We asked you to vote for your favourite robots. Over the next few pages we reveal the results…
Just to reiterate, here’s were the voting parameters we gave you:
• Only robots, no cyborgs (so no Daleks or Cybermen)
• No predominantly human-looking robots or androids – by that we mean if, like Data, you saw them waiting for a bus on the other side of the road, you probably wouldn’t notice they weren’t human. (So that includes the Buffybot, for all you Buffy fans who insisted on voting for her). This was a poll for robots who look like robots, not ones ashamed of their roots
• On the other hand, androids that looked more robot than human were allowed
• Largely inanimate AIs (such as HAL) did not count
And finally, before we start the countdown on the next page… HOW COME HECTOR THE HEADLESS FROM SATURN 3 WASN’T IN THE TOP 50? Good grief. He wasn’t even anywhere near. But invoking the power of executive editorship, we’re making him an honorary 51. So there.
Anyway, on with the countdown…
Kermit’s trusty “man”-servant and chauffeur was a welcome addition to the Muppets’ roster for their 2011 film comeback. He bears an uncanny resemblance to a real robot toy from the ’80s, the Tomy Omnibot 2000 (see below) but we really hope there are no copyright lawsuits waiting in the wings, because we want to see him in the next film too…
Rodimus has a rich (and incredibly complex) history, but this Autobot’s finest moment came in his first appearance, in Transformers: The Movie , where he took over the Matrix of Leadership after Optimus Prime’s death and saved the Universe from the all-consuming Unicron. Transforming into Rodimus Prime the new Autobot Leader proved a worthy successor to Optimus, abandoning his reckless, headstrong ways by embracing the wisdom and responsibility of the role bestowed upon him. Plus, he transforms into a badass flame red and yellow sports car.
As one half of Ratchet and Clank, the 2’2”, non-shooty half at that, Clank plays second fiddle to his Lombax best bro’ for most of the videogame series, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a robot to be reckoned with. Clank not only has the power to levitate and a mean right hook, but he has a secret history with a mysterious alien race known as the Zoni and an impossibly cute laugh. In many ways he’s the real star of the series.
Max is the computer/robotic pilot that commands a Trimaxium Drone Ship of the planet Phaelon, sent out to study the universe and bring back samples. At first he’s a bit stuffy and HAL-like, but that all changes after an accident involving an electricity pylon on Earth that knocks out his navigational abilities. He has to download some emergency replacement data stored in a young Earth boy’s head. But he downloads more than he bargained for, including human emotions and Pee-Wee Herman’s laugh (which was no coincidence as he was voiced by Paul Reubens). It sends him all a bit peculiar.
7-Zark-7, the bastard offspring of C-3PO and R2D2 (he had his dad’s looks and his “other” dad’s personality) never appeared in the original anime on which Battle Of The Planets was based. The original Japanese series, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman , was significantly re-edited and redubbed for US audiences, and 7-Zark-7 – forever stuck in his undersea monitoring station Center Neptune with only a flying robot dog (1-Rover-1) for company – was created specifically for Battle , to provide a kind of linking commentary and paper over the narrative cracks.
Metal Mickey may well have been the counter cultural ant-hero of the ’70s. Not just because he got away with being downright rude (he used to call various members of his adoptive sitcom family, “Stringbean” and “Bootface”), but because he used to get high on Atomic Thunderbusters (they got him very excited and made his eyes twirl around). If that wasn’t a surreptitious drugs reference, we don’t know what is. Here’s a factoid trivia fans: the show was produced by ex-Monkee Mickey Dolenz.
“Not a rat…” said the second Doctor of the Cybermen’s pets, “a Cybermat.” Which was nice and rhymed and all, but was a pretty redundant observation as they’ve never – in any of their incarnations – looked remotely like rats. Blowfish, silverfish and hairbrushes, sure, but never rats. There is a chance they shouldn’t be allowed in this list, as they could be cyborgs, like their Cyber-masters (and certainly in their latest incarnation in the eleventh Doctor’s “Closing Time” their toothy maws looked organic). But it’s never been strictly stated one way or the other on screen (we’re never sure whether to take the novels as canon) so we’ll let it slide.
