Robot Wars Wiki

"It's great, it's stuff that was going to go to the tip, and ultimately, after enough fights, it will wind up in the tip. It's just had another life - another lease on life in the meantime."
— John Frizell

Team Terror Turtle was a team that competed in Robot Wars. They fought in Series 7, 8 and 10, as well as Extreme 2. They competed with the heavyweight Terror Turtle, the heavyweight clusterbot The Kegs, and the Middleweight Steel Sandwich.

Team Terror Turtle had a very low success rate, with only a single victory earned in their own right during the Middleweight Championship, versus eight losses and one win by default in the heavyweight division. The team prioritised recycling and entertainment over the competency of their robots - both of their heavyweights were notably made of recycled materials.


"Turtles are predators too."
— Team motto in Series 7

Frizell models the T-shirt logo

Team Terror Turtle changed uniforms in almost every appearance, and sometimes seemed not to be sticking with any particular theme. In the original series, John Frizell and his sons wore plain white polo shirts with the Terror Turtle logo on them.

In Series 8, the team wore dark green, seemingly in keeping with the "green" message of the team. In Series 10, the team wore black polo shirts with a logo for The Kegs.

The team had a variety of mottos, such as "turtle power" and "turtles are predators too". These were intended as humorous, but the team's true mantra was more centred on environmental responsibility.

The Team[]

John Frizell[]

"Will hopefully create terror in our enemies, or at least terror in ourselves if it doesn't work."
— John Frizell

John Frizell

John Frizell was the captain of Team Terror Turtle and appeared in every appearance of the robot. He also drove Terror Turtle, half of The Kegs, and Steel Sandwich. In Robot Wars: World Series, Frizell was the sole team member operating Terror Turtle.

John Frizell admires a beer keg

Frizell was a member of Greenpeace from 1976 to mid 2010's, and served as director during the 1980's for a period of six years. During his time, he chased whalers around the ocean and travelled to the Antarctic on missions he planned; he later described these as "like Robot Wars, but different". Frizell was a passionate environmentalist, conservationist and animal rights activist (especially marine life, including whales, seals and - unsurprisingly - turtles). He advocated robot combat as an alternative form of violence and also a substitute for animal cruelty.

Dara Ó Briain: "It's the peace bit I wonder about this."
John Frizell: "Well if everyone worked out their wars by fighting robots, there'd be a hell of a lot less people killed, and certainly no animals and definitely no whales or seals."
— Before the Series 10 melee

The team in a beer yard

Frizell hailed from Canada and spoke with his native Canadian accent, despite living in the UK for many years. Due to his heritage, his team represented Canada in three different international tournaments.

Frizell with Terror Turtle in Series 10

Frizell was very enthusiastic about Robot Wars, and especially enthusiastic about the team being "organic" and helping out wherever needed. He was especially pleased when Jonathan Swan came up with a wielded wedge front for The Kegs after its destruction by Tauron. This also extended to other roboteers, as Frizell was one of the roboteers to jump in and help Chompalot recover in Series 8 for its fight with Gabriel.

Jacob JJ Frizell and Zacky Frizell[]

Team Terror Turtle with Steel Sandwich in Extreme 2

Team Terror Turtle with Terror Turtle in Series 7

John Frizell's two sons joined him throughout the original run of Robot Wars. Jacob was on the team in Extreme 2 and Series 7, on both Terror Turtle and Steel Sandwich's appearances. He was eight at the time of Series 7. Following Terror Turtle's defeat at the hands of Roobarb and Mute, he collected a shard of robot as a memento; seeing this, Philippa Forrester gifted him a Matilda horn.

Zacky Frizell also joined the team in Series 7. He was six years old.

Both boys spoke with English accents, unlike their father.

Jonathan Swan and JME Anderson[]

"Jonathan and JME are both very mechanically adept, as you would expect for jewellers."
— John Frizell

Team Terror Turtle with The Kegs

Swan finishes helping Chompalot

Swan and Anderson in the jewellers

Jonathan Swan and JME Anderson (pronounced Jamie) were jewellers who joined Frizell during the rebooted Robot Wars. Both owned their own jewellery businesses (Anderson had been Swan's apprentice in the past) and had significant technological skill.

