Return of top TV show to feature robot built at Wrexham Glyndwr University
19 July 2016
When the smash-hit BBC show Robot Wars returns to our screens this weekend there will be an unlikely captain among the metal carnage.
April Prince (pictured right) is more used to ballet than bashing steel machines, but the nine year-old from Wrexham will be at the helm of Team Glitterbomb for the programme’s first series in 12 years.
Built at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Glitterbomb stands out from the crowd with its bright pink exterior, three-foot axe and rapid movement.
April’s dad James will be in the driving seat, but she is very much in control and can’t wait to watch the family’s exploits – including mum Rachel – on the small screen.
“It was so brilliant to go there with our robot, everyone was clapping and cheering for us,” said April, a pupil at St Giles’ primary school.
“When we walked into the arena for the first time they were shocked to see Glitterbomb because of the colour and because she glowed in the dark!
“I was a little bit nervous but it was so much fun.”
A keen ballet dancer, when self-proclaimed “tomboy” April isn’t up to her eyes in motor oil and metal she spends her evenings at musical theatre or Kung Fu classes.
She has been around robots all of her life - as James has been building and presenting them for more than 15 years and even appeared on the show in the past - but admits she can “be girly” when she wants to be, despite plans to build her own robot one day.
Keeping their appearance a secret for almost six months has been the most difficult part of the journey, but James says it will have been worth it when they sit together and watch their exploits on television, along with millions of other Robot Wars fans.
“When the announcement came out that Robot Wars was coming back I wasn’t sure whether we should do it because I remember how stressful the whole experience was,” said James.
“That feeling didn’t last long as April was so excited and really wanted to do it – it’s difficult to say no to her!
“To do this show you need finances, time and facilities; we had the facilities thanks to the Engineering team at Wrexham Glyndwr University, and eventually sponsors came forward to help us by supplying or paying for parts – we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
“Glitterbomb was the result and turned heads throughout the whole experience, which should make us even more memorable for viewers.
He added: “I can’t say too much – I’ll leave people to watch the show and see how we do – but it was exciting and we hope to be back in the future.”
Team Glitterbomb would love to continue their journey, together with mascots Shimmer and Sparkle, and James is already planning to construct an even bigger and better machine.
“We’re already re-designing and improving Glitterbomb, but I really want to make something even more powerful,” he said.
“Being back gave us a taste for it, a real buzz. When we entered the arena we got a huge cheer, it was like being in a football stadium and made all the hard work worthwhile.
“We want more of that, but to do so we will need support from sponsors. If anyone out there is able to help then please get in touch.”
Presented by Dara o' Brian and Angela Scanlon, the programme will be aired on BBC Two every Sunday from July 24.
Among the old favourites returning for the first time since 2004 are Dantomkia, Razer, Matilda and Sir Killalot, as well as new stars Bonk and Nuts.
The six-part series will see 40 teams of amateur robot fighters light-up the Glasgow arena in a bid to be crowned champion. Original commentator Jonathan Pearce is returning, much to the delight of fans, and eight machines will take part in each episode.
To sponsor Team Glitterbomb, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow them on Twitter @glitterbombrobo and Facebook/glitterbombrobo.