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"In this show, I, Greg Davies, make some accomplished, but needy comedians to do stupid things for me. Why? Because I can. I'm a powerful man. Look at me."
The Taskmaster, Greg Davies

Taskmaster is a British Comedy Game Show which first aired on Dave in 2015, before switching to Channel 4 in 2020. Greg Davies is the host and titular Taskmaster, and is assisted by Alex Horne (who also acts as showrunner and the head task-deviser behind the scenes). Each series features five different contestants (almost invariably stand-up comedians or comedy actors / perfomers with the occasional wildcard), with a "Champion of Champions" two-part special following the fifth series featuring the winners of each series to date.

The show consists of the contestants being assigned a series of odd, seemingly simple and trivial yet often quite surprisingly challenging tasks to complete, many of which involve some kind of creative or lateral thinking. They are then ranked and given points (usually between 1 and 5) according to how well (or not) they completed the task, either based on relevant measurable criteria (fastest completion, most required objects accumulated, etc.), Greg judging them on his personal preferences, or some combination of the two. Hilarity Ensues.


While the nature of the tasks vary, each episode follows a general structure of the prize round, about three-four pre-filmed tasks, and the final in-studio task.

  • The prize round involves each contestant bringing in an item, implicitly one of their personal possessions, that has been chosen around a particular theme; themes range in eccentricity from "most valuable item" to "most pleasing thing the size of a cat". Each item goes into the prize pot which is taken home by the winner of each episode; as such, each contestant must make a case for why their item both meets the theme and is the best item brought in. Greg then ranks the items from best to worst, based usually on his own subjective opinions.
  • The pre-recorded tasks are all filmed on location, either at the "Taskmaster House" note  or a secondary location that varies from season to season. They are then played to the audience, with reactions from Greg, Alex and the contestants spliced in. Except for team tasks (where the five contestants are split into two teams, one of three members and one of two), each contestant performs the tasks in isolation from each other and are bound to secrecy until the recording, meaning they are unaware of how they performed compared to their rivals. They must then explain — or, more typically, defend — their ability or lack thereof in completing the task to Greg, Alex and the audience. With some exceptions, tasks are usually worth a maximum of five points and a minimum of one (with disqualified candidates getting zero). Team tasks are usually scored slightly differently, with five points being divided between the two teams (for example, if one team scores five points; the other team usually gets zero; if the first team scores three points, the second gets two, and so forth).
  • The live studio task, as the name suggests, is performed live in-studio and involves the contestants directly competing against each other to complete a task in front of Greg and the audience. The live tasks are usually themed along some kind of competitive party game requiring physical and/or mental dexterity and are often performed against the clock. As with pre-recorded tasks, live tasks are usually worth a maximum of five points and a minimum of one point, although some live tasks are played on a "winner takes all" basis, with all other contestants receiving zero points. Following this, the final tally is counted and the episode's winner revealed.
  • In the case of a tie, the episode will end with a tiebreaker. The tiebreakers are usually quick and simple in nature (examples have included a game of hide-and-seek and removing the lid off a jar of mayonnaise covered in Vaseline) and are frequently pre-recorded along with the live tasks. While all contestants will record a tiebreaker, only the attempts of the contestants who are tied will be shown. No points are awarded for winning the tiebreaker. The winner of the tiebreaker consequently wins the episode.

A lot of the show's appeal and humour comes from the contestants thinking outside the box, abusing the Exact Words of a task letter, and employing Loophole Abuse to bypass certain task requirements; a trope so well-loved and used so much by this show that we had to give it its own page! This means a lot of the contestants' attempts at a given task can be very different to one another.

At the end of each series, the contestant with the most points is crowned Taskmaster Champion and receives a trophy, usually in the form of Greg's golden head. There have been several exceptions; the Series 1 Champion received a cheap karate trophy; the Champion of Champions received a lifesize model of Greg's body; and the New Year Treat Champion received Greg's golden eyebrows.


The show has proven incredibly popular in the UK, and has been adapted to other nations:

    International Adaptations 
  • Taskmasternote  (US)
  • Taskmaster (New Zealand)
  • Het Grootste Licht (Belgium)
  • Bäst i Test (Sweden)
  • Kongen befaler (Norway)
  • Dicho y hecho (Spain)
  • Stormester (Denmark)
  • Suurmestari (Finland)

The show has proven to be successful online. Full episodes can be seen on UKTV Play (UK only). The official Taskmaster YouTube channel also features full episodes of the show, including all of series 1-8, both episodes of the Champion of Champions special, the New Year Treat special, and series 10 (albeit currently region-blocked in some parts) and 11, along with clips and compilations. The first episode of the Finnish version of the show, Suurmestari, is available on the channel as well.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent lock-downs across Britain and other parts of the world, the YouTube channel ran a "Hometasking" web video series (starring both Alex and Greg) that saw people from all over the world complete tasks that are "isolation-friendly", and submit them to Alex Horne's Twitter for immortal bragging rights. The series gained a popular following (and was even reported on in global media). Alex and Greg enjoyed it so much the series returned with hometaskers being given the opportunity to make their own attempts at tasks previously shown on television with the winners receiving official Taskmaster merchandise.

There is also an Official Taskmaster Podcast, hosted by Ed Gamble, free to listen to on YouTube and other services, which started to air during Series 10 of the show, originally featuring former Taskmaster contestants discussing current episodes. After season 10, the Podcast has continued, looking back at past episodes. Starting off with series 1, each week an episode of Taskmaster is discussed. Guests are former Taskmaster contestants as well as noted fans of the show.

The show also ran a novelty hour-long novelty episode on YouTube as part of the Edinburgh Television Festival, featuring TV Executives. This included Alan Tylernote , Clair Zolkwernote , Jeff Fordnote , Nerys Evansnote ,and finally Zai Bennettnote . Winner  You can watch it here.

Complete summaries of casts, episodes and tasks can be found at the show's Recap page. A brief cast listing for each series of the British edition can be found in the folder below.

     Contestants by Series 
  • Series One: Frank Skinner, Josh Widdicombe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan, Tim Key
  • Series Two: Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan, Richard Osman
  • Series Three: Al Murray, Dave Gorman, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett, Sara Pascoe
  • Series Four: Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett, Lolly Adefope, Mel Giedroyc, Noel Fielding
  • Series Five: Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar, Sally Phillips
  • Champion of Champions Special: Bob Mortimer, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding, Rob Beckett
  • Series Six: Alice Levine, Asim Chaudhry, Liza Tarbuck, Russell Howard, Tim Vine
  • Series Seven: James Acaster, Jessica Knappett, Kerry Godliman, Phil Wang, Rhod Gilbert
  • Series Eight: Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha, Sian Gibson
  • Series Nine: David Baddiel, Ed Gamble, Jo Brand, Katy Wix, Rose Matafeo
  • Series Ten: Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan, Richard Herring
  • New Year Treat 2021: John Hannah, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Nicola Coughlan, Rylan Clark-Neal, Shirley Ballas
  • Series Eleven: Charlotte Ritchie, Jamali Maddix, Lee Mack, Mike Wozniak, Sarah Kendall

Now has its very own character sheet. Fill in tropes related to contestants and their time on the show there. Your time starts now!

Not to be confused with the Marvel Comics supervillain/anti-hero of the same name, with the professional pseudonym of wrestler Kevin Sullivan or with the video game TaskMaker.

Read through the tropes related to Taskmaster. Your time starts now:

