! They've ripped the shell off Matilda! They've body-popped Matilda - she's nude! Oh, horrible! That's a nightmare that'll stay in my memory forever! Naked Matilda - shocking!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Aggrobot dislodges Matilda's shell
Notably, before this battle, the Razer team had announced their intention to rip the shell off Matilda in their post battle interview.
- "Bit of a grudge match here, Aggrobot and Razer. Aggrobot, first to rip the shell of Matilda, though Razer, and the team of Simon, Vincent and Ian, had wanted to get there first!"
- — Jonathan Pearce at the start of the Round 2 battle between Razer and Aggrobot
- Philippa Forrester: "What were you doing to Matilda? It's outrageous! You had her kit off and everything!"
- Kim Davies: "Yep, well if we manage to deal with a contender, we're always going to go for a House Robot!"
- — Post-battle interview
When she was attacked, the other House Robots would often come in to help her. When Chaos 2 tried to flip her over in Round 1, Shunt and Sgt. Bash came in to help her, pinning Chaos 2 against the wall. Dead Metal and Shunt intervened when Mortis tried attacking her. Shunt flipped her back over after Facet overturned her. However, in the Grand Final, when Shunt tried to stop Chaos 2 after it flipped Matilda, Chaos 2 flipped Shunt over as well.
Matilda was involved in one of the more controversial moments of the series, during the battle between Wild Willy and Flip Flop Fly. Flip Flop Fly had stopped moving, and had a punctured tire, but Wild Willy accidentally drove to the edge of the pit and became stuck. Matilda came out of her CPZ and pitted Wild Willy fully. The judges were consulted, and they ruled that Flip Flop Fly would go through, despite appearing to have been immobilised first.
Matilda also controversially righted two robots when they were flipped over. First, in the Heat C battle between Blade and Agent Orange, Blade was flipped onto its side by an arena spike, and Matilda knocked it back onto its wheels. Then, in the second Semi-Final, Steg-O-Saw-Us was flipped onto its side just outside her CPZ by Gravedigger, but Matilda rammed it, knocking it back onto its wheels. In both cases, the robot Matilda knocked back over would go on to win the battle.
Matilda also came in to help robots when they were stuck together, such as in the fight between Blade and Spike, and the fight between Ally Gator and Corporal Punishment. Incidents such as these were the main reason behind the introduction of Refbot in the following series.
- "It had been highlighted, there was a need for a robot that was seen as being unbiased, so when robots were tied together, or go stuck together … in the past the House Robots had gone in to free these robots. Now that was seen by viewers at home as being a bit confusing "Well, why is that robot being nice?", so we built Refbot."
- — Chris Reynolds on the creation of Refbot, a direct response to Shunt's actions
In the Pinball side event, Matilda guarded the 75 point target at the bottom of the arena, although she was occasionally replaced in this position by Dead Metal. During Six Pac's run, she flipped the 75 point target out of the arena. She was flipped over by Inquisitor Mk 2, even though cease had been called.
Matilda was used as a defender in the Robotic Soccer tournament. She helped to prevent any robot from scoring in the Qualifier between Evil Weevil and Alien and the final, but she accidentally allowed Velocirippa to score by carelessly knocking the ball away.
- "The world might be one great big onion, but with hydraulic tusks and a chainsaw tail, matriarchal Matilda isn't going to shed any tears over these championships!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda in The First World Championship
Matilda made only a few appearances in the two international events filmed as part of Series 3. In the First World Championship, Matilda was only used in the Final, where she pushed Razer away from Behemoth, as Behemoth had been pinning it down too long. In the International League Championship, Razer attacked Matilda after defeating Techno-Lease, grabbing her by the chainsaw.
- "Prodding where no robot has gone before - or would ever like to go again! That truly is a hideous thought!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Razer attacks Matilda
- ""Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing..." So what, the Aussie Shelia can dance a bit? But does she have a chainsaw tail turning at over 3000 rpm and hydraulic tusks operated by super pneumatic power? Our Tildy dances - the Cha Cha Ta Ta!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda during the House Robot introduction in Heat A
Matilda's chainsaw barely damaged armour during this series, as chainsaws are designed for cutting wood, not metal, which made up the majority of competitors' armour at the time. She was unable to cut through robots such as Maverick, Oblivion 2 and Plunderbird 4. When attacking Killertron, she was unable to cut through the metal base, but did cut into the plastic top. The most notable damage her chainsaw did in this series was against Dreadnaut XP-1, where she easily cut through the fibreglass armour and the tyres. She also cut through the tyre of The Mangulator.
Matilda did have some improvements for Series 4. Safety catches were added, to keep her rear shell on even if she was flipped. Her tusks were also given a makeover. The mountings for her tusks, originally close to her chassis, were moved up, therefore making the tusks lift higher. With her chainsaw unable to do much damage, her tusks became her main weapon for this series. She used them to flip robots that strayed into her CPZ over, such as Dominator 2 and Wheely Big Cheese, she flipped The Steel Avenger onto the arena wall. and also flip immobile robots such as Plunderbird 4 and Knightmare. Most notably, she flipped Onslaught onto its side in the final of the Southern Annihilator, leaving Razer as the winner. Her tusks were also useful for pushing robots around, such as when she used her forks to pin down Little Fly in the Heat Final of Heat K.
Despite the introduction of Refbot, there were a few incidents where Matilda came out to help robots that were stuck. For example, when Tiberius became stuck on the arena wall as it was in forward drive in its battle with Little Fly, Matilda pushed it off the wall. When FrenZy's axe was caught in the floor in its battle with Detonator, Matilda flicked it free.
- "Poor old Detonator will not thank Matilda for that!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda helps out FrenZy
She also pushed Killerhurtz and Sgt. Bash apart when Killerhurtz's axe became stuck in Sgt. Bash's flamethrower. She flipped Killertron over when it was stuck on its back in two fights, first against Wheely Big Cheese, then later in the Celebrity Special against Gemini.
Matilda carried out the arena duties on a few occasions in this series, as she pitted robots such as Shadow of Napalm, Tiberius and The Mangulator. In the latter case, she pushed the long robot into the pit with the help of Shunt.
