These are the people who have appeared on Taskmaster. Spoilers ahead.
Also, while we're listing these performers as "characters" for the purposes of this listing, remember that they are actually real people appearing as themselves; apply the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement accordingly. It's fine if someone was/wasn't your favourite contestant, but try to temper those feelings when applying or editing tropes.
Greg Davies (The Taskmaster)
Appears in: Every UK episode, "An Intervention." (Taskmaster (NZ), Season 1 Episode 7)
The title character, Greg ostensibly sets the tasks the contestants have to complete every episode, and judges their efforts, usually out of 5 points.
- As You Know...: After Richards attempt at the yoga balls task, Alex sought out Susie Dents advice on whether his interpretation on the task was allowed. When Greg hears this, he clarifies shes from Countdown, despite the fact that everyone on the panel (minus Doc Brown) would have known this as they are all frequent contestants on spin-off/crossover 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Its clearly for the benefit of audience members who arent as familiar with British TV shows.
- Berserk Button:
- He's not a fan of football and will mark down football-related prize submissions simply because they annoy him.
- He doesn't like being made to feel awkward about his height and will penalize contestants who bring in small items for prize tasks. In Series 4, he praised Lolly for bringing in an enormous bean bag, saying that there aren't many size-appropriate things he can easily purchase. Unfortunately, Lolly misread the situation and made a quip that Greg took badly and he knocked her down in the rankings.
- He seems to get genuinely irritated by low-effort prize tasks especially.
- Greg does not like it if a contestant lies about carrying out a task for charity. In the high-five a 55-year-old task in "The Pie Whisperer", when Tim Key lies about filming for Comic Relief, Greg threatens to put Tim in last place unless he donates to Comic Relief.
- Brief Accent Imitation: On the odd occasion, Greg relishes putting on accents to roleplay hypothetical situations (e.g. Rob Beckett or Kerry Godliman's London or a generic Yorkshireman).
- Butt-Monkey: He's usually the one teasing the guests when they perform badly, but notably ended up on the receiving end when Rhod Gilbert was on the show, armed with some very unflattering images of Greg and his mother.
- The Cameo: He appeared in an episode of Taskmaster (NZ) during the prize task, which was to bring in the worst thing to give to the Taskmaster. He berated Jeremy, the NZ Taskmaster for giving the contestants too much freedom to have fun with and to rein them in a bit more.
- The Gadfly: If a contestant is particularly competitive, he'll often tease them to provoke rants and outbursts in the studio.Greg: But think about the spirit...
Ed Gamble: It's not about the spi— [Realizes what Greg's doing] You know it's not about the spirit!
[Greg waggles his eyebrows knowingly at the camera]
- Hidden Depths: Greg admits on the Taskmaster podcast that he finds scoring the tasks quite stressful, despite his tyranny and swagger in his role. He is also of course in real life a much nicer person than the Taskmaster persona he puts on.
- Hypocritical Humor: Greg does often tease older contestants and joke about them becoming senile (such as Hugh Dennis or David Baddiel), never mind that he is usually a few years younger or even the same age (as is with Lee Mack).
- Large and in Charge: He's 6' 8" (2.03 m) tall and is the man the contestants must try to appease. Best demonstrated when he pulled James Acaster aside when Acaster made an off-the-cuff insult towards him in one episode.
- No Sense of Personal Space: When it comes to bullying or humiliating his Assistant, Greg has zero inhibitions about getting into Alex's personal space, such as screaming directly into Alex's ear as a demonstration of his "best noise." He only keeps his distance from Alex (most of the time) beginning from Series 10 onward, but that's due to circumstances beyond his control.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: His Midlands accent tends to get more pronounced when he tries to speak while cracking up with laughter.
- Pet the Dog: He'll sometimes take pity on struggling contestants and judge them more leniently so they won't come last in a task or an episode.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Zig-zagged. He is happy to hear out a contestant's reasoning and award them for creative solutions, but will also penalize them purely for annoying him.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Greg's default attire is an all-black suit, trousers, and shirt ensemble. In later series, he leaves the top button of his shirt undone.
- Slouch of Villainy: As the Taskmaster who looks down in judgement on the competitors, he typically adopts this pose whilst seated on his throne.