The robot sidekick to Booster Gold, the flying golden egg traveled back to the present with the glory-seeking superdude from the 25th Century. Skeets’s databanks therefore held 500 years worth of history, which helped Booster make some really good financial investments and to look good by preventing disasters before they happened.
The rollerskating Tachikomas didn’t appear in the original Ghost In The Shell film (though they were present in slightly different form in the original Masamune Shirow manga) but they made an impression when they became the true stars of the spin-off series Stand-Alone Complex . While the Ghost In The Shell films were deep and metaphysical, Stand-Alone Complex was more like some anime Thunderbird s, and these guys were AI Riot Police. They were kinda cute too, and made great model toys.
Awww. WALL-E’s soul mate (they have souls, don’t argue) may look like a roll-on underarm deodorant, but Pixar has proven it could make a sink plunger look cute and adorable. And her space-walk dance with WALL-E is one of sci-fi’s most beautiful moments.
A pretty impressive performance in this chart for a character who only appeared in one scene of The Empire Strikes Back , and doesn’t even do much then. But he looks so cool. And he’s a bounty hunter, which for Star Wars fans makes him even cooler (they love their bounty hunters). So it’s no wonder he’s lived on in the expanded universe (games, novels, animated series…)
The robot that overcame the three laws of robotics in the movie version of I, Robot , Sonny looks so suspiciously like he was designed by Apple it’s a wonder they didn’t rename the film iRobot . He was voiced and motion-capture-performed by Firefly ’s Adam Tudyk, thus giving Whedon fans something to vote for in this poll (the Buffybot didn’t count under the “must not look like a human” rule).
Good grief! While we can’t argue with a lot of this top 50 (well, there is Metal Mickey), we have to admit major disappointment at False Maria coming so low. The sleek, cool, Bauhaus-inspired robot Maria from 1927’s Metropolis remains one of cinema’s most iconic images (and, indeed, an inspiration for C-3PO) and her creation is one of silent cinema’s greatest moments. You lot may have fallen out of love with her, but we haven’t. Go and watch Metropolis again (or indeed for the first time) then pop your apologies in the comments section below. Especially those of you who voted for Metal Mickey.
The clockwork man from L Frank Baum’s Oz books first appeared in Ozma Of Oz in 1907, some 14 years before playwright Karel Capek coined the phrase “robot” in RUR . He made a couple of appearances in silent movies based on Baum’s work but didn’t make the cut for 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz. He had to wait a further 46 years for his next big screen shot at stardom in the belated sequel Return To Oz , but – in his case – it was worth the wait: the movie’s Tik-Tok was a glorious, steam-punky creation and one of the few memorable elements of the film.
He was “played” by Michael Sundin, a trampolinist-turned-actor who later became a Blue Peter presenter, after being interviewed on the show about his role in Return To Oz . He was swiftly axed from the show, thoug, following tabloid news reports about his extracurricular sexual exploits, and later sadly died of an AIDs-related disease.
Robot film critics. Is there no job these metal monstrosities cannot do?
The Decepticons might all be on the same side, but that doesn’t mean they can’t stab each other in the back… Starscream’s defining characteristic (aside from his irritating voice and the fact he transforms into a freakin’ SPACE JET) is his treachery. Typically Starscream spends his time undermining and plotting the downfall of Megatron, something he almost always later regrets, and in many ways makes him the series’ most dangerous villain.
The Yin to Optimus Prime’s Yang, Megatron is best known as the devious Deception leader, one driven by a desire to wipe out Autobots and take control of Cybertron, Earth or whatever adopted home world they’re invading this week. He can typically transform into a gun, tank or weapon of some kind and when upgraded becomes Galvatron. Merciless on his better days, the best you can hope for after a run-in with Megatron is a journey to the scrapheap.