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  • Aborted Arc: During initial filming of the tasks, Phil Wang originally imagined that he would develop an intense rivalry with fellow contestant James Acaster, going so far as to write "Fuck You James Acaster" in the "deliver this task to Alex" task ("Lotta Soup"). However, he quickly forgot about it over the course of filming and only remembered when they showed his VT for the aforementioned task.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The contestants have a clause in their contracts saying that they are genuinely giving up ownership for their submissions for the Prize Tasks, and are only allowed to request that the winner returns them if they lose. Prizes (particularly in the early seasons) can be of absurdly high value (sentimental or monetary)for a comedy show, including marriage certificates, wedding rings, Guinness World Record certificates and blank cheques. This has gradually downplayed over the years as contestants have caught on and decided not to risk their prized possessions, with most prizes being either overtly absurd novelty items or, it's hinted, things that the contestants have specially bought from sites like eBay.
  • Accidental Pervert: On the rare occasion, the tasks are worded in what Greg suspects as a "deliberately saucy" way that can frame Alex as one. The tasks to give Alex a "special cuddle" ("Dignity Intact") and to "excite Alex" as measured by his heart rate increase ("Twelve Blush Majesty Two") come to mind.
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • While playing Charades in "The FIP", Sara simply began yelling out guesses and managed to give three correct anwers even without Rob miming anything. Then a passerby randomly suggested another correct answer.
    • When put in a squash court full of various objects and simply told "Score 11 points" with zero indication of how it's done, the winning team never actually figured out that points were scored by touching their head and just lucked out that they all tended to do it pretty regularly.
  • Actor Allusion: Johnny Vegas brings in a teabag for a prize task and alludes to the adverts he used to do for PG Tips tea.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In Series 1, Romesh Ranganathan can at times be seen concealing a grin after Greg makes a crack at his expense, in order to maintain his Grumpy Bear persona.
  • Ad Bumpers: Each section ends with specially filmed ad bumpers; the first series used the same ones each week, the second and third series used a mix of ad bumpers, but the fourth series onward has a different set of bumpers for each show. The common link is that each bumper leading into a break will feature Alex waving goodbye, and each bumper starting a new section will have Alex showing which part of the show this is (usually by holding up fingers).
    • This wasn't the case for "BMXing", as it used leftover footage from "One Warm Prawn", specifically involving a spinning plastic lizard attached to a cordless drill, which had kept on going for just over an hour and a half.
    • Paul Chowdhry in "A Very Nuanced Character" was set the task of having the most fun on a bouncy castle for an hour, and clips from his attempt were used on each advert break for that episode.
    • Mike Wozniak was givin his own special task to fart the fastest in Series 11 episode "Absolute Casserole." Footage of him contorting his body in order to tease one out preceeded and followed each ad break.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In "Fear of Failure", when it looked like Joe Wilkinson's impressive hole-in-one with a potato was going to be disqualified owing to an inadvertant rule violation, Joe became so distraught and desperate to salvage his achievement that he ended up crawling across the studio on his hands and knees to beg in front of Greg.
    Greg: God, I got a real sense of power for a moment then.
  • All for Nothing:
    • A task in "Tony three pies" required the contestants to make an exotic sandwich. However, they also got up to 5 bonus points for eating their sandwich (they were not aware of this fact until they made their sandwich however). When the scores were tallied up, everyone had been given the same amount of points, essentially making the task pointless (because, unsurprisingly, the more points they got for the sandwich's "exoticness", the fewer points they got for eating it — the two sets of points were the direct inverse of each other). Noel and Mel did get an extra bonus point each for eating Alex's beard hair and inhaling an M&M via her nose respectively, but those hardly count as this trope, as neither were listed in the task, and were given out at the kindness of the Taskmaster.
    • Nobody received points in the live task in "Tarpeters" because Greg was able to eliminate all the contestants by correctly deducing whether the grape was in each contestant's hand or mouth (in Russell's case, he left his grape in his pocket).
    • In Series 6 episode "H." everybody managed to successfully Tablecloth Yank without breaking any eggs and everybody received the full 5 points. Greg gets quite annoyed:
      Greg: And that's the end of Taskmaster, good night!
      (later, to Alex) So we gave them a task where they all got the same points?! Don't you ever, ever do that again! I'll kick you in the leg!
    • In Series 10, there are three tasks where everybody is disqualified, rendering all that effort meaningless. Two of these tasks came up in the very first episode, although Daisy earned a bonus point for getting an egg closest to the frying pan.
  • Always Second Best: In Series 1 Romesh. He was in both of the tiebreaker task that season but lost both. His overall performance got him tied for 2nd for the series overall which was just 1 point below Josh who became the winner. Moreover, despite a relatively high score overall, Romesh was the only person that season to never win an episode.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Intentionally using the specific wording of the task to your advantage is an intended part of the show. Sometimes this is done when setting the task, such as in the "painting in the dark" task in Series 5, in which the task letter intentionally never specified that the task had to actually be done with the lights off). Other times the contestant will come up with a way of Cutting the Knot, abusing Exact Words, or employing Loophole Abuse. It will be up to the Taskmaster's discretion as to whether or not their unorthodox solution is allowed. This often leads to contestants to their advantage.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Some times a contestent will bring in an item of clothing as a prize. There have been several episodes where the prizes specifically were clothes:
    • In "Pork Is A Sausage", the contestants were asked to put their "trendiest" item of clothing in the pot.
    • In "The Leprechaun Or The Lesbian", the contestants all put in unusual hats.
    • In "My Eyes are Circles", the contestants brought in their "boldest" belts, although two contestants didn't bring in actual belts.
  • Annoying Laugh: Nish's laugh is considered to be this in "Dignity Intact" by Greg and even Nish. The prize task for that episode had him bring in a CD that had his laugh looped over and over again.
  • Anti-Climax:
    • Iain's volcano in "Stuck in a Mammal Groove". Construction involves a wheelbarrow full of dirt, a long pipe, stones, little figurines, power tools, a lot of cola and an entire bag full of Mentos. Before activating it, he delivers a tribute to the previous Champion of Champions and expresses a wish to join their ranks one day. And after activating it and running away from the blast zone in slow-mo, the result is... a tiny bit of Mentos bubbling up around the top.
    • The finales of Series 9 and 10 both end with a tiebreak task, but by that point any excitement or tension would have been lost because everyone would have already worked out who was the champion of the series by that point. By coincidence, Ed Gamble and Richard Herring, the champions of their respective series, were also the winners of those tiebreak tasks.
  • Arc Words: "Your Time Starts Now" probably counts. It's said several times an episode, at least.
  • Art Shift: The background theme of the Taskmaster House shifts from season to season. It's often quite subtle, but frequently most noticeable through the large portrait of Greg in the main room, which changes to reflect a particular artistic style (see "Shout-Out" below). While earlier series mainly focussed on changing the portrait (due to general budget issues), later series have expanded the theme by incorporating it into the props / decorations as well. Particularly prominent examples include:
    • Season Three is still quite subtle (again, budget issues) but clearly has a bit of a "pop art" motif running through it; the main portrait of Greg is a homage to Roy Lichtenstein's "Oh Jeff, I Love You Too, But...", and a recurring prop is a model of an American fighter planenote  similar to the one that appears prominently in Lichtenstein's "Whaaam!". A mural of Greg on the outside wall of the Taskmaster Houser also parodies Banksy's "Girl with Balloon".
    • Season Eight has a very distinct Japanese/Asian theme, reflect in the font of the Taskmaster logo, the music, and the art style (including the anime-style portrait of Greg).
    • Season Nine is also quite subtle, but as the main portrait is a homage to Giuseppe Arcimboldo's style of representing the details of portraits and other objects with fruits and vegetables, many of the decorations in the main living room are also produce or produce-based.
    • Season Ten has a noticeable cowboy/western theme.
    • The New Year Treat special is themed around the Golden Age of Hollywood and filmmaking.
    • Season Eleven goes for a Soviet propaganda / "socialist realist" art style.
  • The Artifact: Greg Davies began to wear glasses and grew a beard from Series 6 onwards, which makes the title sequence outdated, as it still shows Greg clean-shaven and not wearing his glasses. The sequence was eventually refilmed for Series 10. His portrait that is on the stage and in the Taskmaster House foyer also get an update.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Alex does this a lot. Specifically when the contestants come up with bizarre interpretations or solutions to the task. In "Their Water's So Delicious" Alex gives one to the camera in response to a very honest answer Rosalind tells the contestants.
    • James Acaster does this during the team task in "My Eyes Are Circles", while blindfolded.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
    • This gem of an exchange in "Mother Honks Her Horn" between Alex Horne and Kerry Godliman:
      Kerry (reading from a task letter inside) "E, look under the doormat...where's the doormat?!"
      Alex: Probably under a door.
      Kerry (now outside the front door to the house): Oh there's the doormat!
    • This exchange from Richard Herring and Alex, as Richard tries to fill a cup at the top of a long pole:
      Richard: How do I know when it's full, it'll overflow, will it?
      Alex: Yeah, you'll be able to see that with your eyes.
  • Ass Shove:
    • Katherine Ryan implies shoving things up a different orifice in Series 2. When tasked with hiding a pineapple on her person, she lists out a number of fruits and vegetables she might be able to hide but concludes that a pineapple would be difficult to fit inside.
      Katherine: I can do a courgette. I can do oranges, an apple...this...[motions towards pineapple]
      Greg: I mean, it is incredible to me that that's the conclusion you'd come to.
    • In "He Was A Different Man", after being made to sit bare-assed on a cake, Alex makes a few remarks that make the audience and contestants react with disgust: one about the chair shape and another about the whereabouts of one of the profiteroles that topped the cake.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Johnny Vegas's attempt to make "the largest thing disappear" in "God's Haemorrhoid" becomes a combination of a political commentary on Jeremy Corbyn's decisive defeat in the 2019 general election and this trope as he depicts an attack on Westminster (or a paper replica thereof) by a "400ft" mutant socialist chicken unleashed on the capital by Corbyn against his political enemies.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
    • A line placed in a song Nish and Mark had to make in "Their Water's So Delicious" about Nish being momentarily distracted by a tree, then continue singing.
    • In "A fat bald white man", at the start of the first task of the episode, she was presented with a cake, which she had to destroy. Before reading the task however, Mel gets momentarily distracted with complimenting the cake.
    • Mel, again, in "Look At Me." There is a task where the contestants must move an egg into an eggcup without touching either, and will gain a time penalty for each tool they touch. She immediately picks up two straws, then briefly ponders why a model horse figurine was provided to move the egg. Upon realizing she's picked up the horse, she impulsively touches all the other items just for good measure.
    • Nell the toddler in "The Barrel Dad" on the grounds of being a toddler. Nell often got distracted by other things in the room, before Alex pointed her to the item the other contestants had to make for them.
  • Audience Participation:
    • Roisin asked the audience in "Down an Octave" about her sequined jumper she brought in, and whether or not it looked good. A few people cheered in agreement, but when Greg asked if the jumper looked bad far more cheered.
    • In the tiebreaker for "Spoony Neeson", Greg asked an audience member who should win the task, as neither Bob nor Sally got close to their goal of flinging yogurt at a target. When the audience member said that Bob should win, Sally ended up winning according to Greg.
    • During a final task in which the goal was to get an inflatable donut as high as possible, Rhod kicks his donut into the audience and has them pass it up to the very back row, a considerable height above the stage, winning him the task.
    • On stage tasks that involves the contestants being blindfolded often results in them asking the audience for help.
  • Author Tract: In "BMXing", in the second task of the show (do something manly inside of a box), Asim and Alice took the opportunity to talk about Men's Mental Health and the stigma that causes, while Alice poked fun at the gender pay gap. They both got 4 points.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Greg jokes about this happening to Joe Wilkinson after he loses his wedding certificate in "Fear Of Failure".
  • Awkward Kiss: In the game of "Greg says, Alex says," at one point the contestants are instructed to blow the Taskmaster a French Kiss, with some interesting and unattractive results.
  • Backhanded Apology: When the competitors were tasked with apologizing to Alex for something they did, Joe Thomas carefully worded his apology so as not to take back what he sang in an insulting song. Lou Sanders, meanwhile, trashed Alex's car and as a way of "apologizing" gave out Alex's genuine phone number to several telemarketers and organizations known for being very pushy.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The beginning of the second part of "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" has Alex read off the autocue as stilted as possible, then abruptly go back to his regular acting style.
  • Bad Boss. Greg, as the Taskmaster, tends to be portrayed as somewhere between this and an abusive heterosexual life-partner for Alex.
  • Badass Moustache: Very much averted in a task during "A Novel About Russian Gulags". The goal was to create and put on a moustache out of unexpected objects, with Greg in the studio having to guess what they were made up of from a distance away. Iain's used a map of Liphook (a small village in Hampshire) in the shape of a moustache, Lou made hers out of fake flies, but real meal worms, Sian stuck hair from a Barbie doll and made a paper collage of Alex's face in the shape of a moustache, and stuck the hair onto it, Paul glued caviar to his facenote , and Joe made a paper collage of other famous moustaches Sian came last, Iain came fourth, Joe came Third, Lou came second, and Paul "Caviar King" Sinha came first.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Throughout "Spoony Neeson", Alex has been wearing a bandana as an attempt to rebrand himself as "Bandana Guy" because he feels his current persona isn't exciting enough. At the end, Greg orders him to surrender the bandana, apparently for the set-up of some final bit of bullying, only to result in this:
    [After Alex has handed over the bandana]
    Greg: [Kindly] You don't need it, mate. You're fine as you are.
  • Banana Peel: The prize task for "This Is Trevor" had Paul Sinha bring in a banana peel as his slippery object. He goes one further and shows that he also brought in Ban-Jelly pie. He wasn't done. He also, much to Sian's annoyance, brought in slippers.
  • Bar Slide: The stage task for "Bready Bready Bready" was to slide a drink to Greg from one side of the table to the other, in order for him to catch it. It starts out with half a pint of Vodka (in a pint glass), then a pint of gin (in a pint glass), then sambuca (in a shotglass). and finally white wine (in a wineglass).
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Alex plays this part with respect to Greg, suffering mild abuse in moment of pique, and occasionally getting the same from the competitors as well.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: In a series 6 outtake, Alex corrects Greg's grammar and says afterward that he was considering against it because Greg might hurt him. Asim lampshades their relationship.
    Asim: I can never tell if you two are going to fuck or fight.
    Greg: Frequently both.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't mention cardboard boxes to Romesh. Or watermelons, for that matter.
    • Never lie about doing something for charity as it will enrage everyone else, which both Tim Key and Joe Lycett found out to their cost. (In Joe's case, it was someone lying about signing a vegetable on his behalf, which he never asked them to do.)
    • Iain knows a lot about puppets (comes with the territory of being a former CBBC presenter), and he flexes his knowledge on the matter for a task in "Hello". Greg was questioning a puppet Iain had made on its seductiveness, but he fires back as to what constituted a ventriloquist puppet, and points out the other contestants hadn't actually made ventriloquist puppets, they had just made regular dummies with mouthholes, or in Pauls case, a Piggy Bank with glasses "wearing" trousers. As the task goes on, Iain gets increasingly irate about it, and he is visibly annoyed at the others, and also at the very real possibility of him coming last in a task he knows so much about. He comes first place, but Greg waits until the last possible moment to announce this to deliberately push his buttons, while everyone except Joe got 4 points (Joe got 1 point for killing his puppet).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Throughout series 8, Joe Thomas was one of the more mild-mannered contestants, to the extent that he wasn't even that angry after Sian was caught cheating in the team task in "Aquatic Sewing Machine", which disqualified both of them. He eventually loses his temper in response to the other contestants' efforts in the first task in "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man".
  • Big Beautiful Man: Greg Davies is, by his own admission, a very large man. This hasn't stopped multiple contestants from being flirtatious with him, nor the audience from reacting appreciatively when he described himself as "22 stone of prime marbled beef" in one episode.
  • Big Damn Kiss: In "We Met at Mealtimes," Alex suddenly announces that he genuinely wants to kiss the Taskmaster in that moment. Greg and Alex then share a tender kiss to the loud cheers of the cast and the audience.
  • Big Entrance: A task from Series 9 episode "Join Our Cult" is to create the most dramatic entrance. David Baddiel makes a Doctor Who-inspired appearance in the phone booth and imitates the Doctor and Daleks and plays the music. Jo emerges from the shed dressed as Henry VIII and shows off the head of Anne Boleyn (played by Alex) on a platter. Ed makes an appearance as a creepy hooded figure before cheerily saying "Hello" to Alex. Katy creates doppelgangers of herself and hands out a flyer to Alex encouraging him to join their cult. Rose, dressed as a bush, runs out onto the driveway yelling "STELLAAAA!!" Rose wins the task with 5 points, Ed and Jo are joint second with 4 points, Katy receives 3 points, and David receives 1 point.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Greg Davies and Alex Horne play this straight-ish behind the scenes (albeit without the "big dumb muscle" angle), as Alex is the actual "Taskmaster"; he's the showrunner and the one who devises and runs the tasks. On stage, however, the typical "little guy's in charge" dynamic is inverted, with Greg lording it over "Little Alex Horne" despite Alex's frequent protests that he's actually 6'2 and Greg, at 6'8 as mentioned above, simply towers over pretty much everyone.
  • Big "NO!": Josh is the most prone to shouting a few of these, such as during the final challenge in "The Pie Whisperer", and the tea challenge in "The Poet And The Egg".
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In the final challenge in "There's Strength In Arches", painted on the side of the toy boat is "debajo de la mesa", which is Spanish for "under the table", a hint to the fact that there were items helpful for the task hidden on the underside of the table. Jon Richardson even notes this during the task, but fails to connect the dots, and laments the fact while watching the footage in the studio.
    • "Boing boing" has Greg, Sally, and Nish peppering French phrases during the flip book task onward. Greg also ends the show by speaking French.
    • In "No Stars for Naughty Boys", the team task involves one team member riding in a wheely bin and not allowed to speak English, and the other(s) steering the bin while blindfolded. Lolly speaks German and Mel speaks French, neither very well but well enough to be understood by their teammates. None of it is translated.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • A few gags in the show relied on Dave (the channel Taskmaster first aired on) and its notoriety for repeating the same shows (such as Top Gear and yes, even Taskmaster) quite often.
    • Some of the ad break reads are Greg basically making fun of adverts, and on more than one occasion has insulted the audience at home for falling for the ads.
    • One of the trailers for the first Channel 4 series was based entirely around mocking the channel for turning it down at first before poaching it from Dave. The letter the Taskmaster partially reads out also mocks the tendency for Channel 4 to show Home Improvement programs of varying kinds on their channels.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Literally the case. In "The Last Supper", Tim, Roisin, Josh, Romesh and Frank all had to complete a golf course in the shape of a "T" and an "M" using eggs instead of golf balls. The scores were calculated by shots multiplied by eggs multiplied by the minutes taken to do the task. They had to get the lowest score to win. It went as well as you'd expect it to. Roisin got 1,000 points, and so came first, Frank claimed second place with 1,096 points, Tim came third with 1,200 points, Josh came fourth with slightly over 6,000 points, Romesh came stone dead last with over 38,000 points. Greg summed up the task quite nicely after doling out the points:
    Greg: "We're basically saying there are no rules in our version of golf."
  • Bizarre Taste in Food:
    • The "guess the contents of the pie" task from "The Pie Whisperer in Series 1. Frank was shown first and made normal guesses (mostly steak-based) through intuition. It was then revealed that most of the pie fillings were... unusual to say the least. (A "Taskmaster photo" pie, a steak pie, a frozen peas pie, a glass marble pie, and a hot mint toothpaste pie - the only normal pie was a steak pie). Despite being forced to munch on the toothpaste pie, Alex claims on the official Taskmaster Podcast that it was the best-tasting thing that he has had to put in his mouth for the show.
    • Series 6 episode "One Warm Prawn" had one task where the contestants had to guess the contents of three jars of baby food. The three baby food jars contained what Alex imagined that babies would enjoy eating - sausage and sugar puffs (Jar 1), pilchards and coconut (Jar 2), and prawn cocktail, chicken breast, and chocolate cake (Jar 3). During the live segment after the task, Alex revealed how much of the "baby food" each contestant ate: Tim ate none of it (he only smelled them), Alice ate 6 grams, Russell ate 14 grams, Liza ate 33 grams, and Asim (who claimed he didn't have lunch and was hungry) ate 38 grams.
    • In "This is Trevor," the competitors need to guess the flavours of 5 different bags of crisps while wearing a ridiculous costume that reduces dexterity (e.g. a pirate outfit with a hook). The crisp flavours were (in numerical order) gin and tonic, toothpaste and tomato, burnt toast, vegan chocolate, and giant Refreshers crisps.
  • Blatant Lies: Often comes up as contestants try to fudge their way around a task's requirements:
    • For the prize task in Series 3 episode "The Dong and the Gong," ("heaviest item in a box"), Sara Pascoe brings in a "poisonous snake"note . She refused to allow Alex to weigh the box and claimed that it could only be handled by a snake handler and was a few kilos heavier than the heaviest item that the other contestants brought (Dave Gorman's lump of marble, which was 27.3 kg). Not surprisingly, Greg sticks her in last place.
    • The prize task for Series 5's "Phoenix" was to bring in the item the contestant was proudest of. Sally Phillips brought in an item of her standing outside the Icelandic Parliament building before what she claimed was a ceremony to reward her for her contribution to research that changed Iceland's laws regarding "how women are treated in pregnancy". As the prize basically amounted to a holiday snapshot, she had tried to claim that "Iceland" in Icelandic was "Icelandinga", and she offered a Suspiciously Specific Denial about how she didn't simply think "lie creatively" in order to win a point, Greg was highly suspicious of her story but, as he couldn't actually disprove it in-studio he was forced to give her points.
    • In Series 8's "long distance catch" task, Sian's contributions to her and Joe's attempt mainly involved her and former contestant Romesh Ranganathan standing in different parts of the set of The Reluctant Landlordnote  while Romesh intoned dramatically about how great it was to be in Johannesburg / Malaysia / New Zealand.
    • In Series 10, Katherine Parkinson claims to weigh 22 stones (140 kilograms or 308 pounds). This is what Greg actually weighs and he's more than a foot taller and a lot bulkier than she is.
  • Book-Ends: Occasionally happens in some episodes:
    • In "Phoenix", the first pre-recorded task involves the contestants getting a ping pong ball out of a long tube, and the live task involves the contestants using the ball to play a game of verbal ping pong. In the same episode, Alex mentions at the beginning that he has been taking elocution lessons and that saying the word "salivate" will make one immediately salivate. Cut to the end of the episode when Greg suddenly says "Salivate!" and Alex immediately does so.
    • The first recorded task of "This is Trevor" was to find all the pink lady apples hidden underneath bowls at tables, but finding the green (chicken) egg meant that the contestant would be disqualified. The live task put the five contestants into teams, where they must determine the numerical answer to the Taskmaster's questions and pull that number within 30 seconds - pulling a correct answer resulted in a pink lady falling from above that number, but pulling an incorrect answer would result in a green (ostrich) egg falling down so that the opposing team would receive the full 5 points and the losing team 0 points.
  • Boring, but Practical: This happens frequently, enough that it would overtake the Loophole Abuse entry by miles
    • For one task, the contestants had to get an egg as high as possible in 20 minutes. They were aided with a table, some pens, and a big stack of paper. Romesh's attempt saw him just stack the egg on top of the pens, and the pens on top of the paper. Greg was in disbelief that that was all Romesh could come up with in 20 minutes, and he was certain Romesh would come last. That is...until it transpired that Roisin, Tim, and Frank all had to be disqualified because they broke their eggs, meaning that Josh came in first place, and Romesh in second.
    • Kerry Godliman in Series 7 is repeatedly complimented by Greg as "the Bosh Queen" for her simple and blunt yet effective approaches to tasks. Need to find out where a bin is on the other side of a fence? Drill a hole in it, bosh.
  • Born Unlucky: In “Boing boing”, a task requires contestants to don a blindfold, travel as far as they can, remove the blindfold, and try to find their way back to where they started. They are given a slice of bread to potentially leave breadcrumbs, a strategy employed by Mark Watson. He ends up losing the task, as a dog happened to come along and eat the breadcrumbs.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Pre-watershed versions of Series 1-9 were made so Dave could get more mileage out of repeats. For the most part this just amounted to bleeping out the swearing, although one task from the sixth series had to have so much cut out of it to make it broadcastable pre-watershed that an extra line was added explaining how much had been edited.
    • When The CW acquired the rights to broadcast and stream Series 8 and 9 in the US, they cut out a lot of the raunchier jokes, removed the ad break transitions, and inserted several "Don't Try This At Home" messages. This also ended up cutting out context for various sequences (for example, in the original broadcast of "Clumpey Swayey Clumsy Man," Greg orders Alex to shout loudly while recapping what happened before the ad break and who will be shown next - however, the CW edit just cuts to Alex shout out "LOU SANDERS" for no apparent reason).
  • Brain Bleach:
    • Everyone in the studio has a very justified reaction after discussing Bob's...unique toilet sitting position in "Spoony Neeson", as he apparently has "an anus that is a bit too high."
    • Alex putting his bare rear into a cake topped with profiteroles and custard. The below quote truly squicked out the audience however:
      Alex: There was one fewer profiteroles than when I'd started.
  • Brains and Brawn: In series one:
    • Brain: Frank and Josh's attempts are often shown together, as they both tend to think their actions through first. To a lesser extent, Roisin as well when she's not using unusual techniques.
    • Brawn: Romesh and Tim take a much more brash, hands-on approach, which led to Greg calling them "the psychopaths". They also have a tendency to try and sabotage each others' efforts in the live task.
  • Break the Cutie: Alex tries to do this to Mel in "Spatchcock It" by giving her several difficult tasks involving a large inflatable ball (see Butt-Monkey for details). He ends up failing; Mel, while undeniably frustrated, remains quite perky and bubbly throughout.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Narrowly averted in "The Pie Whisperer": Tim Key claims he's doing a stunt for Sport Relief in order to get strangers to cooperate with his task, earning him immediate enmity from the rest of the cast and the audience. Greg rules that he'll lose points unless he gives £185 to the charity, whereupon he immediately asks how much he could give to win the task. Frank Skinner jumps in asking for the same deal. Greg ultimatey decides to drop the deal and just dock Tim a point.
    • In Series 3, Al "Money Bags" Murray displays a tendency to complete tasks by throwing money around to the people around him to help him do them. He rented a gong to surprise Alex (we don't know the price, but there's a good chance it wasn't cheap), bought a fairly costly taxi cab ride so he could drive to Slough with a pea in a rolled-up red mat (£150), did the same thing to cover 4 corners of London with his clothes (price unknown, also likely not cheap), spent £60 for Alex's taxi, and paid a man to walk with a piece of clothing. His spending spree has reached over £380! This creates a minor controversy in one episode, when Al pays Alex to carry a bucket full of water up a race track to another bucket so he could transfer water from it quicker (the task had stated that the contestants themselves couldn't move the bucket, but technically said nothing about someone else doing so), which led to him winning the round. The problem was, when Sara Pascoe had had the same idea during her attempt and had asked Alex to move the bucket without offering him money, he had refused in a way that suggested that this was a violation of the rules. As this ended up severely disadvantaging Sara, Greg ruled that she would get an extra point but that it would be unfair to disqualify Al since he had no idea of any of this, so he instead punished Alex for his corruption by making him donate the money to charity and Rob (who is in dire financial straits) and by making him take off his right shoe and sock for the rest of the episode.
      Rob Beckett: You're going to be at a loss at the end of the series, on the amount of money you've spent on-
      Al Murray: What price glory?
      Alex: Currently £340.
    • The prize task for "Tony Three Pies" from Series 4 required the contestants to bring in the largest amount of cash. Lolly Adefope decided to bring in a blank cheque so she could top the highest amount by 1p. When Greg called her out, she brought out her back-up plan: an envelope filled with £2000 of genuine currency.
    • Played with by Mark Watson, who also demonstrated a tendency to splash some cash around to try and win tasks. However, on several occasions, this backfired when he ended up not doing so well, leaving him significantly out-of-pocket with little to show for it. This most significantly occurred in the prize task where each contestant was required to bring in a special hat, as Greg instinctively found Mark's £400 light-up red "Taskmaster" hat insufficient. It finally worked out for Mark in "Boing Boing" when, after learning that (for unrelated reasons) Mark had once had to pay £18,000 to have a garden gate installednote , Greg made him the winner of the round out of pity.
      Greg: I've seen the hurt in Mark "£18,000 gate" Watson's eyes...
      Mark: Oh, I need this. I need this, yeah.
      Greg: ... So I have to give in to it.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the task where the contestants had to spot the differences made in the scene in front of them as they blew up a balloon blindfolded, Alex had been switched with a body double and nobody but Aisling noticed when naming the differences. Later in the episode, the same man swapped with Alex and sat next to Greg ahead of one of the ad breaks, which nobody comments on.
    • In the first episode of Series 4, Mel puts on a black shoe to crush a lime in the final in-studio task. Not only does she return to her chair in mismatched shoes, but she continues to sport the black shoe in studio during the next three episodes.
  • British Brevity: Played straight for the first few series, but number of episodes has increased over time. Series one has 6 episodes, series two and three have 5 episodes, series four and five have 8 episodes, and all the series from series six onwards have 10 episodes.
  • British Stuffiness: All the players had difficulty asking strangers for their ages in a Series One task, but Josh exhibits a reserved embarrassment throughout the task.
  • British Teeth: In Series 2, after Katherine Ryan performs a children's song about dental hygiene, Alex draws attention to the wide gap in his own teeth and says that he can fit a coin through it.
  • Broken Record: Literally. The video that precedes a task in "Rock 'n' Roll Umlaut" had the task-setting tune on a vinyl record, with it skipping near the end, then cutting off.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Josh (series one) appears in "A Pistachio Eclair" (series two) to help Richard and Jon in the team task. Unlike most of the other examples below, which appear to be spontaneously arranged on the part of the contestant, this one was arranged by the producers as part of the task itself, which required three people to complete.
    • Al (series three) appears twice in "Hollowing Out A Baguette" (series four). Al shows up as one of the people Joe Lycett contacted on Twitter to help him camouflage himself, which leads Greg and Alex to quip that Al just can't accept that he's no longer on the show anymore. Later on in the same episode, his short film from "The F.I.P." is played as an introduction to a task.
    • Tim Key (series one) shows up in "Tony Three Pies" (series four) to officiate Noel Fielding's marriage to a rubber duck.
    • Dave (series three) appears as the model for Aisling's Yorkshire pudding hat in "The Leprechaun or the Lesbian" (series five).
    • All five contestants in the Champion of Champions specials.
    • Richard (series two) appears in "Lotta Soup" (series seven) as part of James Acaster's attempt to deliver a task to Alex in the most spectacular way.
    • Romesh (series one) appears in "Stay Humble" (series eight)note .
    • Kerry (series seven) and Katherine (series two) replaced Katy in the studio segments while she was ill for "Another spoon" and "Bready Bready Bready" respectively (series nine).
  • Busby Berkeley Number: In "Lotta Soup," the task is to deliver the task (envelope) to Alex in the most spectacular manner. Kerry decides to stage a Busby Berkeley-type number (which she initially mispeaks as "Bertie Bassett," the mascot for licorice allsorts) and accompanies it with dancing crew members and a tune. The results were so spectacularly and uncharacteristically poor that it allegedly overshadowed everyone else's attempts at the task.
  • Butt-Monkey: This is done in a number of ways. At least once a series by giving a contestant a special task which nobody else has to do, or an additional rule in a task just for them (they are invariably unaware that nobody else had to do it until the footage is played). Oftentimes a contestant will be singled out for consistently struggling as well. To some extent the Taskmaster makes their struggle worse by punishing them, but often times one player is genuinely just very bad at the tasks.
    • Alex Horne is the show's ongoing Butt-Monkey. Greg constantly insults or mocks him, and in many of the later series the contestants join on. As the assistant around to observe the contestants as they undertake a challenge he also takes the brunt of their verbal abuse when they get frustrated with the task. In the spirit of the show, Alex typically goes along with whatever humiliating things are requested of him. Among other things, he has been made to eat several pies full of unusual fillings in "The Pie Whisperer", eat dog food in "The Last Supper", and put his bare arse into a cake in "He Was A Different Man". For the team task in "The Last Supper", the teams had to make a blooper reel; and Joh, Romesh, and Roisin decided to shove Alex's face into a cake before making him fall into a paddling pool full of water. The blooper reel example ends up backfiring on the team, however; after watching the blooper back, Greg pointed out that the team were supposed to make one of themselves the victim of the misfortune rather than inflicting it on a third party.
    • Josh in "Down An Octave". He was made to count how many baked beans were in a can, then spaghetti hoops, and finally grains of rice in a bag. He was initially denied points by Greg, but Josh was eventually awarded a single point overall for doing these tasks, he might well have been thankful, as he won that series by 1 point.
    • Jon in "Welcome To Rico Face". The other contestants were asked to set a fun challenge that should take no longer than a minute to complete ... and then Jon carried out all four challenges, and had to guess who set which challenge to win a maximum of four points. He succeeds.
    • Richard in series 2 often gets called out for being a guest star / producer / tall man, as he's unusual in being the only contestant in series 2 to not be a comedian. (even Doc Brown does comedy as one of his many side careers). Mel Giedroyc would later appear on the show in series 4, as well as Alice Levine in series 6, but these two being TV presenters in a show that features mostly comedians is seldom brought up by Alex (in Mel's case, most of the jokes are about her being a former co-host of Bake Off).
    • Rob in "Little Polythene Grief Cave". While all the contestants had to collect as much sweat as they could in 20 minutes to fill an eggcup, Rob was not allowed to speak in his natural accent during the task, despite the fact that he apparently can't imitate any other existing accents.
    • Paul Chowdhry in "A Very Nuanced Character". He was set the task of having the most fun on a bouncy castle for an hour, and clips from his attempt book-ended each advert break.
    • Joe Lycett in "Look at Me." All the contestants had to draw a painting of Greg from a distance, but Joe also had to do it while smiling with increasing enthusiasm every thirty seconds.
    • Mel in "Spatchcock It". As part of Alex's attempt to Break the Cutie, Mel was given five minutes to try and hide an enormous, multi-colored ball from Alex. Then it turned out that she had previously been given the task to inflate the ball inside the house, which took 45 minutes, before she had to score a goal with it. The goal was outside, meaning Mel had to partially deflate the ball again just to get it out of the front door.
    • Mark becomes one twice in series five:
      • In "A Wind-Dried Puffin", he was given a mobile to send daily texts to Greg's real number for 5 months, or 150 texts, and then was awarded no points because he'd only sent 148.
      • In "Spoony Neeson", all the contestants had to guide a cupcake with a lit candle through the house to light a candle in the caravan, but Mark was not allowed to say any words that contained any of the letters in the word Taskmaster. He spends most of his time saying the word "fiddly"
    • Attempted elsewhere in Series 5, where Aisling is given a pineapple and has to have its photograph taken in "esteemed company". It rather backfires on the production team when, rather than carrying it around for six months, she decides to post it to her mother in Ireland. It also backfired on Aisling, however, since on receiving the pineapple her mother just took photos of it around town with her iPad, thus failing the task requirements.
    • "I've Sinned Again" opens with Josh being made to sing along to the Taskmaster theme tune.
    • In "The Bubble Brothers", Tim Vine was tasked with making an outfit using only material he'd purchased from a stationers, and according to Alex this task was originally going to be for all of the contestants other than Tim. The other contestants would win a bonus point if they could guess the Punny Name Tim gave his outfit. He had made a "track suit", and nobody guessed it.
    • Phil Wang becomes this in Series 7. Unlike some of the other contestants however, who had either eagerly embraced their ineptitude at the tasks or were otherwise good-humouredly willing to play along with being the butt of the joke, one gets the sense that Phil is genuinely disappointed/irritated to find himself in this position. He later stated on Twitter that he felt the judging process had been unfair towards him, and Greg Davies did acknowledge that watching back he felt he'd judged Phil too harshly at times.
    • David Baddiel is openly mocked in series 9 as its worst contestant, particularly in "Don't Like Them Go Bang" despite winning that episode. Greg states outright that Ed having David on his team in a live task is a handicap.
    • Richard Herring in "Moments of Silence". One of the tasks involved the contestants acting out a script. They were each given two out of five parts to learn, and their parts would then be spliced together to create one big scene. Richard ended up learning all five parts, which Alex claimed was the result of an "admin error".
    • In the New Year Treat special, all the contestants were tasked with building the lightest tower that they could. Rylan was given the extra rule that he had to say that he had just come up with a great idea every time he heard Alex ring a bell.
    • In "Absolute Casserole", Mike was the only contestant who was given the task to fart.

