Media Essays: The Career of Behemoth
Updated: 4 days ago
If there's anything you should know about me as a media enthusiast, it's this: I. LOVE. ROBOT WARS! As a kid growing up in the 90's and 2000's, naturally I was exposed to this show back in its heyday. Aired on the BBC back in 1998 and concluding its run in 2004 with seven seasons and two spin-off seasons along with international spin-offs in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA, Robot Wars has remained one of the BBC's most popular shows of its time. Despite the fact it was cancelled, brought back in 2016 but sadly cancelled again after only three seasons and two specials, it has maintained a massive cult-following amongst us Brits and is even still viewed nowadays as one of the biggest inspirations behind many for getting into robotics and technology themselves. I myself remain a huge fan of the show even after its cancellations, even to the point I'd consider myself a die-hard fan of Robot Wars and considering my many interests, that's a big deal when I can call myself a "die-hard" fan of one thing above all other interests I have.
As a Robot Wars fan, I've seen nearly every episode of the series, have all four DVDs in the Ultimate Warrior Collection, have collected the toys (and I still have the minbots arena and nearly all the minibots), have played the video-games, own many of the books published about the show from the classic and reboot eras and back during my days as a DeviantArt user, I wrote a history essay series recapping the history of the show at the time. One of my childhood hobbies even included building the robots from the show out of K 'Nex and having them fight each other in my own Robot Wars tournaments! Yeah...I wasn't exaggerating when I said I was a die-hard fan. XD
Hell, I'm such a fan that I even went to watch one of the live shows they host from time-to-time. June 2019 marked a dream come true for me as I got to see a real Robot Wars tournament at the Robots Live! event in Grantham and got to see many legendary machines that have been featured in the show such as Apollo, Eruption and Iron-Awe. And it's because of this as to why I want to do this post. This post is about the history of my all-time favourite machine that was featured in Robot Wars. And that machine...is none other than the most recurring robot and the longest-running combatant in Robot Wars history, Behemoth.
Behemoth is a unique case amongst Robot Wars combatants. It first appeared in Series 2 back in 1999 and to this day is STILL competing and taking part in many a tournament around the UK! Some machines come-and-go and most have long since retired. But not Behemoth. It keeps on coming back and keeps on going no matter what. So what does this long career of Behemoth's entail? What are the highs and lows of its time on the show, both classic and reboot era? Let's dive in as we cover the career of Behemoth...
Series 2: The Beginning
Behemoth made its Robot Wars debut in Series 2 of the series, making Series 1 the only series in the show's history not to feature the machine in any capabity. Behemoth sported a very different appearance compared to what we're used to but the elements that would form the basic shape of Behemoth were there from the bulldozer appearance to the black and yellow striped lifting scoop that would be its main weapon. Also, the words "Eat Me" were sprayed on the scoop and when it lifted up, you could see the words "I'm Done" underneath it.
For this series, Behemoth had a pretty strong first outing for it reached the semi-finals despite this being its debut season. It got through the gauntlet, qualified through football and won its Heat Semi-Final and Heat Final matches against Elvis and Inquisitor respectively, although its win over Inquisitor was mostly down to the machine being on death's door after its close fight with Razer. In fact, if Razer didn't break down against Inquisitor, Behemoth certainly wouldn't have made it to the semi-finals (unless Razer broke down against it) so it was lucky for them their Heat Final was against Inquisitor.
Still, this is a good start for any Robot Wars machine. Making the semi-finals on your first try is something to smile about and lord knows it'll take them another 20 years or so to win a heat again so this was even more special in hindsight! Anyway, Behemoth's semi-final run saw them qualify through the gauntlet and pinball runs (finishing 4th in both of them) before its run came to a swift end at the axe of Killertron when it stuck its axe into the bulldozer bot and pulled them onto their side with it. Behemoth couldn't get back up again so they were eliminated.
