"Man may have tempered the spectre of nuclear evil. But tonight I have the unenviable task of reporting that warfare has been taken out of man's hands. We're now at the mercy of machines, and a battle, the likes of which we've never seen before, is about to begin. Outside the studio, women have lashed themselves to the railings. Britain is about to witness the birth...of Robot Wars, which is all about robots...fighting."
Jeremy Clarkson's introduction

Heat A of Robot Wars: The First Wars was the first of six heats which determined the Grand Finalists of Robot Wars: The First Wars. The episode featuring Heat A was originally broadcast on February 20, 1998 on BBC Two. This heat was the pilot of Robot Wars.

As such, this episode was the first appearance of Jeremy Clarkson and Philippa Forrester as hosts, Jonathan Pearce as commentator and judges Noel Sharkey, Eric Dickinson and Adam Harper.

The original four House Robots also made their début, with Shunt, Matilda, Sergeant Bash and Dead Metal introduced at the start of the episode respectively.

Competing robotsEdit

Weight 116.9kg
Dimensions 1.20m x 0.76m x 0.55m
Speed 7mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 60mm
Power 24V wheelchair motors
Weapons Pneumatic scoop
From: Hagley Roman Catholic High School
Team Members: Amy Sproat, Chris Sherwood & Daniel Parry
Weight 45kg
Dimensions 1.40m x 0.46m x 0.25m
Speed 15mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 3mm
Power 2 x 12V wheelchair motors
Weapons None
From: Coventry
Team Members: Matthew Dickinson
Killertron in Series 1
Weight 72.2kg
Dimensions 1.40m x 0.70m x 0.60m
Speed 4mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 10mm
Power 2 x 24V wheelchair motors
Weapons Pickaxe & mace
From: Maidstone
Team Members: Richard Broad, Abdul Degia & Ian Degia
Nemesis series1
Weight 76.8kg
Dimensions 1.30m x 1.25m x 0.55m
Speed 6mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 50mm
Power 24V batteries
Weapons Pneumatic spike
From: Dublin, Ireland
Team Members: Peter Redmond, William Murphy & Joe Gavin
Weight 82.5kg
Dimensions 1.45m x 1.10m x 0.40m
Speed 5mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 10mm
Power 24V electric motors
Weapons Circular saw
From: Bodmin Community College
Team Members: Hender Blewitt, Chris Kinsey & Peter Kinsey
Weight 82.7kg
Dimensions 0.92m x 0.60m x 0.33m
Speed 7mph
Turning Circle 0.5m
Ground Clearance 10mm
Power 2 x 12V Sinclair C5 motors
Weapons Cutting blade & forklifts
From: Nottingham
Team Members: Robin Woodhead, Brian Carrington & Peter Fairbrother



"For the first time, in the history of Robot Wars, the Gauntlet is run."
Jonathan Pearce

Roadblock completes the course

Roadblock tentatively moved out of the turntable and elected to go down the left route, past Sergeant Bash. Roadblock turned around the spike block, nipping through a gap between Matilda and Dead Metal. Roadblock moved past the House Robots and clattered through the pipes to complete the course.


Barry matilda

Matilda cuts the top of Barry

Barry moved quickly out of the turntable, aiming for the middle ramp. However, it missed and got caught on the grate beside it. Sergeant Bash flicked flames towards the stranded robot as it tried to reverse away. Barry tried to go for the ramp again but the low ground clearance of the scoop saw it get wedged.

"It's stuck"
— Amy Sproat as Barry's wheels are off the ground

Matilda backed in and brought the chainsaw down on Barry's exposed top, cutting into the springs and tyres. When the run ended, Barry had completed 2.93m.


Shogun beached

Shogun falls off the ramp

Shogun flew out of the turntable and straight over the first ramp. Shogun edged towards the second ramp and started climbing the second, but misjudged the width and fell off the side. Matilda moved in to the side and tried to flip Shogun back in place, but time was up and Shogun completed 10.71m.



Nemesis evades Matilda at the end

Nemesis moved gingerly off the turntable, choosing a route before driving over the middle ramp. Nemesis moved carefully over the first ramp, and did the same over the second ramp, pausing at the end as Matilda blocked the way into the end zone. Nemesis turned to the right and drove around Matilda, taking a hit from the swinging mace, but crossed the line to complete the course.