  • Call-Back:
    • In "Hollowing Out a Baguette", one task is given as a film presentation. It opens with Al Murray's entry for the "do something that will look cool when sped up or slowed down" task from the previous series.
    • The Ad-Bumpers for "I've Sinned Again" features Alex recreating past tasks using miniature figurines of the champions on the model of a field. Those same figurines are then used by Iain Stirling for his best volcano in Series 8 episode "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" so that he can pay tribute to them.
    • Series 5 features a call back to a different show entirely. In "A Wind-Dried Puffin", Bob Mortimer breaks an apple with his bare hands as part of the "make a water-cooler moment with this water-cooler" task. Greg then points out that he'd previously done so on an episode of Would I Lie to You? that both men had appeared on (which had also become an actual water-cooler moment, having achieved over a million views on YouTube). While he admits it's still impressive, Greg thus docks Bob points because he was repeating himself.
    • The runway which is sometimes set up for live tasks has been dubbed as "The Knappett" ever since "The Perfect Stuff" where Series 7 contestant Jessica Knappett fell off said runway for her disastrous, magnificent walk. It even has a plaque to signify this.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Jo Brand announces that she needs "a quick wee" in the team task in "Think About The Spirit". In the studio, Greg points out that she's the only contestant ever who has gone to the toilet mid-task while against the clock.
  • Calvinball: A task in "Down An Octave" was one that sent the teams to a squash court, and had to score 11 points as fast as possible. When Frank asked Alex what the rules were, he simply replied "The Taskmaster Rules". They were given things to aid them such as cakes, a bucket, and squash rackets and balls. Alex in the studio later clarified the points system: Disrespecting the Taskmaster deducts 2 points, shaking your head deducts a point, but to score a point, they had to touch their head.
  • The Cameo: Former contestants have at times popped up to help out in challenges in later series. See The Bus Came Back above for the full list.
  • Camera Abuse:
    • In the credits of "Hollowing Out a Baguette," Joe Lycett tosses a chunk of cheese into the studio audience and accidentally strikes a camera.
    • James becomes so enraged by missing a par in "Twelve Blush Majesty Two," due to the inherent problems knocking a cricket ball into a golf hole that he takes it out on the hole's flag, which has a camera attached to it. Greg wasn't happy abut the broken camera, but he understood why he was angry.
    • Paul Sinha knocks into a camera in "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man" while trialing his route to take in a task that had him blindfolded and riding a scooter. Bear in mind, he knocked into the camera BEFORE he put the blindfold on. Greg does lampshade this.
      Greg (while still laughing): I mean, absolute carnage before the blindfold has gone on!
    • Lou crashes into one of the camera operators during her attempt at the blindfolded obstacle course in "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man."
    • One task in Series 9 episode "Join Our Cult" has the contestants rearrange ice lollies by colour while wearing blindfold goggles. At one point, David asks where Alex is and throws an ice lolly in his direction, splattering a camera in the process.
    • In "Legit Glass," Mawaan, after having completed the task at hand, manages to cause a remote-controlled buggy (which has a camera attached to it) to crash into one of the camera operators.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Occasionally when one of the panellists is getting to grips with a task...
      Nish Kumar: [during a task where he has to paint a rainbow in a darkened room, with a tone of sudden realisation] Oh... I can't see the colors!
    • Greg, Taskmaster of Taskmaster, understanding the rules of the show:
      Greg: How was Josh better than Frank, it looked like Frank-
      Alex: He was faster.
      * beat*
      Greg: Aaaah! That's how this works!
    • In the recorded tasks, Alex has a tendency to point out an obvious error or unfortunate circumstance that has arisen during a contestant's attempt to complete the task in a tone that seems helpful and innocent, yet is conveniently placed to frustrate and annoy the contestant.
  • Career Revealing Trait: In "A Very Nuanced Character", one task involved the contestants working out the previous occupation of Hugh, a retiree. Al utilised this trope to work out that Hugh wasn't a manual labourer, because he had soft hands without any calluses.
  • Cat Up a Tree: In "Welcome to Rico Face", a task required the contestants to get a toy cat named Patatas down from a tree. The fastest to do so won. Jon, Joe and Doc Brown immediately head for the shed to get a ball to throw at Patatas, with the tactic backfiring a few moments later for both Jon and Doc Brown, as their balls also got stuck in the tree. Richard and Katherine opted to duct-tape sticks to form one big stick. Katherine came first, Doc Brown came second, as "cats like string!" apparently, Joe came third, Jon came fourth, with Richard being disqualified as he didn't rescue Patatas and gave up after 45 minutes.
  • Catchphrase: Quite a few:
    • "Your time starts now" is one due to it's frequent use in the show's task letters.
    • Roisin has "That's a lotta pie!", even when referring to a thing that are ostensibly not a pie.
    • Paul Chowdhry, innit?
    • Bob Mortimer has "do you know what I mean?"
    • James Acaster has quite a few, with "Suck it!" being his go-to catchphrase. See Phrase Catcher for the other one.
    • Kerry Godliman had "Bosh!" This led to her being dubbed the "Bosh Queen" by Greg.
    • Lou has "Mummy!"
    • David Baddiel frequently says "Bollocks" when he realises that he has messed up.
    • Mike Wozniak developed a habit of saying "Tick-tock, it's ____ o'clock", with the blank being filled by such gems as "bamboo" or "fart".
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: While the Taskmaster will at times allow "creative" interpretations of task rules if the contestant is engaging in a good-faith attempt to complete the task and can convincingly argue that it's a valid interpretation of what the task is asking for, outright cheating is not tolerated and will be immediately smacked down with an automatic disqualification. Examples include:
    • Dave Gorman attempted to cheat and pass it off twice in Series 3, leading to disqualifications:
      • In the Pea Throwing task in "Pea in a Haystack", Dave claimed the pea was wedged in the tennis racket they was using. Greg attempted to get the truth out of him, twice, and when he maintained he was telling the truth, Alex brought in the slow-motion footage to reveal that the pea had left the racket when Dave threw it. Dave then tried to claim the pea must've gotten wedged when he used the racket for searching for the pea. Unsurprisingly, this led to a disqualification, and to add insult to injury, Paul, who failed to get the pea onto the rug, came in 4th for at least propelling the pea.
      • In "The F.I.P", Contestants had to get as much water from one bucket to another without him touching the bucket. They...didn't do very well, and when it came to compare buckets with other contestants, Dave's bucket looked suspiciously brown. He tried to claim it was his bile from siphoning the water, but footage revealed he had dumped extra coffee and tea into the bucket after the task had finished. This also led to a disqualification.
        Greg: (pointing at Alex's bare foot) Do you see what I'm capable of?!
    • In "Look at Me", A task required the contestants to get flour from a bandstand to a target located outside of the bandstand. This task had them grouped up (Mel and Hugh versus Noel, Joe, and Lolly). At one point Noel interfered with Alex's clock, and pressed pause on it. Alex did a reveal slow-motion montage after the video had rolled, and Greg disqualified the entire team for Noel's meddling.
    • In "Aquatic Sewing Machine", the teams had to catch balls of varying colors in varying containers, with certain balls being only to be allowed to be in each container (except green balls, which had to be ignored). Sian's entire team got disqualified as they had tried to discreetly add in red balls into one of their containers, and was embarrassed to be caught red handed by the camera.
      Greg: I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back: of all the people!
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Residue round the hoof", a task was to blow up a balloon to the size of a cucumber (30 centimetres) while blindfolded, all the while a bunch of seemingly-unrelated props were at the other end of the garden. After doing the task, the contestants were given a second task, which was to remember as many of the now-very-relevant props as possible. Amazingly, nobody had noticed a hanging tarpaulin had changed color from dark green to dark blue. Everyone but Aisling also failed to notice that Alex was replaced with a body double, but a few of them did notice his hat had changed.
  • Chekhov's News: In "H.", Asim announces that he is now a vegan. In the following episode; "We met at mealtimes", it is revealed that one of the tasks involves making the biggest announcement, and that Asim's announcement had been his attempt for the task.He won that task.
  • Clark Kenting: Discussed in "Little Polythene Grief Cave" when everyone is arguing whether Paul's flag meal resembles the Mexican flag.
    Paul: It did look like an eagle, you ate the beak.
    Greg: So if an eagle wanted to disguise itself— (covers his nose and mouth with his hands, through barely concealed laughter) NO EAGLES HERE!
    Paul: Clark Kent has got the glasses...
    Greg: Eagles have got the beaks.
  • Cliffhanger: The team task in "A Coquettish Fascinator" was to create the best 1-minute soap opera cliffhanger.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Series one has Roisin; her... alternative views and methods are sometimes at odds with her successfully completing a task.
    • Joe Wilkinson in series two. He decided to impress a mayor by buying him 42 Callipos, a six-pack of beer, and also threw in £15. When he made a music video for a nursery rhyme, his attempt involved him standing in front of a green screen and mangling the lyrics to "Old MacDonald Had A Farm" while singing in a monotone.
    • Bob in series five. For instance, his idea of a special cuddle was to cuddle Alex in the boot of his car, and then he revealed that he'd been looking for an excuse to get into the boot anyway.
    • Liza Tarbuck in series six. She twice has been distracted by trees in the surroundings and for her "longest spin," she stuck a toy lizard onto a cordless drill.
      Greg: You buggered a toy lizard
    • Tim Vine in series six. Asim even lampshades this following the team task in "The Bubble Brothers". The teams had to perform a song for Taskmaster: The Musical, and Tim was the one who came up with a short and quirky tune about a task where a father and son found each other.
  • James at times in Series 7, but most especially his submission for the "Draw The Biggest Circle" task. Not only did he inexplicably seem to interpret it as "Collect The Most Circles" for some reason, but even his attempt to do that saw him briefly ride around on a bike trying to spin a hula-hoop for some inadequately explained reason, before claiming the circles on the garden paving as being part of his attempt somehow. For the collective response to this madness, see What Were You Thinking? below.
    Asim: So Tim Vine’s a lovely man, right? Wonderful man but he’s fucking weird!
    • David Baddiel is this in series 9, rivalling Roisin in his unusual methods of task completion. His idea of getting a lasso to gain leverage is to attach more spoons ("Another Spoon"). It’s revealed on the Taskmaster podcast that this task was originally meant to be a tiebreaker, but Alex and the producers found David’s method to be so strange that they absolutely had to share it.
    • Despite some stiff competition from fellow competitors, particularly Johnny Vegas and Mawaan Rizwan, Katherine Parkinson is Season 10's primary head-in-the-clouds contestant. Her big idea to get around a "do not walk on the grass" requirement in the first task is to tippy-toe run across it. She seem to genuinely believe that Mawaan Rizwan has suspended himself upside down in the "film the best thing upside down" task. Her attempt at completing the "fling the shoe into the bath with your foot task" simply defies explanation for how odd it gets (she at one point tries to use her own feet as a catapult). Her attempt to guess what Johnny Vegas is drawing in the "Pictionary on a spinning turntable" task sees her reduced to repeatedly yelling "BOX! BOX!" as Johnny desperately tries to get her to broaden the guess (it was actually a sandbox).
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The series started off fairly G-rated, sprinkled with the occasional swear for emphasis. When frustration gets the best of some of the contestants they can come out with these.
    Paul (whispering): He's a doctor.
    Alex (whispering): What sort of doctor, Paul?
    Paul (whispering): Oh for fuck's sake you fucking bastard.
  • Comedic Sociopathy:
    • In Series 6, Liza has stomped on a wind-up toy man on a pennyfarthing and forced Alex to look at its remains and asked Alex to sit bare-arsed onto a cake (after which she runs away giggling like a madwoman).
    • In the same task to take the toy man on the incredible journey in "Tarpeters," Asim jokingly calls out the other contestants for how little regard they possessed for the toy man's well being, who was variously left to die alone in a bag (Alice), smashed to pieces (Liza), brainwashed into a cult (Russell) and lynched in a tree (Tim).
    • Demonstrated repeatedly by Rhod throughout Series 7, in which he took every opportunity to humiliate Alex as often as possible by stripping him naked, creating a "water feature" by squirting water between Alex's bare buttocks, force-feeding him warm mocha to get his heart rate up, and tying him up to a chair and placing a bucket over his head. In one (in)famous moment, he delivered a task to Alex by throwing a makeshift javelin into the caravan that Alex as also inside of.
      Jessica: (from an outtake of "The Pendulum Draws the Eye," referencing the javelin incident) Yes, but Rhod, we can't— you've got to stop doing this! You can't just nearly kill Alex every time you have to do a task!
    • Katy from Series 9 is a surprisingly mild-mannered one, such as when she uses a water torture egg timer on Alex and when she cruelly rebuffs his cry for help with bullying.
      Katy: Alex, you should tell people when you're being bullied.
      Alex: (mouthing) I'm being bullied.
      Katy: I don't care. Why are you telling me?
  • The Comically Serious: In series 1, Romesh Ranganathan tends to approach his participation in the show as if he is in a prisoner-of-war camp being threatened with having his finger- and toenails sadistically removed. Given his overall comic persona it's unclear just how much he genuinely wasn't enjoying himself, but as a result his outbursts formed some of the funniest moments of the series.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Some episodes of Series 1 and 2, and some of series 3 leave the final contestants task until after the break. Series 4 onward changes this to have at least 2 people to go in any given adbreak.
  • Competition Freak: The show came about because Alex Horne realized that comedians are naturally competitive and keen to one up each othernote . Because of this trait, some contestants are very keen to win and this is reflected in how they approach the tasks and interact with others.
    • James Acaster (Series 7) and Iain Stirling (Series 8) could be particularly aggressive in completing tasks and trying to justify points from the Taskmaster.
    • Richard Herring (Series 10) would passive-aggressively try to set himself apart from his competitors by prefacing his attempts with comments about how he tried to follow the rules as they were presented.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • Invoked as part of a task in "The Dong and the Gong", where Alex is tied up, but the solution for freeing him was simple. The task had the teams complete a multi-step puzzle to locate the key to free Alex from handcuffs, one big Red Herring that could've been avoided had both teams inspected Alex properly—he was holding the key.
    • A team task in "H." had instructions for each team to figure out the connection between a bunch of items on a wall connected by string and then do the thing 100 times. The link: "Hop". Every object and image spelled "hop" or was connected to "hop". Liza quickly figured out the link and began hopping, while Tim and Asim decided that was too simple and continued trying to figure out the puzzle, and the task was completed without them realizing it.
    • The team task in "Butter in the Microwave" is a recreation of a Choose Your Own Adventure where each team goes to various areas around the Taskmaster House property and complete a mini task. Choosing the wrong combination or accidentally breaking the rule meant the team would either be stuck in a loop or that the team would have to start all over again from the starting bench. The key to finishing the task was to say the word "demeaning", which could have been done at any point during the ordeal unprompted (several of the mini tasks were quite demeaning, like wearing a kitchen item for the duration of the entire task) rather than being prompted by the task underneath the door mat.
  • Continuity Cameo: Al Murray (series three) appears in a task for "Hollowing Out a Baguette" (series four). He had responded to a tweet Joe sent out asking for help with the task.
    Greg: [Al] will not accept that he's not on the show anymore!
  • Continuity Cavalcade:
    • Various ad spots and trailers the show has made over the years while on Dave showed off memorable props and the varying paintings that hang up in the Taskmaster house.
    • In the first channel 4 promo, it shows off pretty much every painting hung up in the house, showing a golden pineapple statue (Series 5), painting a picture of a horse wile riding a horse (Series 1), collecting tears in an eggcup (Series 1), and destroying a cake beautifully (Series 4). The golden trophy and throne also gets shown off too.
    • The trailer for Series 11 makes reference in portrait form to past tasks such as eating a watermelon without touching it (Series 10, with Daisy in the portrait), determining the contents of a locked briefcase (Champion of Champions, with Bob in the portrait), and scoring a goal with a steamroller (Series 9, with Rose in the portrait).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ad Bumpers show Alex in a scene or with objects used in previous episodes' tasks:
      • One of the tasks in "One Warm Prawn" involves making something spin unaided for the longest time. Liza Tarbuck won the task by spinning a plastic lizard attached to a cordless drill, which kept on going for just over an hour and a half! The footage of the drill was then reused for the ad bumpers of the next episode, "BMXing!".
      • In "Quisps", the ad bumpers has Alex use the cement roller from the previous episode; "Five Miles Per Day", who uses it to squish food items in the shape of numbers.
      • In "A Cuddle", the ad bumpers had Alex serenade himself, while his "partner" in the window mimed the number of the ad break on his hands.
      • The ad bumpers in Series 10 finale "Dog Meat Trifle" is footage of Mawaan's spectacular lighthouse (with rotating light) made from beermats which he had constructed in the previous episode.
    • In series 4 episode "Hollowing Out a Baguette," the camouflage task is introduced with the same diorama on which the series 2 cast constructed their highest bridge for a potato in "There's Strength in Arches." The diorama additionally features a shopping trolley in the rivernote  and a bag of ricenote .
    • In series 7, during the live task for "The Perfect Stuff", Jessica Knappett fell off the stage. The stage has since been named The Knappett.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Unlike following series, where the contestants vie for a trophy shaped like the Taskmaster's head, the winner of Series 1 received a trophy for a karate competition.
    I'm not saying that this is a last minute purchase, but why is there a man doing karate on the top?
  • Coordinated Clothes: All of the competitors in the Series Nine finale "Think About the Spirit" were dressed in matching formal tuxedos. Amusingly, Greg and Alex also sported "coordinated" fake tan sprays, which is explained away as the two of them lying in Greg's sunbed together over the weekend.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef:
    • Some of the cooking tasks like the final pre-recorded task of Series 1 (best meal using ingredients beginning with all the letters of the alphabet). Tim Key made ravioli with dog food filling.
    • Invoked with the exotic sandwich task from Series 4 episode "Tony Three Pies."
      • Mel used Turkish delight, a crunchy bar, a Kit Kat, double deckers, chocolate oranges, marshmallows, M&Ms, Nutella, Snickers, and Maltesers.
      • Hugh used halloumi, pesto, parma ham, sashimi, wasabi peas, banana, and kiwifruit in his sandwich.
      • Lolly used kiwifruit, chili jam, grapefruit, frankfurters, prawn, and pineapple in her sandwich.
      • Joe used kumquat, a sausage roll, smoked trout, yam, tequila, dark chocolate, spring roll, chorizo, pomegranate and an arctic roll in his "Mother's delight."
  • Corpsing: Alex tries to maintain a deadpan persona during the pre-recorded tasks, but inevitably the contestants' attempts tests this.
    • Alex openly laughs in Series 3 at Rob's attempt to somersault over a short fence without taking any steps.
    • In Series 9, Alex has to cover his face at David Baddiel's bizarre attempts to lasso him by tying wooden spoons to the rope.
    • In "Point of Swivel", Alex ends up having to turn away to laugh twice during Katherine's attempt to catapult a shoe into a bathtub.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Played for laughs in "God's Haemorroid." After he finishes the "carry the drinks from the phone box to the caravan" task, Johnny shields the baby teddy bear from the papa and mama bear, which are both lying on the grass as mats.
    Johnny: That's what life'll do ta ya. Look away, child. Look away.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Especially as they start getting used to the program, several contestants throughout the show's run start making preparations for what they think the task is going to be before reading out the task. This is especially as numerous tasks begin as soon as the contestant reads out the line "Your time starts now", and they often have little time to get on top of things. Perhaps the clearest example of this, however, is Richard Osman blowing up an airbed that is found among a collection of items just in case doing so will be useful, lampshading it with this reason. Ironically, it turns out he didn't have to; the task is simply to transfer all the items to a shopping trolley on the other side of a canal.
  • Creator Killer: Discussed in-universe. While thankfully so far nothing on the show has managed to destroy any careers (and some contestants have benefited immensely from appearing on the show), it's a frequent joke that none of the contestants who appear will ever be able to work again due to the existence of copious amounts of video evidence proving how utterly inept and dire at completing tasks they are. Particularly, in Series 8 Paul Sinha's poor showing led to jokes that he would be fired from The Chase if the producers of that show ever watched it.
  • Creepy Cleanliness: The lab room in the Taskmaster House has been noted by at least two contestants to be creepy and unnerving because of this trope (all-white room, plastic sheeting, etc.). Jo Brand, on the Taskmaster Podcast, compared the lab to an abattoir.
  • Creepy Twins: Greg calls Sara and Rob the "sinister Aryan twins" in "The Dong and the Gong".
    Rob: (affecting a creepy voice) Mummy says we're good at puzzles.
  • Cringe Comedy: The premise of the first prize task in "Champions of Champions" was to bring in the most genuinely cringe-worthy / embarrassing item. Noel brought in a picture of him and his family when he was 14 years old, Bob brought in a drawing his son did of "dog dirt", Rob brought in elephants silk pants that he soiled himself in, Katherine brought in a video of her and her sister pretending to be Hitler, while Josh brought in a clip of him being an interviewee on an episode of "This Week" (a late-night British political discussion show). Noel came last, Bob came fourth, Rob came third, Katherine came second, and Josh came first
  • Crosses the Line Twice: invokedAlex's opening banter is a comedic version: it's so painfully unfunny that it has everyone (except Greg) in stitches at the sheer awkwardness.
  • Crying Wolf: During Champion of Champions, Katherine Ryan decided to put a personal spin on the "Create the Biggest Mess" and create an emotional mess within her family by spreading rumors of infidelity. Her father, knowing her too well, doesn't believe her for a second and just chuckles.
    Katherine's father: Heh heh heh...Hey, I didn't come over here on the last banana boat, you know.
  • Cult:
    • In the task to take a wind-up toy man on the most incredible journey ("Tarpeters"), Russell takes him on a spiritual journey by asking Alex to read out spiritual proverbs and carrying the toy man with a litter picker up along the roof, dropping him, and having Alex catch him. In the studio, Asim jokes that Russell brainwashed the little man into a cult.
    • The first episode of Series 9 is called "Join Our Cult", which is the mantra said by Katy when the task was to make a dramatic entrance to Alex. She interpreted this as making balloon people and sticking them onto poles onto her back.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Pretty much the entire audiences reaction in "The Barrel Dad" when Nell the toddler entered the living room for a task.
  • Cutting the Knot: A classic method to score highly in tasks, provided it doesn't creep over into outright cheating.
    • In "The Last Supper", a task required to get the least amount of points possible on a Miniature golf course. They all had to use eggs, and the scores were calculated by how many eggs they used, as well as the shots taken, ans also the minutes taken to complete the task. Tim, instead of shooting raw eggs with a golf club like other contestants, hard-boiled one of the eggs, grabbed a tennis ball, cut it open, and placed the egg inside of the ball, then taping the cut back up. Tim got 1,200 points and came third.
    • In the Series 2 episode "Pork Is a Sausage," task where the contestants have to order a pizza without using specific words, there is a bonus point for getting the person taking the order to say the word "bubbles". Richard Osman tries asking them if they remember the name of Michael Jackson's pet chimp, Jon Richardson tries asking about flat cola, Doc Brown pretends his name is "Bubbles"... whilst Joe Wilkinson just asks the guy if he can say the word "bubbles".
    • In "A Fat Bald White Man," one of the tasks required the contestants to paint a caricature of the person behind a curtain without being able to look at that person and only being allowed to ask yes/no questions. They also had the opportunity to earn a bonus point for obtaining that person's full namenote . Most of the contestants went about it by guessing individual names or going through the alphabet. Hugh, however, hands that person a pen and paper and asks if they can write their name on that that paper.
    • In "No stars for naughty boys", a task required the contestants to deliver mini sandwiches to Alex while hopping, and had to eat one every time they put their foot on the ground, along with a 5 second penalty. Between them and Alex though was some bunting. While everyone else went under the bunting with various levels of success, Hugh outright hopped off to the kitchen, grabbed a pair of scissors, and cut the bunting, then delivered the food to Alex Hugh came second, only beaten by Noel, who had insane hopping skills.
    • In Champion of Champions, the contestants have to discover what's inside a padlocked armored briefcase, with various methods of discovering the passcode (science and maths formulas on a nearby whiteboard, counting the number of grains of rice in a nearby drawer, hunting for the number hidden around the Taskmaster house etc.). Rob and Noel take unconventional, yet simple, approaches. Rob shook the briefcase and guessed it was frozen peas, and Noel grabbed a hammer from the shed and struck the padlocks off (winning the round).
    • In "Tarpeters", A team challenge was to make Alex as waterproof as possible in 2 minutes, and after the allotted time, a shower above him will turn on. The driest Alex won the points. Asim, Liza, and Tim did the task as one would expect, covered Alex in mats (or "Tarpeters" as the three called them, which got mocked by Greg in the studio, hence the episode name), a towel, a bowl on his head and bin bags. They did reasonably well, and actually only got the bottom half of Alex wet. Russell and Alice on the other hand used this to their advantage, by disconnecting the shower and let the water run on the ground (the task never said you had to cover Alex to keep him dry). To rub it in a bit, they made Alex as dry as possible, giving him a ''Dry'' Martini, with a towel around his neck, all the while drying him with a hairdryer. They won four points, while Asim's team won one point. Greg was suitably impressed.
    • In "BMXing!", a task required the contestants to get a £5 note from under a glass full of beer, all the while without touching the glass, and not spilling any beer. Alice and Russell grabbed a straw and started drinking the beer before Alice moved onto scooping the beer into a spit can with a dainty little cup, before sheepishly realising she could use the task letter to move the glass and get the fiver. It was all for nought, as Alice got disqualified for dropping a tiny drop of beer onto the table while transferring it to the spit cup, and Russell won the full 5 points for his quick time of 1:19.
    • In "Roadkill Doused in Syrup", one task required the contestants to get the bales off a cricket set, which was at the end of a long red carpet. They were all given various ball types to help them, and couldn't move from the other end of the carpet. Tim's solution? Tie string to one of the stumps, cut a bit out from the carpet, thread it through, then pick up the other end of carpet, and shake until they fall over. Tim did succeed, but only got 4 points due to Russell having amazing cricket ball throwing skills, and hit the stump in 21 seconds! Liza got disqualified for not staying at the other end, while Asim and Alice failed to hit any of the bales.
    • In a task to tie themselves up as securely as possible for Alex to untie ("I Can Hear It Gooping"), Rhod tied Alex to a chair and then quickly bound his own wrists, making it impossible for Alex to untie him.
    • In "Hello", A task required the contestants to find a baby monitor, and they were given a Baby Monitor attached to some string, hanging from a stick, attached to a hat, they had to wear throughout the task. Immediately after Iain had read the task out, he took the Baby Monitor off of the string (the task never specified it had to stay there, he only had to wear the hat). Sian also realised this a little later on in her attempt, as did Paul.
    • In "Aquatic Sewing Machine", a task was to get a beach ball from one side of the garden to another by only using water, with a track laid out in front of them. Both Paul Sinha and Iain cut the proverbial knot, the former moved the finish line behind the starting line, and got the ball in that way, and the latter realised pretty quickly that the task never specified the ball had to remain on the track, and used a water hose to blast it in the direction of the finish line, while avoiding the track obstacles. Iain got 5 points, while Paul got 2 points.
    • In "Shaqinahat", the first task is to throw an object into a pedal bin from the furthest distance, with the caveat that the lid of the pedal bin must be closed when the object is thrown. Whilst all of the other contestants try varying methods of hitting the pedal after they've thrown their object, Ed Gamble knocks out the bottom of the bin and puts it upside-down, which Greg decides is valid as the lid of the bin is closed.
    • As part of the live task of "Absolute Casserole", the contestants have to open a padlocked toolbox, by using the difficult mathematical clues given to work out the numbercode. Jamali opts to just stamp on the toolbox until it buckles, though he figures this out too late to avoid coming last.
  • Cycle of Hurting: In "Think About the Spirit", a task was to complete seven smaller tasks laid out in front of them: assemble a jigsaw puzzle, hide all the jigsaw pieces, put the wheelbarrow in the caravan, put 20 larger-than-tennis-ball items into the wheelbarrow, knock down bowling pins from the driveway from behind a velvet rope, assemble a tower 26 inches tall, and finally, put your hand on your hip for the rest of the task(s). Certain tasks had stipulations that had them redo the entire task again if they fail any mini-task. This happened to Ed Gamble, who got caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, with items falling out of his wheelbarrow, twice.