- "Almost like stretcher-bearers of doom, Matilda and Shunt, and in they go!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Shunt and Matilda pit The Mangulator
In the Tag Team Terror, the House Robots were allowed to attack the competitors when the rules were broken. Matilda appeared in the first fight, and when the competitors broke the rule about only one robot fighting at a time, she came out, helping separate Firestorm 2 and Plunderbird 4 by getting under Firestorm 2 and flicking it up, then pinning it against the wall as it tried attacking Plunderbird 4 again. Later on, she flipped Firestorm 2 against the wall after Bigger Brother pushed it into her CPZ. She was only used in the first battle, Sgt. Bash and Dead Metal were used in the other battles.
Matilda appeared in the Robot Wars: The Fourth Wars/Pinball Warrior Tournament for the second year running, where she guarded the 50 point target on the side of the arena. However, six of the sixteen competitors managed to hit her target. She managed to prevent Firestorm 2 and S.M.I.D.S.Y. hitting her target, but the other competitors managed to get around her, or in the case of King B3, pushed past her.
Although she was not attacked by competitors as much as she had been in Series 3, she was still flipped over twice. First by Steg 2 in its battle with Iron-Awe, then later flipped over by Gemini in its battle with Killlertron in the Celebrity Special.
- "Steg 2 getting in underneath and showing us Matilda's underbelly! Do we really want to see it? I don't think so! ... Children, don't have nightmares, with what you're going to see of Matilda's underbelly, please."
- — Jonathan Pearce
These attacks weren't the only problems she suffered in this series. During the melee between Aggrobot, Saw Point and Oblivion, Matilda's wheel was accidentally ripped off by fellow house robot Sir Killalot, leaving her only able to drive around in circles.
In the Celebrity Special, whilst trying to flip Sir Chromalot, Matilda charged forward and became stuck on the arena wall.
Perhaps Matilda's most infamous misfortune ever occurred in the Southern Annihilator final, after Matilda flipped Onslaught onto its side, Razer crushed Matilda's rear armour, not only filling it with holes, but also rendering the chainsaw inoperable. She was pushed onto the flame pit, with the house robots also attacking Matilda.
- "The rear of Matilda has never been seen quite like this before and I have to say, thank goodness-Matilda is on fire!!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Razer turns on Matilda
After Dead Metal pushed Onslaught into the pit, Razer went after Sir Killalot, leaving Matilda immobilised. The damage was so severe that a funeral was held at the end of the episode.
- "Matilda, created at the dawn of Robot Wars. R.I.P. Rust in peace. D.I.A. Destroyed in action. D.Y.W.B? Do you wanna bet!?"
- — Jonathan Pearce provides Matilda's last rites whilst funeral music plays. It comes to an abrupt stop at his last statement
However, Matilda reappeared active, albeit heavily bandaged, at the end of the episode. According to Vincent Blood, the producers were planning on rebuilding Matilda, so they let Razer destroy her.
- "Oh yes, the matriarch of mayhem, the sister of slice-and-dice, the grandmother of grinding metal, will be back!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda reappears, heavily bandaged
- "...and Matilda, with a new weapon this time around: a twenty-seven kilo flywheel, that can rip opponents to shreds!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda's new weapon for the first time
Matilda had been completely overhauled to keep it competitive in the new 100kg weight limit - her chainsaw would not have been very useful because of its design and the strength of competitors' armour. Her tusks were new and larger, and the pneumatic system was gone altogether - instead, a complex system of air rams and dumps were fitted. This new system enabled the tusks to lift far heavier weights than before.
Her rear chainsaw "tail" was abandoned in favour of a huge 27 kg vertical flywheel, now capable of destroying robots. Because the disc was so heavy and powerful, the mounting was solid steel, itself fairly hefty in weight. She could now flip robots out of the arena with this weapon, however it took time for this to happen.
Matilda's first use of her flywheel came in the All-Stars first round battle between Chaos 2 and X-Terminator, where the House Robot buckled X-Terminator's axe and sent shards of its shell flying after Chaos 2 had flipped the beaten machine onto the House Robot's rear weapon. In the same battle, she accidentally reversed into Shunt, as it had been aiming for X-Terminator whilst Shunt was pushing it.
- "And look at the pieces literally being ripped away from the frame of X-Terminator, there - torn apart!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
She followed this up with a crippling attack on Doom in the Middleweight Championship after it was thrown by the floor flipper, before also playing a notable role in the International Inferno. After causing damage to the immobile MaxiMill, Matilda helped end the deadlock between Panic Attack and Manta, as she pressed the pit release button while Panic Attack had the US robot lifted up, and Kim Davies' machine was able to reposition and drop Manta down into the pit. Matilda then caused more pain for a foreign machine as she threw the beaten German machine, Flensburger Power, over with her flywheel in The Second World Championship, causing bodywork damage in the process.
Matilda managed to immobilise the eventual winners of the second Annihilator, Disc-O-Inferno, in the first round of the tournament, after Spirit of Knightmare drove it into the CPZ. Thankfully for Disc-O-Inferno, Fighting Torque was immobilised before the House Robot landed her devastating blow.
Matilda was also involved in two notable scraps with competing robots in Robot Wars: Extreme, the first of which being the House Robot Rebellion, where Matilda appeared through the entry gate late on into the battle to join Shunt and Dead Metal as they fought Stinger and Scorpion, having disposed of Plunderbird 5.
- "Oh! And we forgot to give you another little item of news - we can bring on a substitute, like Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda joins the fray in the House Robot Rebellion
She also appeared in the Flipper Frenzy, where Matilda single-handedly immobilised Wheely Big Cheese, Bigger Brother and Chaos 2 with her new flywheel after the competing robots decided to attack the House Robots. Chris Reynolds described this as his proudest moment in an interview Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide.
- "We'd heard a rumour that there was going to be a rebellion in Robot Wars Extreme's Flipper Frenzy. I was concerned that Sgt Bash and Matilda wouldn't be able to stand up to an attack from four of the biggest flippers in the game, especially if they ganged up together. Sure enough, Sgt Bash was soon over on his side, but Matilda amazed us all. She singlehandedly immobilized Wheely Big Cheese, Chaos 2 and Bigger Brother. Thermidor 2 didn't win - Matilda did!"