As a part of the franchise since the very first episode of the animated series (he was only the second Transformer to appear on screen) Bumblebee is one of the Autobots’ longest serving members. His big break came in Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers movie, where he served as viewers’ entry point into the world of giant intergalactic robot warfare and Sam Witwicky’s best bud. Despite not being able to talk in the film he was one of the few Transformers to connect on an emotional level and cuts a striking image with his canary yellow paint job. Bumblebee lives up to his own saying (from the series) that, “The least likely can be the most dangerous.”
Giant, blank-faced mutant-hunting robots created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (or Bolivar Trask in the fictional world) they’ve been making life difficult for the X-Men since 1965. So far, they’ve only had one brief appearance in the movies – in X-Men: The Last Stand – and even then they were only a creation of the Danger Room, not the real things, and we only got to see a head. However, they’ve made some impressive appearances in the various X-toons, and we’re hoping they may feature in a big way in X-Men: Days Of Future Past ; after all, that movie is based on a comic strip story partially set in a world teeming with Sentinels (and Pacific Rim is bound to make giant robots very popular).
This is probably the best photo we’ve ever posted on this site. This photo is sci-fi squared (and we used the phrase “sci-fi” deliberately). A giant lizard, a robot giant lizard and flying dinosaur thing – what more do you need? The chances of Mechagodzilla turning up in director Gareth Edwards new US version of Godzilla are probably zero, but hey, we can always hope for increasingly silly sequels. What the cinema needs now is an 80-meter tall stainless steel T-Rex with laser eyes. Are you listening Guillermo?
Walter the Wobot was Judge Dwedd’s trusty, loyal metal manservant with a speech impediment. Dwedd was actually irritated by him, but then, Dwedd was a very irritable character anyway, so the fact he put up with Walter and didn’t send him to the scrap yard probably meant he was secretly fond him. Walter and Dwedd parted ways when the 2000AD writers started making the strip darker and grittier, but he reappeared later as the owner of a used-droid dealership. Oddly absent from the recent Karl Urban movie.
Now this guy is impressive. Complain all you want about Doctor Who fans having to block vote for something when we banished the Daleks and the Cybermen from this poll for being cyborgs, but honestly the K1 fully deserves his place. He was the misunderstood metal nemesis in Tom Baker’s first story as the Doctor, growing to giant size in the final episode in a robot recasting of King Kong, with then current companion Sarah Jane Smith in the Fay Wray role.
He was designed by costume designer James Acheson, who also created the iconic look of the fourth Doctor, and went on to win Oscars for The Last Emperor , Dangerous Liaisons and Restoration. He also worked on the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films.
The spheroid good guys from Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks used to have a noughts and crosses battle with the bad guys’ cuboid robots in the show’s closing credits every week. The leader of the Zeroids, Sergeant Major Zero, was voiced by Windsor Davies of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum fame. You can recreate him by drawing a moustache on the zeroid above. No, we’re not kidding.
Forget the rubbish satellite thing from the movies, Soundwave is one of the most enduring Transformers because of his obscenely outdated, but still kinda cool in a retro way, alternate mode – a cassette recorder! He can jam signals, send communications and possesses a photographic memory. But the best things about him are his monotone voice (provided by Frank Welker) and the army of spies he can eject from his tape deck, including Ravage, Laserbeak and Overkill. Badass.
GERTY is Sam Bell’s wonderfully clunky, emoticon-loving, old-school robot/AI/manservant companion-in-exile from the brilliant 2009 claustrophobic SF thriller Moon . Voiced by Kevin Spacey, GERTY moved around the lunar station hanging from rails on the ceiling.
There’s only one thing you need to know about Grimlock: along with the other four Dinobots he can transform into a T-Rex. A robot T-Rex! What more could you want? At times he demonstrates a lack of respect for Optimus and in many ways is the Autobot equivalent of Starscream, possessing a superiority complex and a way with words that would make the average illiterate feel like Shakespeare (“Me Grimlock!”). He’s also incredibly powerful, possessing strength equal to, or greater than the Autobot and Decepticon leaders. One on one, few Transformers stand a chance.