- Take That, Audience!: Greg has no qualms about telling off the audience or making judgements that they vocally disagree with:
- In "A Wind-Dried Puffin," Mark was given his own special task of sending a cheeky anonymous text to Greg every day for the next five months. Mark was given a special phone for the task, but the texts went to Greg's actual number. Mark spent an inordinate amount of time and effort composing the texts, but he only sent 148 out of the requisite texts, and Greg, annoyed by the daily texts, decides not to award any bonus point to Mark.Greg: [Noting his annoyance of receiving anonymous cheeky texts every day for five months] But honestly, I have got 5 months of irritation bubbling up here, and the fact that I am not going to give you a single point for that—
[Audience boos and groans]
Greg: [addressing the audience] You can kiss my arse, all of you.
- In "The Fastest Duck," Greg awards the 5 points to Rylan for fitting the largest object through a doughnut without breaking it for two reasons only; to annoy Nicola, who had stuck her doughnut on a cactus arm, and to annoy the viewers, whom Greg believes will react (predictably) unkindly.
- In "A Wind-Dried Puffin," Mark was given his own special task of sending a cheeky anonymous text to Greg every day for the next five months. Mark was given a special phone for the task, but the texts went to Greg's actual number. Mark spent an inordinate amount of time and effort composing the texts, but he only sent 148 out of the requisite texts, and Greg, annoyed by the daily texts, decides not to award any bonus point to Mark.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: If contestants try to appeal to his emotions to gain more points, he won't hesitate to mark them down for their attempted manipulation.
Appears in: Every UK episode, Every USA episode
The Taskmaster's assistant, he appears at the house to ensure the smooth running of each of the tasks set and later judged by Greg.
- Accidental Pervert:
- Greg and the contestants sometimes twist (either intentionally or accidentally) the wording of tasks to make Alex seem like a deviant. Such as when Aisling Bea read out a task to give Alex a special cuddle and immediately reacted in disgust to the sexual implications.
- During a game of hide and seek, he opened a closet in search of Mel Giedroyc and reached inside without looking.Greg: The first question I've got is for Alex, and my question is: did you accidentally feel Mel's boobs?
Alex: looks sheepish; nods
Mel: There was a driveby. Both of them. And possibly in the Pennyfield area as well.
- This tends to be played for rather ironic laughs, as another rather frequent refrain (both in the show and alluded to in the podcast) is that Alex in general tends to be rather bashful and easily embarrassed when confronted with matters of sexuality, in particular concerning women and their private areas, thus making the occasions in which he accidentally comes across as this rather more glaring.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Alex's persona, despite being the creator of the show; he didn't feel that he had the natural authority to be the Taskmaster.
- Compared to Greg, he is far more frequently the target of the guests' ire, like the several times Rhod Gilbert has undressed him, Liza Tarbuck making him sit on a cake with his bare bum, getting sworn at by Lisa Lampanelli, or constantly getting ignored by James.
- Greg constantly abuses Alex in the studio from about Series 4 onwards.
- Catchphrase: Whenever he is asked a question about a task, expect him to respond: "All the information's on the task."
- Complexity Addiction: The tasks hes written for the series began getting quite a bit more complex by Series 7, including more clauses to complete or avoid and adding parts to the whole task. Lampshaded by Ed on the podcast, who theorises that Alex wants to avoid contestant outthinking the task like Richard did with the yoga ball task. It was also Lampshaded repeatedly in Run Up a Tree to the Moon when Greg and Lee note that the tasks have gotten lengthier and the latter needed to re-read the task because he already forgot the first half of it.PRIZE TASK: Most shocking thing thats bigger than a cat but smaller than a pig.
Greg: Whats with the whole cat-pig thing?
Alex: So they know what sort of size thing they need to bring in.
Greg: People say I bully you but I think its deserved.
- Extreme Doormat: Alex will do just about any degrading thing contestants command if it is in line with the task, including eating dog food. He also lets Greg belittle him in every studio segment.
- The Gadfly: A low-key version, but Alex occasionally gives passive-aggressive comments to the contestants during the recorded tasks, including deliberately unhelpful answers to their questions (e.g. the standard "all the information is on the task"). Mark Watson has joked that he now has PTSD hallucinations of Alex saying "how's it going, Mark?" whenever he is struggling with something.Jamali: Can I go and get stuff?Alex: All the information is on the task.Jamali: Oh you're being sarcastic. Okay man.
