"We've come to China to win the championship. We are invincible!"
— Ian Watts

The Grubs was a robot from the United Kingdom which competed in the first season of King of Bots. Built and entered by a team consisting of experienced roboteers from Robot Wars – captained by former series runner-up Ian Watts – it won its first-round battle against Crossfire, but lost in the second round to Saber. The team entered This is Fighting Robots with a similar design, Eater.

"We like the fighting. The winning is good, we don't mind the losing, apart from the fact we don't get to have another fight. In life, you don't have to be a millionaire to have a good life. Like that in this competition, you don't have to win to have a great time! Don't get too serious about it."
— Ian Watts


The Grubs

The Grubs with its team

"Three of the four robots are equipped with horizontal spinners, so that means we can only use three of the machines at any one time. We'll choose the ones that's best for our opponent."
— Ian Watts

The Grubs is a multibot consisting of four smaller, two-wheeled robots, three of which can be used in the arena at any one time. The segments include a white and black, bi-wedge-shaped robot called Banger and three identically-designed robots with horizontal bar spinners - Mash (red), Mince (blue, originally black) and Chop (orange). All of the Grubs segments are invertible and are named after foods and food terminology. Banger was intended to hold other robots in place, while the remaining bar spinners offered reasonable damage output.

Robot HistoryEdit

King of Bots (Season 1)Edit

"Last time I went to BattleBots, I was knocked out with my students in the first round. We're here in China to win honor back!"
— Ian Watts
Crossfire Grubs dance

Chop and Mince surrounding Crossfire as the latter 'dances' on the arena floor

Grubs Crossfire flipper

Chop and Crossfire are thrown by one of the floor flippers

The Grubs appeared in Episode 3, where it fought fellow UK entry Crossfire in the first round. Within the opening moments, the blue robot within The Grubs struggled to move, and was forced to disable its bar spinner. As Crossfire tried to turn and attack Chop of The Grubs, it repeatedly lifted its bottom castors off the floor, causing its entire weapon assembly to swivel in the process. Both Chop and Mince surrounded Crossfire as the latter lifted and held its weapon assembly off the floor, with Chop proceeding to attack Crossfire's side as it overbalanced and manoeuvred towards the nearest floor flipper. This resulted in both robots being thrown simultaneously by the flipper, with Chop landing upright as Crossfire was tipped over and landed back onto the flipper.

Grubs Crossfire KO

Mince's spinner (bottom-right) breaks one of the springs for Crossfire's 'legs'

Immediately, the floor flipper threw Crossfire again, this time across the arena and into Mince, albeit not without its bar spinner tearing a chunk out of the flipper’s edge. The collisions with the floor and Mince broke the suspension of two of Crossfire’s ‘legs’, leaving it resting on its weapon assembly. With Crossfire immobilised, it was counted out, allowing The Grubs to win by knockout and progress to the second round.

Ling Zhou: "What's the goal for you guys, come to China during our game this time?"
Ian Watts: "To win!"
— The Grubs team set their aspirations high

There, it met the Chinese flipper of Saber. The team strategized to attack the exposed wheels of Saber, with Ian Watts claiming that their opponent was 'made of butter', and that The Grubs would 'chop it to bits', although he credited the team's driving skill.

"I hope that Sam, with his wedge, will go underneath, and then we'll go and chop its wheels off!"
— Ian Watts
Saber vs The Grubs

Chop hits the floor and is thrown upwards

While the bar spinners accelerated, Banger drove under the side of Saber and briefly trapped it, but Saber was able to escape before Mince and Chop could catch up. Mince waited too long atop the arena's circular saws, and Saber destabilized it, knocking it onto its own bar spinner, and this attack left Mince with limited mobility; Banger was also struggling for controlled movement. Saber also drove straight under Chop, and although the flipper weapon missed, Chop's weapon made contact with the floor and flung the whole robot into the air.

"If you're still going, I'm still alive!"
— Ian Watts to Sam Watts
Saber vs Mince

Mince is thrown into the Grinder

Saber vs Chop

Chop is sent recoiling upon contact with Saber

Ann Gribble activated the smokescreen in front of the Excalibur team, but Saber still threw the hardly moving Mince into the Grinder, which fully immobilized it. Chop landed an attack but caused no damage, and Banger finally displayed movement again, but was nearly flipped over by Saber's drive. Saber then reversed over the wedge of Banger, and backed straight into Chop's spinner. Damaged, Chop fled, and erroneously hit its own partner in Banger, immobilizing it, and it was then tossed over by Saber.

"I'm dead. You've killed me, Dad!"
— Sam Watts is immobilized by Ian Watts' driving
Saber vs Banger

The immobile Banger is flipped by Saber

Two of the three robots within The Grubs were now immobile, so the overall machine was counted out. Saber was declared the winner of the battle, and The Grubs was eliminated in the second round.