There was more than a touch of Mickey Mouse about the robot hero of Disney’s The Black Hole , and you never know, now Disney owns Star Wars , he could just make an appearance in a galaxy far, far away (who knows where that black hole lead to?). He was also saddled with one of the clunkiest acronym’s ever devised – Vital I nformation N ecessary CENT ralized. Where was Gerry Anderson when they needed him?
“Biddi-biddi-biddi-biddi-biddi… Hiya Buck!” The most mimicable sci-fi robot ever, Twiki – voiced by Bugs Bunny’s Mel Blanc* – entranced the kids while mum and dad sniggered behind the cushions about how he looked like a sex toy.
* Unbelievably, his character-defining voice was briefly replaced by a more boringly traditional robot voice for a few episodes in season two by a producer who clearly had no idea why the show was a hit. He also insisted that Wilma should wear more practical clothes. Fan protests ensured that Twiki’s Mel Blanc voice returned. Wilma’s plunging neckline and too-tight trousers didn’t. The show was cancelled.
Number 5 is alive, thanks to some lightning and spurious science. Designed for military purposes (though the scientist who built him would rather teach him how to play the piano), once Number 5 becomes sentient he looks and sounds like a robotic E.T. He saves Ally Sheedy from an abusive relationship and goes on the run from the military fearing disassembly. He takes the name Johnny right at the end of the original films because he keeps hearing the song, “Who’s Johnny?” Pity he didn’t hear, “Who Wants To Be The Disco King?” by The Wonder Stuff. He was voiced by the same guy who voiced Frank The Pug in the Men In Black films.
The evil droid from Disney’s The Black Hole was a serious bad-ass with a permanent frown (you have to wonder if being built like that turns you bad). From the first second you clap eyes on him you know he’s just waiting for an excuse to eviscerate you with his whirly-blade attachments. Indeed, from some angles he looks like a giant, flying Swiss Army knife.
It’s probably no coincidence he’s red or called Maximilian either, on a metatextual level. The ending of the film – when the cast plunge into the black hole – goes all a bit pseudo-religious, with Maximilian merging with his creator (played by Maximilian Schell) and standing atop a cliff in a fiery depiction on Hell, like some metal Mephistopheles. Even after all these years, we’re not entirely sure why…
The Diagnostic Repair Drones are the servo robots on Leviathans in the Farscape universe, and each Leviathan creates DRDs that reflect its personality. The ones on Moya (the main ship in Farscape ) are quite benign cute little blighters, but the DRDs on Talyn – a warship – are red and armed with powerful weapons. (Moya’s DRDs did have lasers, but they seemed designed for repair work, and were only co-opted as weapons when necessary). DRDs also contained the nanobots that made communication between different races possible, injecting them into new arrivals as required.
While most of the DRDs were pretty interchangeable, a few did develop distinct personalities. It was always fun to spot One-Eye, a DRD with a broken eye stalk that Crichton tried to repair in the first episode. Then there were Pike, whom Crichton named after Star Trek ’s Captain Pike, and 1812, whom Crichton painted red, white and blue and taught to whistle the 1812 Overture . God, we miss the lunacy that was Farscape …
“You have 20 seconds to comply.” Surely one of the most famous lines ever uttered by a robot? The future of law enforcement (if they iron out a few bugs), ED-209 is a heavily-armoured tank on hydraulic chicken legs with a serious attitude problem. Even the sound of him clanking about and preparing his weapons is chilling. And yet, aside from the moment when he blasts an OmniCorp suit to smithereens during a board meeting, he other most famous moment is when he gets stuck on his arse in the curve of a stair well, mechanical legs flailing uselessly, at which point he looks more comical and a little bit pathetic. You almost feel sorry for him.
