Taskmaster (TV series)

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Taskmaster
Taskmaster logo.jpg
Genre
Created byAlex Horne
Directed by
  • Andy Devonshire
  • Peter Orton
Presented by
Theme music composerThe Horne Section
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series10 (+ 2 specials)
No. of episodes75 (inc. 2 specials) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Richard Allen-Turner
  • James Taylor
  • Jon Thoday
  • Hilary Rosen
  • Rob Aslett
  • Richard Watsham
  • Andy Devonshire
  • Alex Horne
Producer(s)
  • Andy Cartwright
  • Alex Horne
Editor(s)
  • Thomas Perrett
  • Mark Sangster
Running time60 minutes (inclusive)
Production company(s)Avalon Television
Release
Original network
Picture format16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original release28 July 2015 (2015-07-28) –
present
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Official website

Taskmaster is a British comedy panel game show originally created by British comedian Alex Horne during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2010, and adapted for television in 2015. New episodes premiered on Dave from 2015 until 2019, when the series was acquired by Channel 4.[1] The TV series stars comedian and actor Greg Davies in the title role of the Taskmaster, issuing simple comedic and bizarre tasks to five regular contestants – usually comedians – with Alex Horne acting as assistant to Davies and as umpire during the challenges.

As of 16 October 2020, 75 episodes of Taskmaster have aired, including two specials. Channel 4 has commissioned six additional series, which will air over three years.[2] The tenth series premiered on 15th October 2020.[3]

International versions of the programme have been made in Belgium, Sweden (Bäst i Test), Spain, Denmark (Stormester), Norway (Kongen Befaler), Finland (Suurmestari), and New Zealand. A US version starred Reggie Watts and Alex Horne, though it only lasted one season. A tie-in book and board game have been produced. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Horne hosted #HomeTasking, a series of tasks for people to film in their own homes; for each task, a montage of attempts was posted on YouTube, and Davies selected winners.

Format[edit]

The game consists of simple and bizarre challenges, ostensibly set to the contestants by Davies in his role as the Taskmaster, with assistance provided by Horne. The tasks – usually performed in isolation, but occasionally in teams – are designed to encourage the players to think laterally and creatively to complete the task.

Each episode starts with the Prize Task, in which each contestant brings in a prize following a given theme (for example, the contestant's most unusual item; their most treasured item; their trendiest item of clothing; etc.). The prizes are all awarded to the winner of that episode.

Three or four pre-recorded tasks follow, usually taking place in and around the Taskmaster house, a former groundskeepers' cottage located on the outskirts of a golf course in Dukes Meadows, Chiswick.[4][5] Tasks are delivered to the players in an envelope with a wax seal, which the player reads aloud. Examples of past tasks include "Completely empty this bathtub – fastest wins", "Impress this mayor – you have 20 minutes", and "Throw a teabag into a mug from the furthest distance. You have exactly 1 hour." After the tasks are shown to the audience, the players justify their creative methods and argue to Davies – and among themselves – as to why they did best. After all the attempts at the task have been seen, judgement is passed by Davies and points are awarded (or players disqualified) accordingly. Normally the winner of the task gets five points, with second place score four points and so on. Some episodes feature team tasks, in which one group of two contestants and a second group of three contestants work together. The groups remain the same throughout each series. Generally, five points are split between the teams, with each member getting the same number.

The final challenge is performed live in the studio. In the event of a tie, the winner is decided by a special tie-breaker task, which may either be pre-recorded or performed live.

In addition to the prizes for each episode, at the end of each series a trophy is presented to the contestant who has scored the most points over the course of the entire series. From the second series onward, the trophy took the form of a golden bust of Davies.

