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Gadget, a robot used by humans on Mars in 2059. (TV: The Waters of Mars)

A robot — also called an automaton by at least the Tenth Doctor (PROSE: The Last Dodo) — was a mechanical device with the ability to do work without the help of a living organism. Unlike Cybermen, robots were fully mechanical, with no organic components. (TV: The Timeless Children) One type of robot was an android (a humanoid robot, such as Kamelion, who could also shape-shift). (TV: The King's Demons) Robots also came in other forms, such as dog-like (e.g. K9). (TV: The Invisible Enemy) As observed by the Spy Master while challenging Ashad's goal of mechanisation:

There's loads of robots. Throw a stick in this universe, you'll hit a robot. I used to do that. Any idiot can make themselves into a robot. It's not special.The Master [src]

On many planets, robots were used as a servile labour force. One known use was law enforcement on Earth in 2050. (TV: Regeneration, Mutant Copper) Their appearance sometimes generated strong emotions in people, a condition known as Robophobia or Grimwade's Syndrome. (TV: The Robots of Death)

They were powered in many different ways, such as by black light. (TV: Four to Doomsday)

Although robots were programmed with several hundred safety protocols inhibiting violence, a skilled mechanic, such as Taren Capel, could bypass these, allowing the robot to wreak havoc. (TV: The Robots of Death)

Although robots were mainly used for manual labour, they were occasionally used for military purposes by a wide variety of species. (PROSE: The Dust of Ages, AUDIO: Davros, TV: The Parting of the Ways, Dreamland, The Beast Below, The Vault of Secrets, The Caretaker) The most perfected of these killing machines was the Raston Warrior Robot which had highly attuned motion sensors and built in armaments. (TV: The Five Doctors) The Fourth Doctor maintained that they were "programmed to help people, not hurt them", but accepted such protocols could be overridden. (TV: The Robots of Death)

The Doctor and robots[]

The Tenth Doctor claimed to hate robots, specifically "funny robots". He clarified that it was not the fault of robots themselves, but of people "dressing them up and giving them silly voices. Like you're reducing them." He did concede, however, that robot dogs were "different". Soon after, he turned his view around, claiming to "love a funny robot". (TV: The Waters of Mars) He observed that the "trouble with robots" was that one could never be sure they had shut them down. (TV: Dreamland)

The Thirteenth Doctor opined that the best thing about robots was that they were "literally packed with power". (TV: The Ghost Monument) She noted that some of her best friends were robots. (TV: Kerblam!)


According to the Eleventh Doctor, the word "robot" was Czech. It was invented in 1920 by Karel Capek. It literally meant "forced labour". (COMIC: The Broken Man) According to the Second Doctor, "robot" was derived from the Czech word for "worker". (PROSE: Fallen Angel)


Earth robots "feast" on oil. (COMIC: Battle for the Moon)

Robots existed throughout the universe in many times, for many purposes. On Earth, humans used robots for work, and also for assistance and company. (TV: The Robots of Death) They were used in similar ways by the people of Sto; aboard the Starship Titanic, robots were dressed as Christmas angels and used for information. (TV: Voyage of the Damned)

Towards the end of the Thousand Year War on Skaro, rumours spread amongst the Kaleds that their enemy, the Thals, were developing robots. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) Centuries after the war had ended, the Thal scientist Tryana invented a series of robotic drill-heads that physically connected the power grid of the Thal City to the Dalek City's incubation level. (AUDIO: Return to Skaro) When Varna, a Kaled from a time early into, or just before, the Thousand Year War found herself in the Dalek City, she mistook the Dalek War Machines for robots created by the Thals. (AUDIO: The Lights of Skaro)

Robotic prison guards failed to protect the Great Key during the Last Great Time War. (COMIC: The Forgotten)

The Great Intelligence used several types of robots during its repeated invasions of Earth, most frequently Robot Yeti (TV: The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear) and also Spoonheads. (TV: The Bells of Saint John)

As observed by Mickey Smith, a Cyber-suit without organic components was essentially a robot. (TV: The Age of Steel) One damaged Cyber-suit whose organic components had perished continued to operate and made a failed attempt to assimilate Amy Pond. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) A Cyber-helmet which was stripped of its organic components was adopted as a companion by the Eleventh Doctor and named Handles, (TV: The Time of the Doctor) who the Twelfth Doctor remembered as a "little robot head". (TV: Deep Breath)

