Robot Wars Wiki

"Robot The Bruce, in its sexy see-through gear. Very heavy, 84.6 kilos ... Look at the power. No weapons there, just brute force."
Jonathan Pearce as Robot The Bruce runs the Gauntlet

Robot The Bruce was a robot entered by George Francis in the first series of Robot Wars. It weighed enough to be classed as a Super Heavyweight. It won its heat over Wedgehog to reach the Grand Final, before being defeated by the eventual champion Roadblock.


"Don't let the transparent bodywork fool you, there's more to this robot than meets the eye! With a top speed of 4 miles per hour and weighing in at 84.6 kilos, Robot The Bruce is one of tonight's heaviest contenders."
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Robot The Bruce

Robot The Bruce's official photo

Robot The Bruce was a four-wheeled, box-shaped robot, with transparent armour and a slight wedge on the top to determine which direction the robot is facing and going when in battle. The robot had no weaponry at all, instead using its brute force to push other robots around the arena. Powered by two 12 volt motors, Robot The Bruce was effective at pushing robots, even managing to push Dead Metal back in the Gauntlet stage. However, the robot had a low top speed of 4 miles per hour, a high ground clearance that made it easy for wedges such as Cruella to get underneath, and no self-righting mechanism, which was its ultimate downfall in the Grand Final.

"Its main (in fact its only) weapon was brute force. This was achieved by using two Sinclair C5 12V motors (one per side). Each motor drove both wheels on it's side via a 30:1 reduction gearbox. This 4 wheel drive gave Bruce lots of torque and traction, but it's main problem was that the resulting skid steering consumed large amounts of battery power. It would only run for 10 minutes on each set of batteries."
— Team Cassius website on Robot The Bruce

Robot The Bruce in the arena

After the First Wars had ended, many of Robot The Bruce's internal components were later used in its successor, Chaos, for Series 2.

"I learnt a lot from doing the First Wars. Two things mainly, first one was reliability. We were very lucky with reliability. … Whereas lots of people were frantically trying to fix their robots, and I realised a good reliable robot is the way to go, you don't have as much work to do, a lot calmer going into fights, and the other is you need a good self-righting mechanism, and various bits of plastic to stop yourself resting on your side. … When the Second Wars came around, I thought about taking Robot The Bruce in again, but I was thinking about maybe I needed a weapon."
— George Francis on the Ultimate Warrior Collection - Chaos 2 DVD


The name Robot the Bruce is a pun on the historical Scottish leader, Robert the Bruce, combined with "robot".

The Team[]

Main article: Team Chaos
"...I was originally asked to help out Rex Garrod with Recyclopse. Shortly before the series, we decided to make another robot. We built Robot The Bruce, Rex and Simon built Robot the Bruce and I did the electronics for it, so we entered two robots."
— George Francis on the Ultimate Warrior Collection - Chaos 2 DVD

Robot The Bruce being worked on in the pits

Robot The Bruce was constructed by its Ipswich-based team captain George Francis of future Team Chaos fame, together with Team Cassius. They had worked together to build Recyclopse, and decided to build a separate robot and enter it separately. Rex Garrod and Simon West built the mechanics, whilst the electronics were handled by George Francis and Mick Cutter[1], with Mick Cutter filling the role of Robot the Bruce's second televised team member alongside George Francis. This teamwork meant that the robot was fully built in just four days[2]. George Francis and Mick Cutter went under the name of The Village Idiots in Series 1, with George Francis driving the machine.

Robot History[]

Series 1[]

Robot The Bruce debuted in Heat C of the First Wars, and first took part in the Gauntlet, where it needed to pass 4 metres in order to qualify at the expense of Plunderbird 1.

"...driven by a team, they call themselves "The Village Idiots", they're no idiots, they're very clever electrical engineers."
— Jonathan Pearce as Robot The Bruce runs the Gauntlet

Robot the Bruce forces its way through The Gauntlet

Robot the Bruce chose to go down the House Robot route, but found Shunt blocking its way. Robot The Bruce drove around Shunt, and Shunt tried pushing against it with his plough. This however, actually succeeded in helping Robot the Bruce down the course, and Robot the Bruce got away from Shunt, but then drove into Dead Metal. Dead Metal blocked its way, but then spun, exposing its side to Robot The Bruce. Robot The Bruce took advantage, pushing against the House Robot. Shunt came in behind Robot The Bruce and axed it, but this did no damage, and as Dead Metal retreated, Robot the Bruce reached the end zone. Robot the Bruce had completed the Gauntlet, and finished first on the leaderboard.