ED-209 was designed by Craig Davies, who also built the full-size models, and animated by Phil Tippett, a veteran stop-motion animator, which probably explains why ED moves uncannily like a Harryhausen dinosaur during his destruction scene.
The maintenance robots on Red Dwarf were as quirky as the show itself, and though they never spoke you kinda got the feeling they were cracking jokes amongst themselves at the crew members’ expense. They certainly seemed to a have a whole other life going on off screen, and we only got to hints of it surfacing every now and then. We know they were members of the John Wayne fan club. They often found themselves performing menial tasks – somewhat grudgingly – for Rimmer when he was still a pure hologram and unable to touch or hold thing. Kryten gave at least one of them a name – Bob – and Lister called his “missus” Madge, but they were called all sorts of other things by Rimmer (“El Skutto”, “Pinky and Perky”) none of which were probably official.
The famous T800 (as played by Arnie) and all subsequent Terminators seem to be cyborgs and so not eligible for this list. But earlier models were robots, and pretty bloody impressive they were too. Over the four films and TV series we’ve been introduced to various models of Terminators (some not even humanoid) but the ones everybody loves voting for here are the ones with the humanoid metal skeleton, light-up eyes and a love of stamping on human skulls – the T-800 minus the skin, basically.
Huey, Dewey and Louie were the servo-droids on the Valley Forge, the ship containing the last of Earth’s forests, which a scientist called Lowell hijacks when Earth authorities order its destruction. The droids were only named by Lowell (after Donald Duck’s nephews) after he nicked the ship at which point some serious male/droid bonding ensued. Multi-talented, they can weld, garden, perform surgery and play poker. The most lovable screen robots pre- Star Wars , you couldn’t help but feel sad when Louie is destroyed while trying to effect repairs to the hull of the ship, or Huey is damaged in a buggy collision.
The droids were performed by amputees, Cheryl Sparks, Steven Brown and Mark Persons, who walked on their hands.
Admittedly Hammerstein is by far the more popular of this pair, but he wouldn’t be where he is today without Ro-Jaws, so the short, toothy guy deserves his recognition too. The War Droid and the Sewer Droid were introduced in Ro-Busters in Star Lord in 1978. Later we learned they both had very separate histories before being brought together in the robot-rescue-team-for-hire, so their puntastic pair of names was just a happy coincidence. Their strip was one of the few that survived Star Lord ’s merger with 2000AD and it was the making of Hammerstein, though Ro-jaws fell the wayside to an extent. 2000AD decided to explore Hammerstein’s war history and he became the star of ABC Warriors, which cemented his reputation. Eventually he was even introduced into Judge Dredd continuity. Meanwhile, fans wait for news that some canny film producer has realised what a gift ABC Warriors would be as a movie…
Well done GLaDOS. Here come the poll results. “You are a horrible person.” That’s what it says. We weren’t even testing for that…
Given that for most of the Portal games psychotic testing AI GLaDOS is either a disembodied voice or a potato, it’s particularly impressive that she made it so high on our list of the best robots ever. It’s not a surprise though. GLaDOS is arguably the best-written character in this top 50, if not videogame history. Witty, sinister, curiously lovable and never less than laugh-out-loud funny, GLaDOS is a huge part of why the Portal games are now a genuine phenomenon. Guillermo Del Toro likes the character so much he saw fit to use Ellen McLain’s modulated voice in the first trailer for Pacific Rim . Now then, cake to celebrate?
Many people incorrectly call the robot from Lost In Space “Robby”, and indeed he does share some similarities with his Forbidden Planet forerunner (little wonder – he was built by the same man, Robert Kinoshita). But probably the main reason most people can’t recall his real name is because… he never had one! Yep, all through three seasons and 83 episode of the show, the poor Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot never had a name, despite arguably being the best character in the show. Hell, he even had a catchphrase: “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” Usually said while waving his stunted arms around.
Performed by Bob May and voiced by Dick Tufeld, the robot was usually paired with the duplicitous Dr Zachary Smith. However, probably a result of repeatedly being called such names as, “You bubbled-headed booby!” he never showed that much loyalty to Smith and preferred the company of young Will Robinson. The robot clearly had a mind of its own, and was even know to laugh, sing and play the guitar.
