Robot Wars Wiki

"Will the axe fall quickly on The Executioner?"
— Jonathan Pearce in Series 5

The Executioner was the name of two competitor robots in Series 5, 7 and Extreme Series 1 of Robot Wars. The two versions had different designs and weaponry. It lost all three of its battles despite starting strongly in both of its main competition fights.


"Executioner was originally designed around a mild steel box section chassis. This chassis had a wall thickness of 3mm which we felt would be strong enough for most situations. Anyway so we went and started to build the machine whilst constantly weighing everything at all stages!! It wasn't until we were nearly finished that we thought the Robot looked heavier than what the scales were saying :( So off we went to get it weighed properly on some digital scales at Parcel force, I being confident that there was nothing at all to worry about as my scales were correct! 92.6 kilos later and my scales are now in the bin and good riddance to. This left us with what we at that time thought was 2 weeks to go for the auditions with a robot that weighed nearly 15 kilos overweight!! Not good. So after much heated debate and scratching of heads we decided to rebuild the whole thing in Aluminum."
— The Executioner website on the original version of The Executioner[1]

The robot was originally built for Series 4. This version had Kevlar armour and was not invertible as it had small wheels, nor could it self-right. It took 7 months to build, and was only just finished in time for the qualifiers. After failing to qualify for Series 4, it was entered into BattleBots under the name The Piecemaker.

The Executioner's Series 5 appearance

After BattleBots, it was modified to the Series 5 model, with larger wheels to make it invertible. In Extreme 1 and Series 5, it was a long, pointed, invertible wedge shaped machine with a 22 tonne hydraulic crushing claw and powered by American-made NPC motors. The Series 5 model had side armour, less red on the body and the shark face on the sides of the wedge whilst the Extreme 1 model had the side armour removed, off-centre fins on the wheels to aid in self righting, more red parts on the body and the face removed from the sides of the wedge. It is unclear whether the Series 5 design was a revision of the Extreme 1 design or vice versa, though its battle in Extreme 1 was broadcast first.

"The 22 tonne front-mounted crushing blade, designed to split and crush, looks powerful, can run both sides up so it doesn't need a srimech. Took a year and a half to build..."
— Jonathan Pearce introduces The Executioner in Series 5

The Executioner Series 7 official photo

It was redesigned for the Sixth Wars to be much shorter, and had a vertical spinning disc powered by a 10hp petrol engine, but it failed to qualify because the team missed the qualifiers.

"I just couldn't think of anything that would do more damage than a good spinner. Wanting to be more original than all the other spinners out there, we decided to go for a vertical spinner. We also felt that this would act as a kind of flipper to."
— The Executioner website on the spinning weapon[2]

This version did qualify for the Seventh Wars, but lost in the first round again. This version was known by the team as Executioner/Evo 2, but was still referred to as The Executioner on the show. The vertical spinning disc was replaced with a cutting blade to reduce the weight.

The Team[]

Team No Mercy in Extreme 1

The team in Series 7

The Executioner was entered by Team No Mercy from Hampton in Peterborough. Mark Nenadic was the team captain and drove The Executioner in all three of its battles while Ian Sanford was the weapons operator for the robot. In Series 5 and Extreme 1, David Sanford, the son of Ian, filled the third spot on the team while in Series 7, the third slot was instead filled by Tom Sanford, Ian's other son. The team wore black shirts branding the robot's name in red lettering and grey camouflage trousers. Ian Sanford also wore a dog tag in Extreme 1 and Series 5 but did not in Series 7. The team's dress code was similar to that of the International Wreck Crew.