History[edit]

Conception and beginning[edit]

According to creator Alex Horne, the show was inspired by The Crystal Maze, his time working on Big Brother,[6] and his jealousy at his friend Tim Key's win of the Edinburgh Comedy Award.[7]

Horne first tested the idea in 2009, where he set 20 comedians – including Stuart Goldsmith, Josie Long, Mark Watson, Tim Key, Joe Wilkinson and eventual winner Mike Wozniak[8] – monthly tasks by email over the course of a year. The first task was "Put as much money into my bank account – most money wins."[7][9] At the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he hosted "The Taskmaster",[10] a "two-hour drunken show"[7] where he revealed the players' attempts at each task and announced the winner. Horne hosted "Taskmaster II" the following year with ten contestants;[9] it was won by Josie Long.[11]

With Avalon as the production company, Horne pitched the programme to several different broadcasters, including Channel 4, before it was picked up by Dave. Hilary Rosen was Deputy Director of Commissioning for the channel at the time; she was concerned with the structure of the show, as the same contestants feature in every episode of a series. This differs from other panel shows, though Horne describes Taskmaster as "more like a sitcom". Another issue with this format point is that it made shooting a traditional pilot implausible.[9] However, the aspects of the show filmed before a studio audience were tested in a pilot.[12] Davies was originally given a cane with a golden "T" on the base, which was not used subsequently as Davies felt ridiculous with it.[13]

In the first series, the show was shot with the intention that the episodes could be shown in any order, though Rosen later realised that "this was a show you record and transmit in the same order", comparing the show to a soap opera.[9] Horne says that the comedians began to sign up for the show after Frank Skinner agreed to take part.[9]

Broadcast[edit]

The first series was announced on 19 September 2014.[14] Lasting six episodes, it aired in 2015 from 28 July to 1 September, featuring contestants Frank Skinner, Josh Widdicombe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan and Tim Key. The winner of the series was Josh Widdicombe.

On 24 September 2015, it was announced that the show had been recommissioned for a second and third series,[15] and the second series premiered on 21 June 2016. Lasting five episodes and concluding on 19 July, the series featured Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan and Richard Osman, with Katherine Ryan becoming the eventual winner.

A one-off special edition featuring five television executives was presented as a stage show during the 2016 Edinburgh International Television Festival. This version included pre-recorded tasks filmed at the house location and a final stage task.[16] The contesting executives were Zai Bennett (Sky Atlantic), Nerys Evans (Channel 4), Jeff Ford (Fox Networks Group UK), Alan Tyler (BBC) and Claire Zolkwer (ITV).[17]

The third series, also consisting of five episodes, was initially planned for 2017 but aired earlier due to positive reception of the previous series;[18] it was broadcast from 4 October 2016 to 1 November. The contestants for series three were Al Murray, Dave Gorman, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett and Sara Pascoe; the winner was Rob Beckett.

On 3 October 2016, the show was renewed for a fourth and fifth series, each of which were to last eight episodes.[18] Series four featured Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett, Lolly Adefope, Mel Giedroyc and Noel Fielding, and culminated in a win for Noel Fielding. It was broadcast in 2017 from 25 April to 13 June. The fifth series aired in the same year from 6 September to 1 November, with a line-up of Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and Sally Phillips. The winner was Bob Mortimer.

A two part "Champion of Champions" special was announced in September 2017; the first part aired on 13 December 2017 with the second part on 20 December.[19] The contestants are the winners of the first five series – that is, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Rob Beckett, Noel Fielding and Bob Mortimer.[20] The winner was Josh Widdicombe, who received a life-size trophy of Davies's headless body.

On 22 February 2018, it was announced that Taskmaster had been renewed for four more series lasting 10 episodes each. The sixth series, which aired from 2 May to 4 July 2018, featured Tim Vine, Russell Howard, Asim Chaudhry, Liza Tarbuck and Alice Levine.[21][22] Liza Tarbuck was the winner.

The seventh series aired between 5 September to 7 November 2018, featured James Acaster, Jessica Knappett, Kerry Godliman, Phil Wang and Rhod Gilbert.[23][24][25] The series was won by Kerry Godliman.

The contestants for series eight were confirmed by Digital Spy in February 2019 as[26] Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha and Sian Gibson. The winner was Lou Sanders.

After the conclusion of series eight, the ninth series was confirmed to have contestants David Baddiel, Ed Gamble, Jo Brand, Katy Wix and Rose Matafeo. It premiered on 4 September 2019.[27] The winner was Ed Gamble.