Series 3: An unlucky Heat loss and a runner-up run in the World Championships
Series 3 saw Behemoth take on the appearance that would make it the more familiar looking machine as we know it today. With increased dimensions, a much larger and more powerful lifting scoop and a pair of axes on the back, this machine looked significantly stronger than the previous design and looked as if it could potentially go far for Series 3. Sadly, what would be the start of the infamous Behemoth bad luck would begin here...
Its first round saw an easy win against Shark Attack where they flipped it over after three attempts and come the second round, it won very easily against General Carnage when they flipped it over. Their Heat Final with Pitbull was where everything went wrong for them. They were starting off strong by flipping Pitbull over but then Pitbull started to make a comeback and then the bulldozer bot ended up flipped onto its side by the arena spike and couldn't get back up again. Much like Series 2, they lost because they ended up on their side and couldn't self-right. Weird coincidence, isn't it? They were also the first robot in history to be flipped by the Floor Flipper hazard. Not a record they'll be boasting about I'm sure. The team would rectify their self-righting issue in later seasons but first, let's cover Behemoth's other time they shone in Series 3:
They entered the First World Championship representing England as evidenced by the England flag on their scoop and they even stuck a pair of arms on either side of the scoop to hopefully prevent them from ending up stuck on their side again. Not that they needed them in the end as they never ended up being flipped over. The First World Championship was a breeze for them with very easy wins over Techno-Lease, Mortis and Diotoir. Diotoir especially came off as the team just playing with it as they kept flipping it over, rolling it back on its wheels and so forth throughout the match. But things came to a head when they met Razer, the very machine they were lucky not to fight in Series 2. Behemoth put up a great fight against Razer, even managing to get them stuck on their side for a bit when their wing was stuck in the flame grill and they couldn't self-right for a while. But once Razer got back on its wheels, it bit back at the machine and eventually, it went to a judge's decision where Razer was crowned the First World Champion. This remains Behemoth's best performance in any tournament to date, finishing second in the First World Championship. Not bad for their second outing in the show, am I right?
Series 4: Behemoth gets X-Terminated
Behemoth returned for Series 4 in where they were Seeded 6th for their performance in Series 3. Some changes were made to the robot to improve its combat performance such as spring-loaded self-righting arms to prevent it being stranded on its side again, semi-circle plates on top of the robot so it can't get stuck upside down and skateboard wheels were added to the front of the robot to stop it leaning forwards. The twin rear axes were also discarded, leaving the scoop as its only weapon.
Behemoth started off with a close first round melee with it, Arnold, Arnold Terminegger and Rambot giving off one heck of a battle that was a close call for all three of them. Many fans even consider it one of the best melees of Series 4 overall. In the end, the judges voted for Behemoth and Arnold to go through while Rambot went out. Behemoth would then face Judge Shred II in where they won rather easily and then they would face X-Terminator, the 22nd Seed, in the Heat Final. It seemed like it would be an easy win for Behemoth but X-Terminator proved to be tougher than it looked with its ability to self-right and its own flipping arm would give Behemoth trouble. As the fight went on, Behemoth even seemed to suffer mobility issues, damage that no doubt cost it when the judges had to vote for the winner and they declared it to be X-Terminator. It was still a more dignified loss than last time at least, fighting their opponent to a judge's decision and giving it their all despite the damages. Better than losing to an arena obstacle, am I right?
They would also compete in the Sumo Basho and Southern Annihilator Tournaments where they along with X-Terminator were the only robots to hold their ground against Shunt and last a full minute but they and X-Terminator would finish joint second when Panic Attack took the Sumo title. In the Annihilator, they fought Razer, Onslaught, Atilla the Drum, Spawn of Scutter and Vercingetorix. They survived two rounds but had to drop out when they couldn't replace a damaged gear so they were the 3rd of six robots to be eliminated in the tournament. Overall, a Heat Final, a runner-up position in the Sumo Basho and finishing 4th overall in the Annihilator meant that Behemoth had a pretty decent run in Series 4 and had some good achievements in spite of no major wins this time.
Robot Wars Extreme: So many tournaments, so few wins...
