The Series 5-7 Robot Wars Set was the fifth and final incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena, designed by Julian Fullalove who had designed the previous arena. Extreme 1, the first series to use this set as well as Series 5, Extreme Warriors Season 1 and Dutch Series 1 were filmed at Elstree Studios. Extreme Warriors Season 2 and Nickelodeon Robot Wars were filmed at Shepperton Studios. All subsequent series were filmed at RAF Newton. This arena was similar to the one used in Series 4, but differed in many ways.
As with the previous arena, the set was a large plywood square surrounded by a wall made from bulletproof glass, which had been heightened from the previous year. The exterior of the arena remained largely the same, save from the balcony, which was replaced by a large central compartment which linked the two booths. The large Robot Wars logo, almost the only surviving remnant of the original arena, was also replaced by a large sliding door with the Robot Wars logo painted onto it. This door was used as an entrance for the House Robots, the two doors on either side were used as competitor entrances.
The final incarnation of the arena featured few changes to the hazards, but nevertheless there were noticeable differences from the Series 4 incarnation by the time the show came to an end.
The fire hazards were cut down for this series, the flamethrowers and flame jets were removed, and even the flame pit was disabled for the recording of Nickelodeon Robot Wars. Overall the flame hazards provided only cosmetic value, but some robots, notably The Spider did break down by straying over the flame pit
The Pit of Oblivion remained very much the centerpiece of the arena, painted yellow and black and lined with red tape. Unlike in previous wars, competitors could activate the pit by pressing the pit release tyre, which was temporarily replaced by a bumper in the Sixth Wars and the second series of Extreme. After this, the pit release button was reverted to a tyre for the Seventh Wars. When a robot fell into the pit, a smoke plume would fire.
The Corner Patrol Zones remained in the arena corners, although from Extreme 1 onwards, only two House Robots patrolled the arena. This meant that both House Robots could attack if a robot strayed into a CPZ.
As the series progressed, the floor flipper got gradually more and more powerful, almost to the point where it could throw heavyweights out of the arena, and although it was never done, there were several occasions when it was close. Cosmetically, the flipper remained almost identical from Series 4.
Two new hazards were introduced, the first being the Drop Zone. Placed next to the pit release button, the floor below the drop zone was marked a large black panel with a yellow cross. The drop zone was intended for Series 5, but wasn't operating by the time of filming, and instead first appeared functioning in Series 6. In Series 6, defeated robots would be placed on this panel, and something would be dropped from above onto the robot. The manner of the object varied from serious items, such as a washing machine, to more comical items, such as an assortment of balls, from ping pong to bowling. The drop zone was originally going to be push-button activated like the pit, but the button was not incorporated in the end.
The other new hazard was the Disc of Doom. This was a spinning hazard first seen in Series 6 that was activated by a button that activate a spinning panel into the floor. This idea was first used in the American TV show BattleBots, with a hazard called the Spinners. The idea was that the robot on the panel would be flung away, interfering with the controls. In practice, the disc rarely was effective, and was removed at the end of Extreme 2.
The Arena perimeter received minor tweaks and cosmetic upgrades after Series 4, for example the changing of the backdrop to give off the impression of an abandoned factory, instead of a military submarine.
The balcony area was closed off, save for a small pocket from which Craig Charles would talk to the camera. From this area, competitors would enter and exit their control booths, and leave to the bullpens where robots were loaded, ready for combat. From the pod, Craig Charles would interview competitors post battle, this solved the space issue noticeable in Series 4. For Series 6, the booths were fitted with TV screens for the roboteers to get another view of the battle.
Safety continued to be an important part of Robot Wars, and the design of the arena. The crowd were protected by the arena wall, flip out zone, plexiglass case and crowd control barrier. Noticeably, the arena wall was damaged a number of times during Series 7, specifically by the falling Hydra and by Typhoon 2. This posed a health and safety risk that caused all three battles to be stopped.
Changes from the Previous Series
- The balcony was replaced by a roofed pod.
- The static spikes on the walls were removed.
- The power of the flipper was improved.
- Only 2 house robots were used per battle.
- The Pit Release tyre was introduced.
- The Drop Zone was introduced.
- The Disc of Doom was introduced in Series 6, but removed after Extreme 2.