On 22 November 2019, after talks of the show being bought by another network, it was confirmed that the show would move to Channel 4 and had been renewed for six series over the following 3 years.[28]

In July 2020, the tenth series was announced to feature panellists Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan and Richard Herring. Production of the series was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the tasks had been filmed prior to UK going into lockdown, but some team tasks were modified to follow social distancing, and studio sections were recorded without an audience.[29] The series began on 15 October 2020.[3]

Production[edit]

Tasks are filmed with each contestant separately in a house in Chiswick, London.[30] However, Alex Horne's initial plan was to carry out the tasks in the comedians' houses, saying in an interview: "I didn't realise how impractical that would be both in terms of cost – and their lives."[9] Filming tasks takes roughly one day per contestant per episode, filming around eight tasks a day, with each day of filming spread out across several months. Prior to the studio filming, contestants are forbidden to discuss their tasks and are not shown any footage from the tasks, so that studio reactions are genuine.[30]

Horne designs the tasks to avoid the need for any specialist equipment, so that "people at home [are] able to do the same things".[30] Initially, they planned to have Horne show the right way to complete the task after showing the contestants' attempts, but this was abandoned as "it supposed there was a right way."[12] He also notes that some tasks in the first series involved the general public, but later series avoided this in order to prevent coming across as a "prank show". Some tasks are vetoed by producers for pragmatic reasons, such as "paint the biggest thing red".[30] Others do not turn out as expected, such as "burst all these bubbles [on a massive roll of bubble wrap] – fastest wins", which had been attempted in three different series but not shown in any of them, as "it always ends with people jumping on it for hours".[7]

When asked why he did not present the show, Horne has said that "that was never the plan [...] My role as sidekick is to be sneaky and you can run it from the sides in a really funny way."[9] Horne and Greg Davies had never worked together prior to Taskmaster;[12] Davies was chosen "because of his authority," Horne says in an interview. He adds that in the pilot, Davies acted as a "dictator figure cross with everyone," but his tone in the show is more relaxed, as "if someone doesn't do something well we really enjoy it so he can be himself."[31]

The series director for Taskmaster is Andy Devonshire, who was previously series director on The Apprentice and the BBC versions of The Great British Bake Off. Peter Orton was director for three episodes in 2016.[32] Production designer James Dillion is responsible for the studio and filming locations as well as the caravan featured from series four onwards,[18] having been past known for designing the original set for The Crystal Maze.[33] The show's theme music was written and performed by The Horne Section, a jazz band led by Horne.[34]

Contestants[edit]

Each series features five new contestants; the Champion of Champions specials featured the return of the first five series winners. The guests always sit in alphabetical order by first name.[30]

Indicator(s)
  •   Champion of Champions series
  •   Champions
  •   Champion of Champions

Series Seating
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 Frank Skinner Josh Widdicombe Roisin Conaty Romesh Ranganathan Tim Key
2 Doc Brown Joe Wilkinson Jon Richardson Katherine Ryan Richard Osman
3 Al Murray Dave Gorman Paul Chowdhry Rob Beckett Sara Pascoe
4 Hugh Dennis Joe Lycett Lolly Adefope Mel Giedroyc Noel Fielding
5 Aisling Bea Bob Mortimer Mark Watson Nish Kumar Sally Phillips
CoC Bob Mortimer Josh Widdicombe Katherine Ryan Noel Fielding Rob Beckett
6 Alice Levine Asim Chaudhry Liza Tarbuck Russell Howard Tim Vine
7 James Acaster Jessica Knappett Kerry Godliman Phil Wang Rhod Gilbert
8 Iain Stirling Joe Thomas Lou Sanders Paul Sinha Sian Gibson
9 David Baddiel Ed Gamble Jo Brand Katy Wix Rose Matafeo
10 Daisy May Cooper Johnny Vegas Katherine Parkinson Mawaan Rizwan Richard Herring

For two episodes of series nine, Katy Wix was absent in studio recordings due to illness. Former contestants Kerry Godliman (episode five) and Katherine Ryan (episode six) stood in and participated in the stage task.[35]

