EDGE Goes 90s: Robot Wars, Craig Charles’ Arena of Cool


Ok so we’ve already set the scene in the hip trendy world of the nineties, we’re all rocking Game Boy Colours and enjoying Batman Forever, despite its obvious position as the second worst live action Batman film circa 1989. But all these cool trends blend into dull insignificance when we realise the true epicentre of cool in the nineties; the main man of the decade; the chairman of the board – Craig Charles. Craig was the hippest guy in the world despite the odds being against him as a tassled-jacket-wearing, Liverpudlian, comedy poet scallywag. Robot Wars was the coliseum of his cool – the arena where he was the emperor of all things trendy.

Taking over from the annoyingly sarcastic stylings of a young Jeremy Clarkson, Craig’s commitment and serious undying love for all things robotic made the show the highlight of BBC programming in the nineties. It faced stiff competition nestled in amongst televisual heavy-weights The Simpsons and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air but definitely held its own like a gutsy younger bot arrogantly storming into the CPZ for a one on one with Kill-a-Lot. My own personal highlight of the wars was the finale of the second season.

Panic Attack, a brave rectangular yellow bot which relied solely on two tiny spikes to progress through the heats had somehow found itself in too deep when Jonathon Pierce bellowed the call to ‘activate’ at the start of this momentous match versus Cassius. The wedge-shaped Cassius was a bot to be reckoned with due to its immensely powerful flipping ram and uncanny self-righting-ability.

The entirely unpredictable broadcasting bliss of the wars gifted the audience with one of the most anticlimactic finals of all time in this instance. The Panic Attack team stared on shaking with worry as the bots slowly began to move. However, defying any sort of form, after one swift attempt at flipping Panic Attack, Cassius slipped underneath the yellow spider-clad bot before being pushed unexpectedly into the pit by the enigmatic robotic rectangle gifting Panic Attack a clear and untroubled path to victory.

A perfectly random showcase, combining amateur robotics, tassles and a mish-mash of TV personalities, there’s no better example of the charm of Robot Wars than this timelessly entertaining finale. As Craig Charles himself once said ‘they don’t like losing, they don’t like draws’ it’s always a winner, or Robot Wars. Thank you, goodnight!


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