     D - F 
  • A Day in the Limelight: Ollie, the small knight statue near the front door first seen in Series 7 had one, appropriately enough in the episode “OLLIE”, when it featured in most of the tasks in some way (except the stage task), and was also featured in the Ad Bumpers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Joe Wilkinson can be one at times, like when he reads out the live task in "Pork Is A Sausage".
  • Death Glare: James Acaster throughout series 7 gives Alex an angry look every time Alex greets him (rather than greet him back as contestants usually do), to the point the official taskmaster channel made a compilation reel of every time James did it.
  • Decoy Protagonist: A lot of attention is on Greg Davies as the titular "Taskmaster". However, Alex Horne is the one actually in charge and he sometimes very clearly guides Greg on camera.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: This will occur every now and then when there is a task which requires the competitors to compose a short film.
    • Roisin's backwards film Thirsty Wolf from "The Pie Whisperer" is filmed in this manner, accompanied by soft, calming piano music.
    • Bob and Nish's flick book films from "Boing Boing" are shot in this manner (How to Peel a Banana and A Cautionary Tale for Cats, respectively).
    • In the Limited Palette version, the task to arrange ice lollies in a rainbow in "Join Our Cult" is heavily de-saturated, but the ice lollies and the dodo statue retain their normal colours.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • The tiebreaker tasks are pre-recorded months in advance, just in case they're needed.
    • A task in series 9 has the contestants get asked to choose a letter, and then to put as many things from around the house beginning with that letter onto Alex's tray. David Baddiel picked Q, but didn't find any item in the house that actually began with the letter, instead claiming he had a speech impediment that made him start most words with a Q. At the end of the task, Alex revealed that he had the foresight to litter the house with appropriately named objects for each letter, and said that he had stocked up the fridge in particular with quail's eggs, quiche, Quavers and a quesadillato cover the letter Q, just in case someone chose it.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: In Series 7, James Acaster impulsively calls Greg a "pussy" in the studio and immediately jerks back in shock when he realizes what he just said. James' reaction then shifts to Oh, Crap! when the much larger Greg stands up and beckons him over.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Ironically, several contestants have scuttled what would otherwise have been winning, or at least very successful, attempts at completing the tasks because they pushed the rules a bit too far (or outright cheated) and ended up being docked points or otherwise disqualified. Some examples include:
    • Tim Key would have won, or at least drawn, the watermelon-eating contest in Series 1 had he not slipped a bit of watermelon into his mouth after the task was completed.
    • Similarly, Tim probably would have won the "empty the bath the quickest" task as well, or at least not been disqualified, had he not surreptitiously tried to put the plug back into the bath after realising it had came out. While the rules stated that the plug had to be in the bath at all times, it could have possibly been explained away as an accident had he not clearly tried to cover it up.
    • Dave Gorman got caught twice outright cheating in his series, first when he replaced his pea in the "propel the pea" task, then when he filled his bucket in the finale with his coffee instead of water. In both instances, Alex lampshades that Dave is filmed in all his attempts, so his cheating was easily caught.
    • Noel Fielding tried to tamper with the clock in the "hit the target with flour" team task in Series 4 to give his team extra time, which led to an automatic disqualification. However, it turned out when both attempts were played back in the studio that his team had utterly trounced the other team and hadn't needed the advantage anyway.
    • Sian sneakily collected more balls in her chute after the team task was over in "Aquatic Sewing Machine" and was caught out on camera. Had she not done so and gotten her entire team disqualified, they would have handily beaten the other team with a score of -8 to -27.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Occasionally happens with some of the contestants:
    • Roisin didn't think to put down any sort of safety matting when throwing an egg up in the air for a task that requires the egg to be intact. No prizes for guessing what happens next...
    • Roisin... again, tried to get a courier to remove a boulder, but forgot to take into account the amount of time it would take the courier to arrive, resulting in her rolling it out of the house with very little time left.
    • Josh Widdicombe brought in a signed blank checque for the prize task on "Little Denim Shorts". His eyes turned into saucers when he realized that his competitors could pull up to £20,000 out of his accountnote .
    • Romesh Ranganathan admits to this in the watermelon eating challenge. He was so focused on getting the melon open as quickly as possible, he didn't think of what might happen if he smashed it onto the floor.
    • Aisling in Series 5's "Phoenix". When she reads out that she needs to eat one item placed before her, she grabs a Weetabix biscuit and stuffs it in her mouth, only to struggle to swallow and realize that she'd have had an easier time eating a much smaller twiglet.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory:
    • Romesh achieves this in "The Poet And The Egg", which has a task where the contestants must get an egg as high as possible without breaking it. His attempt was considered too safe by Greg's standards (see Boring, but Practical above), but he manages to achieve second place because Frank, Roisin, and Tim all broke their eggs.
    • The live task for "Welcome To Rico Face" was to build a tower of potato-based foods. The tower had to be free-standing at the end of exactly 100 seconds, and the only contestant who wasn't holding their tower by then was Doc Brown.
    • In "The leprechaun or the lesbian", one of the tasks was to slice a loaf of bread with an item found in the caravan. Whilst neither Mark nor Nish do especially well (the former used a grill, the latter a front of a book), the other three were disqualified (Sally and Bob for using more than one item, and Aisling for not reading the task correctly and slicing the wrong loaf of bread), allowing Mark and Nish to take the top two places by default, much to their shared delight.
    • In "A wind-dried puffin," the first pre-recorded task asked each of the contestants to place the largest item inside a balloon and then blow it up. Bob and Sally failed to inflate and tie the balloon before the time was up, and Nish popped his balloon while inflating it. Both Greg and Alex expressed their annoyance that Aisling and Mark, the only people who did not blow up their balloons themselves (the former being unable to blow up balloons, the latter being afraid of balloons— their balloons were inflated and tied by the sound man) were the only ones to score points in this round.
    • The first recorded task in "The Pendulum Draws the Eye," is to fill a small metal bowl floating inside a fishbowl with coins from a swear jar, with the highest numerical value being awarded first and the caveat that nobody is allowed to touch the metal bowl or allow the bowl to sink. In the end, it didn't matter what the highest value was because James, Jess, Phil and Rhod all overloaded their bowls (although Jess and Rhod both made good effort in trying to fish the metal bowl back out). Kerry won this task merely by not overloading her bowl, despite some prompting from Alex.
    • "I Can Hear It Gooping" has a task where each contestant needs to find the boiled egg among 5 other eggs. They can touch two eggs max and can damage two eggs max, but the boiled egg could not be damaged. James was the only one to find the boiled egg without damaging it through process of elimination and received the 5 points.
    • This benefits Sian for the last recorded task of "Rock 'N' Roll Umlaut," in which the contestants must choose a distance from where to kick a goal in one attempt. There is also a potential bonus point at play that the Taskmaster may award for the best goal celebration that must be done (even if the contestant misses the goal). Sian selected the shortest distance from the goal to kick her football (from a measly 9 metres), but all of the other contestants missed the goal (including Iain, who replaced the original goal with a much wider professional one) and so were disqualified in this round. To add salt to the wound, Greg decides that nobody's celebration was worthy of a bonus point.
    • In "Bready, Bready, Bready," there is a task where the contestants need to push a watermelon up a slide into the caravan using breadsticks, with the provision that the slide cannot be adjusted from its position and that only breadsticks can touch the watermelon. David, Ed and Rose all dropped their watermelons on the ground, but Ed was the only one able to get the watermelon back on the slide with only breadsticks (Rose used her hands to get the watermelon back on the slide, and David struggled using breadsticks but eventually gave up). Jo and Katy attached breadsticks to gloves to push the watermelon into the caravan. In the end, Greg judges that only Ed successfully pushed the watermelon into the caravan using only breadsticks and would receive the full 5 points while everybody else is disqualified.
    • The final pre-recorded task of Series 9 was made up of seven intersecting mini-tasks, and failing in one of them meant you had to start from the beginning again. This happened to Ed Gamble, who was the only one who had to restart, and took far longer to finish than any of the rest of the contestants... except all of the other contestants were disqualified, as the rest all failed because they should have restarted but didn't, and so the other contestants failed to complete one of the tasks (Jo took items out of her wheelbarrow, Rose's brick tower was 23 inches, not 26, David kept removing his hand from his hip, and Katy did not have enough items in er wheelbarrow), meaning that not only did Ed Gamble take first place by default but was the only one to score any points on that task at all.
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    • In "The Pie Whisperer", a task was to inspect the contents of a pie without "breaching it". Both Romesh and Josh "breached" some of their pies as their bottoms fell off, and Romesh in particular maintained throughout that he shouldn't be penalized for something that he had no control over. It got quite heated between Romesh and Greg, not helped when Roisin and Tim used Exact Words to their advantage, and had "breached" their pies by way of asking Alex to do it. In the end, nobody got disqualified, (Alex likely realised they had a point and the breakages wasn't their fault) but Romesh came third, and Josh came fourth.
    • In "Run Up a Tree to the Moon", after Charlotte gets disqualified from a task where she had to move luggage through a maze and restart if the luggage hit the barriers as a result of not thinking she had to restart due to the luggage only hitting the base of the pole, Greg says that she "absolutely fucked it", to which Alex says "I wouldn't have used those words, no, I would've said completely fucked it."
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme tune is performed by The Horne Section, and is rather catchy.
    • At the start of Champions of Champions Josh Widdicombe had to sing it at one point for a special task.
    • A Task in "Shaqinahat" was to provide lyrics for the Taskmaster theme tune. Ed thought the song sounded like crying, and dressed up as a baby and made lyrics asking for him mom, Rose made a Texan hoedown song (that got the audience clapping along!), Jo just insulted Alex and Greg in song form with accompanying backup dancers and saxophone musician, Katy attempted to rhyme to the tune, and David did a stilted piano piece of him making lyrics up on the spot. Jo gets one point (guess why), David gets 2 points, Katy gets 3 points, Ed gets 4 points, and Rose came first with 5 points.
  • Do Not Try This at Home:
    • In "Down an Octave," this disclaimer appears when Romesh rubs hot chili sauce around his eyes in order to collect the most tears in an egg cup. He managed to capture 10 tears in the cup and placed second, while Frank leveraged the crew and won the task with 12 tears.
    • In "Pork Is a Sausage", the contestants mull over eating an egg raw. Alex had to loop in a warning to the people at home not to do this themselves. Katherine attempts to eat her egg raw but cannot bring herself to finish it after one tiny sip and is disqualified in this round. Richard chugs his egg in one gulp and takes first place.
    • For the "don't blink" task in "The Perfect Stuff," Rhod says this trope word for word after his VT. In his attempt, he held his eyelids up with his fingers, then asked Alex to gaffer his forehead to keep his eyelids peeled back, and continued to hold his eyelids apart. At one point, he had to crouch down to tip the tears out of his eyes. Rhod managed to keep his eyes open for 7 minutes and 10 seconds and took first place.
    • In "Hello", Sian had brought in perm lotion for the prize task, which was to bring in the most smelly thing. Greg inhales the perm lotion, and the on-screen text shows up to remind the audience to not do it, ever:
      NEVER EVER inhale perm lotion. Your time starts now.
    • This disclaimer pops up for the "build the best volcano" task in "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" when the VTs for Sian and Lou's attempts are shown (both used sparklers or fire).
    • The CW's broadcasting and streaming edit of Series 8 for the United States market added this disclaimer more frequently than in the original (e.g. Lou attempting to eat her eraser in "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man")
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: On the odd occasion, Greg's attempt to award a pity point will get this reaction from that contestant, with mixed results:
    • Greg was about to award David an extra point in "Join Our Cult" for his dramatic entrance (David materialising in a phone box à la Doctor Who, but in which Greg noted David seemed to lose all conviction), but David promptly refuses the pity point, to which Greg acquiesces and David is only awarded the initial 1 point.
    • For the Mt. Rushmore task in "A Cuddle," Greg initially awards Jo 1 point, and then he offers a pity point that she vociferously refuses. Greg then awards Jo two extra points (3 points in total for the task).
  • Droste Image: For the "most eggs held by the most people in a photo" task in "Tarpeters," Tim Vine attempts to use this trope by going to his local butcher and asking him to take a photo of Tim and the butcher holding eggs in front of hand mirrors (and therefore have "infinite Tims holding infinite eggs"). Unfortunately, Greg judges that he can only see 8 people holding 8 eggs, and Tim places last in the task.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • For Mel's attempt at doing something surprising with a rubber duck, she calls a courier and hides the duck in his delivery box. When she reveals it to him, he rates the surprise as a 10 out of 10... whilst maintaining the same expression.
      Greg: You fried [the courier]'s brain! He was so shocked that his facial expression didn't change at all.
    • In "Their Water's So Delicious," Mark notes that although he and Nish gave their all in the song about a stranger, the stranger (Rosalind) never changed her expression and remain visibly unmoved.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ed Gamble, who appeared in Series 9, played a key role in Mark Watson's prize task for Series 5's "A Wind-dried Puffin", stealing Greg's trousers at a gig so Mark could submit them as the episode's prize.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • For series one, Greg would give a short comical introduction for each contestant. He also opened and closed each episode standing up.
    • The golden bust of Greg only appears from series two onward; the winner of series one won a trophy designed for a karate competition.
    • Alex Horne has said that the "high-five a 55-year-old" task from the Series One is "really awkward" and a "different sort of show". It's the only task where the contestants were told to get unaware members of the public involved (some later tasks have involved the contestants roping in members of the general public, but this has been on their own initiative and not part of the task requirements).
    • In Series 1, Alex used an iPad holder to keep his iPad upright. In later series, he holds it in his hands.
    • In the first few series, the prize task had the guests, more often than not, bring in genuinely valuable, or otherwise important possessions that they owned, which — given the competitiveness on display — got to the point of being dangerously valuable. To wit, in respective episodes, Romesh Raganathan brought in his wedding ring, another time Josh Widdicombe brought in a blank check, and Joe Wilkinson brought in his wedding certificatenote . Later series had the prize task revolve around more light-hearted challenges with prizes that emphasised novelty, implausibility or ludicrousness over actual monetary value or personal significance (unless intentionally specified), instead of the participants risking losing precious items on national television.
      • The prize tasks in the first season are also far more general compared to the later seasons'. Ed Gamble and Alex lampshade this in a podcast retrospective of the first TV episode, comparing "bring in the most unusual object" to Series 9's task to bring in "the object you'd most want to find in a field".
    • Series 1 episodes would end with Greg delivering an absurd Ice-Cream Koan or parable to sum up the episode's "moral" (such as it may have been). Later episodes instead have him draw a humourous lesson via a Call-Back to something absurd a contestant had said or done in the episode, along with a reminder along the lines of "we've also learned that [X] is the winner of tonight's show!"
    • The first series has one or two tasks that take place live in the studio apart from the final task, such as the "grow the longest nail" one, or a tiebreaker where the two tied contestants had to guess Frank Skinner's age in minutes. The only example of this after the first series was the "buy the Taskmaster a present with £20" task, which seemed to be a Once a Season thing as it survived into the third series, but was dropped after that.
    • The scoreboard headshots used in Series 1 are quarter headshots of the contestants, made to look as if they had just finished reading a task. Subsequent seasons use headshots that are cropped closer to the contestants' faces.
    • Series Two had a couple of experimentations that didn't last. One was the return of Josh Widdicombe to even out the numbers for a teams task. Afterwards, team tasks were devised so that the difference in team sizes wouldn't matter. Also, it featured a task that had someone other than Greg have an input in the judgement. This was also a one off, with all subsequent series making Greg the one and only arbiter for points.
    • Greg doesn't start calling Alex "Little Alex Horne" until Series Three, and it doesn't become a Once an Episode tradition until Series Six. He is also noticeably less abusive towards Alex in Series One, even getting the audience to applaud Alex after one clip.
    • On two occasions early on (Series Two episode "Fear of Failure" and Series Three episode "Little Polythene Grief Cave"), Greg and Alex have to get professional input from lexicographer Susie Dent of Countdown on the interpretation of task language and from the Van Tulleken brothers (doctors) of Operation Ouch! on whether urine and sweat were the same substance. On both occasions, those opinions had some bearing on how Greg judged the attempts. Later series has Greg relying solely on his own gut instinct.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the Series 9 finale, Ed is the only contestant to follow the rules of the final pre-recorded task, by starting again from the beginning when he failed one of the series of mini-tasks. He is clearly frustrated and swears repeatedly at Alex, but this nets him the whole 5 points while disqualifying the rest of the team, and solidifies his series lead.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the series one online interviews, it was revealed that Alex had set a secret task to see which of the five contestants could go the longest without touching their nose.
    • A tangerine appears for some of Bob's tasks in series five, which may be a reference to his "tangents".
    • Alex's default attire is a two piece suit and a button-up shirt with no tie. However, eagle-eyed viewers will notice that he wore a tie for all of Mel Giedroyc's pre-recorded shoots in Series 4.
    • Instead of a whistle as per usual, in Series 9, Alex would use a bell to signal the end of the task for David Baddiel's pre-recorded solo tasks.
  • The Eeyore:
    • Romesh's default setting is depressed, and only gets worse due to any slight, real or imaginary.
    • Joe Thomas at times seemed to be participating while suffering a mild depression. This came to a head in "A Novel about Russian Gulags" where, after completing the "travel as far as you can while making a continuous noise" task, he complained about it being "dehumanising", prompting Greg berate him:
      Greg: Again you confound me. Like... you know, you just looked like you were having a lovely time, just running in the wind shouting, but then you end it with a phrase that I'd expect to read in a novel about Russian gulags. It's not supposed to be dehumanising! It's just a bit of fun!
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Josh gets one in "The Poet and the Egg" as a present for Greg. It was Greg's name.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo:
    • The Prize task for "Friendship is truth" was to bring in surprising photo's of themselves. Joe brought in a photo of him topless wrapped in a hammock, Hugh brought in a facemask of himself, Mel brought in an edited version of the painting "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe", with her behind a tree staring disapprovingly at the picnic. Noel got a photo of him as the Virgin Mary (taken during his The Mighty Boosh years). Lolly presented a photo of her hidden under heavy layers of makeup to look like Lady Diana, in large part poking fun at Blackface. Hugh comes last, Noel comes 4th, Mel places third, Joe comes second, with Lolly winning the round.
    • Rhod Gilbert weaponized one of Greg in Series 7, repeatedly bringing in a photo of Greg dressed in nothing but a pair of briefs for the prize task.
  • Epic Fail: A few:
    • In "The Pie Whisperer", Frank claimed to know a lot about pies for a task that required him to guess what was in 5 pies without "breaching" the pastry. He got only one right, but this isn't the fail. The fail comes from after the task had ended, Alex told him to open the pies, and while others had correctly guessed Mint Toothpaste, he went from Milk, to Mint, to his final answer which was "Mint Tippex."
    • In "Meat", a task required to slide as far as possible, with the furthest winning. Lolly managed to make a setup that had a plastic slide covered in various lubricants, and some diluted water and dish soap plastered over concrete. She Missed the slide and went 3.2 metres.
    • In "The Leprechaun or The Lesbian", contestants were told to slice a loaf of bread located in the lab. Aisling somehow missed the last bit and spent the entire time allotted trying to slice a loaf of bread located in the caravan.
    • In "Phoenix," Nish's go at the "complete three tasks with the three foodstuffs." He chose to eat his Twiglet, throw the Weetabix into the bucket, and balance the jelly on the pole (which had to remain balanced until all three tasks were complete). The Twiglet went smoothly, but he kept missing the bucket on his throws and it eventually broke into impractically small pieces (one of which he crushed in his hand). Finally, he tried to balance the jelly on the pole, which collapsed, pierced itself and fell onto the ground. Frustrated and having given up on the task, he successfully threw his spoiled jelly into the bucket in one go, and then he pushed the table over in frustration.
