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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 11:17 GMT
Robot Wars leaves BBC
Robot Wars
Robot Wars is a worldwide TV success
Robot Wars is being dropped from BBC Two after eight series, programme-makers Mentorn have confirmed.

The gladiatorial contest involving home-made robots is switching to Five - formerly Channel 5 - after BBC Two screens its final series next month.

In its heyday during the late 1990s the show, hosted by Craig Charles and Philippa Forrester, attracted six million viewers in the UK.

The format went on to become a worldwide success, showing in 45 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, China, India, Germany and Italy.

Mentorn has announced it is making 22 episodes for Five later this year, and giving the show a fresh look.

Steve Carsey, the show's executive producer, said it was time to move on from BBC Two.

He said: "We've been thinking about making changes to Robot Wars for a while now to make it even more exciting for the 'roboteers' and fans.

"The new Robot Wars will be bigger and better than ever and we're really looking forward to working with Five."

Craig Charles and Philippa Forrester
The show won six million viewers at its peak
Mentorn's managing director, Charles Thompson, said the deal with Five was commercially better for the company.

He said: "We are retaining all the UK rights for the programme which means we can explore new revenue generating opportunities for the brand including sponsorship, pay-per-view and other forms of commercial income."

Kevin Lygo, Five's director of programmes, said the energy, excitement and fun of the show fitted with the channel's vision.

Thousands of competing "roboteers" from all backgrounds have taken part in Robot Wars.

Hailed as "the world's largest robotic contact sport", it has a large worldwide fanbase and its own official website.

The fearsome-looking machines have combative names such as Dead Metal, Sir Killalot and Chaos 2.

Boasting whirling blades and flame-throwers, many robots cost just a few pounds to make in a garden shed.

The toy range is one of the most successful in the UK and was voted Boys' Toy of 2002 by the British Association of Toy Retailers.

BBC Worldwide will continue to market Robot Wars toys and merchandise in the UK on behalf of Mentorn.

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