- The Man Behind the Man: Alex is the original creator of the program and executive producer; as such he's actually the one writing the tasks set by the Taskmaster, a fact which is occasionally alluded to during the program.
- Mathematician's Answer: Occasionally uses these to avoid giving extra information to contestants.
- Mr. Fanservice: In "It's Not Your Fault," Greg asks Alex to adopt a Reclining Venus pose while splayed across his chair and recapping the events prior to the ad break. It appears to work for the contestants in the room.
- Nice Guy: Tim Key has said that he thinks the pre-recorded tasks work so well because Alex is so easy to get along with, so he can strike up good chemistry with all the contestants.
- Not So Stoic: He tries to maintain a deadpan persona throughout the show, but there are times he can't help but crack up at contestants' actions. This usually happens when a plan goes badly wrong, and Alex hides his face behind his clipboard.
- Oh, Crap!: After James Acaster suddenly calls Greg a "pussy" in front of the entire studio, Alex can be seen and heard nervously trying to pull Greg back, worried that the situation would escalate into a full-on confrontation. Luckily, Greg found a way to defuse the tension with humor while also putting James in his place.
- Pet the Dog: For the most part, he'll be vague and try not to step in during tasksnote . However, he's willing to help contestants he feels are genuinely struggling, such as David Baddiel from Series 9 (who asked in nearly every task) and Katherine Parkinson of Series 10. This is partly because he doesn't believe it will affect the final score much.
- Pungeon Master: Alex frequently makes puns, with varying success. Sometimes this involves tasks, such as in season 5, when he tasked Sally Phillips with giving him fish-based puns after slipping a number of them in previous conversations, or in Series 10, when the contestants had to name American states and he gave them clues by making puns out of the states.
- Series One
- Series Two
- Series Three
- Series Four
- Series Five
- Series Six
- Series Seven
- Series Eight
- Series Nine
- Series Ten
- New Year Treat
- Series Eleven
- Series Twelve
Fred (The Swede)
Appears in:" Little Denim Shorts" (S01 E05), "Fear of Failure" (S02 E01), "A Pea in a Haystack" (S03 E01), "Meat" (S04 E05), "Residue Around The Hoof" (S05 E04; picture only)
A Swedish man who took part in several tasks in early series. He was formerly a substitute percussionist for the Horne Section, Alex's band.
- Bilingual Conversation: In Series 2, the contestants had to get to know him, but could only get answers spoken in Swedish. Katherine Ryan found a workaround by asking a friend to speak to him in Danish, thanks to the two languages being similar enough for the two to share a conversation.
- Just for Pun: His nationality has been used for a pun, with one task involving him and the vegetable also called a "swede".
- Mr. Fanservice: More than one contestant has expressed that they find Fred attractive.Tim Key: I wish I'd kissed him. If I had my chance again, just go and blow on his lips.
- Once a Season: Appeared once a season for the first five seasons.
- Put on a Bus: He was slowly phased out after season three as he'd gone back to Sweden. He appeared via video chat in season four and only as a printed image for part of a task in season 5 as a tiebreaker. Afterwards, he disappears entirely from the seriesnote .
- Title Drop: Provided the season 2 season opener name, "Fear of Failure".
Appears in: "Their Water's So Delicious" (S05 E08)
An ordinary woman who the contestants have to write a song about.
- The Comically Serious: She adopts this persona during Mark & Nishs introduction during the Taskonbury Festival.Alex: Hello, Great Britain!Rosalind: (flatly) Hello.Alex: How are you all doing out there?!?Rosalind: Were fine, thank you.
- The Reason You Suck Song: Aisling, Bob and Sallys song Quite Good, Considering is filled with the trio insulting poor Rosalind based on what little they know of her, topped by a memorably profane chorus.Products Of Conception: ♫ Rosalinds a fucking nightmare! ♫
- Sticky Fingers: One aspect of her personality that Aisling repeatedly mentions during her band's song "Quite Good, Considering" (a.k.a. "Rosalind's a (Fucking) Nightmare").
- The Stoic: Rosalind remains mostly straight-faced during both songs and their introductions, which unnerved Mark.Mark Watson: and all that time, absolutely no expression on her face!