The star of the animated movie loosely based on the classic children’s book by poet Ted Hughes, The Iron Giant is a magnificent creation and one of the greatest animated characters of all time. That the film – from The Incredibles and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol director Brad Bird – wasn’t a massive success remains on of cinema’s greatest crimes. He’s the gentle giant who just wants to be Superman… and in the end he saves he world (or a small town, anyway) that tries to destroy him. If you don’t have a lump in your throat when he utters the line, “I am Superman!” then you’re the robot, mate.
We allowed voting on some robots to be split between different iterations of the same character when those iterations were significantly different (such as Gort and Lost In Space robot). But in the final results only one robot managed to make the Top 50 twice – Douglas Adams’ Marvin The Paranoid Android. It’s not really a surprise. While the film has many failings, it doesn’t mess up Marvin. The depressive, self-obsessed droid remains a brilliant creation, with a wonderfully cute new design that makes you want to hug him, and all those classic Adams lines (“I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed…” “Life? Don’t talk to me about life…” “I'd make a suggestion, but you wouldn't listen…”) are delivered with gorgeous new relish by Alan Rickman.
The Stan Laurel of the robot world, George Lucas’s incessantly whittering golden protocol droid was straight man in a comedy double act where the punchlines came in whistles and bleeps. With a look partly inspired by Metropolis ’s robot Maria, C-3PO was designed by Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and Star Wars production designer Norman Reynolds. The sculpt was by Liz Moore but finished by Vader sculptor Brian Muir who took over from Moore when she left the project in early 1976. More sadly died before C-3PO was actually built but her influence over the design remains.
Foam rubber beats CGI with the 1951 version of Gort knocking the 2008 version into a cocked hat. Gort is the silent robot sidekick to Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still (interestingly, in the short story on which the novel is based – “Farewell To The Master” by Harry Bates – it’s the robot who’s revealed as the master in the story’s twist). He spends most of the film simply standing motionless in front of Klaatu’s spaceship, but when he is called to action, he is awesome. The moments when he visor slides upwards to reveal his deadly, laser, Cyclops stare are chilling. He makes tanks evaporate with a single glance.
The suit is impressive because of its stark simplicity. In a cinematic era when most robots were lumbering, boxy, clanking, spaghetti-wired embarrassments, Gort has a restrained, sleek elegance. To make Gort appear seamless the production team employed a cunning piece of editing legerdemain. They made two suits – one with the join at the front, the other with the join at the back. They then only shot Gort with the seam out of sight.
Far and away the most popular Transformer, Optimus Prime is genuine robotic icon. Unwaveringly noble, a formidable warrior and possessing the ability to transform into one damn cool truck, Optimus is a symbol for everything good about the Transformers series. He’s inextricably linked with Peter Cullen’s instantly recognisable vocal performance, one which gives a giant alien robot the kind of gravitas usually reserved for the stage. His death in the Transformers: The Movie had the power to reduce grown men to tears – how many human characters can say that?
Robby is a true robot superstar, with an IMDB list of entries some film actors would envy. He originally appeared in Forbidden Planet in 1956, and then also starred a year later in The Invisible Boy . Since then he’s had cameos in films and TV series as diverse as Lost In Space , The Twilight Zone , Gremlins , The Man From UNCLE , The Addams Family , Mork And Mindy , Wonder Woman , Earth Girls Are Easy and Looney Tunes: Back In Action to name a mere few. He clearly has a very good agent.
He looks the business – possibly even a little cyberpunk, way before that term had even been thought of. Looking a little like an old wood-burning stove, it wouldn’t look out of place if he had a smoking chimney emerging from his back. In Forbidden Planet he also introduced Asimov’s Three Laws Of Robotics to the cinema audience – that was pretty hard SF for screen sci-fi of the ’50s. Was it just a coincidence, then, that one of the robots is Asimov’s tales is called “Robbie”? Probably not.