"Now, of all the driving I've think I've ever seen in here, that's just about the best!"
Jeremy Clarkson to George Francis after The Gauntlet

Robot The Bruce comfortably qualified for the Trial, which was a game of Football. For this event, Robot The Bruce added two side flaps to successfully control the ball.

Robot the Bruce in the football

Robot The Bruce just before scoring

Robot The Bruce was the first to reach the ball as the machined drove forwards, but knocked the ball aside as it did so, and Dreadnaut reversed into Robot The Bruce, blocking it from reaching the ball. Robot The Bruce reversed for another charge, but WYSIWYG drove in front of it, blocking it again. Eventually, Wedgehog tried a shot on goal, but Dead Metal knocked the ball away over Wedgehog, and Robot The Bruce was behind Wedgehog as the ball rolled over, so the ball was knocked across the arena. Wedgehog got to the ball, and knocked it towards the goal, but Robot The Bruce intercepted it. Robot The Bruce pushed the ball into the side fence, and as the ball bounced in front of the goal, Dead Metal carelessly spun, leaving an easy target for Robot The Bruce to push the ball in, scoring the first goal.

"...Robot The Bruce, with that sheer power, through the edge of the goal area, can he get the last touch? The keeper's beaten, go on, go on! It's there!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Robot The Bruce gets the ball and scores

This put Robot the Bruce through to the Arena stage. In the Semi-Final, Robot The Bruce was drawn against Cruella, with George Francis very confident about his chances.

"It's the box against the wedge, no weapons on board either."
— Jonathan Pearce

Robot The Bruce drives up onto Cruella

Cruella drives onto the grille

The two robots charged at each other, and Cruella got under Robot The Bruce with its wedge. Robot The Bruce reversed off, and tried to push, but drove up the wedge front. After reversing, Robot the Bruce tried to get at Cruella's sides and push, but Cruella started spinning. However, as it slowed, Robot The Bruce drove at the side, but struggled to push its opponent. Cruella reversed into Robot The Bruce, and Robot The Bruce pushed it towards a grille, but Cruella turned away. After a couple of times were Cruella got under Robot The Bruce but could not tip it over, Robot the Bruce reversed into Cruella, pushing it a little, and suddenly, after Cruella turned away from Robot the Bruce, it shot forwards and ran into the side wall, onto one of the grills. With Cruella left completely immobile, Robot the Bruce was through to the Heat Final.

Jeremy Clarkson: "I thought he'd got you there, I thought he was going to be able to tip you over."
George Francis: "Nearly, yeah. Wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be."
Jeremy Clarkson: "But how did you manage to get him to run away onto that grate?"
George Francis: "Er, pass!"
— Post-battle interview

Drawn against Wedgehog in the Heat Final, Robot The Bruce weighed 60kg more than its opponent, with George Francis still reasonably confident, albeit less so than in the previous round.

Philippa Forrester: "Are you nervous at all?"
George Francis: "A little bit. I didn't do too well against the last wedge one, it took a little bit of doing, so I'm not sure, we'll see."
— Team Chaos learns from over-confidence

Wedgehog and Robot the Bruce circle each other

As the two robots charged at each other, Wedgehog swerved to get at Robot The Bruce's side. However, it could not get underneath, as Robot The Bruce turned against it. The two spun together, then Robot The Bruce reversed. Wedgehog followed, and Robot The Bruce got at its side, and with one long push, rammed it onto a grille.

"Sheer brute force, against the toothpick! (laughs) It could all be over very, very quickly..."
— Jonathan Pearce as Wedgehog is pushed onto a grille

Robot The Bruce rams Wedgehog onto the grille

This left Wedgehog immobile and the House Robots attacked Wedgehog. Robot The Bruce took on Matilda, quickly driving away when she attacked with her chainsaw. Robot The Bruce then rammed Wedgehog, and as Sergeant Bash cut into Wedgehog with his saw, Shunt left the beaten competitor and started pushing Robot The Bruce. Cease was called, and Robot The Bruce was through to the Grand Final.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Were you not even slightly worried about that very, very lethal toothpick?"
George Francis: "No, I was more worried about the chainsaw on the back of Matilda."
Jeremy Clarkson: "Well, everyone's worried about the chainsaw. I can't wait to see the damage that's been inflicted down there, I can't wait to see you at the end of the series for our Grand Final"
— Post-battle interview

In the Grand Final, Robot The Bruce was drawn against five fellow heat winners at once; Bodyhammer, Cunning Plan, Roadblock and T.R.A.C.I.E., as well as Recyclopse, built by Rex Garrod who had collaborated with George Francis and Mick Cutter to build Robot The Bruce.