    • In "Spoony Neeson", a task was to get a cupcake with a lit birthday candle from the lab to the caravan. Aisling managed to fail in less than nine seconds as she moved too quickly, which blew out the candle.
    • In "The Pendulum Draws The Eye", a task required James and Phil to hula hoop for as long as possible, then improve on that attempt in the live show. Not only did neither of them improve, they both managed to do worse, with Phil in particular going from 57 seconds to 1 second. This was particularly galling for James, who had practiced the task for months in-between and visibly demonstrated how much he had improved, but still lost out on points due to choking in his first attempt.
    • James Acaster's attempt at "drawing" a circle in "My Eyes are Circles". He appears to have interpreted the (otherwise quite clear) task to mean that the person who collects the most circles wins, but even by those standards it's... well, a deeply unimpressed Greg sums it up better than anyone else could:
      Greg: Okay. Explain yourself.
      James: I thought...
      Greg: You thought, "I've been told I should draw the biggest circle, but what I'm gonna do is ride around aimlessly on a bike whilst badly spinning a hula-hoop. And then I'm gonna crash, accidentally notice there's another circle on the floor and try and claim that as part of my attempt." That's my reading of what I saw. Have you got anything different to add?
      James: [Hopefully]... My eyes are circles?
    • In "Stay Humble", a task required the contestants to move sand from one raised bucket to another bucket on the floor, with their finger being placed into a string loop connected to a cork. The most sand in the bucket on the floor won. Iain, not reading the task correctly, though he couldn't touch the bucket, when in fact it had said that he couldn't move the bucket, which he only learned after moving said bucket. This prompted him to break every other rule the task had set out, including leaving the room.
      Iain: "You may not touch the sand, done that. You may not move the bucket, done that. You may not leave the room, fuck it, let's do that as well!. What a waste of everyone's time, you IDIOT!"
    • In "Rock 'n' Roll Umlaut", A task had contestants shoot a ball into a goal from the furthest distance, with a possible bonus point for the best goal celebration, which they must perform, even if they miss. Iain got out a massive goal net from behind some trees, and places it at the other end of the field. He places the ball 35 metres away, and kicks the ball. He misses the goal completely, does a stilted conga dance to "celebrate" his goal, and got zero points for his endeavour. Nobody got a bonus point either.
    • The first episode of Series 10 featured the first example of everyone getting disqualified from a task. Twice.
    • The Series 10 line-up does it again in "Moments of Silence", when all five contestants are disqualified in the task to make the cup on a pole overflow. Greg says he has never felt contempt for an entire line-up before, and makes the studio take a few moments of silence so the contestants can think about what they've done.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: In Series 10 episode "Toshwash", Daisy compares a task to circus shallow diving. Greg flat-out refuses to believe that such a sport exists. In "Moments of Silence" again, when Daisy mentions that wasps are able to identify landmarks and make their way home, Greg also dismisses it until Alex looks it up.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Fans and creators of the show tend to agree that Romesh Ranganathan smashing open a watermelon on the floor and then gorging on it to nausea, in the first ever pre-recorded task, is what established Taskmaster's tone. Alex and Ed discuss in the original podcast that it might not have had as much impact if there hadn't been such contrasting attempts by Roisin and Josh before, highlighting the show's exploration of comedians' thought processes.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Joe Wilkinson has one in "There's Strength In Arches", when he realises he can bend the cards into arches to form a more stable bridge.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Zigzagged. Everyone calls Greg by his name in the studio, but in the pre-recorded challenges, Greg is called "The Taskmaster" instead.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Aisling Bea would make sex jokes and reference her sex life at the drop of a hat throughout her apearance in Series 5. But, she became visibly uncomfortable when Bob Mortimer began going into detail about his pooing habits (whereas everyone else was howling with laughter).
    • In Series 7, after the ladies' entry for the "soap opera cliffhanger task" ends with Kerry's character vomiting over the realisation that she accidentally had sex with her son, James Acaster makes a crack about how she actually vomited because she realised she'd had sex with Alex, who played Kerry's lover/son. Even Greg is moved to point out how mean that joke is.
  • Everything Is Racist:
    • "The Dong and the Gong" has a task where the contestants must create an upside-down self portrait using condiment bottles. Paul Chowdhry claims that he was at a disadvantage since "there was loads of white but not enough brown."
    • According to Alex, during the fifty-plus times he unsuccessfully attempted to kick a basketball through a hoop in "Dignity Intact" Nish Kumar twice accused the basketball of being racist.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles:
    • In "We Met at Mealtimes," Liza creates a snowglobe using a handheld butter churner, water, and glitter. After she finishes her snowglobe, she asks Alex to hold it and rubs some glitter into his beard. Liza received 4 points for her effort.
    • In Series 8, Greg posits that Sian has attempted to sneak glitter into every task (such as her attire in the "Fairy Sian" video for a toddler and an additive in her delicious dust). She admits that it is embarrassing for a woman of her age to be obsessed with glitter and princesses.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: The prize task in "Butter In The Microwave" was to bring in the best bag. Katy Wix brought in a bagpipe without the pipes, specifically because of this trope (and Dreadful Musician). Katy gets 4 points.
  • Exact Words: Contestants often interpret a task differently from the obvious reading, often in an attempt to score highly.
    • The most famous example is the task in the first episode of Series 2, which involved three large yoga balls, a steep hill, and a yoga mat at the top of the hill, with the challenge ending when the balls were arranged on top of the yoga mat. Whereas everyone else, to varying degrees of competency and efficiency, interpreted this as taking the balls up the hill to the yoga mat, Richard Osman instead left the balls at the bottom of the hill and brought the yoga mat down from the hill, arranging the balls on top of it there. He argued to Greg that the task was worded in a way that never directly said that the balls had to be taken to the top of the hill, and it got to the point where it was revealed that Alex had consulted Susie Dent, the official lexicographer of Countdown, for a ruling. Susie, while acknowledging the unusual interpretation of the task, concurred with Richard, who won the round. In episode 8 of the Taskmaster Podcast, Ed Gamble (talking to Richard Osman) suggested that this task was essentially where Exact Words became more popular to exploit, thanks to Richards success.
    • Mawaan in Series 10 used this in a challenge to transfer as much water from Barrel A to Barrel B as possible, after already losing most of Barrel A's water from a leak and spillage. He angled Barrel A above Barrel B and poured water from a hose so it would cascade through Barrel A into Barrel B. Alex noted that the original task never said that Mawaan could only use the water already in Barrel A, and Greg was suitably impressed.
    • This can also work against a contestant if they don't read the task carefully. For example, in Season 2 the contestants are tasked with rescuing a toy cat called Patatas out of a tree. Most of the contestants, seeing as it's a just toy, focus on brute force. In the studio, however, it's pointed out that the word "rescue" is significant: they were supposed to treat it as a real cat and show at least some concern for its welfare as well as for getting it out of the tree. Katherine Ryan ends up winning the task simply because she is the only one who arranges for Alex to catch Patatas.
    • Inversely, Greg and Alex have used this trope to give contestants' efforts a boost, such as Paul Chowdhry's flag mealnote  or Phil packing 10 pairs of glassesnote .
    • Calling upon this trope doesn't always work, however; a certain level of basic commonsense is often assumed and required when interpreting the task even if it is not spelled out for the contestant, which the Taskmaster will point out when they try to protest that the task didn't actually specify they should do something that they clearly should have done. For example, in the "have an argument in only ten words at a time ending on a four-letter word" task in "The Lure of Treacle Puppies", Jamali tries to defend his team's gradual degeneration into absolute gibberish by pointing out that the task didn't say that the argument had to make sense, only for Greg to shut him down by pointing out that an argument by nature implicitly has to have some level of coherence and logic it to it beyond simply blurting out four-letter words like "town".
  • Extreme Doormat: Co-star Alex Horne. He is often abused by the contestants, as well as the Taskmaster. Alex is often able to help out in tasks that don't specify that he can't do so, which contestants often abuse for their own ends, Alex's feelings, dignity and general exposure be damned.
  • Eye Scream: In "Stay Humble", Joe Thomas does this for the task to make the most realistic injury out of food.
  • Face Doodling:
    • In Series 1, Roisin is introduced in one episode as being subject to several drawings of penises on her face while she was asleep during a house party.
    • Alex takes a nap in his chair ahead of one of the ad breaks in "Dog Meat Trifle." When the show returns from the ad break, Alex wakes up with the word "DOUCHE" written on his forehead, presumably by Greg.
  • Facepalm: The full-faced humiliation version is on display quite often when a contestant knows that his or her spectacularly bad task attempt will be shown next. Roisin in the Series 1 does this very often.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • A Running Gag in "The Poet and the Egg" is Romesh's complaint that a cardboard box was not provided for him while doing the "throwing a teabag into a mug from a distance" task, versus Greg, Alex and everyone else's insistence that there were boxes provided, he just didn't notice them. Romesh's complaint is weakened slightly by the fact that we visibly see other contestants either using boxes in their attempts or asking for tools which they might want/need, meaning that if he'd wanted one he could have gotten it.
    • In the first take in "There's Strength In Arches", Doc Brown only notices not one but two bridges that he could have used to cross a canal separating a shopping trolley and the items he was asked to put in the shopping trolley after he's completed the task by wading through the canal. He's still kicking himself over it weeks later in the studio recording. In the same task, both Doc and Jon neglected to check that they put all the groceries in the shopping cart (Jon left the area with some sponges in his coat pockets and Doc missed a can that had fallen into the canal) and were disqualified for not completing the task.
    • For the final task in "There's Strength In Arches", nobody notices the three separate clues that there was useful building materials attached to the underside of the table; one as mentioned above for Bilingual Bonus; a button that Jon presses which lights up a clue under the table; and a sign above the doorway that tells the contestant to look under the table.
    • "The Dong and the Gong" has a task where the contestants have to pop balloons clipped to a washing line in the fastest time. Al remarks that the balloons appear to have been arranged into a morse code message... and it turns out that, when translated from morse, all the contestants had to do to win the task was to pop just two balloons.
    • In "Hollowing Out a Baguette", one of the tasks has a rule that if you eat any of the chocolate that was provided for the task, you will be docked five points. However, this rule was printed on the reverse side of the task sheet and not a single contestant saw it.
    • In "The Leprechaun Or The Lesbian", one of the tasks is to paint a rainbow in a darkened room. Aisling, Sally, and Bob play this trope straight by painting without knowing what colours they were using. Subverted by Nish who realises that the colors are infused with smells, e.g. the yellow paint smells of lemons, but Mark is the only contestant who notices the light switch (the task rules didn't specify that the painting had to actually be done in the dark).
    • Sally in "Their Water's So Delicious" was given the task of coming up with as many fish puns as she could in one minute. It then turns out that she had actually been in a secret, series-long race against Alex to see who could make the most puns. This went completely unnoticed by Sally, who thought that Alex just had trouble pronouncing his words.
    • Unintentionally happens in "The Bubble Brothers". One of the tasks involves the contestants making a plastic bag as heavy as possible without the bag breaking. The bag is hooked to some weighing scales. When Tim Vine attempts the task, he notices that the hook for the scales has disappeared, and he doesn't realise that the hook is attached to his shoulder loop (having managed to attach itself there and then come away from the scales when he briefly brushed against it earlier) until the task has finished.
    • During "My Eyes are Circles", everyone is tasked with writing a ten-word story whilst running to the finish line. Phil's eyes completely glaze over both the word 'write' and the clipboard and paper next to the task, and after eventually crossing the finish line delivers his story 'in the oral tradition'.
    • In "The Pendulum Draws The Eye", the contestants were tasked to find a satsuma hidden inside one of the 50 red socks hanging outside the caravan. Nobody noticed that a number had been painted on the caravan behind them, to tell them which sock the satsuma was in.
    • In "Stay Humble", one task involved the contestants moving ping pong balls from one pen to another. Nobody realised that hidden amongst the balls was Greg's special ball. Anyone who moved Greg's ball would have their final score for the task halved. Though in complete fairness to the contestants, the only way the special ball was identifiable was with a tiny white sticker on the bottom of one of a hundred otherwise entirely identical white ping pong balls that they were hurriedly trying to move from one place to another, making it easy to fail this particular spot check.
    • In "Butter In The Microwave", a task was to correctly guess which bin Alex was hiding in. Rose managed to miss a sealed envelope from underneath a bin when it was staring at her in the face, which otherwise would have given a clue as to which bin Alex was hiding in.
    • In "Five Miles Per Day," there is a two part task where they all begin in the lab where various items are hanging from a board from the ceiling, Alex tells them a bunch of phrases and they need to head to the caravan to meet Alex in two minutes. In the caravan, Alex then hands them a second task where they need to tell him what was hanging from the board, what Alex told them in the lab, and what colour was the board. Ed, Jo and Rose all headed out of the lab without pausing to take everything in (placing 3rd, 5th and 4th, respectively), while David and Katy hung around to memorise each hanging item (and placed 2nd and 1st, respectively). None of the contestants noticed that the answers were on the back of the second task, which Alex demonstrates to the camera.
    • One task in Series 9's "A Cuddle" tasked each contestant to "release" an egg into a "metal thing" from on a single chair without manipulating either and score the highest amount of points - if an egg doesn't break after landing in a metal "thing," the score is doubled. Ed and Jo were the only ones who checked to see that each "metal thing" had numbers written on them that represented the scores. Rose put 9 whole eggs into the one metal thing within arm's reach of the chair, which had -5 written on it.
    • In "Air Horn Andy", the final task involved the contestants guessing how many balls were inside a large basket. Johnny was the only person who found a matchbox full of ball bearings. Alex later revealed that the number of balls was written inside the matchbox. There were 1192 balls.
    • In "The Lure of the Treacle Puppies", Lee Mack fails to spot a bright red balloon which is bobbing around barely a foot above his head for about a minute.
    • In "Absolute Casserole", the third task involved the contestants working out what six objects had been deep-fried in batter. One of the objects was a leather wallet, but Jamali was the only person who found a receipt inside the wallet, which listed what all the objects were.
  • Fan Disservice: Phil Wang and his yellow jumpsuit which leaves little to the imagination. Everyone groaned whenever they could see the clear outline of his genitals.
    Greg: It doesn't matter how ornate the grandfather clock is, the pendulum draws the eye.
  • Fantastic Measurement System:
    • If a task involves measurements to determine the winner, Alex will sometimes give an alternative system such as the distance in Rolos or Fruit Pastilles, and in the case of lemon towers in 'The Old, Soft, Curved Padlock', children's shoes.
    • When tasked with guessing the length of a piece of string, Tim Vine used lobsters as a unit of measure, because he'd wrapped the string around a plastic lobster.
  • Fartillery: Iain's prize for the Prize task in "Hello" was a large bottle of his own farts, which was apparently the result of going to his local food shops after he was hung over and him bottling it. Alex took a whiff of it from a sample he had taken, and his expression was that he really, really didn't like that smell. He comes fourth, though largely because he was the only contestant that didn't have Greg smell his smelly item.
  • Fish out of Water:
    • Richard Osman from the second series (frequently lampshaded by Greg referring to the lineup as some variation on "four comedians and Richard Osman"); he is better known as a producer and television presenter for Pointless. note .
    • From the sixth series is Alice Levine, a radio DJ and presenter also known for My Dad Wrote a Porno. She could appear very awkward and bemused in some of the situations the show placed her in.
    • A few contestants from series 8 also fall into this category:
      • Paul Sinha is more at home on quiz shows (like, say The Chase). His comedy performances explore general knowledge and the strange ways things are interconnected, so his entire body behaviour screams cluelessness when needing to fulfill strange tasks for a maniacal taskmasternote . He gets wiser to the show during studio segments, but is still awkward in the pre-recorded tasks.
      • Joe Thomas and Sian Gibson were fairly awkward as well. Unlike most other contestants, they're comedic actors rather than comedians and aren't as familiar with being put on the spot and expected to perform and be funny. Adding to the awkwardness was the fact that they were put together for team tasks and didn't really gel.
    • Katherine Parkinson from series ten is an accomplished actor, not a comedian, and Greg constantly lampshades her attempts going wrong as being not indicative of her acting performance. As with Paul Sinha, Katherine is very very clueless as to how the show works, but unlike Paul who realises when Exact Words are at play, Katherine often fails tasks because she takes things too literally, seems to be blind to the clues Alex gives her (some more explicit than anothers, to be fair), and she doesn't employ Loophole Abuse in a lot of her attempts. It didn't help either that for several tasks, she didn't realise that she could leave the room. Not surprisingly, she came last in her series.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Alex Horne loves doing this whenever he can get away with it, as it acts as a Visual Gag that becomes very obvious after being read out. For example; The wax seals in the first task of "A Novel About Russian Gulags" are moustache-shaped, with the TM circle in the middle. The task itself was to create and put on a moustache out of unexpected objects, with Greg in the studio having to guess what they were made up of from a distance away.
  • Flanderization: Greg and Alex had a far more respectful relationship in series 1, with Greg asking the audience to give Alex a round of applause in episode 6 for eating a round of questionable food and for falling into a swimming pool, which was something he believed to being above and beyond the call of duty. Come series 2, the Kayfabe master/slave relationship that we all love was well on its way to being built.
  • Food Slap: In "This Is Trevor," Alex mistakenly interrupts Greg while the latter is welcoming the viewers back from the ad break. As retaliation, Greg throws a glass of water into Alex's face, which also causes water damage to Alex's iPad.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The painting that's hung up in the living room in Series 3 has a key role in a task of the second episode of that series; "The Dong and the Gong", where a task required two teams to free Alex. One of the key-codes was painted in UV Ink onto the painting.
    • The beginning bumper for the "herd ping pong balls into the pen" task in "Stay Humble" had the Taskmaster holding a ping pong ball and some paper. This is foreshadowing to Greg adding a sticker to a ball to halve their total score.
    • If Alex says "They told me to stop the clock" rather than "I've stopped the clock" at the end of a task, or "Do you think you've finished the task?", that usually means there's some kind of twist the contestant(s) didn't catch onto.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The transitions to each pre-recorded task at the Taskmaster House may include brief shots of the photos in the hallway - some of the framed photos are photoshopped group shots of the cast from previous series. Most of the rest are photoshopped with Greg and Alex's faces.
    • When Joe Thomas "apologises" for celebrating Alex's death in a music video, the camera briefly pans to Alex's view of his phone, which is placed on top of Alex's paper and clipboard. On Alex's clipboard, it reads JOE THOMAS (DO NOT READ THESE NOTES).
    • During the task to deliver a 5-word set of instructions to Alex as stealthily as possible ("Don't Like Them Go Bang"), Alex is reading a newspaper ("The Tasks") that contains some self-referential headlines ("Alex Horne Sports Dramatic New Look" and "Cliched Spy Newspaper Headlines Divide Opinions") as well as ones that reference two (in)famous sporting events from Taskmaster history ("Wilkinson's Potat-Woe" and "Pan Hoop History Made").
  • Fun with Subtitles: In "An Orderly Species", the third task involved the contestants creating the most memorable aircraft safety announcement and demonstration. They had to either speak in a different accent to their own, or speak in a different language. Jamali spoke his in French, and a translation was provided in subtitles. When Jamali finished his attempt and spoke to Alex in English, the subtitles translated their conversation into French.
  • Funny Background Event: In the team task in "Their Water's So Delicious", while Aisling, Bob, and Sally are performing their song, Alex can be seen picking up various items in the background that had been blown over by some wind.