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1628 July 2015 (2015-07-28)1 September 2015 (2015-09-01)
2521 June 2016 (2016-06-21)19 July 2016 (2016-07-19)
354 October 2016 (2016-10-04)1 November 2016 (2016-11-01)
4825 April 2017 (2017-04-25)13 June 2017 (2017-06-13)
5813 September 2017 (2017-09-13)1 November 2017 (2017-11-01)
CoC213 December 2017 (2017-12-13)20 December 2017 (2017-12-20)
6102 May 2018 (2018-05-02)4 July 2018 (2018-07-04)
7105 September 2018 (2018-09-05)7 November 2018 (2018-11-07)
8108 May 2019 (2019-05-08)10 July 2019 (2019-07-10)
9104 September 2019 (2019-09-04)6 November 2019 (2019-11-06)
101015 October 2020 (2020-10-15)17 December 2020 (2020-12-17)

Series 1 (2015)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Frank Skinner, Josh Widdicombe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan and Tim Key.

Widdicombe was the overall winner, with Skinner and Ranganathan tying as runner-ups, Key in 4th and Conaty finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
11"Melon Buffet"Frank Skinner28 July 2015 (2015-07-28)446,000
22"The Pie Whisperer"Roisin Conaty4 August 2015 (2015-08-04)381,000
33"The Poet and the Egg"Josh Widdicombe11 August 2015 (2015-08-11)305,000
44"Down An Octave"Josh Widdicombe18 August 2015 (2015-08-18)406,000[a]
55"Little Denim Shorts"Frank Skinner25 August 2015 (2015-08-25)495,000
66"The Last Supper"Tim Key1 September 2015 (2015-09-01)505,000

Series 2 (2016)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan and Richard Osman.

Ryan was the overall winner, with Richardson as runner-up, Osman in 3rd, Brown in 4th and Wilkinson finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
71"Fear of Failure"Richard Osman21 June 2016 (2016-06-21)652,000
82"Pork is a Sausage"Jon Richardson28 June 2016 (2016-06-28)752,000
93"A Pistachio Éclair"Katherine Ryan5 July 2016 (2016-07-05)764,000
104"Welcome to Rico Face"Doc Brown12 July 2016 (2016-07-12)737,000
115"There's Strength in Arches"Richard Osman19 July 2016 (2016-07-19)666,000

Series 3 (2016)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Al Murray, Dave Gorman, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett and Sara Pascoe.

Beckett was the overall winner, with Gorman as runner-up, Murray in 3rd, Pascoe in 4th and Chowdhry finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
121"Pea in a Haystack"Al Murray4 October 2016 (2016-10-04)838,000
132"The Dong and the Gong"Rob Beckett11 October 2016 (2016-10-11)849,000
143"Little Polythene Grief Cave"Paul Chowdhry18 October 2016 (2016-10-18)949,000
154"A Very Nuanced Character"Dave Gorman25 October 2016 (2016-10-25)1,002,000
165"The F.I.P."Rob Beckett1 November 2016 (2016-11-01)1,023,000

Series 4 (2017)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett, Lolly Adefope, Mel Giedroyc and Noel Fielding.

Fielding was the overall winner, with Lycett as runner-up, Giedroyc in 3rd, Dennis in 4th and Adefope finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
171"A Fat Bald White Man"Noel Fielding25 April 2017 (2017-04-25)787,000
182"Look At Me"Mel Giedroyc2 May 2017 (2017-05-02)777,000
193"Hollowing Out A Baguette"Joe Lycett9 May 2017 (2017-05-09)752,000
204"Friendship Is Truth"Mel Giedroyc16 May 2017 (2017-05-16)835,000
215"Meat"Hugh Dennis23 May 2017 (2017-05-23)837,000
226"Spatchcock It"Lolly Adefope30 May 2017 (2017-05-30)860,000
237"No Stars For Naughty Boys"Joe Lycett6 June 2017 (2017-06-06)794,000
248"Tony Three Pies"Mel Giedroyc13 June 2017 (2017-06-13)759,000

Series 5 (2017)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and Sally Phillips.

