The Experimental Prototype Robots were a series of robots beginning with the original K1, which was designed and built by Professor J.P. Kettlewell of the National Institute for Advanced Scientific Research. It was intended to replace humans in difficult and dangerous tasks, citing examples of mining and activities involving radioactive material.
Kettlewell's original model
K1 was created when Kettlewell discovered a metal, which he called "living metal", that could grow with the robot. Though the robot was very big, it was very good at manipulating devices and could even operate the disintegrator gun it was given by the institute.
It had a very literal mind. It was programmed with a prime directive based on Kettlewell's own mind, intended to keep it from killing humans. Should it kill humans, it would become confused and go mad.
The National Institute for Advanced Scientific Research was led by Hilda Winters, who was a member of the Scientific Reform Society. Kettlewell, frustrated already by his lack of progress getting the rest of humanity to stop polluting the planet, and turn to cleaner forms of energy, gave the SRS the robot, and gave them help in how to reprogram it. He genuinely believed they could do some good, but he hadn't anticipated they would murder others to achieve their goals.
The SRS used the robot to steal the components of the disintegrator gun and destructor codes for the missiles of America, China, and Russia. When Sarah Jane Smith met it, she cared for it, being confused by the orders it had to destroy.
When it killed Kettlewell, it developed an Oedipus complex. It took Sarah captive, planning to keep her safe as it launched the missiles. It would destroy mankind and build more machines like itself.
The countries activated their fail safe codes and stopped the launch. As the robot attempted to escape, the Brigadier blasted it with the disintegrator gun, but the effect made it grow to an enormous size. It took Sarah and placed her on top of a building away from harm, as it attacked UNIT.
The Fourth Doctor, having found a metal virus that Kettlewell also discovered, took a bucket of the liquid and, riding in Bessie, splashed the robot with the virus. It ate away at the robot until it returned to its normal size and disintegrated. (TV: Robot)
Reconstructed by UNIT
Professor Kettlewell's work was suppressed during the subsequent cover-up, but the technology was used to develop new projects. (AUDIO: The Relics of Jegg-Sau) UNIT was given the formula for living metal, with express instructions to keep it safe.
In 2016, the British government ordered UNIT to begin experimenting with living metal, thinking that human technology had advanced to the point where they would be able to control it; they were wrong. A new robot - K2 - was created, with both the appearance and memories of K1. It began growing at an alarming rate and escaped into downtown London where it went on a rampage. Osgood quickly phoned the Twelfth Doctor; who saved her from being stepped on by K2. He materialised his TARDIS near K2 and used his sonic screwdriver to dismantle it. Unfortunately, the Doctor had arrived a few moments too late and was unable to prevent K2 from destroying a famous London landmark: the London Eye. (COMIC: Robo Rampage)
In the 27th century, one of the ancient robot prototypes — labelled "K3" — was found, and stolen by Robert Eliot Whitman. He intended to use it to help build a colony on the remote planet Jegg-Sau. The colonists activated it and used it to build a workforce of similar robots. The colonists were forced to abandon the planet and abandon the robots, leaving them confused and lonely. Hoping to restore his ancestor's reputation and claim some of the patent royalties, Kettlewell's descendant Ethan Kalwell traced Whitman's robot to the abandoned colony. He found four of the robots. A year after Kalwell's shuttle crashed, Bernice Summerfield also crashed while flying over Jegg-Sau. The robots, driven mad by their isolation, absorbed energy and used it to grow to gigantic size to attack the jets coming to rescue Benny. She tried vainly to contact the jets to get them to call off their attack, but her pleas were unheard. The robots were eventually destroyed. (AUDIO: The Relics of Jegg-Sau)
In an alternate dimension in which the Doctor's adventures existed as a fictional TV show called Doctor Who, a fan dressed as K1 was present at a Doctor Who convention which the Eleventh Doctor visited with Ally in 2013. (COMIC: The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who)
In the video game Happy Deathday, played by Izzy Sinclair on the Time-Space Visualiser, K1 was among a host of "every single enemy" that the Doctor had ever defeated, who were assembled by the Beige Guardian and pitted against the Doctor's first eight incarnations. (COMIC: Happy Deathday)
Behind the scenes
- K1 is a homonym of the Finnish word "kone", which means machine.
- When the K1 robot was being restored for The Doctor Who Experience, it was found in such a poor condition it was almost entirely rebuilt.
- Michael Kilgarriff, who played K1 in the television story Robot, reprised his role for the audio adventure The Relics of Jegg-Sau.
- K1 makes an appearance in the level "The Dalek Extermination of Earth" in the video game LEGO Dimensions.