Behemoth would return for the first spin-off series of Robot Wars, Robot Wars Extreme, in which it was given more upgrades to be more powerful than before. The self-righting arms were improved and now lift up when the scoop does, they were given an axe on top of the machine for extra damage potential and to grapple with opponents and potentially carry them around (which they pulled off against Stinger) and it was increased in weight to take advantage of the new rule that robots could now weigh up to 100kgs instead of 80 like last time.
Behemoth competed in four different tournaments throughout Extreme with only one win overall out of the four, which was a Wild Card Warrior battle against The Spider. In that battle, they became the first robot to flip another out of the arena without a flipper as its pneumatic scoop is classed as something else entirely. The other tournaments it competed in included the Challenge Belt in where they were the first belt holders and won two battles before losing the belt to Tornado, the All-Stars in where they beat Hypno-Disc but lost to Razer (again) and the Mayhem in where they got flipped out of the arena by Thermidor II so they didn't qualify for the Annihilator later in the series. So yeah, not the most stellar track record overall but at least they won SOME fights instead of not winning at all. The fact they beat Hypno-Disc of all robots is an achievement in and of itself!
Series 5: The first of many second round losses...
Behemoth would appear again in Series 5 as the 15th seed with its appearance being the same as most of its Extreme battles since Extreme was mostly filmed after Series 5 was (despite Series 5 airing after Extreme...huh?).
It had a strong start against newcomer Supernova in where they tanked most of their hits and eventually pitted them but things all went wrong against another newcomer, the crab-like Crushtacean in where they looked like the obvious winner of this match...yet they lost. They ended up with Crushtacean getting underneath them, grabbing hold of them and then pitting them, making this the first time they failed to make it to the Heat Final. And sadly this string of bad luck would only get worse in later seasons...
Series 6 and Extreme II: Behemoth's Worst Season Yet!
Behemoth appeared in Series 6 and Extreme II with some internal changes made to make the machine stronger than before. They now sported a six-wheel drive, a top speed of 12mph and a new bucket sporting the England flag that all future incarnations could continue to have. It also had enlarged pneumatic rams to make it even stronger at flipping.
All these upgrades and yet it did Behemoth no real good in the end. They qualified their melee by the skin of their teeth as Disc-O-Inferno damaged them quite badly to the point they were immobilized in the end but two other robots went out first so Behemoth just managed to clinch a win. Then they were up against Bigger Brother, a robot they had no real chance in hell against. They did start off strong but Bigger Brother turned things around and gave us quite a spectacular pitting where they flipped Behemoth, got underneath them, clamped on them with their flipper and pushed them into the pit. You have to admit that's some skilled driving on their part.
Extreme II fared no better in where they only appeared in two tournaments and couldn't win either of them. The Iron Maidens tournament saw them win their first round melee but then lose to Chompalot because Shunt decided to screw them over by getting Chompalot back on its wheels and then knocking out Behemoth's safety link...just because. I really have no idea why Shunt did that. Was he still bitter at Behemoth for holding his own against him in the Sumo and wanted revenge? How the judges didn't declare this win invalid because of Shunt's interference, I'll NEVER understand. And then you have the University Challenge, an entire tournament was practically gift-wrapped for them to win...AND THEY STILL LOST! In the first round no less! They dominated their melee only for them to conk out at the end and they lost because they were stupid enough to flip another robot back on their wheels after stranding them on their backs. This is why once your opponent is flipped over, you leave them there, otherwise you screw yourself over in the end...
Series 7: Behemoth's Most Humiliating Defeat
Series 7 remains the most nostalgic series for me as it was the first series of Robot Wars I watched all the way through back when it aired on Jetix. As a result, this series was my overall introduction to Behemoth and ever since then, my lifelong love for this machine was born. Sadly, it wasn't the best first impression I could've got of Behemoth.