Matilda squeezes Grunt into the wall

Grunt whizzed out of the turntable straight down the left route, passing Sergeant Bash, but getting wedge under Dead Metal. The house robot pushed Grunt back, but it escaped and went past, only to be trapped against the side wall by Matilda. Matilda let off the pressure momentarily, but it was enough for Grunt to smash through the pipes and reach the end zone.



Killertron gets stuck next to the springs

"Drivers Abdul and Richard, with that sort of weaponry and paint job, I'd go and see a psychiatrist if I was you"
Jonathan Pearce

Killertron drove up the first ramp slowly, but were spun around as the ramp swung down. Killertron reversed off into Dead Metal and were pushed into the drills. Killertron moved forwards, but only got one side on the ramp, and beached itself on the edge. Killertron fired the axe and wiggled forwards, eventually shaking itself free with the axe by the springs. However, Killertron didn't get a chance to move after then and completed 11.02m.


Rank Robot Distance
Nemesis Completed
Grunt Completed
Roadblock Completed
Killertron 11.02m
Shogun 10.71m
Barry 2.93m

Trial (Sumo)Edit



Shunt pushes Shogun off the ring

Shogun bounced off the tip of Shunt's plough and spun around, oriented parallel with the side of the plough. Shunt pushed back and turned in a circle, but slowly as Shogun skidded sideways. Shunt started moving Shogun towards the edge, so Shogun tried to drive away, but drove off the edge anyway, defeated in 21.51s.



Killertron stays in the middle of the ring

Killertron moved in and swung the pickaxe down on Shunt twice as the House Robot tried to push. Killertron bounced around, but stayed on the inside of the ring. Shunt turned to use the front scoop, but Killertron stayed by the side of the House Robot where it couldn't push. Shunt started to edge Killertron towards the tyres, but Killertron drove away and stayed in the centre of the ring. Killertron were pushed near the edge again, but steered the robot so it was pushed clear. Killertron kept up the stalemate until 60 seconds ended.


Roadblock Shunt

Roadblock pushes Shunt off, but also falls

Roadblock drove over the scoop of Shunt, but weren't pushed. Both robots skirted around each other, neither aligning themselves to push the other. Shunt reversed onto Roadblock's wedge and lifted off the ground, allowing Roadblock to push Shunt off the ring, although it followed the House Robot straight off. Although Roadblock defeated Shunt, by virtue of falling off too, they were ruled to have only survived, and were classified below Killertron.


Nemesis shunt

Shunt topples off the side of the ring

Nemesis tried to push Shunt, but the rear scoop deflected the round robot away near the edge. Nemesis managed to escape and worked its way back into the ring. Nemesis stayed in the middle, and as Shunt moved behind, Nemesis reversed straight in and pushed Shunt off, this time staying on the ring.


Grunt sumo

Grunt turns off the side of the ring

Grunt drove at Shunt but turned away from contact, driving away from the front of Shunt, but ended up driving off the ring anyway in just 4.15 seconds. In truth, this act was an intentional loss from the driver Matthew Dickinson, as Grunt was a stock robot provided by the producers, which was not permitted to pass the Trial round of the competition - thus, Grunt was eliminated at this stage.


Rank Robot Result
Nemesis Victorious
Killertron Survived
Roadblock Survived
Shogun 21.51s
Grunt 4.15s


"[Adam Harper] did 150 miles per hour in a Sinclair C5. The man is certifiable. But he is not as certifiable as our opponents who will now indulge in the first semi-final."
— Jeremy Clarkson


Nemesis vs RoadblockEdit

Roadblock vs Nemesis

Roadblock pushes Nemesis into Dead Metal

Nemesis vs roadbloack official

Nemesis rams into the side Roadblock

The robots approached each other, making contact but both turned away. Roadblock reversed in, hitting Nemesis with the saw, cutting away some of the red and black fur, and scratching the armour. Nemesis spun around, pierced through Roadblock's side plate with the pneumatic spike, then taking more damage, before Roadblock eventually moved away after pushing Nemesis into Dead Metal.

