Philippa Forrester is a British television and radio presenter as well as an author. She is perhaps most famous for her role as a pit reporter in Series 1-3 and 5-6 of Robot Wars and Series 2 of Robot Wars Extreme, as well as the host of the spin-off show Robot Wars Revealed.
Forrester first appeared as the pit reporter of Series 1-3, where she would introduce the Gauntlet stage as well as speak to competing teams about their robots before and after rounds.
During this time, she also presented the spin-off show Robot Wars Revealed, which presented behind-the-scenes footage from the heats of Series 2. Forrester filled the role of on-screen presenter and voice-over for this series.
Although admitting her lack of engineering knowledge in interviews for various Robot Wars publications, Forrester openly admired the show's competitors and the community-driven atmosphere of The Pits. Fans of the show especially praised her enthusiastic approach towards her role in the main series. Philippa Forrester also made frequent innuendos as a pit reporter, particularly when labelling weaponry as a 'chopper', regardless of what the weapon's purpose was.
- "The thing is... it's the teams who make the programme come to life. They are the entertaining ones, and all I know how to do is talk to them and get some information from them about what they've been up to and what they are hoping for."
- — Philippa Forrester in an interview for Robot Wars: The Official Magazine
Forrester became pregnant during the time of Series 4 and Series 1 of Robot Wars Extreme, and so was replaced as pit reporter by Julia Reed for those aforementioned series. However, she still appeared in Heat A of Series 4 alongside Reed to discuss the competitors for the then-upcoming series. Forrester returned to her role for Series 5, and would continue to serve as pit reporter until the end of Extreme Series 2. She also briefly appeared in German Robot Wars as an additional interviewer for the German broadcast of the UK vs Germany Special.
In Series 6 and Extreme 2, Forrester also examined competing robots close-up through the use of a 'Damage Cam', usually to show their components or any damage they sustained in battle.
Outside Robot Wars
Alongside her roles in Series 6 and Extreme 2, Philippa Forrester also hosted the 2002 and 2003 series of Techno Games, along with Robot Wars Judges Noel Sharkey and Martin Smith. Ironically, she took over as host from Jayne Middlemiss, who in turn replaced her as pit reporter when Robot Wars moved to Five for Series 7.
Forrester first worked for the BBC as a presenter on CBBC until 1994. She hosted many programmes broadcast by the corporation, including Tomorrow's World, Barking Mad and The Heaven and Earth Show, and is also recognised for her presenting roles in the former. In August 1999, Forrester co-presented the BBC's coverage of that year's solar eclipse; later the same year, she became one of their presenters for the corporation's coverage of the 2000 Today programme, commemorating the turn of the new millennium. Additionally, she briefly appeared in a 2001 episode of the Channel 4 satirical comedy series Brass Eye.
Outside of her BBC commitments, Forrester has appeared in television adverts for Lloyds Pharmacy and supports the Recycle Now campaign to encourage more people to take up home composting.
In 2007, Forrester co-produced An Otter in the Family, a documentary series about the adoption of an otter cub called Grace and their attempts to raise her in order to be released into the wild. She was also a co-presenter of World on the Move, a BBC Radio series on migration in the animal kingdom.
In 2010, Forrester presented Halcyon River Diaries, a wildlife show, which looked at the various animal species that lived near her home. She returned to presenting in 2013 on the BBC programme Harvest which followed the progress of Britain's vegetable, cereal and fruit harvests.
Forrester is married to wildlife cameraman and television producer Charlie Hamilton-James, who have three sons together. They moved to Wyoming in 2015. She is an avid environmentalist and took a part-time degree in Ecology and Conservation at Birkbeck College, London, while presenting Tomorrow's World. Forrester's interest in wildlife conservation led to her becoming the vice-president of the Avon Wildlife Trust.
In March 2022, Forrester starred in a kid's TV special of Pointless Celebrities. As it happened, she appeared in the very same episode as fellow former Robot Wars pit reporter Jayne Middlemiss.