- — Chris Reynolds, interviewed in Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide
Matilda still had her negative and controversial moments in Extreme. In a Mayhem match between The Steel Avenger, Tornado and King B Powerworks, Matilda attacked The Steel Avenger illegally, throwing it over. Matilda was red carded for this attack, and the judges disregarded her attack on The Steel Avenger when they made their decision.
- "The clock ticking down, and certainly for me The Steel Avenger has won this one … oh! But look at that right at the end! Well surely Matilda should not have been able to do that anyway! I don't think The Steel Avenger goes into the CPZ and I don't think Matilda can go on the attack. Let's have a look. Red warning line, but not into the CPZ! Matilda, you should not have thrown The Avenger!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
She also buckled part of the arena wall out of place in an All-Stars semi-final battle between Razer and Firestorm 3. Not shown on television, Typhoon also ripped away one of Matilda's fibreglass tusks.
- "Watch for the tusks and the twenty-seven kilo deadly flywheel!"
- — Jonathan Pearce before the first battle of Series 5
Matilda appeared in the first two battles of The Fifth Wars, and she made her mark on both battles as she sent two-time champion Chaos 2 up into the air with her flywheel in its battle against Storm Force, when it stayed by the CPZ too long after pushing Storm Force into her.
- "And I just wonder...OH YES! Whether Matilda could cause some damage to Chaos 2, because George Francis, you were lingering too long in there. Didn't reverse away from peril and you got yourself stung!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Chaos 2 takes a hit from Matilda
- "Look at the damage there! Smash, rip, tear! And let's face it roboteers, we love it! … slicing through that armour of Obsidian, as if it is mere "
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda exerts her punishment onto Obsidian
Matilda's potency didn't threaten to come to a halt either, with Atomic 2 the next in line to suffer significant damage in Heat B. With Atomic 2 already immobile, Matilda used her flywheel to add further wounds to its right-hand side after it was already damaged by Hypno-Disc.
She followed this up with another exhibition of her flywheel's power in Heat D. In the first battle, Firestorm 3 tried to push Bee-Capitator into her flywheel, but Bee-Capitator slid off Firestorm 3's top as it was pushed into Matilda, thanks to the drill at its front hitting Matilda. Firestorm 3 therefore drove straight into the flywheel, and the flipper was buckled as it fired. Later on in the battle, after Bee-Capitator was counted out, Matilda hit it with her flywheel, knocking the overturned robot back on its wheels.
- "Look at the damage though, caused to Firestorm! Went on the attack, look at the buckled flipper! … I know the bee flew, but then the flywheel caught Firestorm!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Firestorm 3's flipper is buckled
Then in the next battle, after Rohog broke down in its battle with Sir Chromalot, she inflicted multiple damaging hits to it, which not only caused significant bodywork damage, but also caused the entire shell itself to be thrown upwards at one stage.
- "...the House Robots do mind that Rohog was immobilised so soon, and therefore they've been punishing in their attacks on that machine. You can't bring in a feeble robot, not to Robot Wars, and expect to get away with it"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Sir Killalot and Matilda attack Rohog
Matilda's rear weapon also proved pivotal during a couple of first-round battles. In Heat E, Matilda caused significant damage to Trouble 'n' Strife in the late stages of the battle when Shunt used his axe to drag Trouble 'n' Strife into her flywheel, contributing to its loss against Wild Thing via a judges' decision.
In Heat H, with Behemoth and Supernova trading blows, Supernova then found itself in Matilda's CPZ, and the House Robot showed no mercy, as it sent Supernova's entire top panel flying before buckling one of its wheel guards. With such significant damage caused, Supernova failed to get itself back into the battle and was chucked down into the pit by Behemoth.
Matilda also subjected beaten robots to further punishment in The Fifth Wars. In Heat G, she used her flywheel on Hydra before pushing it down into the pit, while in Heat J she subjected Kliptonite to severe damage as she completely wrecked its bodyshell.
- "The House robots, Sir Killalot and Matilda, to punish Kliptonite for bringing in a sub-standard machine! Bring in a heap of junk, and we'll turn it into proper rubbish, says Killalot!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, as the House Robots demolish Kliptonite
- "Matilda, what are you doing! Sisters of mercy? The Widows are infuriated! Girl power? That certainly was from our Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda wrecks Widow's Revenge
There was also a controversial incident involving Matilda in Heat L. During Terrorhurtz's battle with Ming 3, she came out from her CPZ and attacked Ming 3 twice with her flywheel, which immobilised it. The match went to the judges nevertheless, who chose Terrorhurtz as the winner based on the action up until Matilda unfairly intervened. Team Ming were given an apology, while Matilda was red-carded and given "a good smack up the backside" according to Jonathan Pearce.
- "Matilda's gone on the attack! That is way out of order!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
- "Of course, Matilda's back, with her hydraulic tusks and fearsome flywheel."
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda during the House Robot introduction in Heat A
Matilda had no major internal changes for The Sixth Wars, with the most notable revisions coming visually, as she was attached with two big hoops resembling wings at the top of her head and her flywheel was now permanently pink.
Matilda made an instant impression in her first appearance in The Sixth Wars, as, during the Heat A final, Razer dragged Raging Reality towards the House Robot, where her flywheel tore off a top panel and carved a huge gash into Raging Reality's side. This attack immobilised the silver robot, ending its run in Series 6.
- "Look at the great split in the side of Raging Reality! Matilda's flywheel, wreaking havoc! Razer pushing them to the flywheel, that was crucial, and look at that! Metal shards ripped off! Tossed out of the arena!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
- "Matilda's flywheel wrecking havoc!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Raging Reality is torn apart by the House Robot
Matilda's flywheel caused more problems for competing robots in Heat G, as she knocked the back plate of Edge Hog loose during its first round melee. Edge Hog reversed away and broke down. Later in the same battle, she completely ripped a panel off of Inshredable.
Panic Attack was the next robot to feel the force of the House Robot's flywheel, as, after it was cornered in the CPZ in its heat final battle against Terrorhurtz in Heat I, Matilda came across and completely ripped Panic Attack's top straight off, sending it out of the arena and into a camera. This caused great damage to Panic Attack, although Matilda also broke down in the process and had to be moved aside by Shunt and Refbot.
- "Matilda's flywheel causing all the damage there, after Terrorhurtz had initially prised that lid loose."