For this season, they were given upgraded internals and a revised removable link housing so the link wouldn't fall out so easily like last time. They were seeded 10th for the series and looked to have a promising run in Series 7 with them utterly dominating their melee against Tartarus, UFO and Crushtacean. They even got their revenge against the crab bot for beating them in Series 5 by flipping them out the arena. They qualified along with UFO and went up against Mute in Round 2. They started off strong again and flipped Mute over but Mute self-righted and landed on top of them...and somehow, this caused the receiver to crash and send Behemoth shooting forwards and they were unable to do anything except go forwards. Like...how does that even happen?! Touching their aerial just breaks the machine and makes it do that? If this had happened to any other machine, I bet that wouldn't have happened! It's like it happens to him because he's Behemoth! As a result, they were wiped out and this remains in my opinion their most humiliating defeat of the classic era. Just wait until the reboot happens, it gets worse for them...
They did show up again though, appearing in the House Robot Rebellion and the All-Stars Tournament. The All-Stars saw them just get flipped out by Dantomkia but the House Robot Rebellion saw them and Gravity winning the battle against the House Robots with Gravity flipping over Growler and Behemoth immobilizing Mr. Psycho. The audience were given the vote and they gave it to Behemoth and Gravity. This was also the LAST EVER battle to be filmed for Series 7 so one could say technically, Behemoth ended the classic era on a win despite the All-Stars tournament airing after the House Robot Rebellion. Not a bad way to end off a classic run, eh? I mean beating the House Robots is a pretty big way to finish any series overall.
After the classic series ended, Behemoth would go on to appear in many live tournaments and keep on fighting during those years. They even managed to win one of those tournaments, thus giving them a real tournament win at long last. Pity it had to be outside of Robot Wars but let's not be too picky about our wins, OK? And then come 2016, the series was rebooted and Behemoth was back again to try its luck at the show...
Series 8: A Solid Comeback
Behemoth appeared in the first episode of the reboot with a fully redesigned machine that was built up to modern standards. While still maintaining the bulldozer design, it sported a more powerful scoop that fired much more quickly, thus making it more like a flipper than a lifter like before, it can self-right when flipped onto its back, it was faster than before and had a bolt-on chassis for improved maintenance between battles.
Behemoth had a solid return to the show by qualifying in its melee against Carbide, The General and Bonk (which was owned by the Mute team so they avenged their Series 7 loss by defeating Bonk), scoring easy wins against Nuts and Terrorhurtz and despite losing to Carbide, they had done enough to qualify for the Heat Final and were up against Carbide again. Unfortunately, they were immobilized on one-side and reversed back into the pit, presumably to avoid taking anymore punishment from the powerful spinner. Still, this was their first Heat Final qualification since Series 4 and they managed to win a few fights overall so their return was pretty good overall. But then...sigh...we must talk about the worst moment of Behemoth's career...with Series 9.
Series 9: Behemoth goes viral...for all the wrong reasons!
Series 9 saw Behemoth return with a bladed lip added to the tip of their scoop and also something more experimentive for they brought interchangeable weapons. They have a new aluminum scoop that's designed to tank hits from spinners like Carbide and they had grapplers that could make their scoop more of a clamping weapon than a flipping weapon. I'll admit this was cool to see and it's great to see the team experimenting with different scoops for their machine to use. Too bad one of them backfired horribly...
They qualified their melee against Eruption, Hobgoblin and Cobra despite some mobility issues thanks to a broken chain but come the Round Robin format, their first fight was against Eruption. They ended up stuck in a corner where the team couldn't see their robot and despite escaping, they were eventually flipped out. Their second round saw them testing their new anti-spinner plough against PP3D. Needless to say, it was a successful test and they won.