The Series 4 version of The Executioner, fighting PC Plod at the qualifiers

The original version of The Executioner first competed at the Series 4 qualifiers. It beat PC Plod in a qualifier, but was overweight so it didn't qualify for the competition

"We rushed and rushed and ran out of time. We turned up at the auditions 12.6 kilos overweight and wearing temporary Armour. Personally I thought we looked Big Pants but that's what you get when you run out of time. As for the battle well everything worked well including the weapon! In fact it worked so well we bent the main blade like a sine wave on PC Plods tuff Armour. I just never realised the forces involved with 4 tons of hydraulic pressure! So anyway home we went very very disappointed to say the least"
— The Executioner website on the Series 4 qualifiers[3]

The Executioner qualified for Series 5, having fought a four-way melee at the qualifiers.

"they decided to put us into a melee with 3 other bots ... there were bits flying everywhere and mostly from us to! The guys standing next to us had a flipper and all I could here was go on son flip him and it was always me at the front of his machine :) and all I was saying was go on Ian cut im cut im cut the bstaaaaa :) oh it makes you so aggressive this robot thing! Sadly for us the weapon packed in after we had a head on with shunt. The reason for this is that the pressure transducer on the hydraulic pump is mounted on an angled pipe connector and although I had nipped it up tight it does weigh a kilo and the inertia of a head on made it unscrew, suffice to say all Ian's pumping was doing was filling the inside of the bot with oil yuk :( hmmm think we need a bracket to hold that in place then, ahh all this learning is doing my head in. Still the bot is very tuff and we took no major damage at all apart from the burning tyre after being left on the flame pit for an age (cheers Dead Metal) Everything worked reliably and the control was excellent, although I was unhappy about my lack of grip due to all the oil on the wooden floor, so I think some spiked tyres will be in order there, at least for UK battles anyway."
— The Executioner website on the Series 5 qualifiers[4]

The team intended to enter Series 6, but were unable to attend the qualifiers due to Mark Nenadic missing his flight from Austria.[5]

Despite being overweight at the Series 7 Qualifiers, The Executioner was given automatic entry to Series 7, without having to take part in a qualifier battle, because the producers were impressed with the robot and the team promised to lose the weight.

"Pop the ol girl onto the scales and horror of horrors 4 kilos OVER. We cant let you in they say :( Ian at this point is the most depressed I have ever seen...So Off I go in search of Neil. "Neil, we are overweight mate." "By how much?" he says. "4 kilos" I say "but its no problem as we can lighten the disk". "Let me speak to the producer" he says! Producer comes over. "Hello Mark nice to see you, what's up?" "We are overweight by 4 kilos but its not a problem as we can easily lose it but not today! I have driven all the way from Vienna to be here" "Ahh your the one who comes all the way from Vienna! Well I love the machine and want it in the show so your in! Be back here Tuesday with the weight lost!!" So I guess we are seeded in a way ha ha ha. Ian is suitably relieved"
— The Executioner website on qualifying for Series 7[6]

Robot History[]

Extreme 1[]

The Executioner's first televised battle was in the Wild Card Warriors, where it was drawn against Dominator 2, a Semi-Finalist in the previous series. This fight was actually filmed 2-3 days after The Executioner's fight against Pussycat.[7]

"It's going to be a doddle! Who are Dominator 2? Let's face it, it's a! Plasma Nitride Coated? What is that? What is that? It's paint! It's paint!...Go home guys, you're gonna get trashed!"
— Confidence from Mark Nemadic before the battle, which proved to be misplaced.

The Executioner pits itself

In an extremely short and comical battle, The Executioner ignored Dominator 2 and drove straight for the pit release, but missed the button twice, before opening the pit on the third attempt. Dominator 2 wedged under The Executioner and tried to axe it, but The Executioner reversed and avoided the axe. It attempted to drive away, but was closely followed by its opponent. Dominator 2 pushed past The Executioner, causing it to change direction, and The Executioner drove straight into the pit.

"Well it took them long enough to activate the pit release, and as soon as they did it, they went straight down! Mark Nenadic, Ian Sanford and young David...well they were big with the bravado, but out there, little control!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The fight lasted just 15 seconds, with Dominator 2 the winner.