- — Jonathan Pearce after Matilda rips off Panic Attack's top
Matilda was also involved in a pivotal moment in the Semi-Final second round battle between Tornado and Dominator 2. Both robots tussled and manoeuvred in and around Matilda's CPZ, before Tornado suddenly made contact with Matilda's flywheel, which sent Tornado high into the air and almost directly into the pit. It was after this that Dominator 2 drove into the pit itself.
- Craig Charles: "The way you flew in the air..."
- Andrew Marchant: "I thought we were taking flying lessons!"
- Craig Charles: "I thought it was all over! I thought you were going to need a parachute!"
- — Post-battle interview
Matilda's first appearance in Extreme 2 came in an All-Stars second round battle between Dominator 2 and 13 Black. 13 Black strayed into the CPZ and received a glancing blow from the flywheel, but then Dominator 2 drove into the CPZ itself trying to pin 13 Black against the wall, and the House Robot knocked Dominator 2 on its side and inflicted decisive damage, rendering Dominator 2's right-hand drive immobile with a hit from her flywheel, which caused mobility issues for Dominator 2 during the remainder of the battle that it ultimately lost on a Judges' decision.
- "Not great driving initially by 13 Black, but Dominator 2 followed through into there and got caught!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda attacks Dominator 2
Matilda also caused notable damage in the Annihilator. At the end of Round 4 and with Major Tom a sitting duck, Matilda reversed into it, ripping into the front of its fibreglass shell, with subsequent attacks leaving Major Tom dilapidated.
- "Look at that! The dust settling on what was once upon a time, proud major."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda rips into Major Tom
Matilda also played a notable role in the Tag Team Terror, as she tore one of Mighty Mouse's ears off, ripped a protective panel away from Barbaric Response's wheel guard, and came in to inflict further damage on a beaten Diotoir.
- "Look at the punishing power of the flywheel!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda attacks Diotoir
In Heat A of the New Blood Championship, Matilda was involved in a comical incident involving Niterider, as after causing damage to the immobile machine, she ended up shattering the screen of the TV that fell from the Drop Zone.
- "Look at that! She obviously thinks there's too many replays on TV! Didn't like the repeats, cut it out!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda smashes the television
She also caused considerable damage to Chopper and Mad Dog in Heat C, and Doctor Fist and Piranha in Heat D. Whilst attacking Doctor Fist, Mr. Psycho tried to hammer Doctor Fist, but Matilda's flywheel pushed it out of the way, so Mr. Psycho accidentally hit an angle grinder and Matilda with the hammer.
- "Look at this, he's lining up another bash of the hammer, Matilda nearly copped it! I think he just missed the spinning rear flywheel of Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Mr. Psycho accidentally hammers Matilda
Matilda's flywheel took another considerable step to proving its power during Extreme 2, as it managed to not only damage robots, but also throw them Out of the Arena. She inflicted this fate on Sir Chromalot and Vader, with both instances occurring during the Challenge Belt.
- "Matilda caught them with her flywheel bottom, which is rather a grisly thought for anyone! In they go, and Sir Chromalot, tossed away like some leaf in the autumn fall."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda throws Sir Chromalot out of the arena
Matilda didn't escape the second series of Extreme without damage, however, as she had a significant chunk of her front armour torn off by Corkscrew during its first round battle in the Commonwealth Carnage.
- "Massive power in those blades! Look at the damage caused to Matilda! They've hardly made a silk purse out of a sow's ear!"
- — Jonathan Pearce after Corkscrew rips off part of Matilda's front
- "Tusks get flipping while her saw gets ripping - Matilda is one metal mother you don't want to waltz with! Her flywheel now spins up to full rpm in only 3.5 seconds, not enough time for even the speediest 'bot to dodge out of the way."
- — The Series 7 Programme on Matilda
Matilda was unchanged from Extreme 2, and had to wait a considerable amount of time to make her mark in The Seventh Wars, as she only made her first appearance in Heat E, and appeared a total of three times in the first seven heats.
Matilda's first moment of real impact in The Seventh Wars was worth the wait, however, as she tore a chunk out of St. Agro's wheel before severely damaging an immobile Ceros as she sent it flying out of the arena in the final of Heat H.
- "Good old Matilda. You can count on her rear end in any sort of catastrophe."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda smashes Ceros out of the arena
Matilda's flywheel continued to prove its power throughout the series, and made an impression in the very next heat, when she sent a panel from the arena wall flying as she attempted to attack Rhino, before throwing Mayhem through the air in the same first round melee.
- "They are relentless, the House Robots! Terrifying!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda attacks Mayhem
Matilda's next moment of impact involved an out of control Behemoth in its second round defeat to Mute in Heat L as she inflicted minor bodywork damage before chucking it up into the air with another rear-end attack.
Heat M saw Matilda take part in the special event of the episode, the final qualifier for the final of the Featherweight championship, where she and Sir Killalot teamed up to cause significant damage to Micro Mute. Sir Killalot held it up and lowered it into her flywheel, completely wrecking the back end of Micro Mute. The team were very upset at the merciless damage done, with Adam Emmett walking out of the booth as Matilda wrecked Micro Mute, and only one team member being willing to do the post-battle interview.
Matilda only carried out arena hazard duties twice during The Seventh Wars. Firstly, she subjected Hammerhead 2 to the Drop Zone before nudging the beaten robot down into the pit of oblivion in Heat O, and she later placed the beaten St. Agro on the floor flipper during its Semi-Final battle with X-Terminator. During the latter fight, Matilda also cut one of St. Agro's wheels apart again, also causing notable bodywork damage to the beaten robot.
Matilda appeared in the final two battles of the UK Championship, and the third place playoff saw her throw X-Terminator up and over, then flip it back onto its wheels as Tornado pushed it back into her flywheel. After X-Terminator was counted out, she caused damage to the rear armour, leaving a large gash.
- Craig Charles: "I bet you'd be happy if you never saw Matilda again!"
- Marlon Pritchard: "Yeah, we were cringing a big there!"
- — Post-battle interview
- "Matilda, I have missed you!"