Following the Cyber-Wars, the Cybermen, led by Ashad, strove to ascend to mechanisation, purging themselves of organic components starting with the Cyber-Warriors, becoming "robots" as the Master put it. As well as achieving their goal of full automation, it would spare them the effect of the death particle, created by the Cyberium to wipe out all organic life. (TV: The Timeless Children)

Jack Harkness and the Ninth Doctor separately characterised the nanogenes as "sub-atomic robots", (TV: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) while the Eleventh Doctor described those used by the Daleks as "robots the size of molecules". (TV: Asylum of the Daleks)

In the 13th century, the Sontaran Jingo Linx created a Robot Knight. (TV: The Time Warrior)

Time traveling Daleks saw that both the British and the Germans constructed an army of robotic Proto-Daleks to complete their Dalek Project during the First World War. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

Quarks were robots that served in the Dominators' multi-galactic empire, (TV: The Dominators) active as early as the 1950s. (COMIC: Quiet on the Set) An offshoot of rebel Quarks went on to conquer worlds on their own. (COMIC: Invasion of the Quarks)

War Machines were robots built by the human slaves of the supercomputer WOTAN in a plot to take over the Earth in July 1966. (TV: The War Machines)

Robots were used by organics and cyborgs throughout the history of the universe. On 20th century Earth, a highly advanced robot was used by the National Institute for Advanced Scientific Research in an attempt to conquer the world. (TV: Robot)

In the early 21st century, the Law Machines were commissioned by Torchwood One to act as police in the United Kingdom. They were based on the War Machines, allowing WOTAN to almost immediately take control of them to cause chaos before being thwarted by Torchwood. (AUDIO: The Law Machines)

NASA sent robot probes to Mars by 2010. (TV: The Vault of Secrets)

Automatons were robots, alternately coloured red and yellow, used by the inhabitants of a monarchical planet in the 21st century. (TV: The Empty Planet)

By 2016, the Governors operated undercover robots such as Paul Smith. (TV: The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo, Brave-ish Heart)

In 2017, unfamiliar human archaeologists used salvaged Dalek parts to create what the Eleventh Doctor dubbed a "Quasimodo Dalek". With no organic components, this Dalek was purely robotic, but retained the Dalek urge to kill. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

Bill Potts noted that the film The Terminator featured "killer robots". (TV: Empress of Mars)

SniperBots were robots created on behalf of the Stenza. (TV: The Ghost Monument, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos)

Towards the mid-21st century, Professor Alistair Gryffen invented the Thought Matrix, a revolutionary robotic brain which allowed robots to think for themselves rather than be programmed. In his own words, robots before that point were "little more than wind-up toys". By 2050, robots were commonplace on Earth, including robot clowns. (TV: Robot Gladiators) The Department used CCPCs as a police force, as well as undercover androids. (TV: Sirens of Ceres) In addition, the Department created a duplicate of K9 Mark 2 which they named Orthrus. (TV: Jaws of Orthrus)

By the year 2059, humans were allowed domestic robots. They were also allowed to customise them. Roman Groom claimed that a friend had made her domestic robot look like a dog. Roman himself adapted a robot called Gadget out of the giant worker drones that built Bowie Base One. (TV: The Waters of Mars)

In 2066, the Trods were constructed on Trodos by MacTaggart to give himself power over his fellow colonists, secretly using them to enslave everyone. However, they ultimately turned against him and became independent. (COMIC: The Trodos Tyranny)

90% of Kerb!am's workforce were robots: factory TeamMates and delivery Kerb!am Men. A Ten Percent People-Powered Company, the remaining 10% were humans, or "organics", to satisfy People Power. (TV: Kerblam!)

By 2367, Solomon, a human trader, purchased his two robots for cheap on Illyria Seven. (TV: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship)

In 2400, Earth had a population of robots. When the Dalek invasion was defeated, robots were given a "feast" of high quality oil" while robotic news vendors operated in New York. (COMIC: Battle for the Moon)

In the 51st century, Professor Frederick Marius missed his dog, so he built a computer in the form of a dog, called K9. (TV: The Invisible Enemy) K9 travelled with the Fourth Doctor and Leela, then left the Doctor to stay with Leela on Gallifrey. (TV: The Invasion of Time) K9 later regenerated into K9 Mark 2, using a regeneration unit. (TV: Regeneration)

The Doctor later built K9 Mark II and travelled with him until the robot left with Romana II. (TV: Warriors' Gate)