Red Dwarf ’s pathologically-loyal, housework-obsessed droid with a head like a novelty condom (insult © Arnold Judas Rimmer), Kryten 2X4B - 523P was originally played for one episode in series two by David Ross when the boys from the Dwarf discover him tending dutifully to a ship full of skeletons. Series creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor originally didn’t want any regular monster or robot characters, but both they and the audience fell in love with Kryten and he was brought back for series three, now played with unrestrained gusto by Robert Llewellyn, and has been a vital part of the Red Dwarf mix ever since.
WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class) is the indescribably cute star of Pixar’s ninth full-length movie, and one of the company’s hardest working stars. We don’t just mean his attempts to clean up the litter from a now-abandoned Earth; rather we’re referring to the fact that he silently carries the film all on his own for the first third of the running time.
There’s so much to love about WALL-E, from his tireless commitment to his job, his wonderfully expressive eyes and his Apple boot-up jingle. When EVE arrives, you share his joy and never feel silly that you’re watching a love affair between two machines. They certainly have about a zillion times more screen chemistry than Bella and Edward in the Twilight films.
To craft WALL-E’s “performance” the animators watched Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd films every day for a year to understand how emotions could be conveyed silently.
The TV Marvin tops his film counterpart’s position in this poll, and we can’t really argue with that. On the small screen we got even more of Marvin’s marvelously self-pitying quips (“Sorry, did I say something wrong? Pardon me for breathing which I never do anyway so I don't know why I bother to say it oh God I'm so depressed.”) but this time performed by Stephen Moore’s sonorous vocals. This Marvin is less “I’m in need of a hug” than the movie version and more “hug me and see if I care”. He also looks great, like an ’80s toy robot who’s hating every time a child stick a Smartie up his nose. And he has an Elvis quiff.
Douglas Adams claimed he based Marvin’s character on fellow comedy scriptwriter Andrew Marshall ( Whoops Apocalypse , 2Point4Children , Strange ), saying, “He’s exactly like that.”
Ah, K-9, the robot mutt that gave countless Who actors bad knees as they had to endlessly crouch to talk with him so the directors could keep both characters in shot. K-9 was the bane of many a Doctor Who production team. He was massively popular with the audience – honestly, a smart-alec tin dog with a laser in his nose? How could he not be a hit in the post- Star Wars , robot-loving world? – but he was a pain in the arse to write for and direct. He was too clever. He had a weapon, whereas the Doctor was traditionally against weapons. His remote control system was notoriously wiggy and would interfere with studio cameras. He couldn’t travel over any surface that wasn’t totally smooth (frequently during outside filming, the FX team would resort to pulling him along using string). He couldn’t even get through the TARDIS doors without help because of the lip.
So, having been introduced into the show in 1977, he was written out in 1981 accompanied by a public outcry. But that wasn’t the end of the story. He had a solo adventure in 1981 with Sarah Jane Smith in K9 And Company (a failed pilot, essentially). Then he had a cameo in “The Five Doctors”. Then he appeared in the revived Doctor Who for a few adventures with the Tenth Doctor and put in a few appearances in The Sarah Jane Adventures , before undergoing a bizarre regeneration and turning into a flying creation for Australian TV. But he’s still a smart-alec.
Close but no cigar, Bender Bending Rodriguez. Not that he needs much of an excuse. Futurama ’s gloriously un-PC droid with the shiny metal ass, who needs alcohol to stay sober, is the runner-up in the poll, but we reckon that’s good enough for him to use an excuse to charm a few laydeez.
“Skwee-tweep-tweep-blip–di-blip swark-kikiki-peep-peep-whooOOOooo pweep… brrrrrripp.” Which, roughly translates as, “Wahay, I won. Take that you mincing, whinging, golden space butler. And don’t go all ‘Protocol this… protocol that’ on me… you’re being replaced by Google Translate in Episode VII buddy.”