- — Jonathan Pearce before the first fight in Episode 1
Matilda was the first House Robot to be confirmed for Series 8, appearing in the very first teaser trailer for the rebooted series. Along with fellow House Robots Shunt, Dead Metal and Sir Killalot, she was upgraded to "modern standards". Her weight was increased to 350kg, her flywheel upgraded to a double-bladed HARDOX 35kg wheel that was capable of spinning 25 times per second. Her tusks also had considerably more flipping power at 800psi. Her visual design brandished spikes, and glowing red eyes.
In Meet the House Robots during Matilda's segment, Matilda managed to lose a horn. After using her flywheel to damage it, a piece of wood flew and knocked the horn off.
- "Oh, be still my beating heart. The world's most famous robotic Triceratops is back, but her technology is anything but prehistoric"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda in Meet the House Robots
- "They wanna dodge that tail spinner of Matilda, and Behemoth didn't watch out!"
- — Jonathan Pearce after Matilda hits Behemoth
In Heat 2, during the Thor vs. Shockwave battle in the head to heads, Matilda managed to use her flywheel to tear a section from the already damaged scoop of Shockwave off as well as ripping off the top of the wheel guard of Thor.
In the same episode, after Thor had immobilised Foxic, Matilda flipped the immobile Foxic into the pit.
- "Oh, no no no! We don't need this Matilda! Oh Matilda, that's... Matilda, you're a bully. You're just a bully. Beautiful, but a bully."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda pits Foxic
In Heat 3, Matilda managed to secure the first instance of a robot being thrown out of the arena in the new series (by broadcast order) during the battle between Dantomkia and King B Remix. After Dantomkia had flipped King B Remix and wedged it between the Arena Tyre and the wall, Matilda came by and used her tusks to flip King B Remix out of the arena, her first time flipping a robot out of the arena without using her flywheel.
- "...the coup de grâce from Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce watching the replay of Matilda flipping out
In the Grand Final, Matilda once again used her flywheel against Thor, causing even more damage after facing Carbide. Matilda would later cause further grief to Thor in its battle against TR2. After TR2 tossed the axebot into her, she managed to use her tusks to flip Thor over one of the entrance walls - this was the reason TR2 was able to claim three points for a win by KO in the bout.
- "Well done Matilda. … [Thor] had the affront to take on Matilda. Matilda's thirst for revenge knows no limits. Her anger was rising, her flip was final."
- — Jonathan Pearce after Matilda flips out Thor
Battle of the Stars
- "...with two-and-a-half tonnes of lip, it's my favourite little stocking filler, Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce before the JAR vs Interstellar: MML battle
Matilda appeared in Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, which was filmed and broadcast as part of the ongoing ninth series. In Episode 1, she came out of her CPZ during the Head-to-Head battle between JAR and Interstellar: MML, pushing Interstellar: MML against the wall after it lost drive to one side. After JAR shoved Interstellar: MML into the CPZ a second time, Matilda rammed it out with her tusks.
- "Matilda has a shove. When Matilda comes to dance, you know you're in trouble"
- — Jonathan Pearce
In Episode 2, she flipped Soldier Ant off the Flame Pit with her tusks following its Head-to-Head defeat to Robo Savage, before pushing and tossing it into the wall. In retaliation, Soldier Ant grabbed hold of Matilda's tusks with its crusher, before Matilda dragged it away and pitted it, although not without having one of her horns broken off in the process.
- "Where's my mistletoe? It's Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce before Robo Savage and Soldier Ant fought
Matilda appeared in a teaser trailer for Series 9, uploaded on 10th February 2017. The teaser showed her and the other House Robots destroying household appliances, with Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" playing in the background.
- "Swipe left, or she'll take a swipe at you!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Matilda before the first battle of Heat 1
Matilda was the first House Robot to appear in Series 9, carrying out her duties in the Group Battle involving Nuts 2, Terrorhurtz, Rapid and Jellyfish. She quickly made her presence felt by flicking Nuts 2 aside with her tusks early in the battle, before eliminating the same machine in devastating fashion at a later stage by hurling it out of the arena with her flywheel.
- "Don't mess with the rear end of Matilda - it's a grizzly place to be!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda throws Nuts 2 out of the arena
Matilda also made two appearances during the Head-to-Heads stage in Heat 1, as she joined Dead Metal for the battle between Terrorhurtz and Jellyfish, as well as being partnered with Sir Killalot for the final Head-to-Head fight involving Sabretooth and Jellyfish.
Heat 2 was a subdued one for Matilda, as she failed to get into the action in any of her four battles.
In her first appearance in Heat 3, Matilda's attempt to remove the stuck Concussion away from the Pit of Oblivion panel ended up with her getting stuck on top of the competing machine. Her fellow House Robot, Dead Metal, was needed to separate them.
- "Concussion, wedged by Matilda! That means Thor can come in with that mighty axe!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Matilda also put her flywheel to use in the battle between Heavy Metal and Thor, as she damaged the wedge of Heavy Metal before sending a wheel that was knocked off by Thor through the air and into Dead Metal's CPZ.
- "Wheely big hit! Don't tangle with the rear end of Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda sends the wheel flying
- "And here comes Matilda with a flywheel tail to have a go at Coyote. Can they 'withstain' this sort of punishment?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Matilda only appeared in two battles in the Grand Final, and she was unable to affect either of the fights she was in.
- "There is the gorgeous Matilda - extra special looks for her in this series of Robot Wars'"
- — Jonathan Pearce on Matilda's new white horns and tips
Matilda's sole appearance in Heat 1 came in the battle between Behemoth and The Swarm. Despite her limited battle time, Matilda still caused damage in her only battle, as she created a gash in Behemoth's side armour with her flywheel. However, she also had one of her white tips ripped away by The Swarm's bar spinner unit, Blenda.
Just like Heat 1, Matilda only appeared once in Heat 2, in the fight between Eruption and Big Nipper. She caused problems for the latter, using her tusks and flywheel to put Big Nipper under pressure on a number of occasions.
- "In the arena for the house robots and still not returning my calls, Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce during Series 10
Matilda found herself in the action more in Heat 3 - featuring four times. She made Bucky the Robot flinch in the Group Battle with a hit from her flywheel, before chucking the same machine across the arena floor with her tusks after it was counted out against Vulture.
She used her tusks again later in the episode to separate Vulture and Terrorhurtz, as well as appearing in the shortest fight in Robot Wars history as Rapid threw Track-tion out of the arena in 00:05.6 seconds in the Heat Semi-Finals.