Robot The Bruce (centre) chases Bodyhammer

Recyclopse on top of Robot The Bruce

Robot the Bruce initially kept its distance from the other competitors. Eventually, it rammed into the side of Roadblock, pushing it against Bodyhammer. Robot The Bruce reversed for another charge, and Roadblock slipped away, so Robot The Bruce charged into T.R.A.C.I.E. without too great of an effect. T.R.A.C.I.E. turned away, and Robot The Bruce drove up the arena, pushing past Recyclopse. Robot The Bruce stayed away from the others as T.R.A.C.I.E. drove on top of Cunning Plan, immobilising them both, then as Roadblock chased Recyclopse, Robot The Bruce rammed into Recyclopse, allowing Roadblock to get underneath Rex Garrod's machine. Robot The Bruce then charged at Bodyhammer, which tried keeping away from Robot The Bruce, but drove into Recyclopse, which was still being pushed by Roadblock. As Bodyhammer pushed past, Recyclopse was lifted up its side, and then fell onto Robot The Bruce, which was still chasing Bodyhammer. Robot The Bruce reversed, and Recyclopse fell back onto the wedge of Roadblock. Robot The Bruce charged at Roadblock, but missed, then reversed into Bodyhammer. Roadblock continued pushing Recyclopse until its chain fell off, leaving it immobile.

Robot The Bruce drives onto Roadblock

Robot The Bruce on its side

Roadblock tried to get under Bodyhammer, but Bodyhammer turned itself off the front, so Roadblock turned its attentions on Robot The Bruce. At this stage, Robot The Bruce charged at Roadblock, but this proved to be a fatal mistake, as it drove up the wedge, and fell off the side, with Roadblock proving able to tip Robot The Bruce onto its side.

"...Roadblock, putting out Robot The Bruce after this suicidal charge."
— Jonathan Pearce whilst reviewing the highlights

Immobilised, Robot the Bruce was eliminated, the last to fall before the Judges' decision, won by Roadblock over Bodyhammer.


Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Grand Final
Heat C, Gauntlet Completed (1st) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Football) Scored 1st Goal (1st) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Cruella Won
Heat C, Final vs. Wedgehog Won
Grand Final vs. Bodyhammer, Cunning Plan, Recyclopse, Roadblock, T.R.A.C.I.E. Lost


  • Wins: 2
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Robot The Bruce's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[]

Mick Cutter and George Francis with Robot The Bruce

Main Series Robot The Bruce Series Record
The First Wars Grand Final
The Second Wars Entered with Chaos
The Third Wars Entered with Chaos 2
The Fourth Wars Entered with Chaos 2
The Fifth Wars Entered with Chaos 2
The Sixth Wars Entered with Chaos 2
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered with Chaos 2
Series 2 Entered with Chaos 2


Stats board for Robot The Bruce (translated as "Hollow Man") in the Mandarin dub aired by MUCH TV

  • Robot the Bruce is the only UK heavyweight robot without a weapon to reach a Grand Final, or indeed, win a main series battle. The Dutch heavyweight Tyke (competing in the German championship), and UK featherweight Cunning Plan were the only other weaponless robots to reach a Grand Final.
  • Robot the Bruce is one of six robots to have come first in both The Gauntlet and The Trial in one heat. The other robots in this category are All Torque, Corporal Punishment, Demolition Demon, Nemesis and Razer, and is the only one of these robots to go on to win the heat.
  • Robot the Bruce is one of twenty-three robots to have completed The Gauntlet.
  • Robot the Bruce was the first machine named after a real life individual.
  • Midway through the Grand Final fight, Jonathan Pearce mistakenly referred to Robot the Bruce as "Robert the Bruce".
  • In the Mandarin Chinese dub of Series 1 aired by Taiwanese station MUCH TV, Robot The Bruce's name was translated as 透明人 (Tòumíng rén), roughly meaning Transparent Man, in a likely allusion to its chassis construction and transparent armour.