"It was a good match. We hit him hard a couple of times, he hit us hard and broke one of our robots! He's a tough driver, it's a tough machine, he deserves to win! Well done!"
— Ian Watts
Dark Knight vs Chop Grubs

Chop (foreground) recoils towards the wall following a collision with Dark Knight

In addition to the main competition, The Grubs also competed in a nine-robot Rumble at the end of Season 1, where it fought Blue, Crossfire, Dark Knight, Griffin, Ink Thorns, Nuclear Bomb, Steel Dragon and Violent Dragon. Due to damage sustained prior to the Rumble, only two segments were entered into the arena – Banger and Chop – both of which were humorously pursued by Violent Dragon moments before the battle started. Once the Rumble got underway, the two segments separated – Chop turned round and drove around one corner while getting its bar spinner up to speed, while Banger met Ink Thorns and Dark Knight on the opposite side. Chop proceeded to attack Violent Dragon, ripping one of its side panels off just as it was thrown onto its side by Dark Knight. Banger, meanwhile, had lost mobility near the floor rods, already leaving half of The Grubs eliminated. After accidentally reversing onto one of Violent Dragon’s dislodged panels, Chop drove away and spun round. The gyroscopic forces of its spinner momentarily caused it to throw itself onto its side, where it remained for several seconds before landing back on its wheels.

Nuclear Bomb vs Blue 1

An immobilized Chop lingers by the wall spikes as eventual Rumble winner Nuclear Bomb pushes Blue into it

Chop spent a few more moments driving around the arena, momentarily pursuing Steel Dragon in the process, before attacking Crossfire twice and causing damage to one of its legs. However, as it reversed, it was collected by Dark Knight, and sent flipping and recoiling into the wall, to the disappointment of Ian Watts. Chop was left completely immobilized by the impact, with the entirety The Grubs being eliminated from the Rumble as a result. In the post-battle interviews, Sam Watts presented the driver of eventual winner Nuclear Bomb with a piece of Violent Dragon’s head, as an unofficial trophy.

The reason The Grubs could not enter three working robots into the nine-robot rumble was because of damage sustained in an unaired Tag Team battle against Nuclear Bomb and Residual Wind, where The Grubs was partnered with American entry Blue. Although Blue was able to land repeated blows on Residual Wind, breaking its bar spinner and heavily denting its top armor, one section of The Grubs was also inadvertently immobilized by Blue. A second segment of The Grubs was also pushed into a Grinder, immobilizing The Grubs altogether due to two sections of the robot being considered immobile. Although Blue was still driving freely, and both Chinese robots were struggling for life, Blue and The Grubs were counted out based on the immobility of the multibot. This awarded the win to Nuclear Bomb and Residual Wind, although the producers apologized to the British and American teams after the battle, realizing that Blue's mobility should have allowed the battle to continue.

"We teamed up with the grubs and fought the carbide clone and the weird in effective horizontal crusher. We exploded the bar on the spinner and caved in their top. The crusher broke off the other bot pretty quickly. In the process we also accidentally squished a grub and pushed one into the screws. The grubs all died and they started counting us out for some reason? Said we lost in a KO despite the other two bots barely moving and Blue still working fine. Producers apologized after for counting us out."
— Team Bots FC on Reddit[1]


Season 1
Main Championship
Second Round
Round 1 vs. Crossfire Won
Round 2 vs. Saber Lost
Rumble vs. Blue, Crossfire, Dark Knight, Griffin, Ink Thorns, Nuclear Bomb, Steel Dragon, Tyrannosaurus Rex Lost
Tag Team
Partnered with Blue
Tag Team vs. Nuclear Bomb & Residual Wind Lost (unaired)


  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 2

NOTE: The Grubs' unaired Tag Team battle is excluded

Series RecordEdit

Series The Grubs Series Record
Season 1 Round 2
(1-1 record)
Season 1.5 Entered with Eater
Season 2 Did not enter

NOTE: John Frizell entered the 2018 UK Featherweight Championship with The Mighty Unicorn

Outside King of BotsEdit

Prior to their appearance in King of Bots, the Grubs team members shared several years of experience competing in other robot combat shows, most notably Robot Wars and BattleBots.

Ian Watts & Sam WattsEdit

Bigger Brother

Bigger Brother

A lecturer at the University of Brighton, England, Ian Watts originally competed in the aforementioned shows as part of Team Big Brother, a family team primarily consisting of himself and his children, Joe, Ellie and Sam. The team earned considerable success in the original series of Robot Wars with Big Brother, a wedge-shaped robot armed with a 'morning star' mace, and its successor Bigger Brother, armed with a pneumatic flipper. Big Brother competed in Series 3, reaching the Semi-Finals in its only appearance, while Bigger Brother finished runner-up in Series 5, reached the Semi-Finals in Series 6 and won the Minor Meltdown competition, the latter broadcast as part of the second series of Robot Wars Extreme.

