The RTL Group (standing for Radio Television Luxemburg) is a German television company, broadcasting free-to-air television programmes, and is the largest private network in Germany. On their secondary channel RTL II, the company aired the German series of Robot Wars on television in Germany.


Rtl logo

The primary RTL logo at the time of German Robot Wars

The original RTL channel started broadcasting on 2 January 1984 from VHF channel E7 (system B, colour PAL) in Luxembourg. It only had a theoretical audience of approximately 200,000 until 1988, when it moved its headquarters to Cologne, Germany; prior to this it was considered a Luxembourg-based station.

RTL, which began as a spin-off of the German version of Radio Luxembourg, started with a low budget, and many of the early hosts simply presented versions of their radio formats adapted for television. One early success was the quiz show Ein Tag wie kein anderer (A day like no other), in which contestants competed for a holiday.

After reunification in 1990, broadcasting was extended to the entire country. RTL moved to Cologne and received the right to broadcast on free-to-air frequencies. RTL's viewership increased during the 1990's, leading to the launch of RTL II on 6 March 1993, which would air Robot Wars nearly ten years later.

Robot Wars Edit

Although the televised series of German Robot Wars was filmed in 2002 alongside the second Dutch series and the sixth UK series, this was not RTL's first attempt at running a German series of the show. Applications for a German series of Robot Wars went live in 2001, and four machines applied to enter the series; Ansgar, Flensburger Power, Golem, and Nasty Warrior. Ultimately, this pool of competitors proved too small to run a series with, and this initial series of the show was cancelled, with the four participants instead being invited to enter Robot Wars Extreme: Series 1. The German Melee fought between the four was then aired during the televised German series, one year later.[1]

Eventually, more German applications came by after the UK Show was aired in Germany, gaining attraction. Prior to the filming of the series, Derek Foxwell ran an auditions event referred to 'The Cold Wars', where the German machines would demonstrate their abilities and safety[2]. Of the robots available, only nine were actually German. Three international robots, two from the Netherlands and one from Switzerland, were allowed to participate in order to make up the numbers. Despite this, the main championship still only featured 12 robots.

Jurgen Torkott pit reporter

Presenter Jürgen Törkott in German Robot Wars

Christian Möllmann, who had previously presented the German-dubbed episodes of UK Robot Wars, was originally slated to host the German version, but just two days before filming, sports presenter Jürgen Törkott was chosen instead. Törkott also fulfilled the role of pit reporter. The commentary was provided by Volker Wolf.

Throughout the German Robot Wars, viewers were able to predict the winners of battles. A piece of text would often appear on-screen, reading Jetzt Tippen & Gewinnen! Videotext seite 292, translating to Now tap & Win! Teletext page 292.

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