How to Build a Robot

How to Build a Robot


“They’re just so stiff. Stiffness communicates deadness, and a dead thing moving is really unsettling.” That’s how puppeteer and robotics expert David McGoran describes the problem with robots. We don’t trust them because we can’t relate to them – a problem he wants to tackle by gathering a team of designers to create a more approachable, natural robot, one that can be left on the streets of Bristol to charm its way into the hearts of passers-by. It’s an interesting premise and there are cool ideas in the programme, though the fact it’s narrated by David Tennant has the unfortunate effect that it feels at times like a W1A-style spoof.


As part of the Rise of the Robots season, David Tennant narrates a warm-hearted look at the future of robotics. Many humans have a cultural fear of robots, but eccentric Canadian robot inventor and puppeteer David McGoran hopes to fix this by making a new kind of machine that moves just like humans do. However, the real test comes when the machine is left on the streets of Bristol and programmed to find out more about humans, and the robot films its own extraordinary adventure, as it tries to connect with people in a whole new way.

Cast & Crew

Narrator David Tennant
Director James W Newton
Producer Steph Harris
Producer James W Newton