During this period, Team Big Brother also competed in the original BattleBots competitions, initially with Bigger Brother (Season 2.0), then a repainted and renamed version of the latter known as Little Sister (Seasons 3.0-5.0), achieving a few victories throughout their appearances. They also entered the Robot Wars spin-off show Techno Games with Big Bro, a weaponless version of Bigger Brother, and Jake the Peg.

Ian Watts began his collaboration with John Frizell in 2015, where the pair entered Bull Dog into the first season of ABC's BattleBots reboot, but were not chosen to compete on the show. Along with Ian's son Sam and various students from the University of Brighton, they returned for Season 2 with Creepy Crawlies, a five-part multibot with an insectoid theme which was defeated by Son of Whyachi in its preliminary round. Ian Watts also competed in the 2018 season of BattleBots with another multibot, The Four Horsemen.

The Swarm

The Swarm, including Blenda, the basis for The Grubs

Team Big Brother returned to Robot Wars following the show's revival in 2016, competing with two new machines and with Sam Watts as a full-time member. They entered Series 8 with Or Te, a successor to Bigger Brother, which was defeated in the first round after having its removable link dislodged within seconds. After not being selected to compete in Series 9 with the latter, they returned for Series 10 with The Swarm, a clusterbot featuring five completely unique robots. These included Rubber Duck (flipper), Blenda (a horizontal spinner with an identical design to three of The Grubs' segments), Pinza (horizontal pincers) and two versions of Skye (one an invertible rammer, the other equipped with entanglement devices). The Swarm performed well in its debut appearance, finishing fourth in its heat, with Ian and Sam driving Blenda and the invertible Skye respectively.

The Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen at BattleBots in 2018

Ian Watts, Sam Watts, Ann Gribble and Ryan Pratt competed in the 2018 season of BattleBots, aired on the Discovery channel, with The Four Horsemen, a robot nearly identical to The Grubs. In their first battle, The Four Horsemen immobilized Double Jeopardy, before two segments of The Four Horsemen broke down in battle with Gamma 9, one of which was due to a battery fire. However, Gamma 9 also became immobile at the end of the battle, allowing The Four Horsemen to win via a split Judges' decision.

The Four Horsemen - 2019

The Four Horsemen at BattleBots in 2019

The Four Horsemen also returned for the 2019 season, with John Frizell and JME Anderson rejoining the returning team of Ian Watts, Sam Watts and Ann Gribble. For this season, Famine and War were redesigned, Butter Cup returned with minimal changes, and three new units were added: horizontal disc spinner Pizza, invertible wedge Daisy, and the entanglement version of Skye from The Swarm. Its first battle was a three-way melee, where it once again faced Double Jeopardy, alongside Lucky, losing the battle to Lucky. However, it redeemed itself by earning back-to-back wins against SubZero and Extinguisher, before finally losing to Bloodsport at the end of its season campaign. The Four Horsemen also collected an untelevised rumble victory over P1 and Extinguisher after the main competition had concluded.

John Frizell & JME AndersonEdit

The Kegs

John Frizell (center) and JME Anderson (right) with The Kegs

Terror Turtle

Terror Turtle

In addition to his collaborations with Watts, John Frizell, a former member and director of Greenpeace, also competed in Robot Wars as the captain of Team Terror Turtle. The team itself fought in Series 7-8 and 10 as well as the second series of Robot Wars Extreme; their robots included Terror Turtle, a two-wheeled heavyweight robot designed to resemble a turtle, Steel Sandwich, a two-wheeled middleweight with a height of only 12cm, and The Kegs, a two-part clusterbot with segments made out of one half of a beer keg.

JME Anderson, a jeweller by profession, joined Team Terror Turtle in Series 8 and Series 10, driving one half of The Kegs during the latter.

Ann GribbleEdit


The version of Pussycat driven by Ann Gribble

Ann Gribble is the widow of UK roboteer Alan Gribble, who achieved significant success in the original run of Robot Wars as a member and team captain of the Cold Fusion Team. Under Alan's captaincy, the team finished runner-up in Series 4 and reached the Semi-Finals of Series 5 with Pussycat, an unusual invertible pyramid-shaped robot armed with a custom-made cutting disc, driven by Alan and Ann's son, David. Following David Gribble's death in a motorcycle accident in October 2001, Pussycat did not compete in Series 6; however, it returned for the second series of Robot Wars Extreme, with Ann joining the Cold Fusion Team alongside Alan and fellow roboteer Stuart Barnwell. During this series, Ann served as Pussycat's driver for the Iron Maidens competition, where it finished runner-up to Chompalot. Ann Gribble also joined her husband to compete in the Featherweight Championship during the same series with Kitty, although this lost in the first round.


  • Although Mince is painted black in the official photo-shoot, it was blue in both of its televised battles.
  • The body of Banger was reused in the successor to The Grubs, Eater.



External LinksEdit

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