Matilda contributed to two battles in Heat 4. In the battle between Concussion and The Kegs, Matilda launched one of The Kegs across the arena after 'cease' had been called, eventually flipping an empty keg shell out of the arena - smashing it into the entry gates in an untelevised attack. Matilda also threatened Iron-Awe 6 during its battle with Androne 4000, attacking with both the flywheel and tusks on separate occasions, although Iron-Awe 6 was not flipped over, which would have defeated it.
- "I don't think we've seen that sort of destructive power of a House Robot in the series so far, as Matilda went wild - Rogue and wild!"
- — Jonathan Pearce after Thor takes severe damage from the House Robot
After seeing no action during the Robot Redemption Round fight between Expulsion and Push to Exit, Matilda made a massive impact during the later part of Heat 5. A first example of this came during the Heat Semi-Final battle involving Thor and Coyote. After being summoned in Rogue House Robot mode when the Arena Tyre was pressed, Matilda came charging out, and a massive blow from her rear flywheel ruptured Thor's gas supply.
- "Matilda's closing in as well, look out Thor! OH! Thor, his weapon taking out by Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Matilda comes out and attacks Thor
Matilda's flywheel came into play again during the Third Place Playoff involving Expulsion and Coyote, as she damaged the Brentwood School Roboteers' machine with two hits from her spinning weapon, before flipping it over with her tusks, despite Expulsion having won the battle over the immobile Coyote.
- "Expulsion still working, but still a bit daft going onto the blade of Matilda!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Expulsion is hit with the flywheel
Matilda was the only House Robot not to play some part in the Robot Rumble, and despite only appearing twice in the Grand Final episode itself, she still made a notable difference - flipping Magnetar into immobility during the second Group Battle, and sending Behemoth spinning through the air after connecting with a hit from her flywheel during Behemoth's battle with Eruption.
- "Look at this! The axe is broken off! The impact against the arena wall and from the House Robot has left Anita defenceless!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Matilda also appeared in Robot Wars: World Series. In Episode 1, after TMHWK sustained consistent damage to its weapon in its fight against Terrorhurtz, a final Matilda flip snapped the axe shaft completely.
- "She'll flip you so far, you'll need a VISA to get back in!"
- — Jonathan Pearce before Big Nipper and Terror Turtle fought
Matilda also caused notable damage during Episode 2, as she shattered one of Big Nipper's top panels during its battle against Terror Turtle, causing its lithium polymer batteries to catch fire. She also used her tusks on both competing machines during the same fight. Matilda then finished the episode by chucking Cathadh into the Pit of Oblivion after it was immobilised against Eruption during the captains' battle.
US Season 1
- "The mechanical mother of them all! With a chainsaw turning at 3000rpm and hydraulic tusks, you'd better believe that mother knows best"
- — Stefan Frank introduces Matilda
Matilda made her first appearance in the first battle of Extreme Warriors: Season 1, between Silver Box and Close Enough in the Robot Rebellion. After Close Enough broke down and was pushed onto the flame pit by Shunt, Matilda attacked it with her flywheel.
- "Silver Box, trying to ruin Matilda's beautiful complexion with that saw! This could be a huge upset!"
- — Stefan Frank during the House Robot Rebellion
In the Final, she and Shunt took on Silver Box, Tut Tut, Tricerabot and Rosie the Riveter. Tricerabot tried pushing Matilda, but Matilda turned around, knocking part of the back off with her flywheel. Matilda turned away, driving up the arena, and Tricerabot rammed into her. Matilda turned around again, hitting Tricerabot's front with her flywheel, knocking a part off. Silver Box managed to pin Matilda in the CPZ, and used its saw to cut into her front. Matilda ran away down the arena, and as she tried to attack Tut Tut, Tricerabot rammed into her side, knocking the House Robot over. This was the first time Matilda was flipped over after she was equipped with the flywheel. Following an off-screen axe blow by Tut Tut, Shunt gradually lost mobility soon after, so Sir Killalot came in to try and finish off the competitors.
In the Civil War, Bot-Ugly had Spike in its grip in the CPZ with Shunt. As Spike got free, Matilda came in and cornered Bot-Ugly, knocking it up with her flywheel. Spike took advantage and axed her, allowing Bot-Ugly to escape. Later in the same battle, Bot-Ugly broke down whilst it had Spike in its grip, and Spike's axe became stuck in Bot-Ugly. Matilda finished Bot-Ugly off by pitting it.
- "He knows that's a wrong move!"
- — Stefan Frank when Spike axed Matilda during the match
In the first battle of the Tag Team Terror, when all four competitors were breaking the rules by fighting at once, Matilda came out of her CPZ. She attacked Tut Tut and Rosie the Riveter, but despite having all its fur burned off, Tricerabot managed to flip Matilda again. This would not occur again until fifteen years later where she was flipped by Apollo in Series 8. Sir Killalot was able to push her back over, and Matilda went back to the CPZ.
- "Serves her right! Nobody went into her corner, she shouldn't even have been out there!"
- — Stefan Frank
Matilda also had a number of notable moments in the US Championship. In the first melee, when Red Virus tried pushing Medusa Oblongata towards Matilda, Medusa Oblongata drove away before she could attack, so instead Matilda came out of the CPZ and hit Red Virus with the flywheel. However, after that, Matilda broke down in the CPZ, so when The Brute pushed Falcon into the CPZ, Shunt had to come in to attack.
In Round 2, Matilda pitted The Brute at the end of its battle with The Revolutionist, and then in the other Semi-Final between Panzer Mk 2 and Manta, when Manta began to slow down, Matilda came out of her CPZ to push Manta, for which she received a yellow card from Refbot.
US Season 2
Despite Matilda's flywheel being interchangeable with her chainsaw, the chainsaw was only ever seen a few more times in the second season of the US series Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors as well as in Nickelodeon Robot Wars. This was due to the fact that the producers thought Matilda's flywheel was too powerful following recent upgrades and opted to use the chainsaw as an alternative. However, Matilda's chainsaw was rarely put into action during its matches.
