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Team Big Cheese was a relatively successful and recognised team from Langport, Somerset, that competed in Series 2-5 of Robot Wars and the first series of Robot Wars Extreme.

The TeamEdit

Roger PlantEdit

RogerPlantMule

Roger Plant, controlling The Mule independently in Series 2

The team was founded by Somerset-based Roger Plant, who served as captain and initially entered Series 2 on his own. Plant built all of the robots himself, with an extensive background in engineering, having served as an R & D "wizard" in high level military and oil industries. Among the projects Plant worked on in his career were deep-sea submarines and bomb disposal drones, including piloting the submarines for more than 4000 hours in his career. Plant's engineering skills allowed him to create three of the most powerful robots relative for each series, and he was rewarded with a Best Engineered Award for The Mule and another nomination for The Big Cheese.

Plant entered his first robot The Mule alone, one of the few sole roboteers along with Adam Clark and Peter Gibson. He later captained the Big Cheese team when joined by his friends, and did nearly all of the speaking on the show. An avid animal lover, Plant used cats as the mascot for The Big Cheese and Wheely Big Cheese.

Plant, like other roboteers George Francis and Kim Davies, enjoyed attacking House Robots early on, breaking Sgt. Bash in Series 3 and seeking to overturn both Sir Killalot in Series 4 and Matilda in Extreme 1. Over time, however, Plant grew to dislike the House Robots for what he perceived as causing unnecessary damage to add to the spectacle. Plant compared the House Robots to a car rally with bulldozers on the course for extra entertainment for the viewers.

Themule

The Mule with Roger Plant and the Best Engineered award

"I am an engineer, a creator of useful things and I hate gratuitous destruction, the producer was the opposite of that and I could never agree with his ideas."
— Roger Plant[1]

As his career progressed, Plant became more and more disillusioned with the show's producers, who were prioritising "smashing things up" over the sport of robot combat. Aside from the House Robots causing damage, he became angry at the way the show handled money. He was unhappy with the minimal proceeds that roboteers made from merchandising, the excessive damage that they caused to competitor robots, and that the show did not give rebates to high-level roboteers to allow them to keep building. According to Plant, the producers were unhappy with the instant KO of Axe-Awe because it was too quick; this fight was Plant's favourite battle of his own and something he had been planning for before Series 5.

"I was spending £5K + each year of my own money and they paid out nothing in return, they just smashed up our robots. It was a no win situation."
— Roger Plant[2]

After Series 5, Plant gave up on the show and retired from robot combat. He sold all of his robots and has expressed no desire to return to the sport.

John McGuigan, Paul Otten and Murray WharfEdit

"My partners in crime for this outrageous venture."
— Roger Plant on his teammates in Series 3
TeamBigCheeseS3

Team Big Cheese with The Big Cheese

Roger Plant was joined by three of his friends throughout Robot Wars.

John McGuigan was a high-level IT engineer on the team for all of Big Cheese and Wheely Big Cheese's appearances.

Paul Otten was a fibreglass expert moulder who joined the team in Series 3 and departed after Series 4. In Series 4, sparks from cutting titanium caused Otten's shirt to catch fire, which he told Julia Reed about in the pits. He and Plant were seen hastily repairing Wheely Big Cheese in the Heat Final, while McGuigan, Julia Reed and Derek Foxwell watched.

Murray Wharf, a blacksmith, joined the team in Otten's place and participated in Extreme 1 and Series 5. His only speaking role on the show was to declare that the team was "wheely" confident in beating Diotoir during the All-Stars.

RobotsEdit

  • The Mule (Series 2)
  • The Big Cheese (Series 3)
  • Wheely Big Cheese (Series 4)
  • Wheely Big Cheese (Series 5/Extreme 1)
Name Weight Class Series
The Mule Heavyweight Series 2
The Big Cheese Heavyweight Series 3
Wheely Big Cheese Heavyweight Series 4-5, Extreme 1

Wins/LossesEdit

  • Wins: 10
  • Losses: 8

Series RecordEdit

  • Wheely Big Cheese and The Mule on display at Welsh ComicCon, 2014.
  • Wheely Big Cheese and Glitterbomb at Wales Comic Con, 2016.
Main Series Team Big Cheese Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Heat Final with The Mule
The Third Wars Heat Final with The Big Cheese
The Fourth Wars Semi-Final, Round 1 with Wheely Big Cheese
The Fifth Wars Semi-Final, Round 1 with Wheely Big Cheese
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
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 Wheely Big Cheese
Series 2 Did not enter

Outside Robot WarsEdit

WBC Now

The Series 4 model of Wheely Big Cheese after being sold to Team Hydra

After initially attending several live events with Wheely Big Cheese, Roger Plant sold all of the team's machines shortly after Robot Wars finished its initial run. The Series 5 model of Wheely Big Cheese was bought by Team Xbotz, while the Series 4 model, after having a series of new owners, was eventually bought by Team Hydra in September 2008. Team Hydra has since been in the process of rebuilding the Series 4 Wheely Big Cheese into fighting condition. As of 2016, the Series 5 Wheely Big Cheese continues to appear at events as a static display, notably Wales Comic Con.

Thundercheese

The Big Cheese and Small Cheese in 2013

Meanwhile, The Mule was sold on eBay to a currently unknown buyer, as was The Big Cheese. The latter was sold for £500, but has since been sold to Joseph Prophet, again across eBay, for only £50. Prophet has since rebuilt The Big Cheese, and has formed Team ThunderCheese, which took The Big Cheese to Robot Wars live events as a display model. Prophet built a new featherweight called Small Cheese, which also competed at those live events. The Mule, meanwhile, continues to appear at events as a static exhibit, its most recent appearance being at the 2014 Wales Comic Con, where it was displayed alongside Wheely Big Cheese.

HonoursEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. Private correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf
  2. Private correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf

TriviaEdit

  • Team Big Cheese are one of three competitors (along with Killertron and Atomic) to lose to the eventual UK Champion in the Heat Final of one series and go on to reach the Semi-Finals in a subsequent series. This happened with The Big Cheese's loss to Chaos 2 in Series 3 and Wheely Big Cheese's subsequent runs to the Semi-Finals of Series 4-5.
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