Mortimer was the overall winner, with Watson and Phillips tying as runner-ups, Bea in 4th and Kumar finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
251"Dignity Intact"Bob Mortimer13 September 2017 (2017-09-13)799,000
262"The Leprechaun or the Lesbian"Sally Phillips20 September 2017 (2017-09-20)746,000
273"Phoenix"Bob Mortimer27 September 2017 (2017-09-27)682,000
284"Residue Round the Hoof"Mark Watson4 October 2017 (2017-10-04)656,000
295"A Wind-Dried Puffin"Mark Watson11 October 2017 (2017-10-11)664,000
306"Spoony Neeson"Sally Phillips18 October 2017 (2017-10-18)663,000
317"Boing Boing"Bob Mortimer25 October 2017 (2017-10-25)627,000
328"Their Water's So Delicious"Sally Phillips1 November 2017 (2017-11-01)821,000

Champion of Champions (2017)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Bob Mortimer, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding and Rob Beckett, who were the winners of the first five series of the show.

Widdicombe was the overall winner, with Beckett as runner-up, Ryan in 3rd, Fielding in 4th and Mortimer finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
331"Wiley Giraffe Blower"Katherine Ryan13 December 2017 (2017-12-13)798,000
342"I've Sinned Again"Josh Widdicombe20 December 2017 (2017-12-20)807,000

Series 6 (2018)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Alice Levine, Asim Chaudhry, Liza Tarbuck, Russell Howard and Tim Vine.

Tarbuck was the overall winner, with Vine as runner-up, Howard in 3rd, Chaudhry in 4th and Levine finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [36]
351"The Old Soft Curved Padlock"Alice Levine2 May 2018 (2018-05-02)1,214,000
362"Tarpeters"Liza Tarbuck9 May 2018 (2018-05-09)886,000
373"One Warm Prawn"Liza Tarbuck16 May 2018 (2018-05-16)942,000
384"BMXing!"Russell Howard23 May 2018 (2018-05-23)830,000
395"H"Tim Vine30 May 2018 (2018-05-30)749,000
406"We Met at Mealtimes"Tim Vine6 June 2018 (2018-06-06)730,000
417"Roadkill Doused in Syrup"Russell Howard13 June 2018 (2018-06-13)N/A[b]
428"What Kind Of Pictures?"Russell Howard20 June 2018 (2018-06-20)795,000
439"The Bubble Brothers"Alice Levine27 June 2018 (2018-06-27)875,000
4410"He Was a Different Man"Asim Chaudhry4 July 2018 (2018-07-04)1,090,000

Series 7 (2018)[edit]

Panellists for this series were James Acaster, Jessica Knappett, Kerry Godliman, Phil Wang and Rhod Gilbert.

Godliman was the overall winner, with Knappett as runner-up, Gilbert in 3rd, Acaster in 4th and Wang finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air date[c]UK Viewers [37][d]
451"The Mean Bean"Kerry Godliman5 September 2018 (2018-09-05)1,295,000
462"My Eyes Are Circles"Kerry Godliman12 September 2018 (2018-09-12)1,404,000
473"Twelve Blush Majesty Two"James Acaster19 September 2018 (2018-09-19)1,197,000
484"OLLIE"Rhod Gilbert26 September 2018 (2018-09-26)1,007,000
495"Lotta Soup"Jessica Knappett3 October 2018 (2018-10-03)1,341,000
506"A Coquettish Fascinator"James Acaster10 October 2018 (2018-10-10)1,132,000
517"The Perfect Stuff"Rhod Gilbert17 October 2018 (2018-10-17)1,292,000
528"Mother Honks Her Horn"Rhod Gilbert24 October 2018 (2018-10-24)1,265,000
539"The Pendulum Draws The Eye"Kerry Godliman31 October 2018 (2018-10-31)839,000
5410"I Can Hear It Gooping"James Acaster7 November 2018 (2018-11-07)1,268,000

Series 8 (2019)[edit]

Panellists for this series were Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha and Sian Gibson.[38]