Craig Charles: "How long did it take to built the robot?"
Mark Nenadic: "Err, 18 months."
Craig Charles: "And, um, 18 seconds and you're into the pit!"
Mark Nenadic: "Yeah, we're doing really well! We're on a roll!"
— Post-battle interview with Craig Charles

Series 5[]

The Executioner was given one of the hardest draws in the first round - the hugely experienced runner-up from the previous series, Pussycat, which won the Celebrity Special in Series 4, and the second Annihilator in Extreme 1.

Before the battle, the team found the robot was losing signal after driving more than 10 feet away from them. They managed to fix this by fixing a new aerial.

"Anyway little test before our bout and bang, no radio signal after about 10 feet WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why? How? What's going on. Frantic :( hands everywhere from 5 teams, wire soldering irons etc etc. We thought it was the aerial, so rigged a dodgy one (very dodgy) and we were off."
— The Executioner website[8]
"Pussycat, the second seeds for these Robot Wars. That is a measure of the task for The Executioner."
— Jonathan Pearce

The Executioner grabs Pussycat

In the battle, The Executioner missed its first charge, but when the two robots turned to face each other, the underdog grabbed Pussycat by the front, holding the blade still. Pussycat struggled back and forth, but The Executioner kept a firm grip. It carried Pussycat over the flame pit, then to the other side of the arena before letting Pussycat go. The two robots turned to charge at each other, but merely bumped into each other on contact, and The Executioner retreated, driving over the flame pit. Pussycat pursued it, briefly becoming stuck on the flame pit. It got off the flames, and The Executioner dodged it, but in doing so, drove into the arena wall. This allowed Pussycat to come in behind The Executioner, but The Executioner turned away and escaped before Pussycat could do any damage. The Executioner drove to the other side of the arena, with Pussycat in hot pursuit, then drove into the other arena wall. It tried to turn away, but could not escape as it drove into Dead Metal. Pussycat backed off, and The Executioner managed to get out of the CPZ before it could be attacked. The two robots charged at each other, and Pussycat was knocked up before falling away. The Executioner retreated again, driving over the floor flipper, but as Pussycat came in, it started spinning on the spot. After a hit from the blade, The Executioner stopped moving. Pussycat turned around and hit The Executioner with the blade again, which caused it to start moving again. It drove away from Pussycat, but drove into the arena wall again, this time getting stuck under an angle grinder. Pussycat rammed the easy target a couple of times, allowing it to get free, but The Executioner turned toward Matilda's CPZ. Matilda reversed into it with her flywheel, ripping off The Executioner's claw.

"Off comes the tip of the hydraulic crusher! The Executioner; Mark and Ian Sanford and young David, who's a 9-year old schoolboy, in major peril now! Look, the potency of the weapon is gone. The pit button has been depressed by Pussycat, and The Executioner's team feeling mighty depressed!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The Executioner is pitted by Pussycat

The Executioner started spinning on the spot again, so Pussycat went to open the pit, then got behind The Executioner, and pushed it. The Executioner started moving again, and charged at Pussycat as the two fought in the centre of the arena, but upon hitting Pussycat, it stopped moving. Pussycat was then able to nudge The Executioner into the pit.

"Do you know, I thought we might've had a shock here, at the start of this eliminator battle. Don't forget, the winner of this heat takes our final semi-final position in the series. And Pussycat still have hopes. The Executioner does not. They've been axed."
— Jonathan Pearce

According to The Executioner website, the robot suffered from intermittent control, which caused the spinning and the stopping.[9]

Series 7[]

"Mean name - grizzly. Beaten in round one of the Fifth Wars - weedy!"
— Jonathan Pearce as The Executioner enters the arena

After failing to qualify for Series 6, The Executioner fought in Heat N of Series 7. In Round 1, The Executioner fought three robots from other returning teams; R.O.C.S., Team Monad's new robot Topbot, and Team Knightmare's new robot Raging Knightmare.

"We're a bit worried, everyone else's disc spins at 1500 and they're splitting robots in half, and we've gone and done one that spins at 4000, so it might be, it's either going to completely explode, because we've not tested it, or it's gonna do serious damage to somebody!"
— Mark Nenadic on the spinning weapon.