     G - L 
  • The Gadfly:
    • Rhod Gilbert in series 7. As he and Greg have a long-standing friendship, Rhod took as many opportunities as he could (particularly with the prize rounds) to embarrass and taunt Greg as much as possible. It backfired on him, however; Rhod later admitted that because he hadn't really watched the show and didn't understood the format, he didn't realise that Greg actually was genuinely acting as a judge, and that by focussing more on winding Greg up he was sabotaging himself. He acknowledged that if he'd used his friendship with Greg more constructively, he could have probably done much better in terms of points. Although considering some people already complained about their friendship being an advantage, maybe it's better off the way it went.
    • Greg himself clearly enjoys winding up the contestants, especially those who are tantrum-prone and inclined to take the tasks more seriously than perhaps they should be taken. He also delights in picking on Alex and trolling him at every opportunity.
    • Alex also performs a subtle, low-key version of this during the recorded tasks. His tone is never anything less than mild, helpful and innocent, yet his contributions frequently tend to either state the obvious, irritatingly point out any shortcomings or errors in a contestant's attempt, given unhelpful advice along the lines of a Mathematician's Answer or an unhelpful recitation of "everything is in the task", or comment on the contestant's attempt in a way that strongly hints they've made a mistake somewhere but he's neither willing nor able to point out what it is. One could be forgiven for thinking that he's doing so deliberately to wind them up and put them off-guard for entertainment purposes.
      Alex: All the information is on the task.
      Jo: You always say that! It's so annoying.
  • Gag Echo: In "Mr. Octopus and Pottyhands", the second task is to build a tower to topple a yoghurt onto a scoreboard drawn on the ground. At the start of Sarah's attempt, Alex notes that she hasn't built anything yet.
    Alex: When do you think you might start building?
    Sarah: Look, mate, give me four hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend three hours sharpening the blade.
    (Later, during Lee's attempt)
    Lee: Abraham Lincoln said, "If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first three hours sharpening my axe."
  • Gag Penis: Pops up on many an occasion:
    • Liza's dot-to-dot picture made with heels in "What Kind of Pictures?" is instantly recognisable as "cock and balls" even without the numbers being joined together. She received 4 points for this drawing.
    • Katy's offering for the prize task in "Five Miles Per Day" ("weirdest wooden thing") is a wooden phallus given to her by a friend's dad. She received 4 points for the prize round.
    • Ed's prize for "Quisps" ("best thing to celebrate with on a stage") is a "Confetti Cannon Party Pants" (a confetti cannon attached to the crotch of some pants). Cue jokes about ejaculation.
  • Game Show Host: Greg Davies, the "Taskmaster".
  • Gasshole: Sarah Kendall expressed some annoyance that the "first to fart" task in "Absolute Casserole" was a trick task only for Mike, since she's "always got one in the tank".
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Roisin in Series 1 comes off as one on occasion. Greg even calls her "uncharacteristically competent" in "Down an Octave".
    • Lolly tends to have amazing ideas, but her one flaw is that she tends to do them as fast as possible, often without thinking the action through. Greg lampshades this in "Spatchcock it" when she tries to fit a camel through a small gap.
    • Jess in Series 7. At one point she jokingly pretends she's going to fall off the stage during a live task, only to then ACTUALLY fall of the stage immediately after.
    • Mawaan in Series 10 establishes himself as this in his first episode. Using forced perspective for his vanishing trick: genuinely clever, and impressed Greg. Trying to inflate an egg with helium: an act of idiocy which Greg mocked as unsurpassable for the rest of the series.
  • Genki Girl: Mel definitely counts. She approaches all the tasks with huge enthusiasm, and has a positive, cheerful attitude in general. It's for this reason that Alex tries to do a Break the Cutie on her; see that and Butt-Monkey above for details.
  • Genre Mashup: The series combines the celebrity panel show, variety entertainment, reality television and even a hint of episodic soap opera and sitcoms, as a key part of the show's appeal is a group of celebrities engaged in unusual tasks, bantering about them and developing ongoing minor conflicts, rivalries, "plot-lines" and Running Gags.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Bob Mortimer shows his familiarity with the show in the Champion of Champion special's task to find a briefcase combination. Rather than do the tricky methods on the blackboard in the room, he just looks for the number Alex hid elsewhere in the room in plain sight.
    • James Acaster was a fan before he appeared on the show, so he was familiar with its conventions. He'd know to go find tools in the kitchen and shed and regularly held off on reading out "Your times starts now" to give himself a few moments to think, to varying results. He got genuinely angry during team challenges when Rhod Gilbert, who wasn't familiar with the show, rushed through reading tasks and cost them precious seconds.
    • By the end of each series, the contestants usually cotton onto the fact that if their attempt is being shown last, it's either genius or idiotic.
  • Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter:
    • The prize task for "Little Polythene Grief Cave" had the contestants bring in battery operated items. Cue a portion of the audience laughing in anticipation. Greg does lambaste the audience for their dirty minds:
      Greg: "So, It's going to be that kind of crowd..."
    • For the prize task of "Air Horn Andy" in Series 10, Mawaan brings in a travel pillow which sports a smaller hole. Richard Herring jokes that the hole serves a different purpose, to which Mawaan (and Greg) accuses all the "old perverts" in the room of ruining his favourite pillow forever.
  • Gilligan Cut: A staple of the show's humour. When discussing a task, Greg or Alex will discuss how no one could possibly be stupid/insane/reckless/etc enough to [try and solve challenge with X impractical/illogical/outright stupid etc. solution], it always ends with Alex asking "Would you like to see [contestant] do the task?" Often times including a shot of said contestant cringing in embarrassment with a mortified look in the studio.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Illustrated quite effectively, if perhaps inadvertently, in Series 4's "Spatchcock It". The task required the contestants to fit a stuffed camel through the smallest gap as possible. The male contestants instantly took scissors or whatever sharp objects they could find (including a blender) to chop the camel up as small as possible to fit it through increasingly small gaps, while the female contestants managed to find a way to do complete the task in a way that kept the camel intact. At the end, it was revealed that the contestants were allowed to take their stuffed camels home with them, so while Mel and Lolly got to take home a nearly-brand-new stuffed animal, the male contestants were forced to take home some mangled abominations that had been restored as best they could.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Lou and Sian in "A Novel About Russian Gulags". A task was to create and put on a moustache out of unexpected objects, with Greg in the studio having to guess what they were made up of from a distance away. Lou made hers out of fake flies, but real meal worms, while Sian stuck hair from a barbie doll and made a paper collage of Alex's face in the shape of a moustache, and stuck the hair onto it. Sian came last, on the grounds that hers was made of hair, which was hardly an unexpected thing for a moustache to be made from, and Lou came second as it truly squicked out Greg.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Frank's gift to Greg in a task from "The Poet and the Egg" were a pair of sunglasses with rear view mirrors.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: For the Champion of Champions specials, the front door of the house is adorned with a golden arch. The wax seals that feature in the title sequence and the scoreboard are also gold instead of the usual red.
  • Good Samaritan: In "Hollowing Out A Baguette," the task to transfer as much water from one fishbowl to another had a provision hidden on the back of the envelope that if any of the provided chocolate were eaten, then that contestant would be docked 5 points. Joe, who had moved the most water but had also eaten some of the chocolate, had a net score of 0 points. Mel, who moved the least amount of water and had also eaten chocolate (with a net score of -4 points) offers to take on Joe's 5 points for docking (which would have left her at a net score of -9 points for the task), but Greg quickly quashes that idea, referencing this trope.
  • Goofy Suit:
    • A task that was filmed in Series 1 was one where the cast is wearing a giant parrot costume and need to persuade as many people in a shopping centre to sign a slip of paper. It was cut from the final show since Alex and the production decided that it felt tonally like a hidden camera prank show, which was not what they wanted for Taskmaster.
    • "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" contains a task where the cast need to guess what Alex (who is seated in the adjoining train compartment) is wearing. They are only allowed to ask yes or no questions, and Alex can only respond by honking a horn. He is wearing a parrot costume.
    • A task in "This Is Trevor" had contestants choose costumes for each other for a future task. The choices were: A Santa costume (with gloves and beard), A Pirate costume (complete with hook-hand and eyepatch), A chef outfit (complete with oven gloves and hat), A Convict (complete with Cuffs), and a Boxing outfit (with Boxing gloves). The task in question was to wear the complete costume and taste test crisps. The common theme with all of these costumes, of course, was that their hands were obfuscated by something, to make the task harder.
  • Graceful Loser: In "A Novel About Russian Gulags", a task was to move rice from a table in one room to a bottle in the living room, all without touching the rice grains, not move the bottle from the living room, and they could only use items that were placed in a shopping basket. Paul Sinha gets disqualified from the task for not sticking to the "Do not move the bottle" part of the task. At the point tallying stage, the contestant acknowledges their error and dissuades Greg from giving them any points. While the contestant is in fact disqualified, Greg does award them a single bonus point due to their honesty and amiable acceptance of the situation.
  • Groin Attack:
    • In "Pea in a Haystack", the first task was to take as few steps as possible to get to a microwave in the middle of a running track. Dave tried to leap over a metal fence, and hit his groin area. The other contestants winced as much as he did.
    • Avoided in "Shaqinahat." For the peddle bin task, Katy asks Alex to prop up the bin and open it at her call as she throws her items, most of which strikes Alex's groin area. Katy's hardhat ends up being used as an impromptu guard.
  • The Grotesque: Al Murray's snowman that he created in "Pea in a Haystack." Greg describes it as looking like a creature in pain.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop:
    • Invoked in the second part of the "Have Fun!" task in the episode "BMXing". The first part required the teams to have fun, and the second part required them to recreate what they did as accurately as possible. Russell and Alice played keepy-uppeys with a football and sat in a bathtub with some sherry respectively, while Tim, Liza and Asim did Hula hooping on roller skates, Asim used ukulele's to throw tennis balls in the air, and Liza did BMXingnote  and immediately giving up, and they moved onto throwing hoops over themselves, then throwing balls into the hoops (or at least, trying to), then moving the picket fence off the ground, then messing up the cushions in the caravan while Asim put a cake tray over his head. Seven points were awarded to Russell and Alice overall (5 for first part, 2 for second part), with the other three getting eight points overall (5 for the first part, 3 for the second part)
    • The team task in "Butter in the Microwave" is a series of mini-tasks around the Taskmaster's House and garden in the style of a Choose Your Own Adventure-game, with the key to ending the entire task being to say the word "demeaning". There was at least one "wrong turn" that forced the players back to the starting bench, and failing one part of a task would also send everyone back to the start (e.g. making a big mess in the living room or if a kitchen implement you are wearing falls down). David and Jo took their sweet time (over 36 minutes - David was under the impression that they were not in a race against the other team, but Jo did know but didn't give a fuck), but completed the task in 9 passes without having to repeat a mini-task more than once. Ed, Katy and Rose, however, rushed through the tasks, made some mistakes and wrong turns and had to restart twice. Despite winning this task, they completed the task in 24 passes, walked a total distance of over 600 metres, and took a little over 29 minutes in total.
  • Grumpy Bear: On the whole, things are fairly light-hearted, but there have been a few contestants who, whether for reasons of humour or just their natural personalities, have gone through the show behaving like someone was offscreen forcing them to compete at gunpoint. Notable sourpusses include:
    • Romesh Ranganathan in Series 1, who became The Comically Serious at points due to acting like he was contributing under constant threat of torture. Coupled with the fact that on occasions where he tried to act sweet to butter Greg up for points, the effect was usually either disturbing or at least unconvincing.
    • Both Iain Stirling and Joe Thomas in Series 8 for different reasons; Joe because at times he seemed to be suffering a mild depression, and Iain because, due to his over-competitiveness, he could launch into grouchy yelling at the drop of a hat if he thought things were going badly for him.
    • Jo Brand in Series 9 made no bones about how ridiculous and over-convoluted she thought many of the tasks were.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The live tasks in series 2 often brought this out in Joe Wilkinson and Doc Brown. Iain Stirling also demonstrated an extremely quick temper throughout Series 8. Nish Kumar plays with this a bit in Series 5, since he's mostly pretty light-hearted, but he does get pretty frustrated from time to time to the point where "Shit and piss!" almost becomes his catchphrase. Ed Gamble in Series 9 was also prone to Suddenly SHOUTING! when he became frustrated and had his buttons pushed, but like Nish was also mostly light-hearted.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The tendency of contestants to use Exact Words and Loophole Abuse frequently means that someone who completes an arduous task according to a close and/or literal interpretation of the rules faces losing out simply because someone else exploited an easy "cheat", which can at times seem rather unfair even if the second person is still technically within the rules. This was the subject of Joe Thomas's Rage Breaking Point in Series 8, when he exploded after his lengthy and exhaustive efforts to "erase an eraser" would end up being for naught after pretty much all the other contestants lazily flushed the intact eraser down the nearest toilet, despite the eraser technically still being functional and this just being a "wanky work-around" that required no effort or cleverness whatsoever to come up with. Although this particular example ended up being a subversion; while Joe technically did come last in the task, in recognition of his hard work (and the fact that he had a point about the unjust nature of the situation) Greg ended up giving him three bonus points.
  • Hates Being Touched:
    • Played with in one episode, when Greg mentioned that before the show he lightly touched Romesh's nose, which the latter didn't take kindly to. This then became a Running Gag for the episode, resulting with Romesh touching Greg's nose back.
    • According to Greg, Alex dislikes physical contact, despite approaching each contestant for a cuddle in "A Cuddle" to sneakily stick a ring on each contestant's back. The task was to retrieve as many golden rings in the room and put them on a drumstick Jo and Katy both spotted a golden ring on Alex's finger and proceed to use their mouths to pull the ring off, whilst Alex smiled and looked incredibly uncomfortable.
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Parodied in "Rock'n'Roll Umlaut". The team task was to create a music album cover. Joe and Sian formed the band Shoe with the title track It's Too Big, and they used a total of three gratuitous umlauts, two of which went over consonants.
  • Heel Realization: Iain Stirling tended to get rather over-competitive, single-minded and short-tempered in Series 8. While this was fair enough when he was completing tasks alone, as the only person really suffering from it was himself, during the team tasks his tunnel-vision obsession with winning tended to translate into him acting rather unpleasantly towards his teammates, with a particular tendency to stomp around rudely barking orders at them, act rather inconsiderately and dismissively towards their attempts to contribute, and generally being rather insufferable. From his reactions in the studio, he was clearly rather mortified and ashamed to have to watch his poor conduct rather bluntly exposed by the cameras and played back to the viewing public for their amusement.
  • Height Angst:
    • Greg has marked down prize entries that he feels emphasizes how large he is compared to everyone else (e.g. Mel Giedroyc's best chair for the episode "No Stars For Naughty Boys" was taken from her childhood dollhouse and Katy Wix's best thing(s) from a shed were tools taken from a dollhouse shed).
    • On the other end of the spectrum, Sian Gibson (who is 5'-0") expresses her unhappiness with some of the tasks in "Stay Humble" for being heightist, namely the task where the competitors have their wrists through a loop that is attached to a bucket suspended in the air and they have to get as much sand from that bucket to a second bucket.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: "Hollowing Out a Baguette" has a task to transfer water from one fishbowl to another. Joe Lycett absolutely smashed the task (transferring 97% of the water and accidentally swallowing the remaining 3%) and apparently receives the full 5 points— until Alex reveals that there was a requirement sneakily written on the back of the task which stated if any of the provided chocolate were eaten, then that person would be docked 5 points. Both Joe and Mel ate the chocolate. Mel, who had transferred the least amount of water and had a net score of -4 points in that task, attempts to intervene this way on Joe's behalf by taking on Joe's 5 points for docking. However, Greg quickly shuts down this proposal. Had it been allowed, Mel would have been the first person to score negative points in an entire episode at -2— as of Series 10, her 3 points at the end of the episode is the lowest score of any contestant in a single episode.
    Greg: It doesn't work like that— this isn't the Good Samaritan. We make the rule, Sausage Gloves!"
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Noel Fielding surprised everyone with his displays of athleticism during physical tasks (while wearing cowboy boots, no less) because he's better known for absurdist comedy that plays with the mind.
    • Greg and Alex have also said in interviews that Noel Fielding was taken aback when the latter realised how competitive he was in the show.
    • Nish and Mark's song for Rosalind in "Their Water's So Delicious" took everyone by surprise, both because they had struggled throughout the series, and because no one expected both of them to actually be quite competent musicians.
    • Alex and Greg have stated that it is a trend in the show for the well-educated comedians with relatively intellectual reputations (they cite David Baddiel and Mark Watson as examples) to do surprisingly badly. Greg hypothesised in a Radio Times interview it's because in the improvisational nature of Taskmaster these comedians cannot plan and maintain their comedia "persona".
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • Done on various tasks, hiding the solution, helpful materials or useful information in relatively obvious locations, but due to panic and time pressure, the contestants miss them. For example in "Strength in Arches," there are building supplies hidden under the table and multiple clues to get lead the contestants to them. Jon Richardson both flips a switch that lights up a sign on the other side of the table, AND reads the boat with "debajo de la mesa" (under the table in Spanish, which he says during the live show) on the side. Despite this none of the contestants ever check under the table.
    • A common variant of the above is to hide additional information about the task on the task letter itself, often in very small font on the back. A surprising number of contestants don't actually bother simply looking on the other side of the page.
    • The Prize task for "Friendship is truth" had contestants bring in surprising photos of themselves. Hugh had brought in a facemask of himself, supposedly because it stops people from recognising him when he's out shopping (the logic being hiding yourself underneath a mask of yourself makes you looks weird enough for people to ignore you). He comes last.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: Whenever the task results involve quantitative measurements, Alex will give the measurement in normal units first, then offer a completely obscure or nonsensical alternative .
    Alex: Lolly slid 3,2 metres, that's the same height as Kylie Minogue standing on a horse; Joe, 5,80, Vince Vaughan on Owen Wilson on Ben Stiller on an unlit barbeque.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: This compilation reel for Series 10, other series' have clips are also on the official task aster youtube channel.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • In "Spoony Neeson", a task required the comedians to get a birthday candle in a muffin from the lab to the caravan. Nish shouting the phrase "You Bubbly Fuck!" towards Alex was perhaps not the best course of that blew out the candle!
    • In "Slap and Tong", Alex's opening gag has him bring out a snack consisting of chocolate, biscuit, butter, salami, and ganache. Greg declines to try it and makes Alex eat the entire thing before he will start the show.
  • Hollywood Webcam: Averted in "Meat", as a task required contestants to look at Frederick the Swede as they get dressed into a swimsuit. The cameras used on the webcams are the ones that came with the laptops, and the footage shown in the studio are actual screen captures of the attempts.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • Greg and Alex's comments during studio segments not-so-subtly hint at a dom-sub relationship. Alex is the show's Butt-Monkey constantly insulted or mocked by Greg, Greg frequently puts his hand on Alex's, and both offhandedly mention things Alex is or isn't allowed to do by order of the Taskmaster.
    • Frederick the Swede seems to attract this.
      • Greg lampshades this in "Little Denim Shorts" after watching back the VTs of the contestants trying to make Fred blush.
      • Lampshaded again with Fred's second appearance, in "Fear of Failure". Doc Brown seems to have some chemistry with him.
      • In Fred's fourth appearance, in "Meat", Joe Lycett outright flirts with him, although that's more like actual text.
    • David Baddiel asks Alex to take off his shirt as part of the "most striking water feature" task and then takes his own shirt off "in solidarity." Greg opines that it appears to be two men telling their wives that they are building a water feature together to engage in an openly homoerotic relationship à la Brokeback Mountain.
  • Hostile Weather: This trope is downplayed in Taskmaster — the contestants film based on their availability and are thus at the mercy of the weather. Some contestants are unlucky enough to be filming in bad weather that can affect their performance (or at the very least their demeanor):
    • In "The Poet and the Egg," Tim Key filmed his GPS drawing in a rainstorm. After attempting to draw a key poorly, he abandoned his attempted and went for a run in the rain and wind.
    • In "The F.I.P.," freezing weather, compounded by lack of sleep due to taking care of his newborn, hampered Rob Beckett and caused him to break wind (hence the episode title - Farty Ice Pop).
    • Contributing to Nish Kumar's Rage Quit in "Phoenix" at the beach were blazing hot temperatures and members of the public openly laughing as he continued to miss the bucket.
    • In the episode "It's Not Your Fault," despite being soaked to the bone in a heavy downpour and by a large hangar in the middle of a large empty airfield, Mike Wozniak still maintained a pleasant, almost apologetic demeanor and remained friendly with Alex and the production crew.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In Season 1, Romesh Ranganathan objected in-studio to the "golfing with eggs" task by pointing out that as a vegan, he wasn't sure whether competing in such a task was ethical. It was immediately pointed out to him that this didn't stop him competing on the day, and indeed he went on to destroy more eggs than anyone else.
    • In Season 2, when Joe Wilkinson's impressive one-shot throw of a potato into a hole faces disqualification due to the fact that his feet were slightly over the boundary, he is sent out while the rest of the contestants debate whether or not to allow it. While Richard Osman and Katherine Ryan argue that he should be allowed to receive points for it, Doc Brown and Jon Richardson loudly insist that he broke the rules and should be penalised accordingly. When Joe returns, Greg informs him he has been disqualified for the round. Doc and Jon loudly declare how harsh and unfair this is. Greg looks incredibly unimpressed.
    • In Season 4, in the "Work Out What's In The Sleeping Bag Without Removing Any Objects" task, Noel Fielding objected to Joe Lycett receiving points after he guessed that one of the objects was a "carrot skipping rope" (one of the objects was a skipping rope, but Joe had mistaken what was forming the handles) on the grounds that there's clearly no such thing and he was just making things up. Greg rather snarkily pointed out that it was a bit rich for a member of The Mighty Boosh, whose comedy is largely if not exclusively focussed on whimsical flights of absurdity, to complain about someone being rewarded for just making up something absurd and unlikely.
    • In Season 7, Rhod's submission for the "draw the biggest circle" task is to get a map of Europe and trace a circle around as much of the continent as possible. This, naturally, creates some debate regarding whether it counts as the "biggest" circle (it's the largest when relative scale is taken into account, but clearly much smaller than the other attempts in practical terms). At one point James Acaster tries to chime in against Rhod... and considering his own failure to even accurately understand the task requirements led to a nonsensical effort wherein he tried to find as many circles as possible, he's quickly shut down by Greg.
      James: If-if-if I just said "Oh, I've just walked across the West Indies"—
      Greg: [Interrupting] I mean, how dare you even speak.
    • In the Series 7 episode “The Mean Bean”, contestants are tasked with finding the circumference of the caravan in baked beans. When Greg makes fun of them for physically measuring the length of the caravan with the beans, Rhod challenges him to come up with a better idea. Greg sheepishly claims he’d use “a different way”, prompting immediate ridicule from Rhod.
      Greg: I’d work out the length of a bean, and then I’d use, uh, a different way of working out the circumference —
      Rhod: [sarcastically] Oh, the old different way method! Oh, didn’t think of that!
    • In Series 8, Iain Stirling was very easy to irritate whenever his attempt at a task was questioned on a technicality, or when it seemed like a judgement was going to go against him. However, when Joe Thomas challenged several contestants making an eraser "disappear" simply by flushing it down a toilet, Iain demanded to know "where the fuck this was coming from" in response.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Greg often mocks the oldest contestant in any given series despite he himself often being very close to the same age. A particularly egregious example is how he calls Rhod "grandad" throughout series 7 even though Rhod is 5 months younger than Greg.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: Occasionally done when contestants remember that a particularly embarrassing task is about to be shown, such as Rob Beckett's attempts at various accents.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!:
    • When Joe Wilkinson has his "Eureka!" Moment in "There's Strength in Arches," Jon tells him that he would just adopt him with the look that Joe makes.
    • The task in "Rock 'N Roll Umlaut" is to completely conceal yourself inside a phone box. Paul Sinha fails spectacularly and is caught clearly looking into the camera. Greg describes Paul as a lost little boy whom he would like to scoop into his arms.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes titles are unusual phrases spoken in the episode, taken out of context.
  • Idiot Ball: Anytime Greg prefaces task attempt(s) with "Now these are intelligent people...", you know people have been a bit stupid. This in turn gets lampshaded quite a bit, like this exchange from "The Dong and the Gong":
    Greg: Now these are intelligent people, they're not just gonna steam in and just start popping balloons.
    Alex: No, because they can make a plan, they can get something.
    Greg: They're just gonna think about it.
    Alex: Yeah. So, do you want to start with Dave and Sara?
    • In "Pork Is a Sausage", the live task had the contestants put potatoes into a wicker basket, using only comically massive chopsticks (snooker cues with balls on the end). Everyone picked up the potatoes as you'd expect, with the ends of the chopsticks. Richard however, used his hands to place them onto the chopsticks, then transported them to the wicker basket, not realising the task specified that he couldn't use his hands at all during the process. He gets disqualified in this round.
    • In "A Novel About Russian Gulags", a task was to move rice from a table in one room to a bottle in the living room, all without touching the rice grains, not move the bottle from the living room, and they could only use items that were placed in a shopping basket. Paul Sinha initially gets disqualified for moving the bottle, despite the task explicitly saying that you couldn't move it from the living room. Greg does give them a bonus point as they were a Graceful Loser, and admitted the wrongdoing.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: In "Toshwash", the team task involves the contestants each putting an item inside their bag without their teammates finding out, and then they have to convince a security guard to look inside their bag. Richard Herring tells the security guard that the content of his bag involves nudity, so Daisy argues that the guard would look like a pervert if he chose Richard's bag. She also makes a point that the guard is married, so his wife wouldn't be impressed. Then, as the team are leaving, Daisy kisses his hand and cheek, and says goodbye to him in an endearing manner. As Greg put it:
    Greg: Initially, [Daisy] suggested that Richard's disgusting for offering up lascivious goods [...] then you try and guilt Richard the security guard for going to his bubbling cauldron of filth that's Richard's bag, because he's got a wife. Daisy took a moral high ground, and then, let's say it as it is, tried to get off with him.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Sally Philips fakes one in "A Wind-Dried Puffin" by creating a water-cooler moment skit that suggests she is having sex with a water cooler inside the Taskmaster caravan. It also gave her the full five points.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: Mel and Hugh's trailer for Taskmaster: the Movie is a Nordic Noir called Tugtemester, which prompted a few jokes in the studio.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Greg often calls Alex "little Alex Horne".
    • Asim twice addresses Greg as "Papa G," which Greg finds endearing.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: A fairly substantial amount of Alex's introductions, segues and attempts at banter involve some kind of hideously tortured pun, often reached by mangling the names of contestants together. This tends to exasperate Greg, who is clearly not fond of puns as a tool for getting laughs.
  • Initialism Title: The last episode of series three is called "The F.I.P". It stands for Farty Ice Pop, a nickname given to Rob as he broke wind when doing his take because he was cold.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: In "Legit Glass", the stage task was to make noises of something written on the card and the Taskmaster had to guess what it was. Daisy May Cooper tried to do an elephant impression, which was mocked in the studio by everyone, and when Daisy asks Greg to do a better impression, he tries, and everyone immedietely starts laughing as it was only marginally better.
  • Insistent Terminology: During "Hippopotamus", Richard Herring at one point offhandedly refers to the "moving water from one butt to another" task as a "game". Alex seems to get slightly annoyed and immediately corrects him that what he's doing is a task, not a game. Greg approvingly notes this in the studio after watching the playback.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: For her "delicious dust" in the episode "I've Been a Bit Ill," Lou uses a mixture of Fizz Wizz popping candy and the objectification of women (represented by burnt pornography magazines). Alex describes Lou's concoction as the worst thing he has eaten by far on Taskmaster at the time of the episode.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Happens in a challenge where the contestants need to throw a tea bag into a mug from the furthest distance:
    Frank: Someone'll take the first 45 minutes realising the teabags are better wet.
    (Cut to Romesh, with dry teabags by his feet)
    Romesh: Just realised I should probably wet them.
  • Irony: The Edinburgh TV Festival episode has TV executives, and a task had them try to name as many TV shows and films as possible, in alphabetical order. You'd think, being TV executives, they'd be able to name quite a few TV Shows. Apparently not.
  • It Makes Sense in Context:
    • The title sequence is made up of intentionally bizarre clips of random task attempts that will happen in a given series. Of course, as soon as you see an episode of the show, you will have some context for why, say, Doc Brown is catching a fish that was flung off-camera
    • Some of, though certainly not all, the episode titles. Generally, it's named after a memorable quote or joke said in the given episode. Unlike the US version, we can't list them here as there's so many of them!
    • Referenced by Greg in "Down an Octave", where both Frank and Josh were trying to melt ice as quickly as possible, and they use such techniques like putting ice in a bathtub and running hot water over it, and putting ice in the oven. Greg then points out that, when played in isolation, the clips would look like Frank and Josh were having a mental breakdown.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
    • Several of the contestants are this to Greg:
      • Series one has Roisin, who co-starred with Greg in Man Down.
      • Rhod in series seven. Aside from being long-term friends, Greg also appeared as a team captain in Rhod's panel show Ask Rhod Gilbert.
      • Greg's former The Inbetweeners co-star Joe Thomas as a contestant in Series 8.
      • Ed Gamble (Series 9) is also a long-time friend of Greg's, and co-wrote his sitcom Man Down.
      • Mike Wozniak from series 11 also co-starred with Greg in Man Down.
    • Alex as well:
      • Alex used to co-host We Need Answers with Tim (series one) and Mark (series five). Mark and Alex's friendship is also touched on in several episodes.
      • The musicians who provided the music for the final task in "Hollowing Out A Baguette" are Joe Auckland and Mark Brown. They are both members of Alex's band The Horne Section.
  • Keet: Mel, and to a lesser extent, Lolly in Series 4. They are constantly optimistic and seem to be on the show to have a good time, no matter what. Alex noticed this with Mel, and it got to the point where in "Spatchcock it" Alex and Greg set 3 tasks for Mel to complete specifically to make her swear and be annoyed; Blow up a massive inflatable ball, Get it out of the house and score a goal with it (which required her to deflate it a bit). Then finally, hide it from Alex in the middle of a football field. They end up failing; the worst Mel gets is mildly frustrated, leading the two to conclude that she really is just that nice.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Joe Wilkinson does this in front of Greg in "Fear of Failure". He does so after a task to get a hole in one when throwing a potato into a golf hole (the contestants weren't allowed to touch the red-green). Not even he thought he could manage the feat in the clip. After replaying the footage in the studio to show off the shot, it suddenly zooms onto his foot, leaving Joe to be absolutely distraught that his toe was touching the red-green. He spends what appears to be a minute pacing about looking really unhappy, and begs for Greg to not disqualify him, and kneels at Greg's feet, begging him to not take the achievement away from him. Greg felt so conflicted on what to do, the other contestants got to choose his fate The votes were tied at 2-2, and Greg, with much sorrow, disqualifies Joe.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In the last episode of Series 1, Romesh, Josh and Roisin initially make a spirited effort to defend their submission for "make the best blooper video" task... until Greg thoroughly deconstructs exactly how bad it was, at which point Romesh and Josh see no point in holding back their true feelings (though Roisin seems determined to go down with the ship, perhaps because she was the one filming and so has the bulk of the blame for how it turned out):
    Romesh: See, you think the cake is the blooper, right, and you think "Oh God, that was bloody funny! That's probably the best thing I've ever seen — OH SHIT! PADDLING POOL! Out of nowhere! Oh my days, that's such a surprising and entertaining blooper! And if anything, they're almost too method in the way that they carried that out! I thought it was brilliant!" [does jazz hands] That's what I think about that.
    Roisin: That should be your reaction!
    Greg: I would have probably got to those layers, but I was too busy with "Oh, there's this really bad acting, oh, they're not doing it themselves, oh, they've missed the actual accident."
    Romesh: [Deflated] ... It is a lot shitter than I thought it was gonna look, that is the honest truth. [Roisin reacts with betrayal] When I watched it, I thought "This must be some off-cuts version of the thing," and then I waited for the reveal. And then there was none, and we had to defend that dogshit. And I feel I gave an impassioned speech, but I didn't believe a word of it.
    Josh: I agree with Romesh.
  • Lame Pun Reaction:
    • Two instances from "The Poet and the Egg":
      • When tasked to bring in the "most meaningful" item for the prize task, Roisin chose a dictionary. The entire studio let out an anguished groan when realization set in.
      • Ahead of one of the Ad Bumpers, Greg reads one off of the teleprompters:
        Greg: I hate to be the guy to break it to you, but it is now time for a commercial break. (long pause without applause, then Greg shuts his eyes) I'm so sorry.
    • Paul Chowdhry made a couple of these in "The F.I.P." to the blank reactions of Greg, Alex, the cast and the audience ("He's gong mad" and "Rob Bucket").
    • During the prize task of "Spatchcock It" in which the cast must bring in the best "sheep-related item," Alex makes several sheep-related puns to Greg's dismay. ("It's up to ewe, Greg Davies, to decide who brought in the best sheep-related items, baa none. If you notice anyone being sheepish, feel free to lambaste them."
    • Alex calls a task winner-to-be a "'Tache-master" in a segue to see who made the most unexpected moustache in the episode "A Novel About Russian Gulags". Cue audience groan, and Iain and Greg's very visible annoyed reaction to the pun.
    • When introducing the first batch of VTs for a task in "Five Miles Per Day", Alex wishes that everyone will learn something from the next video because it is "Ed-Jo-Katy"-nal. Greg promptly shouts at Alex to Get Out!.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:
    • Occasionally, Alex will show four of the contestants' efforts together, meaning that whoever was singled out had approached the task in a different manner. Lampshades are often hung by Greg:
      Greg: "When we separate someone, it's for one of two reasons - 1: It's gone very well, or 2: it's gone very...very badly."
    • Deliberately done in "Lotta Soup", when what appeared to be a solo task was actually a special team task. Four of the contestants were working together, and Phil was on his own.
  • Late to the Realization: Jon, able to read Spanish, was the only contestant who realised the name of the model boat in the bridge building task translated in English to "Under the Table", but thought nothing of it at the time. It wasn't until sometime after he completed the challenge that he realised how strange a name for a boat "Under the Table" was, and correctly guessed that there had been items useful to the task hidden underneath the table. Of course, his reaction to this was less impressed by the brilliance and subtlety of the clue as the trope usually indicates and more frustrated by the fact that during the task, he hadn't even thought twice about the hint.
  • Laugh Track: Because of social-distancing guidelines, the studio portions of Series 10 were recorded without studio audiences. Instead, footage was screened for small groups of people and their reactions were edited into final episodes to try and preserve the feel of the show.
    Greg: I have removed the studio audience. Nothing to do with recent events, I just don't like being near members of the public.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After his Anti-Climax Coke-and-Mentos volcano, Iain's only response when asked what his thoughts were was that he genuinely didn't want to talk about it. Greg sympathetically agreed not to.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Starting from series two, all the contestants wear only one set of clothes for the pre-recorded challenges. In the first series, the contestants altered between two sets of clothes for the pre-recorded challenges, although Tim kept his wardrobe consistent by wearing red sportswear and a white headband. In the studio, he wore the same suit for all six episodes.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • In "The Leprechaun and the Lesbian," Sally's prize for the "hippest item of headwear" is a balaclava with a pair of hips attached to resemble wings and a beret. In his notes, Alex had called it "Hip Hip Beret."
    • Aisling's water cooler moment in "A Wind-Dried Puffin" was a literal interpretation of the phrase "fishing for a moment." Sitting in a small boat on the Taskmaster House driveway with ice strewn around, she used a fishing rod to "fish" for "moments" (actually some Galaxy bars), but accidentally knocks over her water cooler and mug of tea in the process.
    • In "We Met At Mealtime", the contestants were tasked to make a big announcement. Tim Vine's approach was to write the word 'announcement' in big letters. However, the police came and stopped him because he made his attempt next to an airport.
    • A series 7 team task involved making the best soap opera cliffhanger. James, Phil, and Rhod make a segment that features a soapy bath (as well as common soap opera tropes). During the studio segment, Phil points this out as a reason why his team should win.
    • The task in "Don't Like Them Go Bang" is to deliver Alex a set of instructions as discreetly as possible - Ed's instructions to Alex prompt the latter to stand up and shout at the top of his voice "LOUD!". Ed's instructions? STAND UP AND SHOUT LOUD.
  • The Load: James Acaster leaves us in no doubt as to what he thought of Rhod Gilbert (who rushes through reading tasks and generally interprets them in creative ways) by the end of the series.
  • Loophole Abuse: Has its own page!
  • Lovely Assistant:
    • '"...It's Lil' Alex Horne!"
    • In "BMXing!" only, Alex hires his own lovely assistant named Little Ian. After Little Ian is introduced, Greg orders Alex to get rid of him immediately.