Matilda made few appearances in the second season of Extreme Warriors. She was absent from the first three heats, and only made a brief appearance in Heat D, being used in the Round 2 battle between Propeller-Head and The Gap, though the House Robots played no part in that battle.
Heat E saw Matilda make her first attack on a competitor. When Rosie the Riveter 2 pushed Techno Trousers into the CPZ, Matilda started pushing it away and flicking it with her tusks before Dead Metal grabbed it and cut into it. She was armed with her chainsaw for this battle. Matilda appeared in the other Round 2 battle in the same episode, between Basenji and Darkness. She was armed with her chainsaw again, but Dead Metal finished off Basenji, with Matilda being in the background.
After being absent from Heat F, Matilda was attacked by a competitor in Round 1 of Heat G. Marauder appeared to stop just by her CPZ, and G-Force pushed it into Matilda, and escaped before Matilda could attack. However, the middleweight robot kept pushing at Matilda's side, then pushed its way past Matilda. Matilda was again armed with a chainsaw for this battle.
The Tag Team Terror saw her appear with her flywheel for the first time in the series. She used it to rip parts off the side of G-Force in Round 2 after it was counted out. In the Final, Rocky Bot-Boa, with the help of Black Widow pushed Sir Force A Lot into her flywheel, which ripped a hole in the back.
- "Great bit of driving, there. Bot-Boa and the Widow backing Sir Force A Lot into Matilda's corner again."
- — Stefan Frank
She appeared in the final of the International Championship, but didn't play a part in the battle.
Her most notable battle in this series was during the battle between Snookums and Medusa Oblongotta in the Robot Rebellion. After Medusa Oblongotta was counted out in Dead Metal's CPZ, Matilda hit it with her flywheel, throwing it over the fence, resulting in chronologically her first attack to throw a robot out of the arena.
- "...and Matilda goes in with the flywheel! Flips Medusa Oblongotta right out of the arena like a bag of trash! Unbelievable! Well if anybody underestimated the power of Matilda, let this be a lesson to ya!"
- — Stefan Frank
She also appeared in four other battles in the Robot Rebellion. Notably, in the Round 2 battle between Snake Bite and Rosie The Riveter 2, when Snake Bite had Rosie the Riveter 2 pinned in the corner, Matilda charged across the arena and hit Snake Bite with her flywheel, knocking both robots upwards. However, it was Shunt, Dead Metal and Sir Killalot that fought in the House Robot Rebellion itself.
- "...but the biggest hit by far was Matilda with that flywheel!"
- — Stefan Frank reviewing Matilda's attack which damaged Snake Bite and Rosie the Riveter 2
Nickelodeon Robot Wars
- "With tusks of steel and a chainsaw for a tail, you don't want to get her mad!"
- — Stefan Frank describes Matilda in the House Robot introduction
Matilda made just four appearances in Nickelodeon Robot Wars. She made her first appearance in Nickelodeon Robot Wars in the final of the US Championship, where she was armed with her flywheel. Tyranabot backed into Probophobia, who lifted its forks at the wrong moment, allowing Tyranabot to drive it straight into the flywheel of Matilda. Soon after this, Probophobia broke down.
Matilda was armed with her chainsaw for her appearance in the Mayhem battle between Rosie the Riveter 2, Propeller-Head and Xylon. Rosie the Riveter 2 rammed Propeller-Head into a CPZ, and Matilda and Shunt came in, but Rosie the Riveter 2 got under Matilda, pushing her against the wall. Shunt axed Rosie the Riveter 2 and pulled it away, and Matilda fled to another CPZ. She made a minor appearance later in the episode in the Vengeance battle between Bunny Attack and Hoot, which proved to be her last appearance in this series, as she was absent from Episodes 4, 5 and the Annihilator.
Dutch Series 1
- "The ruthless steel rhinoceros, with the adorable name ‘Matilda’!"
- — Eric Corton (translated from Dutch)
Matilda's flywheel proved to be a devastating weapon in the Dutch series. It tore through the side of Pyramid of Chaos, lifting it up from the baseplate. Maximum Torque broke down after being hit on the side by Matilda's flywheel, and Pika 2 was flipped over by the flywheel, with a wheel being obliterated in the process.
- "There comes Matilda, she shoves her charmingly twirling butt nicely into the side of Pyramid of Chaos, which has fallen apart beautifully. Hello there, in the replay we see properly once again how Matilda, with her gorgeous, gorgeously rotating, uh… disk at the back, splits Pyramid of Chaos in two."
- — Eric Corton as Matilda tears through Pyramid of Chaos (translated from Dutch)
The most spectacular damage Matilda caused was against Shapeshifter, after it broke down in the Losers' Melee of Heat E. After Shapeshifter broke down, Matilda ripped into its side, then smashed most of the balsa wood armour with one hit.
- "Oof, I’m in love with Matilda, you know? The way she slashes into stuff and then she chop-chop-chop-chops and BANG, she throws a Hammerhead into the sky!"
- — Rob Kamphues (translated from Dutch)
Matilda did her share of arena duties in Dutch Series 1, putting Pika 2 and Maximum Torque on the flipper (the latter of which with Sgt. Bash), and also pitted Maximum Torque, Hammerhead and El-Mower. Her pitting of El-Mower was notable because she slowly nudged it into the pit with her tusks and flywheel.
- "Did this feel like a confident win? Because Matilda did all of the work for you guys."
- — Bridget Maasland to the Hammerhead team after their win against Pika 2 (translated from Dutch)
One of Matilda's most notable battles in this series was her first appearance, in the Heat A battle between Lizzard and Arena Killer. When Lizzard strayed close to her CPZ, Matilda hit its whipping tail, ripping the cover off it. Later in the same battle, after Arena Killer was flipped over by Shunt, Matilda overturned Lizzard. Lizzard was thrown by the floor flipper as cease was called, but the jury ruled in favour of Lizzard, as Arena Killer had been immobilised first.
Dutch Series 2
Matilda only occasionally appeared in the second series of the Dutch Robot Wars. She was absent from the Grand Final, made no impact in her two appearances in Heat A, and only made an impact in one of her three battles in Heat B.
However, when she did attack a competitor, her flywheel caused significant damage. Her first notable moment in the series saw her do the most damage she would do that year. After Impact was immobilised in its battle with Twister, Matilda ripped it apart with her flywheel, tearing off its base, its electronics box, and one of its drive motors.