The Executioner rips off Topbot's disc

The Executioner damages R.O.C.S.' self-righting arm

When the melee began, it initially went for R.O.C.S., but when Topbot came in, it turned to fight the Irish machine, getting under the front of Topbot and snapping off Topbot's spinning disc. The Executioner pushed R.O.C.S. around, but could not get under it to use its spinning blade, and Raging Knightmare pushed it away, before it drove away from the others. It came back and got behind R.O.C.S., pushing it toward the pit (which was not open despite Raging Knightmare pressing the button), before turning around to attack the front. Raging Knightmare came in behind The Executioner, getting under it with its flipper, but did not flip it. The Executioner got away, and attacked R.O.C.S. again, pushing it towards the pit, which was now open. R.O.C.S. turned and pushed The Executioner back. The two continued to fight, but The Executioner could not get its spinning blade under R.O.C.S., and R.O.C.S. could not get in a good position to crush The Executioner. Eventually, The Executioner broke down due to a broken Vantec speed controller.

The Executioner grinds to a halt

The Executioner is dropped into the pit by Mr. Psycho

"...because we're not professional engineers, we probably miscalculated the current abuse of the control electronics. Also, we didn't provide adequate cooling. Resulting in massive overloading causing erratic behaviour & then complete electrical failure."
— Ian Sanford on YouTube[10]

The headless Mr. Psycho hammered it on the edge of the CPZ, picked it up, and pitted it.

"...and the hammer blow, I think, has wreaked havoc to The Executioner's hopes! They're laughing and grinning, but I think they've literally been splattered into submission!"
— Jonathan Pearce as the immobile Executioner is hammered by Psycho


Extreme Series 1
Wild Card Warriors
Wild Card Warriors vs. Dominator 2 Lost
Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Eliminator
Heat L, Eliminator vs. Pussycat (2) Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat N, Round 1 vs. Raging Knightmare, R.O.C.S., Topbot Eliminated


  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 3

Series Record[]

Main Series The Executioner Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Sixth Wars Missed qualifiers
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Wild Card Warriors
Series 2 Did not enter


Outside Robot Wars[]

The Series 4 version of The Executioner as The Piecemaker at BattleBots

The original version of The Executioner also competed in Season 3.0 of BattleBots as The Piecemaker after failing to qualify for Series 4 of Robot Wars. It fared no better than it or its successor did on Robot Wars as it lost its only fight by KO to a robot named My Son.

After Series 7, The Executioner was rebuilt with a smaller shovel and given a blue trim. It was meant to enter an assumed eighth series of Robot Wars, but after the robot's completion, the show entered its twelve-year hiatus.

"Robot Wars as we know it ceased to be before we got a chance to fight with the last version (at the time, the Robot Wars arena was the only arena able to contain lethal spinners). Had loads of fun though before we retired!"
— Ian Sanford on YouTube[11]

The Executioner was later bought by Team Tornado for the purpose of being a robot that the team's wives could drive at charity events, but it was never used. Since then, it has been sold to Team MAD. [12]


  • The Executioner was one of nine UK robots to compete in BattleBots.
  • Like Barber-Ous, Tiberius, Cassius and Revenge of Trouble and Strife, every time The Executioner lost, it ended up in the pit.
  • The Executioner is one of only ten robots to debut in Extreme 1 and then fight in one of the main competitions, not counting Typhoon. The others were 3 Stegs 2 Heaven, Axe-Awe, Comengetorix, Fighting Torque, Fluffy, NEAT Machine, Spawn Again, Sub-Version and Draven.
  • Each of The Executioner's appearances were in the same episode as Pussycat or Spawn Again, or both.
  • A picture of The Executioner and its team made an appearance in a news article published by The Sun in June 2016, falsely associating The Executioner's Sanford family with an unrelated roboteer, Michael Sandford.

See Also[]

External Links[]