But then came the fight against Cherub. Sigh...do I have to talk about this? Eh, here we go. (deep breath) The Behemoth team decided to test their grabbing weapon against Cherub instead of giving with a guaranteed win with their scoop. The clamps didn't really work and they couldn't really do much to Cherub. Annoyingly enough, Cherub got stuck under the floor flipper and yet the judges very idiotically decided "oh it was equipment failure so it doesn't count" when that's never been a problem before. And people wonder why we believe the show was rigged in Cherub's favour. X( But anyways, the fight drew to a judge's decision and Cherub were given the win. And then THIS happened:
Anthony Pritchard stormed out of the booth after Cherub was declared the winner. Now the ACTUAL reason he did this (and the episode itself shows a clip of Anthony explaining this) was that he was annoyed at his team for going against his wishes and picking the grabbers for Behemoth to use instead of the scoop and he left because he didn't want to say something he'd later regret or make some kind of outburst live on TV like so. He did apologize to the Cherub team and Angela Scanlon for this after filming so all's good between them. But because this is the internet and the press are run by people who don't care about facts and only care about spinning what they believe to be a good story regardless of the consequences their lying and exaggeration brings, they ignored all this, took the clip out of context and tried to paint Anthony as this big man-child who was salty about losing to a bunch of kids. And people wonder why we don't take the news very seriously. =P
So yeah, not a good season for Behemoth. A really dumb loss and being reduced to an internet joke thanks to douchebags online not caring about context. Hopefully things can go up from here...
Series 10: Behemoth's Finest Hour
Despite their online humiliation, Behemoth came back for Series 10. Curiously enough, they were photographed and shown to have brought back their scoop and axe combo from back in the classic era, yet they NEVER used the axe throughout the series. So why even have it? It's weird...
Behemoth's chances looked pretty grim for it was in the same episode as Apollo, the Series 8 Champion and an All-Star flipping machine in its own right. Yet despite being immobilized by Sabretooth in the first round, it managed to qualify due to Donald Thump being immobilized and Sabretooth also being immobilized and the judges declared Behemoth to be the winner overall. In the next round, they breezed through The Swarm with ease and then they ended up against Apollo in the Heat Final. Now on paper, this looks like an easy win for Apollo. But in execution...well, this happened!
Yes people, Behemoth ended up winning the fight in spite of those odds! This marked their first Heat win since Series 2 all the way back in 1998 so you better believe fans were happy for them! There were tribute videos and everything to celebrate such a momentous occasion! So with Behemoth in the Grand Final, it looked as if they might have potential. Their first round melee was against Carbide and Nuts 2. They came in with their anti-spinner plough so Carbide wasn't going to have as easy a time against them as they did back in Series 8 and Nuts 2 wasn't going to be much of a threat so this looked like a straight forward win for the bulldozer bot...
Oh right, that happened. As Anthony Pritchard said himself; "Aw dang it!"
So because Nuts 2's clusterbot pushed the bit button just as Carbide hit Behemoth, they spun onto the pit and went straight down it. Just what were the astronomical odds of THAT happening?!
As a result, Behemoth fought Magnetar in a redemption round and despite being immobilized on one side, they snatched a win when Magnetar was flipped over and couldn't move because their srimech was stuck open. But Behemoth's impressive Sereis 10 run came to an end against Eruption in where you couldn't even call it a fight. It was basically 5 minutes of Behemoth being juggled around the arena. Still, they ended their run in joint third place alongside Nuts 2 (there was no Third Place Playoff). This marks Behemoth's best performance in the main series of Robot Wars and considering the series got cancelled again, Behemoth truly did end on a high note just like last series. Overall, their reboot run was pretty solid in spite of Series 9. Finishing third overall is a good place to end on, I say.
Behemoth is like the Ash Ketchum of Robot Wars. It tends to lose a lot but still has some wins and notorious victories to name in spite of those losses and like Ash, it did eventually achieve a big win of some kind with its tournament win during the live circuit. While Behemoth doesn't win all that much, it doesn't make the machine any less enjoyable to watch and I'm always happy to see it show up and keep on fighting the good fight. I wish it could've won more, but I'm just glad it still appears in many Robot Wars events and battles and just keeps on coming back for more. It's impossible to imagine Robot Wars without this machine because of how iconic it is and how it just keeps coming back. And despite the show being over again, I hope the machine will continue fighting as it always does and maybe it'll achieve something big once again in the future...
And that's it for this essay. I hope you found it interesting and I invite you to share your thoughts down below. Hopefully I've gotten you interested in checking out Robot Wars for yourself. ^^ Next time, I'll be reviewing everyone's favourite new DreamWorks movie, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish. See you then media fans!
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