- "Roboteers, stand by. 3... 2... 1... activate!"
- — McDonald's most repeated phrases
Stuart McDonald was a British television director, specialising in game shows, who worked on the original series of Robot Wars as the director and as the famous Robot Wars Announcer.
During filming of the original series, McDonald had a number of primary roles as director, two of which were prominently featured in the main show as well as the behind-the-scenes episode The Making of Robot Wars. Firstly, he was responsible for issuing instructions to cameramen and other personnel to ensure that they could obtain the ideal footage for use in the finished episodes. Secondly, he performed various announcements in the arena advising on health and safety procedures, the start of battles as well as building up the audience's anticipation for competitions and other televised segments.
- "Confirmation please, that the arena is clear and safe for combat... the arena is clear. Shots of the roboteers please on "2"... stand by! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Robot Wars!"
- — Various instructions and announcements made by Stuart McDonald during The Making of Robot Wars
It was the aforementioned announcements (spoken with a deep voice) which proved to be McDonald's best-known contributions. Among those included introductions for the hosts - initially humourous in tone, but later replaced with a standard "Master of Mayhem" announcement - as well as competitor robots as they entered the arena. McDonald was also responsible for calling the start and end of battles with the famous "Roboteers, stand by", "3-2-1 Activate" and "Cease" announcements; these phrases would also appear in merchandise as well as international versions and the rebooted series. An additional announcement, "Stop and deactivate robots", was also made in Series 1 and some earlier episodes of Series 2.
McDonald's announcements were also heard in selected international versions such as Dutch Robot Wars and German Robot Wars, though these were dubbed over with alternative announcements for the US versions Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors and Nickelodeon Robot Wars respectively. However, his Series 5-7 and Extreme announcements continued to be used during filming and were still audible in interviews held for the latter series.
McDonald had no involvement with the rebooted series, his position as director being filled by Nikki Parsons (Series 8), Tim van Someren (Series 9) and Stephen Stewart (Series 10) respectively. The new voice of the 'Robot Wars announcer' took the form of an electronic filtered voice from an uncredited artist.
Career outside of Robot Wars
Stuart McDonald was considered one of the foremost television broadcasters in Britain during his career, especially in the field of 3D broadcasting, of which he is a pioneer. He has worked on many successful TV shows including Top of the Pops, Gladiators, Are you Smarter than a Ten Year Old?, Parkinson, Pointless, The Chase and The Apprentice: You're Fired, as well as the annual BBC Children in Need. Along the way he has met the likes of George Michael and Sir Paul McCartney, and worked for the BBC, ITV, Sky and Fox, as well as earning membership in BAFTA and Directors UK.
Stuart was involved in a car crash and sadly passed away in the afternoon on 12th April 2021.
- McDonald sometimes, humorously, had trouble pronouncing the names of robots, notably Dantomkia and Tsunami, the former he pronounced many different ways.
- McDonald also directed the hit game show Gladiators, of which Robot Wars is considered to be the robot equivalent. The Gladiators from the show were the inspiration behind the House Robots.
- Stuart McDonald also directed the show Top of the Pops, which followed Robot Wars in its traditional Friday night slot.