Swan was an energetic team member, by far the most outgoing of the team, jumping and waving on the way into the arena. He drove The Hatchling in Series 8 and gave the post-battle debrief where he glowingly praised Eruption and Storm 2. He also joined John Frizell in the pits to assist with the repairs of Chompalot. He was seen tightening Debs Cook's lucky nut onto Chompalot's jaw and later gave Simon Cook a positive smile when it became apparent that Chompalot was going to make it into the arena. In Series 10, he found and welded the wedge onto The Kegs, much to Frizell's delight.

Anderson drove half of The Kegs in Series 10, the half that managed to retain its spinner in both fights. Swan and Anderson did not appear in Robot Wars: World Series despite John Frizell competing with Terror Turtle.

Charles Hoile[]

Team Terror Turtle enter the arena in Series 8

Charles Hoile was a student of Team Big Brother captain Ian Watts. An honorary member of that team, he assisted in the build of Or Te and was invited by Ian Watts to appear on the show. Though there was no room for him on the televised team, while helping with the construction of Ian Watts' machines he met John Frizell, who invited him to join his televised team. Hoile flew to Series 8's filming with Sam Watts and remained there after Or Te had finished and gone home, joining the rest of the Terror Turtle team when they arrived.

Hoile would go on to apply for Series 9 with an original design, but did not qualify[1].


Name Weight Class Series
Terror Turtle Heavyweight Series 7-8, 10, Extreme 2
Steel Sandwich Middleweight Series 7, Extreme 2
The Kegs Heavyweight Series 10


  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 11

NOTE: One of Terror Turtle's losses was forfeited by the initial winners due to a rule breakage, awarding it the points of a victory

Series Record[]

Main Series Team Terror Turtle Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify with Terror Turtle
The Sixth Wars Failed to qualify with Terror Turtle
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1 with Terror Turtle
Middleweight Championship with Steel Sandwich
Series 8 Heat, Round 1 with Terror Turtle
Series 9 Not selected with Terror Turtle
Series 10 Heat, Round 1 with The Kegs
World Series with Terror Turtle
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Entered with Terror Turtle and Steel Sandwich

Outside Robot Wars[]

The team also entered Techno Games, entering a weaponless Terror Turtle as Terry Turtle, competing in the Football tournament in the 2002 series with Bugs Buggy.

John Frizell continued to compete in the Roaming Robots circuit with a featherweight named Surprise. He also competed with a variety of robots at RoboGames in America, notably winning the gold medal in the 2009 and 2010 Autonomous Beetleweight competitions with his robots Otto and Otto 2. Other robots built by John Frizell include:

  • Chopper - A 1lb autonomous beetleweight with an overhead bar spinner.
  • Boudicca - An invertible beetleweight pushing robot, driven by two wheels.
  • Car-Car - An invertible wedge-shaped beetleweight.
  • Spider - An autonomous 1lb robot with a flat scoop.
  • The Tick - A robot very similar to Spider in the same weight class, but with a refined design.
  • The Turtle - A photovore named after the team's signature heavyweight.
  • Tracks - A line-following robot.

A Hobbyweight version of Terror Turtle was built by Team Terror Turtle for Robogames 2007 under the same name, made of wood with a small lifting plate at the front. Unfortunately it performed poorly at the event going 0-2 after facing experienced and successful Hobbyweight veterans Scratch and Mr. Shadow, lasting the full three minutes in both matches.

For the featherweight championship run by King of Bots at the British gaming festival Insomnia in August 2018, John Frizell and JME Anderson entered a new featherweight named The Mighty Unicorn, an invertible four-wheel drive robot armed with a front-mounted drill, a set of rear wedges and a sacrificial block of wood offering additional defence against spinners. Despite being in control of its first qualification round against the featherweight version of Apex, it beached itself on the arena wall using its wedges, ultimately finishing the battle second. In a similar fashion, The Mighty Unicorn removed a wheel from Nigel Barrage in its second melee, where Elevate had already been immobilised, but also lost full mobility of its own and eventually backed into the pit by accident. The Mighty Unicorn also lost its third qualifier to Rocket after the latter threw it out of the arena, and was soon joined by DB12. However, The Mighty Unicorn did not score enough points to progress to later rounds, and was eliminated. The Mighty Unicorn also competed at Robodojo in January 2020 and earned a surprise win over Elevate, but sustained so much damage that it withdrew from the competition after its loss to Velocity.