     M - Q 
  • Mad Science Fair: A task in "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" has contestants build a science fair volcano. They had 10 minutes to plan what they'd use, and 20 minutes to build the volcano. Iain and Joe both used cola and Mentos to get their volcano to erupt, the former used lots of Mentos, the latter using about seven overall to both make their eruptions. Sian made a pre-erupted volcano, and added sparklers to the top of it to mimic it erupting, Paul basically attached a bicycle pump to a tube and added in a reactant to cola (we never find out) and forces the bubbly lava through a tiny hole at the top of his volcano. Lou made a clay volcano, set various sweets and pills on fire, and stood back. Despite his best efforts, Iain and Sian get 2 points, Paul gets 3 points, with Joe and Lou getting 5 points each.
  • Making a Spectacle of Yourself: James Acaster in Series 7 has a pair of yellow shutter shades as part of his outfit for some of his pre-recorded challenges.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: On a meta-level. Alex is the show's creator and develops the tasks, but on the show he takes the part of "assistant" and Greg takes on the ego trip of sitting in the big chair, the job of judging points for the tasks and determining whether a competitor's attempts at Loophole Abuse are valid, and the pleasure of bullying Alex.
  • Maneki Neko: They appear in parts of series 8, as it had an Asiatic theme.
  • Manipulative Editing: Is often joked about in the online outtakes, in which Greg will often make a comment along the lines of "That's not making it in [to the final broadcast edit of the show]". This is usually for entirely valid reasons (a lengthy tangent that would bump up the run-time without really adding anything, or some off-colour jokes that would probably create some difficulties regarding broadcast guidelines, etc.), but on one occasion Alex claimed he'd informed the contestants of a task penalty, only for Joe Lycett to claim he hadn't and start denouncing the show as "a scam!":
    Greg: Imagine that sentence. But now, imagine it on the editing room floor.
    Joe: These people know the truth!
  • Meet Cute: The very awkward greeting and the subsequent interactions between Sian and Joe at the start of a team task in "A Novel About Russian Gulags".
  • Mercy Kill: In "Tarpeters," the contestants were tasked with taking a little man (a wind-up toy of a man on a bicycle) on a spectacular journey. Liza Tarbuck has her little man travel across a parking lot with moving cars and bikes. A car eventually runs over the toy, and despite the toy being relatively intact, she decides to put it out of its misery by stomping on it. She placed second.
  • Metalhead: Ed Gamble is a proud one. In "Bready Bready Bready," he composes a metal anthem to serenade himself with, and later in "A Cuddle" he considers his love of metal important enough to include (in the form of Ozzy Osbourne's head) in his own version of Mount Rushmore.
  • Mind over Matter: Joked about in "Join Our Cult." David tries to conceal one aubergine by Sello taping it to the portrait of Greg in the living room (which depicts Greg composed of many vegetables). When Alex points to that aubergine, it immediately falls off the portrait. In the studio, he claims to have avoided pointing at anything else so as not to activate his magic powers.
  • Misblamed: Discussed and lampshaded; at one point, Greg dryly notes that despite the fact that Alex is the creator and runner of the show and is responsible for writing and organising all the tasks, he has somehow managed to arrange things so that Greg is the one who gets blamed for them and subsequently has to put up with the frustration and ire of the contestants when they do things wrong.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: In "Don't Like Them Go Bang," the task is to deliver a 5-word set of instructions to Alex as discreetly as possible - Rose opts to hide in a fake rock and approaches Alex that way.
  • Mona Lisa Smile: Alice recreates The Mona Lisa with squirty cream in a task from the episode "BMXing!." Alice got second place.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: A task in "A Pistachio Eclair" had two teams comprising Josh, Richard, and Jon, versus Doc Brown, Joe and Katherine. The task preface required one of each team member to wear either a blindfold, a pair of headphones, and one couldn't speak. The people wearing headphones and couldn't speak were not allowed to leave a bandstand. Their task was to get a vegetable from the blind contestant to the one who couldn't speak. Jon and Richard won
  • Monster Clown: Paul dresses up as one ("Brown Clown") to surprise Alex in the first task of "The Dong and the Gong". He sat in a box and jumped out of it, much like windup clown box.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Pops up occasionally with the more creative responses to a task. For example, in the Champion of Champions Special, the contestants were required to "make a mess and then clean it up." The male contestants all interpreted it literally, throwing trash around and then physically tidying it up. Katherine Ryan, on the other hand, called up multiple family members and lied to them to stir up drama, then called back to say that it was a mistake. Similarly, in Series 8, in a task that required the contestants to be mean to Alex and then apologise, Lou signed Alex up to receive calls from a bunch of telemarketers and fraudsters with his real-life mobile number, while Sian used his phone to text Greg a photoshopped nude photo of Alex. The other contestants picked things that were relatively nicer and easier to fix (like pieing him in the face).
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In Series 2, Greg consistently refers to the competitors as "four comedians, and [some appelation appropriate to Richard Osman]", since the latter isn't a professional comedian.
  • Nice Hat: The Prize task in "The leprechaun or the lesbian" had contestants bring in "hip head-wear". Aisling brought in a Yorkshire Pudding hat, Bob Mortimer brought in what can only be described as a grey executioner hat, Mark Watson got a custom made neon sign logo on a hat. And just to clarify, not a hat that has neon colors, A hat that has an actual neon sign attached that reads "TASK MASTER" on it, and apparently cost Mark £400 to make! Sally took things literally and attached a balaclava with cloth wings attached to a beret, and Nish brought in a custom-made cap made in Disneyland that reads Nishi on it (apparently a nickname his parents gave him). Sally got 5 points, Bob got 4, Aisling got 3, Mark, despite the price and Gregs' spite, got 2 points, and Nish came last, and got a single point.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Defied in "Friendship is Truth." In the task in which the contestants had to make the "biggest splash," Hugh climbed on the power line structure but was prohibited by the production team from climbing too high. In the studio, Hugh points out that while they were quick to prevent him from climbing too high, they allowed Mel to climb the structure and use the hose to spray water next to active power lines.
  • No Sense of Direction: Done twice so far, though both times had the contestants be blindfolded:
    • In "Boing boing", a preface to a task was to be blindfolded, let Alex read out the task proper, and the task itself was to travel as far as possible in 3 minutes, then after that, take off the blindfold, and get back to your starting location in 3 minutes. Furthest travelled away from the starting point, along with the quickest to reach the starting point wins. They were also all given bread to help them. Bob came in first, as he got pretty far, and got back to his starting point, as did Aisling, who came second. Sally got 200 metres away, and was 74 metres away from her starting point, and came third, while Mark thought his starting point was in the wrong direction and came fourth despite using his bread as a guide - apparently a passing dog had eaten his bread. Nish literally went in circles when retracing his steps, and ended up being 87 metres away from his starting point.
    • In "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man", a task was to drive a scooter blindfolded and interact with certain objects, with a 10 minute trial period to get the layout of the course, after which the blindfold goes on. shortest distance to the finishing parking spot won. Hilarity Ensues. Here are the results, but the highlights include; Paul getting lost on foot, Sian using centimetres to measure distances, Lou getting lost for half an hour, Joe using Alex as a sound beacon to get to the finish, and Iain doing surprisingly well. Iain comes first, then Sian, then Joe, then Paul, with Lou coming stone dead last.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Every. Single. Episode. Title. We're not kidding. The title for each episode is a phrase/ amusing word said in that episode.
    • "Little" Alex Horne is in fact 6'2, which is a couple of inches taller than the average male height in the UKnote . He just appears little next to the 6'8 Greg Davies. This forms a Running Gag throughout the show, wherein Alex will attempt to correct or assert his correct height only for Greg to bluntly steamroller him.
  • Noodle Incident: Greg mentions that he once had a bad personal experience with Brut in "The Old Soft, Curved Padlock". When pressed for further (presumably embarrassing) details by Russell Howard, he bluntly shuts it down by pointing out that he's in charge and that's not going to be happening.
  • Nordic Noir: The team task in "Hollowing Out a Baguette" required each team to create a trailer for Taskmaster. Mel and Hugh end up crafting a trailer (Tugtemester) in this style, complete with As Long as It Sounds Foreign dialogue.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • Greg often uses the word "genuinely" on the show, normally to enforce that he doesn't know the outcomes of the show, or what the contestants have done.
    • In the "Edinburgh does Taskmaster" special, an answer Jeff gave for a task that had him listing TV shows was Baretta, a lesser-known cop drama from the 1980's.
    • In "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man", Greg cut up Alex's trousers before the show started, apparently for no reason other it felt good to do. Alex was...not pleased.
    • While preparing for the task to drop a water balloon from the tallest height without it splattering ("Toshwash"), Daisy mentions shallow diving in the United States, and immediately upon seeing Alex's dismissive reaction, she has to defend its validity. Greg is equally dismissive in the studio.
    • When Katherine reveals a dead wasp as her prize entry in "Moments of Silence." Daisy notes that wasps are able to identify landmarks and find their way home if they were to travel on a train for a few stops. Greg initially dismisses it as a fantasy, but then Alex does a search and found studies confirming Daisy's statement.
  • Not So Above It All: In the Season 7 outtakes, after the lengthy and genuinely heated argument over Rhod's "finding" a satsuma in a sock and the accusations of judicial corruption and collaboration that followed, James grudgingly admits that even he was nevertheless pretty impressed by Rhod's ingenuity.
  • Nutritional Nightmare:
    • In Series 3 episode "Little Polythene Grief Cave," Sara's flag meal was made in the shape of the Canadian flag, which consisted of strawberries, red licorice, and frosting, and which she described as being only 15,000 calories.
    • In Series 4 episode "Tony Three Pies," Mel's "exotic sandwich" was a tower of bread with an assortment of sweets and chocolates as fillings.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • Series 4 episode "Look at Me" has a task where the contestants must paint a portrait of the Taskmaster on a canvas on an easel in the middle of a red mat, and only the paint and paint brush could touch the mat, canvas and easel. Contrast this with the potato-in-the-hole task from Series 2 episode "Fear of Failure," which only specified that the contestants could not touch the "red green." Hugh from Series 4 ends up being disqualified in that round when he placed rugs on the red mat to reach the easel while Richard from Series 2 placed second when using the same method.
    • "Dignity Intact" has a task where the contestants must throw a basketball into a hoop without using their hands. The contestants are not allowed to wear gloves or "anything that could reasonably be construed as gloves". Earlier tasks with similar goals had contestants use things that could be reasonably construed as gloves.
    • "Their Water's So Delicious" has a 'get the item as far as possible' task where they're explicitly not allowed to use a car; similar previous tasks included people getting in a taxi or Alex's van.
  • Off the Rails: The studio task for "It's Not Your Fault", which required the contestants to stack buckets higher than themselves and place a beanbag on top, descended into this as just about everyone abandoned their own attempt in a bid to sabotage their opponents.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • How Joe Wilkinson reacts after realising he broke the rules by stepping into the red green for his potato throwing attempt in "Fear Of Failure".
    • How every contestant reacts in series six's "Tarpeters" when they realise that Alex is going to show the darts task.
    • In the series five "Give Alex a Special Cuddle" task, after reading the task, Sally asks if Alex will do anything she asks ("Yes") and if he has a change of clothes ("What do you want me to wear?"). She says nothing as she cheerily leaves the room, and the camera moves to Alex, who gives a wide-eyed Aside Glance.
    • Alex has this reaction in Series 7 when James Acaster calls Greg a "pussy" in the studio and Greg immediately stands up aggressively. Alex can be seen trying to pull Greg back into his chair to try and prevent a public confrontation.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The sinister-sounding hurdy-gurdy music that links in between the games. slightly discordant and rather unsettling.
  • Once a Season:
    • So far, each series has at least one contestant carrying out tasks that nobody else does. See Butt-Monkey above for specific details.
    • The first three series each featured a task where the contestants buy a gift for Greg for £20. It stopped with series four.
    • Each series has at least one task which involves an outsider like the task to cheer up a former traffic warden in series seven ("Lotta Soup"), identify what a pensioner used to do for a living in series three ("A Very Nuanced Character"), and to write a song about a stranger ("Their Water's So Delicious").
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: One task in the episode "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" takes place in a train car and the competitors have to deduce what Alex, who is seated behind them in the adjacent compartment, is wearing. Alex is not allowed to speak and can only communicate with a toot horn. Most of the competitors ask him to toot once for yes and twice for no. Lou, for some reason, decides to use the inverse as her system (two toots for yes, one for no). Joe only devises a system for yes responses (one toot), but didn't have a system for "no" or "ambiguous" - Alex tooted the horn three times as a response to some questions. Alex is wearing a parrot costume.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Starting from Series 2, Greg ending each episode with "So what have we learned today?", which recounts the episode's events.
    • Greg will, more often than not, call Alex: "Lil' Alex Horne" at the start of each episode, or at some point during its runtime.
    • Each episode in series two has at least one task involving potatoes.
    • Coconuts feature in each episode of series five.
    • Phil Wang makes the same joke in Series 7 (except Episode 5 and 8) about haggling for a given item for the prize task. He haggles for a lower price, then the shopkeeper he buys it from stands his ground, he tries again, same price is said, then he reveals he bought it at the listed price. During recorded tasks, he also wore the same tracksuit in each episode, which makes his genitals' shape leave little to the imagination.
  • One Head Taller:
    • Josh Widdicombe (5'7") compared to Greg Davies (6'8").
    • The team tasks in series two has Richard Osman (6'6") compared to Jon Richardson (5'7") and Josh Widdicombe.
    • An extreme example is Sian Gibson from Series 8, who is 5'-0". At one point during the studio segment, she and Greg stand next to each other for a side hug, and the height difference is staggering. Sian names them as "the modern-day Krankies."
  • One Steve Limit: Zigzagged. Overall, there have been two Tims (Key and Vine); two Pauls (Chowdhry and Sinha); three Joes (Wilkinson, Lycett, and Thomas) and a Jo (Brand); two Richards (Osman and Herring); and two Katherines (Ryan and Parkinson) and a Katy (Wix) competing in the show. There have also been a Sara (Pascoe) and a Sarah (Kendall). However, they have all participated in different series to each other, so there has never been two contestants with the same name in one series. There have also been two similar family names (albeit with different spellings) from two non-related contestants; (Paul) Chowdhry and (Asim) Chaudhry.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: "Moments of Silence" has a task where the cast members each have to learn at least two acting roles out of the six charactersnote  in 10 minutes, with each role having a different background and accentnote . The accents vary in range from "consistent" (Mawaan's Aussie and Johnny's Scottish) to "all over the place" to Not Even Bothering with the Accent (Katherine Parkinson for both her parts).
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: For her prize in "Join Our Cult," Rose brings in a cassette tape that has been unspooled and allegedly contains the identity of the murderer of US President John F. Kennedy. Jo suggests that Peter Andre may have murdered JFK, to which David suggested that Greg should add a disclaimer. Greg happily refuses, and repeats to the camera "Peter Andre murdered JFK." (For what it's worth, Peter Andre was born about ten years after Kennedy's assassination, so Greg's defiance is fairly understandable.)
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Deliberately invoked with the 2021 New Year Treat, which featured five non-comedians (respectively, two actors (one admittedly best known for a sitcom role), a television presenter, a newsreader and a reality TV judge) as contestants.
  • Overly Long Gag: Rhod Gilbert brought in the same photograph of Greg "looking fat" for all but four of the prize task rounds of Series 7 (and even three of the exceptions were still calculated to cause maximum embarrassment for him). The audience naturally lapped it up, but while Greg himself was willing to grit his teeth and play along at first (albeit taking every opportunity to grade Rhod down for the prize rounds) the joke had clearly worn thin by the end of the series. This was lampshaded in episode 9 after it had happened again:
    Greg: Right, [Rhod] can have one point for a start.
    Rhod: [protesting] Oh come on —
    Greg: You've had your money's worth out of that picture, you prick.
  • Painful Body Waxing:
    • Ed Gamble's submission for the prize task ("smoothest and most desirable thing") in "Don't Like Them Go Bang" is a voucher for the winner to wax Ed's chest on stage after the show during the credits.
    • When tasked to do something unusual with £20 in Series 10 episode "I Hate Your Trainers," Johnny Vegas opts to have the letters TM waxed from his chest. For some reason, he also had his armpit hair waxed as well.
  • Painful Rhyme: In "Tarpeters", remarking on the team task "Keep Alex dry. Driest Alex wins", Alex says, "I was only a little bit wet, quite upset", and Greg admonishes him for trying to get a "cheeky, slick little rhyme in". Alex follows up with another:
    Alex: Up next: they're Russell and Alice. They're cool kids, and this is what they did...s.
  • Parental Favouritism: In "He Was a Different Man," Tim Vine shows his love for Greg by dressing up as his mother appearing on the red carpet and telling "reporters" how much she loves him. Greg's takeaway is that Tim's declaration of love confirmed his belief that he is his mother's favourite child and sticks it to his sister.
  • Percussive Therapy: The first task in "A fat bald white man" was to smash a cake in a beautiful way. Mel at the time had just left as a host on The Great British Bake Off (and was replaced by Sandi Toksvig). The first thing she did after reading the task was to turn the cake upside down, press it down even further, then remove the tray and leave, considering the task done. Safe to say, it probably felt quite cathartic.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In the fourth series, Greg repeatedly put Hugh Dennis last or second last in all the prize tasks. The exception was when the prize category was "Best Chair", and Hugh showed a picture of his son as a child from many years ago, on what he called his "best chair" - sitting on his father's shoulders. Greg seemed legitimately moved and awarded him first place.
    • In the finale for Series Six, Greg is especially encouraging toward Asim and doesn't make and grades him leniently while avoiding disparaging remarks. Instead, he kept saying that this episode could be one where Asim finally wins. Asim did.
    • Throughout the eighth series, Greg treats Paul Sinha with a degree of respect, more than most other contestants, and has largely not made fun of him. In "Stay Humble", Paul mentions offhand in the prize task that he went from over 14 stone to 11 and a half stone, which prompted the audience to clap at his weight loss. Later in the same segment, Paul (indirectly) insults him by Gregs mother telling Paul's agent that Greg should get weight loss tips from Paul, which prompted Greg be a little annoyed, but nothing more. Paul then makes a Your Mom joke at his face (comparing him to a blobfish) a bit later on, and doesn't seem fazed by it. It even extends to the other contestants. In the prize Task for "Hello", Paul had issues getting into his sleeping bag (He'd fractured his arm prior to coming onto the show, which made arm movements hard for him), which prompted his team mates to help him get into it so he could finish the task.
    • Alex points towards the end of series 9 that David requests his help in most of his tasks, and Alex agrees because David needs it. It's shown right after Alex helps David inflate balloons for one task, while refusing to help a competitor do the same.
  • Phrase Catcher: Of course, the Taskmaster's Assistant shall now and forevermore be known as...
    [High pitched squeak] "Li'l Alex Horne!"
  • Pie in the Face:
    • The cake variant happens in the "best blooper" team task in "The Last Supper," in which the team of three use this as part of their humiliation of Alex. Romesh distracts Alex by arguing with him about how to count hundreds and thousands on a cake when Josh slaps Alex in the bum, pushing his face down into the cake, and when Roisin attempts to apologize, Alex slips and falls into a kiddie pool. Though this ends up backfiring on them when Greg points out that, in addition to the blooper being poorly filmed, the bulk of the "blooper" revolves around humiliating a third party rather than one of the team-members experiencing a misfortune, as the task specified.
    • Aisling's offering for the prize task in "A Wind-Dried Puffin" ("best high-octane item") is a rake with a custard pie attached to the end of the handle, with the implication of this trope happening.
    • Iain pies Alex for his "best apology for the worst action" task in "Stuck in a Mammal Groove" and apologizes with an impromptu guitar-based song.
  • Plumber's Crack:
    • During Mel's choreography of a ringtone dance in "Friendship is Truth," this happens to Alex and it is captured by the overhead camera. In the studio replay, Noel comments that he's imagining a miniature Mel and Alex also dancing in Alex's back alley.
    • Nish's buttcrack pops out when he is getting Alex to shore in "Dignity Intact." Alex shields him from the camera with his notepad.
      Nish: I can feel the wind on my buttcrack.
      Alex: I can see the wind on your buttcrack.
    • Downplayed with Mark. During the flick book task in "Boing Boing," Sally comments that his underwear always seems to get exposed in every task (because his trousers slide down), but otherwise no visible crack appears.
    • Richard Herring's butt pops out while reaching for exercise balls in a task where he was confined to a wheeled lifeboat and had to get the exercise balls into hoops in "A Documentary About Despots." In the studio, Greg compares the image of Richard's bum ("Old Fella") unfavorably to the iconic image of Michael Jordan's Jumpman pose.
  • The Points Mean Nothing: Played with, but usually averted. Unlike most British panel shows, the contestants on Taskmaster actually do compete for prizes — the items brought in for the prize round at the beginning are taken home by the contestant who earns the most points in the episodenote , and the series winner receives the coveted Taskmaster Trophy (a golden likeness of Greg Davies). However, this trope is often still present in spirit; the prize rounds often ask the contestants to bring in unusual or trivial items, and contestants frequently interpret this as humourously or strangely as possible — so while the points mean something, the prizes those points win often don't. For example, one episode sees the contestants competing over who wins a collection of vegetables signed by various celebrities, while another sees them battle for the right to take home various shoeboxes filled with heavy items like concrete, paving stones, a biography of Hitler and Stalin and watermelon. As summed up by Greg in the latter episode ("The Dong and the Gong"):
    Greg: Rob Beckett is the winner of five luxury shoeboxes, a prize that he told me in the break he thought was rubbish!
  • Portmanteau: Nish comes up with the team name "Wumar" (Mark Watson and Nish Kumar) in "Residue Around The Hoof".
  • P.O.V. Cam: A task in "Spoony Neeson" required contestants to attach a portable cameras to them, and had 10 minutes to think of something to do with the camera, and 10 minutes to actually do said thing. The most interesting footage won. Mark showed footage of an interesting bike ride (in actuality, he watched a YouTube video of someone on a dirt bike from their POV). Aisling made a Liam Neeson-esque Hostage Situation action thriller parody...with spoons and a missing child (which also birthed the episode title). Bob made a very odd video involving him making zombie noises, digging a face buried in cheesy puffs out, covering said face back up, lifting the box to reveal no face, and then leaving. Nish's is footage of him "completing" a Sudoku page, of all things, which prompted Greg to privately talk to him about his seriousness of winning the competition. Sally made a very graphic birthing video, with Alex being the baby, organs and all, which prompted a standing ovation after the video had finished, while Greg was absolutely horrified at what he just saw. Sally came first with 5 points, Aisling, Mark and Bob came joint second with 4 points each, and Nish was last with 1 point.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Doc Brown does this for his version of the nursery rhyme One, Two, Three, Four, Five in "Pork is a Sausage."
    • Mel is noted as hardly ever swearing, with the worst thing she says in her ordeal of hiding a beach ball being "heck." However, during the live task of the finale "Tony Three Pies," after the task ("draw the median duck - the most median duck wins") is read out, she drops an F bomb:
      Mel: But I don't know what fucking size everybody else is going to draw!
    • Greg and Alex are in shock when they finally hear Tim Vine swear during the task to blow and pop the biggest bubble with his nose in "The Bubble Brothers." Tim's swearing? "Son of a bitch!" Prior to that, the worst thing he had said was "fiddlesticks!"
  • Pride: Two contestants display a certain amount of hubris throughout the eighth series — Lou Sanders performs her filmed challenges in a bright pink tracksuit with "Taskmaster Series 8 Champion" boldly emblazoned on the back, while Iain Stirling at several points confidently declares a hope to be appearing in a future Champion of Champions special. Works out for Lou, who eventually wins; less so for Iain, who comes second.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: Two in "Boing Boing":
    • Mark Watson refers to the dilemma faced by the contestants in the "coconut bobsleigh" task by the trope name. The device titled "Coconut Harness" in the caravan is obviously perfect for the task - but if anyone uses the same item as another contestant then they're disqualified. Nobody ends up using it.
    • The very next task is also similar: the contestants must vote for who they want to win the task. They can vote for themselves, but if they do so and fail to win the most votes, they will lose points.
    • In "Look at me" the contestants had to get an egg into a eggcup using only implements found on the table. The catch being that if anyone else used the same objects as one another, they would later receive a 1 minute penalty. Noel and Joe get 3 minutes tacked onto their time using a bread slice, Hugh used the bread slice and a chopstick and had a 4 minute penalty, Lolly used sticky tack and was done in under 30 seconds, with a 1 minute penalty, and Mel touched all the items, before settling on what the first three used, and got a 5 minute penalty.
    • The final live task of Series 4 required all the contestants to draw "the median duck." Only the person who draws the most average-sized duck would receive the full 5 points, with 1 bonus point to the person who draws the best duck. Each contestant was blocked from seeing what the others were drawing. As Mel puts it:
      Mel: But I don't know what fucking size everybody else is going to draw!
    • In "Stay Humble", a task required the contestants to stage an injury made out of food. However, a stipulation to the task was that if two or more people used Tomato Ketchup, they were disqualified. Paul Sinha challenged this double-bluff and made his injury include ketchup. He was also the only contestant to use Ketchup.
    • "Moments of Silence" has a task that takes place in the lab with two coconuts and several implements on the table. The task is to drink a tablespoon of coconut water the quickest, with the caveat being that if two or more contestants choose the same "extraction" method, they would be disqualified. Daisy and Mawaan both used a hammer to smash a coconut open and collected some coconut water on a spoon and are both disqualified. Johnny and Richard both used screwdriver and hammer to open the coconut, but are able to successfully argue themselves out of disqualification in that their extractions were different (Johnny drunk straight from a coconut with a straw and Richard collected the coconut water in a spoon). Katherine, meanwhile, went to the refrigerator and grabbed a coconut water drink and took the longest to complete the task. Despite that, Katherine got the 5 points for her unique extraction method while Richard and Johnny received 4 and 3 points, respectively.
  • Punctuation Changes the Meaning: In the final stage task in Series 2, the instructions went: "Put on a pair of food-handling gloves, eat a whole banana, correctly put on a tie, and clap as many times as possible." After Katherine Ryan, the only female contestant that series, objected to "correctly put on a tie", the comma was moved after "correctly" to make: "Put on a pair of food-handling gloves, eat a whole banana correctly, put on a tie, and clap as many times as possible" so she wouldn't be at a disadvantage.
  • Pungeon Master: Tim Vine, so very much, to the point where a solo task in "The Bubble Brothers" had Tim Vine tasked with making an outfit using only materials he'd purchased from a stationery store. Both Greg and Alex knew Tim would make a pun at the end of the task. The other contestants would win a bonus point if they could guess the Punny Name Tim gave his outfit. His outfit was made up of pictures of trains, as well as paper and other stationery equipment. Sadly, no one got it right; Tim made a tracksuit.
  • Punny Name:
    • Frank's meal in "The Last Supper" had pun-based names, from the meal as a whole to its individual courses. Examples include "Watercress Down" and "Beef au Van"note 
    • Richard and Jon form a team in series 2, on the basis that Jon is Richard's son.
    • The stop-motion films that each team created in "There's Strength in Arches" (starring a potato) were called 28 Days Tater and Spectater. Other potato-based names were thrown around such as Night of the Living Spud, Mash in the Attic, and Hateful Potato.
    • Tim Vine in series six sometimes does this. In "BMXing!", his squirty cream art was a picture of the words ER written on the ground, and he titled it 'Her Majesty the Cream'. In "H", he named his snooker trick shot 'the lesser-potted giraffe', as the shot in question involves the ball hitting a squeaky toy giraffe. The other contestants were even able to win a bonus point if they correctly guessed what pun he'd come up with at the end of one task.