Roadblock vs nemesis

Roadblock shreds Nemesis' fur

Roadblock vs nemesis on fire

Nemesis burns as it attacks Matilda

Roadblock drove into Matilda's CPZ and were caught on the spikes which raised up. Matilda used the chainsaw on Roadblock, but didn't cause any damage. Roadblock wedged under Nemesis and pushed them into the arena wall. Matilda helped Roadblock under even more as Sergeant Bash moved in with the flamethrower, setting Nemesis' fur on fire. Matilda cut an eye of Nemesis off with the chainsaw as Cease was called.

"The Nemesis boys all want to go to space and they're in the air! They're in the air! And they're on fire! Get the fire brigade! Eye, eye, you're in trouble!"
— Jonathan Pearce's excitement as the fur ignites for the very first time and Matilda cuts into Nemesis' eyes
"Its gone from an armchair to a three-piece suite."
— Hender Blewitt

As revealed on Robot Wars: The First Great War, Nemesis was hobbled in the battle after burning out its speed controllers in the Sumo, which left the robot unable to reverse.

Winner: Roadblock

Killertron vs ShogunEdit

Shogun vs killertron

Shogun rams Killertron


Killertron smashes Shogun into submission

Shogun avoided Killertron at the start, driving to the edge of the arena, but eventually turned and drove at Killertron. Killertron held it in place and fired the axe, but missed as Shogun reversed away. Killertron started spinning, hitting Shogun with the axe sideways. Shogun backed itself onto the grille by the side, allowing Killertron to pincer it in and fire the axe a few times, landing a few hits, and managing to break through Shogun's roof.

"Doesn't seem to be able to dodge Killertron, who seems to be having something of a fit...oh, Shogun's stuck! On the grille! And Killertron comes in, for the kill! Bash! And again!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Sergeant Bash Killertron

Sergeant Bash's disc goes flying

Shogun grill

Shogun trapped on the grill as Killertron continues to axe it

Sergeant Bash moved in and attacked Killertron with the saw, which shattered.

"I enjoyed that. You put that pickaxe, which I like a lot incidentally, into his skin!"
— Jeremy Clarkson

Winner: Killertron


Killertron vs RoadblockEdit

Roadblock vs Killertron

Killertron strikes Roadblock

Killertron vs Roadblock

Roadblock gets underneath Killertron

Killertron fired the axe too early at Roadblock, but landed the second hit on top of the wedge. Roadblock managed to get under the side of Killertron, but it drove off. However, Roadblock turned and pushed Killertron again, this time into the CPZ of Sergeant Bash, as it took another blow from the pickaxe. Killertron escaped, charged at Roadblock head-on, but drove straight up Roadblock's wedge.

Killertron vs roadblock s1

Killertron drives up Roadblock and is becomes stuck


Roadblock tips Killertron over

"It's piggy-back time!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Killertron stayed on top of Roadblock whilst it was carried around in circles until Dead Metal knocked Roadblock. Killertron slipped off and was pushed more by Roadblock until the wedge and good steering managed to turn Killertron over. Unable to right itself, Roadblock were declared winners.

Heat Winner: Roadblock


Derek falls

Derek Foxwell falls over the Arena side wall trying to extinguish Nemesis

  • The début of Nemesis, from the Republic of Ireland, signified the first competitor from outside the United Kingdom to compete in Robot Wars.
  • Roadblock, Killertron and Shogun were the first robots on the show to feature interchangeable weapons.
  • Roadblock was the first robot to complete the Gauntlet.
  • Nemesis was the first robot to defeat Shunt in the Sumo (Roadblock also did this, but fell off itself afterwards, so was deemed to have survived rather than won).
  • There was a particular controversy over the actions of stock robot Grunt. Under the control of an experienced driver, it completed the Gauntlet with ease. This meant that the legitimate competitor Barry was eliminated at the Gauntlet stage. Grunt proceeded to dive off the podium in the Sumo. Team Power lamented on their website, because they felt that Barry would have been perfect for the Sumo.
  • At the end of the Arena Semi-Final fight between Roadblock and Nemesis, Derek Foxwell tripped over the arena wall, landing a short distance from Nemesis and Matilda who had been caught on a grille. This incident was cut from the broadcast version, but shown in a compilation of highlights and bloopers from Series 1 in Robot Wars: The First Great War.
  • According to Peter Redmond, the Nemesis Sumo was filmed before the Roadblock one, meaning that Nemesis was in fact the first robot to defeat a House Robot.[1]


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