The team also participated in Scrapheap Challenge, using the team name The Ballistics. They competed in the Giant Archery competition at the Scrapheap Challenge Roadshow in 2007, hosted at the Bodelwyddan Medieval Festival. The Ballistics narrowly missed out on a place in the final.

John Frizell and Ian Watts with Bull Dog

John Frizell teamed up with Ian Watts from Team Big Brother to enter the 2015 season of BattleBots, entering a robot named Bull Dog. However, Bull Dog was on the reserve list and was ultimately not required to compete in the main competition. However, it fought Stinger: The Killer Bee and Splatter in a three way rumble, which was won by Stinger.

Team Creepy Crawlies

Frizell and Watts returned to BattleBots in 2016, on a team with various British students, including member of Team Terror Turtle, Charles Hoile. They entered Creepy Crawlies, a five-piece clusterbot, with each robot wielding a set of horizontal crushers. Creepy Crawlies suffered a destructive loss at the hands of Son of Whyachi, despite surviving longer than Ultraviolent. The team that entered Creepy Crawlies, captained by Kelly Smith, has since disbanded. Additionally, John Frizell was not present on Ian Watts' team in the 2018 season of BattleBots.

The Grubs at King of Bots

Continuing the theme of multibots used by Team Terror Turtle and Team Big Brother in Robot Wars and BattleBots, the united team, alongside Ann Gribble, entered a four-part clusterbot named The Grubs into the Chinese show King of Bots. The robot consists of an invertible wedge-shaped unit named Banger, and three identical invertible robots with horizontal bar spinners named Mash, Mince, and Chop, although only three robots would fight at any one time. The team, which includes John Frizell and JME Anderson, dressed as chefs, to match their naming scheme of British foods. It fought the fellow UK representatives Team Far North with Crossfire in the first round, and won by knockout with assistance from a floor flipper. However, in the second round, two of the three components of The Grubs were immobilised by Saber, awarding the win to the Chinese entry.

Eater at This is Fighting Robots

John Frizell returned to Ian Watts' team in the Chinese show This is Fighting Robots with a new two-part clusterbot, Eater. This design saw the invertible wedge design of Banger return alongside a much larger invertible robot, armed with two horizontal bar spinners. In its first battle, Eater fought Fango, Hunting Wind, and Shrederator Tiger Claw, but became immobilised by an attack from Shrederator Tiger Claw, making it the first to fall within the rumble.

John Frizell and JME Anderson (left) with The Four Horsemen at BattleBots in 2019

John Frizell and JME Anderson rejoined Ian Watts' team to compete in the 2019 season of BattleBots with The Four Horsemen, a clusterbot succeeding the design of The Grubs, with a total of six available units: identical bar spinners War and Famine, similar wedges Buttercup and Daisy, the horizontal disc Pizza, and the entanglement windmill design of Skye, previously part of The Swarm. Ian Watts had previously entered The Four Horsemen into the 2018 season, without any member of Team Terror Turtle present. The Four Horsemen's first battle in 2019 was a three-way melee against Double Jeopardy and Lucky, losing the battle to Lucky. However, it redeemed itself by earning back-to-back wins against SubZero and Extinguisher, before finally losing to Bloodsport at the end of its season campaign. The Four Horsemen also collected an untelevised rumble victory over P1 and Extinguisher after the main competition had concluded.

The Shrew at Norwalk Havoc Robot League in July 2021

Most recently, in 2021, John Frizell made a fully autonomous beetleweight named The Shrew and competed over at the recurring US event, Norwalk Havoc Robot League, racking up a 1-4 record.


External Links[]