K9 Mark III was also built by the Doctor and given to Sarah Jane Smith. (TV: A Girl's Best Friend) Sarah Jane kept the robot dog throughout the 80s, 90s and up until 2007, when he sacrificed himself to stop the Krillitanes. The Doctor built K9 Mark IV soon after for Sarah Jane. (TV: School Reunion) K9 Mark IV helped Sarah Jane seal a black hole. (TV: The Mad Woman in the Attic) He helped restore the Earth to its original time-space location. (TV: Journey's End)

The Heavenly Host were ordered by Max Capricorn to kill those aboard the starship Titanic. (TV: Voyage of the Damned)

Robots were used on Terminus to sterilise the spacecraft that brought those infected with Lazar's Disease. (TV: Terminus)

On one occasion, the CyberNeomorphs, a subspecies of Cybermen, used robots. (TV: Earthshock)

In Steven Taylor's time, Mechanoids were large spherical robots originally built by humans to help colonise worlds until they were abandoned and forgotten on Mechanus. The Mechanoids became a force in their own right and Mechanus became their home planet. They were one of the few beings who could prove a match for the Daleks. (TV: The Chase)

Smilers were robots aboard the Starship UK that taught children and also enforced the law on the ship. (TV: The Beast Below)

Robot Knights operated a 29th century sky vessel which fell through time to Earth in the 12th century. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)

In the 40th century, Sara Kingdom described the android Mark Seven as a "damn robot". (AUDIO: The Destroyers)

In the 42nd century, robot drills were used by Sanctuary Base 6. (TV: The Impossible Planet)

In the 51st century, Clockwork Droids served under humans aboard sister ships SS Madame de Pompadour and SS Marie Antoinette. (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace, Deep Breath)

In the 54th century, King Hydroflax was a cyborg with a robot body. (TV: The Husbands of River Song)

Human and Hath colonists used robot drones to construct a city on Messaline by 6012. (TV: The Doctor's Daughter)

In the 67th century, the Tsuranga used robo-dredgers. (TV: The Tsuranga Conundrum)

The Sontaran Field Major Styre made use of a robot. (TV: The Sontaran Experiment)

In 200,000, Cathica Santini Khadeni acknowledged the presence of humanoid robots in the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. (TV: The Long Game) Several androids were used aboard the Bad Wolf Corporation's Game Station in 200,100. (TV: Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways)

Lady Cassandra O'Brien.Δ17 made use of humanoid robots disguised as the "Adherents of the Repeated Meme" just prior to Earth Death in the year 5,000,000,000. She also used metal spiders during this event, (TV: The End of the World) and continued to use them on New Earth up until the year 5,000,000,023. (TV: New Earth)

Several types of robots served aboard the Needle, including as part of the Imperial Army. (COMIC: Miranda)

Undated events[]

Chumbley was the name given by Vicki Pallister to a type of robot that were controlled by the Rills. (TV: Galaxy 4)

The Eleventh Doctor found that the Justice Department's Teselecta was a shapeshifting robot piloted by miniaturised humans. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)

Handbots were medical robots designed to assist residents of the Two Streams Facility on Apalapucia, providing guidance and — if necessary — medicine (known as "kindnesses") to the patients. One was adopted and named Rory by an alternate Amy Pond. (TV: The Girl Who Waited)

On a Gliese 581d, a group of Emojibots (PROSE: Diamond Dogs) served as an interface to the microbots known as Vardy. (TV: Smile)

The Twelfth Doctor observed that the smartsuits were "sort of" robots. (TV: Oxygen)

During his stint as "the Inventor" on Destination, the Master constructed server robots to assist him in his manipulations. When the Master briefly abandoned the planet in the Doctor's TARDIS, the servers were left directionless allowing the First Doctor to fill the Master's power vacuum and assume control of the robots. (AUDIO: The Destination Wars)

When the Dalek Restoration Empire invaded Islos, the Emperor of the Restoration and his inner retinue contemptuously dismissed the Archivians as mere robots. (WC: The Archive of Islos)

Other references[]