Sanders was the overall winner, with Stirling as runner-up, Thomas in 3rd, Gibson in 4th and Sinha finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [37][d]
551"Hello"Iain Stirling8 May 2019 (2019-05-08)1,249,000
562"A Novel About Russian Gulags"Lou Sanders15 May 2019 (2019-05-15)1,495,000
573"Stuck In A Mammal Groove"Lou Sanders22 May 2019 (2019-05-22)1,457,000
584"The Barrel Dad"Sian Gibson29 May 2019 (2019-05-29)1,415,000
595"Stay Humble"Iain Stirling5 June 2019 (2019-06-05)1,366,000
606"Rock 'N' Roll Umlaut"Sian Gibson12 June 2019 (2019-06-12)1,387,000
617"This Is Trevor"Joe Thomas19 June 2019 (2019-06-19)1,278,000
628"Aquatic Sewing Machine"Paul Sinha26 June 2019 (2019-06-26)1,324,000
639"I've Been A Bit Ill"Lou Sanders3 July 2019 (2019-07-03)1,298,000
6410"Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man"Iain Stirling10 July 2019 (2019-07-10)1,309,000

Series 9 (2019)[edit]

Panellists for this series were David Baddiel, Ed Gamble, Jo Brand, Katy Wix, and Rose Matafeo. Katy Wix did not appear in the studio portions of episodes 5 and 6 due to illness and was replaced by former series champions Kerry Godliman and Katherine Ryan respectively.

Gamble was the overall winner, with Matafeo as runner-up, Wix in 3rd, Brand in 4th and Baddiel finishing last.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [37][d]
651"Join Our Cult"Rose Matafeo4 September 2019 (2019-09-04)1,485,000
662"Butter In The Microwave"Ed Gamble11 September 2019 (2019-09-11)1,433,000
673"Five Miles Per Day"Katy Wix18 September 2019 (2019-09-18)1,413,000
684"Quisps"Rose Matafeo25 September 2019 (2019-09-25)1,287,000
695"Another Spoon"Jo Brand2 October 2019 (2019-10-02)1,277,000
706"Bready Bready Bready"Ed Gamble9 October 2019 (2019-10-09)1,215,000
717"A Cuddle"Katy Wix16 October 2019 (2019-10-16)1,151,000
728"Shaqinahat"Ed Gamble23 October 2019 (2019-10-23)1,343,000
739"Don't Like Them Go Bang"David Baddiel30 October 2019 (2019-10-30)1,364,000
7410"Think About The Spirit"Ed Gamble6 November 2019 (2019-11-06)1,378,000

Series 10 (2020)[edit]

Panellists for this series are Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan and Richard Herring.[39]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleWinnerOriginal air dateUK Viewers [37][d]
751"God's Haemorrhoid"Richard Herring15 October 2020 (2020-10-15)TBD
762"A Documentary About Despots"Katherine Parkinson22 October 2020 (2020-10-22)TBD
773"Point Of Swivel"TBA29 October 2020 (2020-10-29)TBD
784"Toshwash"TBA5 November 2020 (2020-11-05)TBD
795TBATBA12 November 2020 (2020-11-12)TBD
806TBATBA19 November 2020 (2020-11-19)TBD
817TBATBA26 November 2020 (2020-11-26)TBD
828TBATBA3 December 2020 (2020-12-03)TBD
839TBATBA10 December 2020 (2020-12-10)TBD
8410TBATBA17 December 2020 (2020-12-17)TBD

International[edit]

Broadcasts[edit]

The show is also broadcast in Belgium, Iceland, Sweden, South Africa, Norway, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.[citation needed]

In Australia, SBS Viceland started to air Taskmaster episodes on 27 July 2020.[40] The episodes are available on SBS on Demand.

In the United States, The CW acquired series 8 and 9 of Taskmaster for a late-Summer run premiering on 2 August 2020. However, the series opened to extremely low viewership (in comparison to the Canadian import, Fridge Wars, which premiered the same day), and was consequently pulled from the network's schedule on 5 August. The CW added the entirety of Series 8 to its "CW Seed" streaming library on 10 August.[41][42][43][44][45]

Versions[edit]

International versions of the programme have been made in Belgium (as Het Grootste Licht) [The Greatest Light],[46] Sweden (as Bäst i Test) [Best in Test],[47] Norway (as Kongen befaler, 'The King commands') [48][49] and Spain (as Dicho y hecho) ['Said and Done', as in the refrain 'easier said than done'].[50] In Denmark the programme is titled Stormester ('Grandmaster') and premiered on 25 August 2018.[51] In April 2017, a US version with Reggie Watts as the Taskmaster and Horne as the assistant was announced, made by Avalon, the same production company for the UK version and originally aired on Comedy Central on 27 April 2018.[49] A German version featuring Atze Schröder as the Taskmaster was commissioned by RTL in 2017; two episodes were recorded but not broadcast.[52][53] In 2019 it was announced a New Zealand version would be produced for broadcast in 2020, which will be hosted by Jeremy Wells and Paul Williams.[54][55] Finnish network MTV3 started airing a local version Suurmestari (Grandmaster) on 12 April 2020.[56]