In Heat C, when Flepser drove too close to her CPZ in its battle with Twisted Metal Evo, Matilda hit it side on, ripping off one of the wheels. Matilda continued to thrash it, before Growler put it on the floor flipper. In the Heat Final, Matilda hit the top of Twisted Metal Evo, buckling it upwards.
The next Heat also saw some notable damage from Matilda. After Amok broke down, she hit it with her flywheel three times. Two of these attacks saw her throw it against the wall, but she did not manage to get it over the arena wall. She then opened the pit and disposed of Amok. She appeared in the Heat Final for the fourth time in a row, and after Gravity was counted out by Refbot, Matilda hit the side with her flywheel, destroying one of its sides, then flipping it clean over.
Matilda managed to throw a robot out of the arena in Heat E, sending S.O.Xbot, part of the Dutch clusterbot √3², flying out of the arena. Despite this, √3² still went on to win the battle, due to it being a three-way clusterbot, meaning two of the three parts had to be immobilised.
German Robot Wars
Matilda made a dramatic start in the German series. She appeared in the first battle, and when Thorgrim was counted out, she ripped off one side and one half of the top with her flywheel. Matilda would go on to appear in all but one of the battles in that episode (including, coincidentally, the German melee from Extreme 1 that was repeated as part of the episode.)
Her next notable moment was in the Round 2 battle between Junkyard Queen and Son of Armageddon. With Junkyard Queen immobilised, Sir Killalot held it up, and carried it straight into Matilda's flywheel, puncturing one of its tyres. After it was placed on the Drop Zone, it was placed on the pit, where Matilda continued to attack one of the wheels before the pit was opened.
Despite this notable damage, Matilda would only appear twice more in the main competition. In Heat B, she only appeared in the second melee, but played no part in the battle, and in the Grand Final, she only appeared in the third place playoff, but again was not involved in the action.
Appearances in Merchandise
- Matilda/Construction Set
- Matilda/Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem
- Matilda/Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction
- Matilda/Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction
- Matilda/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (GBA)
- Matilda/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)
Outside Robot Wars
Before the show's revival, a version of Matilda made an appearance at the 2011 UK Heavyweight Championships at the O2 Arena. Built by Alan Gribble, this version of Matilda was based on the original Series 1-4 shell, while featuring a new chassis and internals. It served as a house robot in the Featherweight Championship at the event and continued to act as house robot for all Roaming Robots tournaments up to - and after - John Findlay acquired the rights to use the Robot Wars brand name.
In 2014, John Findlay built a new version of Matilda to replace Gribble's version. Alan Gribble had worked at Gloucester University, which provided the innards for his version whilst he provided the shell; however, with Gribble's death, the university wanted its property back. John Findlay's version of Matilda was equipped with a flywheel, improved tusks and a tougher body shell, which was later replaced with a new shell made from the original moulds. It was retired in 2016 after John Findlay ceded the rights to the Robot Wars brand upon the show's return to TV.
On July 21st, 2016, Matilda and the rest of the House Robots appeared on BBC's The One Show, to promote Series 8 of Robot Wars. They battled three remote controlled cars piloted by the cast of The Rebel. Sir Killalot flattened all three cars, and won the battle for the House Robots.
Both Matilda and Shunt appeared in the 6th March 2017 edition of The One Show along with Dara Ó Briain, in order to promote Series 9.
Along with Sir Killalot and Dead Metal, Matilda also appears in the BBC Make It Digital promo What If Robots Replaced Teachers? as one of several robots running a high school in place of human staff. She and Dead Metal are seen accompanying Sir Killalot as he 'expels' a pair of disruptive Cybermen, and are credited onscreen as 'Senior Prefects'.
As of September 2017, Gribble's version of Matilda is now owned by Cyberigs Robotics, a company specialising in collecting and restoring famous robots and robot props. Still retaining the original bodyshell, it was restored to working order with new wheels and tyres as well as recreations of missing components, including new tusks, horns and a dummy rear chainsaw. Cyberigs Robotics intend to display the restored Matilda at Robotazia, a planned museum and art gallery dedicated to robots from science-fiction. This version also appeared at Robonerd in August 2019.
- According to the Robot Wars Fun Fax, the early design that became Matilda was known as Evildoer. This machine had a similar ovoid shape and a chainsaw on the rear like Matilda, but had saws and spikes all over its body.
- Matilda was the only House Robot whose design was not based on a concept sketch. Instead, it was sculpted based on suggestions from the crew.
- "With Matilda it came down to me describing to James [David, who built the robot] what I thought we needed. We wanted something very organic - sort of an alien pig type of thing, and he sculpted it several times, but couldn't get it right, so we kept sending him back to start again!"
- — Chris Reynolds, interviewed in Robot Wars: The Official Magazine
- The thumbprints on Matilda's headpiece were fashioned by Crew member James Davis.
- Early footage of Matilda being tested would suggest that she was originally intended to be painted black, before later being changed to purple.
- Matilda was fitted with spark projectiles on her tusks for some of the events in Series 2. They were removed just before Series 3 started.
- Matilda's horns were made from squashy rubber; the metal versions tended to shatter or break off too easily. The practice of rubber horns has carried over to the newest version of Matilda and can be seen wobbling when using her tusks.
- Matilda was the oldest House Robot, having had construction started first amongst the four original House Robots.
- Even discounting the versions made for live events, Matilda is the House Robot represented by the most different machines with three; the original model used for the first four series, a rebuilt model used from Extreme 1 onward, and an updated model for Series 8 onwards.
- Matilda was the only robot to be represented by all five types of Robot Wars toys.
- Prior to Series 10, Matilda was the only House Robot to be considered and referred to as a female.
- In Dutch Robot Wars, commentator Eric Corton would often suggest that Matilda and Shunt were in a relationship.
- Matilda appeared in the first and last battle of the rebooted series of Robot Wars.
- Out of all the House Robots that have been built for Robot Wars, Matilda was one of the only three that has been in every series in both the classic and the reboot. The other two were Shunt and Dead Metal.
- Matilda was one of two House Robots to never be partnered with Cassius Chrome, the other being Dead Metal.
- Series 9 Teaser Trailer, featuring the House Robots