Robot Wars

Tonight on BBC Two’s Robot Wars, Prime Minister’s Question Time! And here come the competitors once again, rolling their way through the tunnel and into the green-plated arena. The audience is packed behind the crash barriers, and as the lights go up and the smoke clears we see them: MayBot and JezBot! The Robot Wars theme plays and the crowd goes wild…

The roboteers up in the gallery have made several changes to their respective machines since last week’s fight. In just seven days MayBot 2.0 has been fitted with completely new weaponry: you’ll notice that huge pair of scissors fixed to her front bumper. That cutting gear is christened ‘The Deficit Destroyer‘: it’s designed to slice through the unlimited spending team JezBot want to deploy. MayBot also now boasts a rear weapon: the ‘Austerity Angle Grinder‘ spins at frightening speeds, slicing through cash. Her critics say she should have deployed these weapons in the heats which preceded this series; if you’re one of our regular viewers, you’ll remember them from the good old days of CamBot and OsBot. Will a return to the old design save the blue team?

Ah! Our cameraman catches a glimpse of Professor Milne, designer of the JezBot, silently watching the via video link from the engineer’s workshop. No obvious changes to his machine this week – but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. JezBot’s 1970s chassis – which the critics branded useless – has been serving the red team pretty well recently… 

And of course, ladies and gentlemen, we have the House robots – all 648 of them – but only 15 get to play: remember they aren’t constrained by the same rules or weapons limits as the competitors. And if you squint very hard, you’ll see Refbot Bercow – the shortest robot, yes, that’s the one – or Sir Talk-A-Lot as he has become known. Last week he let the match drag on for a record 45 minutes: we had to cancel Gardener’s World! 

3…2….1….ACTIVATE: JezBot quick off the mark here, he’s immediately activated his front-facing main weapon, the Magic Money Thrower. It’s spitting out burning fifty pound notes at the rate of 100,000 per second. The public sector workers in the audience are absolutely loving it, they can’t get enough! This really is classic red team playbook, they’re sticking to their tactics first formed decades ago! It’s a hit on MayBot! JezBot’s burning cash floods the arena. It sets fire to MayBot’s leopard-print armour; her underside is at risk. MayBot needs to come back hard!

I understand why people feel strongly about the issue of their pay“. Oh, terrible! Same old from MayBot! That didn’t dent the JezBot’s shell-suit at all! We’re barely a minute in but the MayBotters will surely have to activate the deficit cutting gear. It must be time for the Austerity Angle Grinder! But it’ll mean admitting the old blue team roboteers were right all along…

A quick spin to avoid the flame pit, and here comes the JezBot again. He is really is wheeling into these attacks with new-found confidence. Those badges painted onto his armour, the glasses and beard decals – they catch the light more impressively than ever. And oh! The reds have deployed another favourite! JezBot’s front splits open, we watch his bonnet mechanically separate: the camera zooms in and out of JezBot’s internal hangar we see a tiny mini-robot deployed and fired at his opponent. It’s a TeacherBot! Dave, I think it’s called! JezBot was either going to spawn a teacher or a nurse bot, classic! 

MayBot strafes the shot; she parries. The TeacherBot is consumed by the Pit of Doom. House robot BigBoris flanks MayBot for back up – although his own weapons loom over her somewhat menacingly… MayBot spins around the arena, surely she’s coming in for that big counter-attack. What will it take to make team MayBot activate her new weapons?

Too slow! Here comes JezBot again! “MayBot can find 1 billion to keep her own job – why cant she find the same amount of money to keep nurses and teachers in their own job – who after all serve all of us?” Unbelievable scenes! JezBot has deployed the DU-Puncher! The battering ram, first seen on the Northern Ireland series of Robot Wars, exerts a billion pounds of force on its target. It represents the MayBot’s fatal flaw! She’s spinning now! 

It’s now or never. MayBot: “Let me remind the Right Honourable Gentleman what happens when you don’t deal with the deficit… it’s not a theoretical issue, in Greece, where they failed to deal with it… spending on the health service cut by 36%!” It’s taken forever but team MayBot have finally activated the new kit! In all my years of commentating on Robot Wars I have never seen the blue team look more relieved. Jez is flipped wheels-up – he’s counted out and it’s all over until next week. This’ll be written-up positively in the Evening Standard – I mean, in Robot Wars magazine!




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Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

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