Related media[edit]

Book[edit]

A tie-in book, Taskmaster — 200 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People, was written by Alex Horne and published by Penguin Random House on 6 September 2018.[57]

Task 185 in the book provided the latitude and longitude of a Buckinghamshire park, with instructions to meet there at midday on 14 September 2019 for a picnic and Taskmaster tour. The event was attended by around 1800 people with Horne himself present to show attendees filming locations from the show.[58]

In September 2019, a paperback edition was published, with 20 new tasks.[59] As well as writing additional tasks, Horne removed the expiration date of 31 December 2019 where it appeared, and replaced tasks that had a set completion date.

Board game[edit]

The board game Taskmaster was released in autumn 2019, initially selling out. It contains 200 task cards, along with secret tasks that individual players must perform, and video tasks featuring Alex Horne.[60]

#HomeTasking[edit]

From March to June 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic and a period of lockdown in the UK, Alex Horne organised a series of tasks in the style of Taskmaster for the public to perform and record in their own homes. Entries were submitted on Twitter and compilation videos, including scoring of the ten best entries by Greg Davies, were published by the Taskmaster YouTube channel. The first task was "Throw a piece of A4 paper into a bin. Most spectacular throw wins." There were 20 tasks in total.[61][62][63][64]

Podcasts[edit]

On 15 October 2020, an official podcast began. It is hosted by Ed Gamble, the winner of Series 9 who comments on each episode of Series 10. Each podcast episode is released immediately after each Taskmaster episode.[65]

In August 2020, an unofficial Delete This podcast, hosted by Katherine and Hank Green, began to review each episode of Taskmaster with Katherine (given the title of 'Taskmistress') providing her own judgment of each task.[66]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Andrew Billen of The Times gave a five star review of the show's first episode, "Melon Buffet", calling it "funny, revealing, and glorious" and comparing it to The Generation Game.[67] In another review of the first episode, Filipa Jodelka of The Guardian describes Taskmaster as a panel show with an "edgy parlour-game twist". Jodelka praises the "molten-hot banter" between contestants and Davies, and compares the arbitrary awarding of points to QI and Numberwang.[68] Also reviewing "Melon Buffet", Ellen Jones of The Independent praised the show as entertaining despite its "informal and cheap-looking" style.[69]

Wesley Mead of Den of Geek wrote a positive review in 2016, praising the show as the "crowning jewel" of original programming on Dave, and approving of the design of the tasks and the range of approaches that contestants demonstrate. Mead believed that the second series was an improvement on the first, but criticised that the first three series had only one female contestant apiece.[70]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients Result
2016 Comedy.co.uk Awards 2016[71] Best TV Entertainment Show N/A Won
2017 British Academy Television Awards[72] Best Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme Alex Horne, Andy Cartwright, Andy Devonshire Nominated
International Emmy Award[73] Non-Scripted Entertainment Avalon Television, Dave Nominated
RTS Programme Awards[74] Best Entertainment Programme Avalon Television Nominated
Comedy.co.uk Awards 2017[75] Best TV Entertainment Show N/A Won
2018 British Academy Television Awards[76] Best Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme Alex Horne, Andy Cartwright, Andy Devonshire Nominated
2020 British Academy Television Awards[77] Best Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme Alex Horne, Andy Cartwright, Andy Devonshire, James Taylor Won

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 7-day data, as 28-day data is not available.
  2. ^ BARB's website does not report Dave's viewing figures for this week.
  3. ^ Each episode aired one week earlier on the online service UKTV, with the exception of the finale.
  4. ^ a b c d Viewers across the first 28 days of broadcast on TV, PC/laptop, tablet or smartphone are counted. Pre-transmission figures are included.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]