During the Dalek-Movellan War, the Fourth Doctor and Davros described the cybernetic Daleks as robots like their enemies, the android Movellans. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks) At this point in their history, however, to cope with the logical Movellans, the Daleks had indeed engineered themselves into quasi-robotic creatures, relying on logic and dispensing with organic intuition. (PROSE: Dalek Combat Training Manual) Indeed, the Daleks could be taken for robots at first glance, as Sarah Jane Smith did. The Third Doctor, however, clarified that they were only "half robot". (TV: Death to the Daleks) In 2012, a commander ignorantly described a lone Dalek, named "Metaltron" by Henry van Statten, as a "tin robot". (TV: Dalek) Lesterson also mistook the Daleks for robots. (TV: The Power of the Daleks) Daleks posing as British Army Ironsides were presented by Edwin Bracewell as robots. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)

Being cyborgs, the Cybermen were separately characterised by Cutler and the Eleventh Doctor as "part man, part robot". (TV: The Tenth Planet, The Pandorica Opens) As Polly Wright noted, the Cybermen outwardly resembled robots. (TV: The Moonbase) As such, the Cybermen were commonly mistaken for robots at first glance. Those who did so included Polly herself initially, (TV: The Tenth Planet) Berger, Nyssa, Scott, (TV: Earthshock) and Rose Tyler in Pete's World. (TV: Rise of the Cybermen) As observed by Mickey Smith, a Cyberman without organic components was essentially a robot. (TV: The Age of Steel) The Eleventh Doctor referred to Mr Clever, a Cyber-Planner, as a "chess-playing robot". (TV: Nightmare in Silver) The Twelfth Doctor described the Cybermen as robots with "monkey brains". (TV: The Doctor Falls)

Sarah Jane Smith noted to Rose Tyler that she met "lots of robots" during her travels with the Doctor. (TV: School Reunion)

In 2008, teenager Clyde Langer predicted that, by the way technology was moving, he could have his brain put in a robot by age 40, which would allow him to live forever. (TV: Eye of the Gorgon)

Lucy Skinner observed that her father, while under the control of Sontaran Commander Kaagh, acted like a robot. (TV: The Last Sontaran)

Hugo claimed to be able to recognise robots by watching Star Wars. As such, he could tell that a Metalkind was not a robot. (TV: Sky)

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond once saw that what appeared to be a Robot King was beheaded, only to find that it was the real King. Fortunately, the Doctor was able to re-attach the head, as he recounted to Rory Williams. (TV: The Doctor's Wife)

Brian Williams theorised that the Shakri cubes were transport capsules "with a mini robot inside". (TV: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship)

Tricky Van Baalen's brothers had him believe that he was a robot, though he was actually a cyborg. (TV: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS)

While hiding his identity from River Song, the Twelfth Doctor suggested that "the Doctor" was probably off defeating giant robot fish. (TV: The Husbands of River Song)

Bill Potts observed that there were no "weird robots" at 11 Cardinal Road. (TV: Knock Knock)

Death's Head spent some in time in a universe that the Seventh Doctor called the "robot universe", given that it was populated by massive robotic lifeforms. (COMIC: The Incomplete Death's Head)

Emotions and awareness[]

Several forms of robots seemed to have thoughts and feelings of their own. K9 Mark I showed signs of "sulking", (TV: The Invasion of Time) and the later models did similar things. The K1 Robot showed signs of self awareness and a desire to spare Sarah-Jane's life. (TV: Robot)

An intelligent and emotional robot invented by Professor Carl Readon went berserk and attacked a city because the professor banished an assistant's dog from the laboratory. The robot was placated once the Third Doctor realised that it missed the dog and reunited the two. (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Robot)

An L3 series robot like Drathro could show no understanding of the meaning of organic life and conceived itself as a superior being. In a dilemma about saving a human community or not, with both possibilities implying its own "death", it chose to let the humans die. (TV: The Mysterious Planet)

Creators of robots[]

A society of self-replicating robots develop on Zazz's moon. (COMIC: The Gift)

For every robot, there was a creator, or creators, whether it was humans creating robots, or robots creating other robots. Frederick Marius for example invented K9 Mark I, (TV: The Invisible Enemy) and the Doctor built K9 Mark II (TV: The Invasion of Time) and IV. (TV: School Reunion) The K1 Robot was built by Professor Kettlewell. (TV: Robot)

Morvin Van Hoff and his wife Foon Van Hoff were able to fix robots. They displayed these skills by reactivating a Heavenly Host. Max Capricorn, or somebody associated with him, had the Heavenly Host robots reprogrammed. (TV: Voyage of the Damned) Taren Capel was capable of reprogramming the Voc robot slaves. (TV: The Robots of Death)