     R - S 
  • Race Against the Clock:
    • Most of the challenges are done with a fixed time limit to complete in, e.g. in "There's Strength In Arches", one of the tasks involves constructing the highest bridge to support a potato within 20 minutes.
    • Starting with Series 6, some timed tasks have additional stipulations that make the task more difficult where the contestants aren't allowed to see any clock and must work out the running time based on intuition. Examples include getting to the Taskmaster House and kissing the Taskmaster portrait as close to 30 minutes as possiblenote  ("The Old, Soft-Curved Padlock") and inflating as many balloons as you can and popping them all in under 10 minutes, with any balloons remaining unpopped past the 10-minute mark disqualifying a contestantnote  ("Don't Like Them Go Bang").
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • In Series 7's "The Pendulum Draws The Eye", Rhod Gilbert completed the "find the sock with the satsuma" task by finding a satsuma in the kitchen and stuffing it into a sock at random. When it looked like he was going to win the task due to Loophole Abuse, James Acaster — who was already seething a little bit due to a previous task wherein his attempt at demonstrating improvement with the hula-hoop was strictly judged and marked down due his choking his first attempt — snapped and launched into a rather angry tirade heavily suggesting that Greg was going easy on Rhod due to the long-standing friendship the two had outside of the show. A rather lengthy argument ensued, and while Greg ultimately decreed that there would be no official winner of the task as a result, there was a notably hostile, bitter and on-edge feel in the studio for several minutes afterwards.
    • After spending the entire series being rather mild and polite about things, with little to show for it, in the final episode of Series 8 Joe Thomas reaches this when his lengthy and exhaustive effort to dispose of an eraser turns out to be for naught after other contestants exploit Exact Words and just lazily flush the eraser down the toilet. He's rather forceful when arguing that this technically doesn't count as "erasing" the eraser (since it's still intact and could, if someone was particularly determined, be retrieved and used as an eraser), but it's when Iain Stirling — who, let us note, hasn't exactly been shy about chucking a bit of a wobbly when tasks haven't gone his way throughout the series — demands to know "where the fuck this is coming from" that he just snaps:
      Joe: I just feel — [Angrily] I'm just so fed up with putting, like, loads and loads of just genuine physical effort into the tasks, and then these other people come up with some wanky work-around! I mean -- rea -- put some fucking effort in! [Calming down] I'm sorry, I dunno where that's come from.
    • In "Don't Like Them Go Bang," the competitors are split into teams for the live task, with David and Ed facing Jo, Katy and Rose. The task is for the person at the back of each queue to pass along a drawing by tracing the drawing on the back of the person in front of them, with the person out front putting the drawing to paper. In the first round, Ed is passing a drawing to David, who holds Ed's finger in one place! And it builds up from there.
    • Ed Gamble, normally very cheerful, became furious over the final taped task of Series 9 and went on an epic rant when it seemed as if he'd be penalized for following the rules on a task that was actually several mini-tasks designed to be frustrating if opened in the wrong order with a condition that the whole thing would be reset if a single mistake was made. He essentially did the whole thing twice due to making a mistake towards the end, but David, Jo, and Katy didn't bother restarting and Greg began wondering if he should show leniency in his judging. When Ed's anger reached a crescendo, Greg gave the camera sly Aside Glance to show he'd goaded Ed into getting angry.
    • Daisy May Cooper has two in the episode "Hippopotamus," one during a pre-recorded task and one during the live task.
      • The quiet cocktail-making task was particularly trying. She had to yell at the drinks trolley and pace around the lab to calm down after being forced to repeatedly start over for being too loud.
      • In an echo of Ed Gamble's outrage towards David Baddiel, Daisy has an incredibly difficult time with getting her team partner, Richard, to guess her animal drawing correctly and really lays it into him for not recognizing the titular hippo.
  • Rage Quit:
    • Joe Wilkinson gives up the final task of Series 2's first episode in a state of high dudgeon after his attempt to fit a large pinata into a small suitcase results in a lot of the sweets inside spilling over the stage. When Alex points out that the task technically requires the sweets to go in the case as well, Joe's response is to angrily kick the pinata off the stage.
    • After Rob wins the live task of the Series 3 finale, Paul Chowdhry knocks over his donut stand and splatters donut across the stage.
    • Nish in "Their Water's So Delicious" after he tries to throw a coconut over a hedge, only for it to come back to him. Alex only realises that he did a Rage Quit after watching it back, as Nish could have just picked up the coconut and thrown it again.
    • Iain Stirling in "Stay Humble" - touches the sand he's not allowed to touch, moves the bucket he's not allowed to move, re-reads the task and sees the only other instruction is 'you may not leave the room'. He instantly leaves the room, swearing and cursing at himself.
    • In the episode "Bready, Bready, Bready," one task was to get a watermelon up a slide and into the caravan, the catch being that the slide cannot be adjusted in any manner, you can only use breadsticks to move the watermelon, and only breadsticks can touch the watermelon. David's watermelon fell off the slide onto the ground and he spends the majority of his time struggling to use breadsticks and other implements to get the watermelon back onto the slide. At the end, he uses a croquet mallet to smash his watermelon to pieces.
    • Daisy May Cooper in the finale of Series 10, after failing to construct a spaghetti bridge to hold all her provided biscuits, angrily throws a coconut, tears apart a grapefruit with her teeth and consumes a lot of mints at once. Perhaps justified, as she'd been leading narrowly both in the episode and the series points, and in doing so she completely blew her chances of winning either.
  • Rake Take: The prize task in "A Wind-Dried Puffin" was to bring in the "best high-octane item." Aisling's offering is a rake with a pie attached at the end of the handle.
  • A Rare Sentence:
    • "Mel's done very well, if she can juice a lime with a shoe."
    • "If only I had sharper scissors, I could've put more of the camel through the gap."
    • "Great pea throwing!"
    • "How much does water weigh?"
  • Real Fake Door: Starting with Series Six, a door was added to the side of the Taskmaster House by the shed. It wasn't clear whether it was a real door or not until "Butter in the Microwave" when David and Jo attempted to use it as a shortcut to the kitchen, revealing that there is only a greenscreen behind the door. The greenscreen portal has since only been used in the ad breaks for "Bready, Bready, Bready."
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • Applies any time a contestant tries to outright cheat at a task, after several series made it abundantly clear that any attempt to do so will be caught on camera and result in their immediate disqualification.
    • One would think, with the amount of physical activity involved in some of the tasks, contestants would realize it's a good idea to dress practically for shooting. Yet Noel Fielding wore a pair of high heeled boots during his series, which even he pointed out (in "Spatchcock It") made a task even harder for him.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • A task in Series 4 involving shepherding dogs onto a red mat originally involved chickens. However, after Lolly Adefope had filmed the task but before anyone else could, there was an outbreak of avian flu which required the switch. Lolly was judged separately from the other contestants and was awarded bonus points given her version of the task was much harder.
    • Season 10 was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; while most of the location tasks were filmed before the pandemic, the studio sections (and some of the team tasks) were filmed afterwards, so everyone involved is socially distanced. Season 11 was also similarly impacted. So far, only one task has been so overtly modified; "I Hate Your Trainers"'s watermelon feeding task, a team task which was quite a lot harder for the team of three that consisted of Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan and Johnny Vegas as they had to use sticks with pre-prepared cut watermelon, whereas the other two (Daisy May Cooper and Richard Herring) were not restricted by the social distancing rules. The team of three were awarded a bonus point due to the circumstances being out of their control.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Played for laughs with Frank in series one, as he was the oldest on the panel, as he makes self deprecating jokes claiming he's from the 1930's.
  • Recurring Element: At the Taskmaster House, various props and set pieces are rotated in and out each series, while others become permanent fixtures (most notably the caravan starting with series four):
    • "Patatas," the toy cat that has to be rescued in "Welcome to Rico Face," reappears in later series when contestants used it for creative tasks like the flick book film of "Boing Boing" or the best extension to the Taskmaster House in "The Perfect Stuff."
    • Two props from earlier series are reused in "Toshwash." The baby head with a plant that memorably had aubergine stuffed in it and was called a "quaby" in series nine and a birdcage with knitted dolls of the series seven cast were respectively chosen by Daisy and Johnny in their successful attempt to convince Richard the security guard to look in their shopping trolleys.
  • Red Herring:
    • The entire Taskmaster squash task in "Down An Octave" was one big red herring. The teams were sent to a squash court, and had to score 11 points as fast as possible. They were given things to aid them such as cakes, a bucket, and squash rackets and balls, but in the end, all they had to do to score points was to touch their head.
    • Played with in "Residue Around the Hoof". The five contestants each go outside to be met with an array of objects. The task initially appears to be completely unrelated to any of them, and involves blowing up a balloon whilst blindfolded. However, when they remove the blindfold, they discover that that task was just a setup for the next task; the objects were moved around and changed whilst they were blindfolded and they now have to spot the ten differences.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: A task in "Little Polythene Grief Cave" was delivered in this way. The Contestant pushed a ball, which pushed another ball down a piece of gutter pipe, which pushes over some loo roll, which kicks a football, which knocks over some books, which activates a scissor mechanism that let's loose two balloons, which drops a payload onto some domino's, which then, with the final domino plunging off the edge of the table, swipes away a cloth that was hiding the task on the table next to them all. Al in particular was impressed. The task in question was to make a domino rally.
  • Rule of Funny: The show lives and dies by this rule. Greg's willingness to allow an outside the box interpretation of a task almost always comes down to how entertaining that person's attempt was. Similarly, Greg will sometimes give questionable or unfair judging for the sake of a joke.
  • Running Gag:
    • The tasks always end in "Your time starts now." Lampshaded in "Hello", where a disclaimer pops up on-screen to not inhale perm lotion, with the phrase attached to the end of it.
    • Alex will occasionally announce the seconds of a task completion time before the minutes, stemming from a small bit about it in Series 2.
    • Greg's introductions of the five contestants in Series 1 tend to include making a recurring joke about each one based on a particular theme:
      • Frank Skinner's tended to be about his age, seeing as he was the oldest contestant;
      • Josh Widdicombe's would be about his youthful features;
      • Roisin Conaty's would tend to be an embarrassing anecdote about her that Greg revealed based on their long-term friendship;
      • Romesh Ranganathan's would be a poke at his Grumpy Bear persona;
      • Tim Key's would be a bit more random, but would often be about his general lack of popular success compared to the others.
    • "Pork Is A Sausage" has Doc Brown saying several times that he is "not a [food] man".
    • In Series 3, tax evasion is brought up, as it was quite topical at the time, with both Google and boy band "Take That" being name dropped. On more than one occasion this has lead Greg to penalize a contestant when they bring up those two tax evaders.
    • Any time Joe Lycett needs to leave the house via the front door, he tends to run back to kiss the main portrait of Greg first, perhaps what is being referenced in a task in "The Old, Soft, Curved Padlock".
    • Joe Lycett also seems to have a habit of stealing props at the end of a task. Over the course of series four he steals a bowl of lemons, some rice, a large bar of cooking chocolate and a mannequin.
    • Every pre-recorded task in Series 4 has Mel take the seal off of the task and put it into her right breast pocket, apparently to melt down later.
    • Hugh almost always losing the prize task, to the point where by "Meat" it's lampshaded by both Greg and Hugh.
    • Mark looks like a heron.
    • Almost any time Alex meets Aisling to give her the task in Series 5, the way it's framed somehow manages to make him look like an Accidental Pervert.
    • In Series 6, Alice greets Alex in the pre-recorded tasks with a different pet name ("Hello, my little ferret").
    • Asim Chaudhry and squirty cream appearing in his recorded tasks, which is lampshaded by Russell in "Roadkill Doused In Syrup".
    • Phil's inability to haggle down the price of the objects he nominates for the prize task.
    • James refusing to greet Alex at the beginning of each task. When questioned why by Alex, he says "It's not part of the task".
    • Discussed in "Mother Honks Her Horn" — After a VT shows Rhod attempting to strip search Alex for the little blue book, Greg remarks that there are two running gags at play throughout all the tasks: Rhod taking every opportunity to take Alex's trousers off, and Alex is always wearing pink underpants or longjohns. Alex then reveals that he is also wearing pink underpants in the studio!
    • In "Stuck in a Mammal Groove", Iain makes two references to him potentially being a part of the roster for a future "Champions of Champions" special, the first was by getting miniaturised toy figurine versions of Bob Mortimer, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding and Rob Beckett placed onto a massive self-made volcano, and him proclaiming that he hopes to join them, and the second is apologising to Alex via song for stuffing a pie in his face, and wishes to be a part of "Champions of Champions".
    • In "This Is Trevor", all the tasks were related to "pink" in some way, with most tasks involving pink lady apples, and another was to use your pinky finger to do something powerful.
    • In Series 9, babies are a recurring motif in Ed Gamble's recorded tasks.
    • Daisy-May Cooper bringing in very mundane prizes to fulfil the prize task requirements of Series 10, with Greg getting increasingly exasperated and annoyed at this. Her "nicest thing to put in your mouth" was white wine, her "best thing with lots of holes in it" was crumpets, her "best thing that probably has a spring in its mechanism" was an umbrella, her "cheekiest food" was Billy Bear Ham (ham in the shape of a bear), her "best pointy thing" was a metal kebab stick, and her "best top heavy item" was a cottonbud wearing a pirates hat. Only the White Wine has won her the round so far, the rest of the prizes never getting her above 2 points.
    • Charlotte Ritchie's ongoing audition to become a children's TV presenter in Series 11.
  • Sadist Teacher: Played with; while the show isn't directly about a school, Greg Davies is a former teacher and clearly often finds himself lapsing back into old methods when dealing with the contestants. Accordingly, his persona in the show generally comes across as a mixture of a sadistic headmaster and a Bad Boss tormenting his "students" (the contestants) and especially his employees (i.e. Alex) for his own amusement.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: On the rare occasion when Greg is announcing the points for a contestant who did spectacularly poorly, he'll ask the audience to give that contestant one clap only:
    • In the "collect as much sweat as possible" task in "Little Polythene Grief Cave," Rob Beckett got no drops of sweat and 12 different accents, but managed to place fourth because Al had been disqualified for attempting to substitute sweat with pee. Greg asks the audience to give him one clap.
    • In the "camouflage yourself" task in "Hollowing Out a Baguette," Mel "camouflaged" herself by hiding behind a flower vase inside the house. Greg allows the audience to give her one clap when she was announced as having placed last.
  • Say My Name:
    • In "BMXing", the Prize challenge was a thought-provoking prize, and when Liza revealed her prize to be about Nikola Tesla (specifically the concept of "Tesla" itself), and Liza also revealed his fate of basically dying alone in a hotel without a penny to his name, while another man took his idea and sold it on without proper credit, which had Greg shout Nikola Tesla's surname upwards while he sat down She came 4th, and got 2 points, with Greg claiming her prize was "a bit too dry."
    • In "Join Our Cult," Rose Matafeo does this while dressed as a bush for her dramatic entrance, yelling "STELLAAAA!!!"
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
    • Played with following footage that showed Tim Key lying about filming for Comic Relief. Greg wants to put him into last place unless Tim donates some money to Comic Relief. Tim then asks how much he has to donate in order to secure first place instead, but he rejects the offer of £12,500, and settles for third place.
    • Played straight with Al in "The F.I.P.". When Alex tells him he won't move a bucket full of water, Al then proceeds to lure him to move the bucket by waving cash in front of him, and ends up paying Alex £80.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Jon Richardson was so mortified by his attempt at impressing a mayor that, when the video clip was being shown in the studio, he was genuinely moved to leave the room until the clip had ended. Both Sally Phillips and Alice Levine both played this for laughs when they were faced with similarly embarrassing playbacks, but they ended up staying.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: The team task in "Legit Glass" uses this. One member of the team gets to see an object inside a safe and then they have to leave a tape recording identifying that object. The recording is played backwards for the rest of the team, and they have to decipher the message and identify the object correctly. The object is a reversible sequin pillow of Greg with an alpaca.
  • Secret Handshake: A task in "No Stars for naughty boys" had this for contestants to come up with a handshake between Alex and themselves. Most of them were overly-elaborate hand gestures and moving about. Joe and Alex just rubbed each others palm with a finger for 3 minutes straight while maintaining eye contact. Joe comes first.
  • Sensual Spandex: Phil's pre-recorded outfit in series 7 is a very tight-fitting suit that Homages Bruce Lee's yellow and black tracksuit in Game of Death. The revealing nature of the outfit is constantly lampshaded.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting:
    • invoked In Series 3, Greg observes that Rob and Sara share a passing resemblance and Sara notes that internet trolls often try to upset her by saying she's Rob in a wig. As a result, Rob and Sara are alternately referred to as siblings or as brother and sister when introducing team challenges.
    • invoked In Series 3 episode "A Very Nuanced Character," one task asks the competitors to correctly identify what a retiree named Hugh used to do for a living (he was a former anaesthetist) whilst only whispering and only using yes and no questions (to which Hugh can only lie by shaking his head or nodding). After reading the task aloud, Dave asks whether the other competitors would be speaking to someone "who looked like their future selves" (he and Hugh were wearing similar outfits). It is then proposed that Hugh is actually Alex's father after their resemblance is remarked upon.
  • Separated by a Common Language: In "I've Sinned Again," Katherine, who is Canadian, spends precious seconds searching for a drawer in the living room, at one point looking inside the Taskmaster pineapple. When questioned about the line of thinking, Katherine claims that because of this trope, it was possible that drawers meant pineapple to the British.
  • Serenade Your Lover: ...or rather, Serenade Yourself. A task in "Bready Bready Bready" was to do exactly that. Lampshaded by David Baddiel who points out that a self-serenade sounds too much like bragging about having A Date with Rosie Palms.
  • Serial Escalation: The start of "Stay Humble" has Alex play a game of "what's in his pocket?" Greg guesses (correctly, to his surprise) another smaller pocket. They play again, and the smaller pocket is followed by another smaller pocket. The two play again, and Alex reveals the pocket concealed a Locket, which, when the game was modified to "What's in my locket?", it has a tiny felt pocket inside.
  • Serious Business: The trivial, silly nature of the tasks is often contrasted with the laser-focussed sense of competitive seriousness with which the contestants attempt to complete them. Genuinely heated arguments and tension have broken out over matters such as finding a satsuma in a sock as quickly possible. This is made even more ridiculous by the prizes the contestants are competing for each week which are usually, in Greg's words, "complete tat." This is both an intentional part of the format (Alex Horne has discussed in interviews how part of his inspiration for the show is how ridiculously competitive comedians can get with each other) and is frequently lampshaded, with Greg often commenting on how insanely seriously everyone is taking everything, or how weirdly invested he's become in the outcome of whether the contestants can, for example, tell whether the person behind them is touching their neck with a finger or a sausage. The drama in series 2 when Joe Wilkinson's superb single-shot throw of a potato into a golf hole is disqualified after he is shown to have accidentally stepped on the "red-green" with his toe is also described by Greg as "a surprisingly genuinely harrowing moment".
  • Servile Snarker: While Alex Horne is set up as "the assistant" and tends to get Butt-Monkey status from most of the competitors, his soft-spoken way of winding people up with helpfully unhelpful comments can be just as cutting and snarky as anyone else's.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: A lot of tasks end up this way when the contestants are disqualified for breaking one of the rules, especially if they only discover this in the studio, several months after filming the tasks. Additionally, everyone will have been filmed completing a tiebreak task in case it is needed, but not all of the shoots will be shown unless the person has tied for first place in that episode. How well they did in the tiebreak task would essentially be moot (example: Mark Watson's impressive yoghurt kick below):
    • The stand-out incident for a disqualification is when Joe Wilkinson perfectly threw a potato into a golf hole and everyone made a big to-do over the feat, only for it to be nullified (after some very intense debate) because his foot was touching the "red green" that he wasn't meant to touch.
    • One task in "Tony Three Pies" scored the contestants based on their ability to construct an "exotic sandwich", with bonus points for how much of the sandwich they were able to subsequently eat. As it happened, the bonus points were given at exactly the inverse rate of the base points, so everybody came away with exactly 6 points, rendering the entire task moot. Except for Noel, who got an additional point for eating a bit of Alex's beard, and Mel, who got a pity point for getting an M&M stuck up her nose.
    • When tasked to stack cans while introducing herself as from a different country every ten seconds, Aisling Bea failed to do the first introduction within ten seconds, but nobody filming on the day caught this, so she kept working at the task for several minutes. When this was revealed in the studio, she throttled Alex and kicked over her chair. She managed to fit in 61 introductions and stack a 10-can high tower that day (taller than what the other contestants had), but only had a one-can high tower when her task ended.
    • Mark Watson was given a special task to send Greg a "cheeky text" every day for five months, which he admitted was one of his most stressful demands for that time. However, he got no points because he only sent 148 of the required 150 texts.
      Mark: I'm devastated it was just me, and I'm absolutely shattered to get no points out of something that, if I look back over this calendar year, is genuinely one of the major things I've done with it.
    • Mark Watson's impressive yoghurt kick, as seen in this outtake for "Spoony Neeson," was recorded for a tiebreaker task. Bob and Sally were the ones who tied for first in that episode, so only their attempts were shown in the episode that was broadcast. Most spectacularly, Mark was the only person who was able to get any yoghurt onto the target at all.
    • Not quite disqualified, but James Acaster's attempt at the "improve your hula-hooping" task in Series 7 ended up being something like this from his perspective. After being assigned the task on location, both he and Phil Wang were given until the studio shoot — some eight weeks — to improve their ability to hula-hoop, with points being awarded for demonstrating the most improvement. Unfortunately, when the studio task arrived, James choked on the first effort, which was slightly worse than his original one, despite having spent the time seriously practicing and subsequently demonstrating quite impressive skill. Despite this, Greg ruled that although he demonstrated more improvement than Phil, his first attempt had to be the one that was judged, so while he did get some points and technically 'won' the task it all ended up being for naught. James was visibly seething as the judgement was passed, and it contributed to a genuinely hostile and bitter Rage Breaking Point later in the episode when it looked like Greg was going to go generously on Rhod Gilbert's attempt at finding a satsuma in a sock.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: In Series 1, the final team task in "The Last Supper" was to film the best blooper reel. Roisin handled the camera for her team, and unfortunately due to this trope, most of the actual bloopers were hardly captured on the reel. She attempts to justify her filming by stating that she went "too method" and that she was "Blair Witching" it.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Some of Alex's unusual measurements are like this, such as saying that 52 metres is "the distance to the moon and back, if you start 26 metres away from the moon."
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Alex is always in a suit, although the only times he's been seen wearing a tie as well is whenever he was filming with Mel.
  • Shipper on Deck: Asim seems to ship Greg and Alex, based on the outtakes for "The Old Soft, Curved Padlock". Russell also has signs of this in "One Warm Prawn".
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Greg rips Alex's shirt off at the very end of "Their Water's So Delicious".
    • In "BMXing", the second task of the show was to be as manly as possible with a box. Tim Vine took this to mean standing shirtless in the middle of the street while standing and posing inside of the box. Russell did one better and drew "Manly Words" onto his stomach and arms and did some DIY outside, with Alex asking questions about what to do about specific things (for example asking girls out via Tinder, which apparently requires you to roast a pig). Greg was suitably flustered. Tim and Russell got 4 points.
    • Rhod is particularly fond of doing this. The first recorded task of the first episode of Series 7 involves him directing Alex to remove his bikini top.
    • In the task where the contestants must create the best water feature from "Quisps," both Ed and David use Alex in their water features and ask Alex to take off his shirt. In his attempt, David takes off his shirt "in solidarity" with Alex, to the amusement of everyone in the studio. Ed creates a merman with a water jet shooting out of one boob, while David creates a "Greek god" statue standing triumphantly in a bathtub. Ed won the task, and David placed second.
    • For the team task in "Quisps" ("recreate a classic board game"), David and Jo choose to recreate Operation. David, stripped down to his underwear, takes on the role of Cavity Sam (with a light up buzzer on his nose that he hits if he feels the clamps on his skin), while Jo and Alex are the players. Most of the items they have to remove are biscuits, but they do also need to remove an actual kidney.
  • Shmuck Bait: One task involved moving a large number of coconuts, with the provision that if any two contestants used the same item to move the coconuts they would both be disqualified. One of the items provided was prominently labeled "coconut harness", and contained foam padding with a number of coconut-sized depressions. Nobody used it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The large portrait picture that hangs in the living room of the Taskmaster house is always a mugshot of Greg that is done in the style of a famous picture, or a general art style. This changes for each series:
      • The First series has the picture reference Andy Warhol's "Shot Marilyns".
      • The Second series' painting references Le Sommeil (Sleep) by Salvador Dali.
      • The Third series's seems to be based off of Roy Lichenstein's "Oh Jeff, I love you too, but..." image.
      • The Fourth series has a picture of Greg painted in the style of one of many of the Vincent van Gogh self-portraits.
      • The Fifth series has the picture parody of René Magritte's Son Of Man.
      • Series Six has a portrait that references M.C Escher's "Hand with reflective Sphere".
      • Series Seven generally homages Pablo Picasso's "Cubism" style, but specifically riffs on Seated Woman.
      • Series Eight has a picture that is an original piece made for the show, which references various anime villain tropes; Greg with Tsurime Eyes, an Eye Patch Of Power, holding a Classy Cane with a metal hand.
      • Series Nine has a picture of Greg made up of vegetables, in the style of the painting "Vertumnus", originally painted by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
      • Series Ten adopts a "western" theme, with the picture of Greg being styled as a colourised old-timey photograph of him dressed as Wild Bill Hickock.
      • The 2020-2021 New Year Treat has a "golden age of silent cinema" theme, with Greg's portrait being a homage to Buster Keaton.
      • Series Eleven is themed around Soviet "socialist realism"-style art/propaganda, with the portrait of Greg naturally referencing over-the-top homages to Stalinist dictators. One wonders how it took them so long.
    • Greg will occasionally reference Lord of the Flies to describe task attempts that see careful, orderly planning descend into absolute chaos (For example, Josh, Roisin and Romesh's attempt to get to 11 points in the squash court in the episode "Down an Octave").
    • In Series 2 and 3, there is a mural on the side of the Taskmaster House of Greg holding some balloons resembling Banksy's well-known Girl With Ballooon.
    • In "Pork Is a Sausage", for a task involving creating a music video out of a nursery rhyme, Richard Osman makes a homage to The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony while singing "she'll be coming round the mountain". He also framed it as a YouTube video, complete with a skippable advert prefacing the music video.
    • In "The Dong and the Gong", Paul Chowdhry shouts "SHORYUKEN!" during the balloon popping task. After his attempt was show, he name-drops Mortal Kombat, causing Greg to mistakenly think that he had gotten the earlier reference, but Paul clarified,and he pointed out it's from Street Fighter.
    • In "A Fat Bald White Man", Hugh Dennis paints a picture of a black woman that looks like, in Greg's words, "a fat bald white man". At the end of the episode, Greg says "What have we learned today? Well, if you're thinking of being Hugh Dennis' baby, it don't matter if you're black or white."
    • One of Asim's "obscure animals" for the team task charades in the episode "Roadkill Doused in Syrup" is a "three-eyed raven."
    • One of the tasks in "I Can Hear It Gooping" has the contestants make real life video game homages. Kerry goes for Tetris with Alex providing the bricks and Kerry being the player, James goes for Grand Theft Auto and even references the infamous "WASTED" screen, Jessica goes for Mario Kart using golf carts and bananas, Phil goes for Goldeneye 64 with intentionally bad first person camera view recreated by tying his and Alex's left arm behind their backs, and Rhod goes for Space Invaders. For his attempt, he recruits a large amount of people to create real-life space invaders, where Rhod is the player shooting balls at the people descending. James won the task, specifically because his act was so convincing.
  • Show Stopper:
    • In "Welcome to Rico Face", after listing out what things Jon was throwing at a cat to get it down from a tree, one of the items was a Lacrosse stick. After Alex mentioned that Jon had called him a dick as he was cross, Greg immediately follows up with "LaCross... He was LaCrosse!", which prompted Alex to stand up and clap, followed by everyone else.
    • In "Phoenix," Sally Phillips completed one task so quickly and conclusively, Greg leapt up to hug her and brought her out to the front of the stage and take a bow as the audience gave her a standing ovation.
    • Sally Phillips, again, in "Spoony Neeson" when her P.O.V. Cam movie (the graphic birthing of a fully-grown Alex) is screened.
    • In "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man", one task was to get rid of an eraser by erasing it, with the quickest to do so winning. The task never specified how to erase it, and so the rules were open to interpretation. In Joe's attempt, he broke his eraser up into tiny pieces and threw the dust in the garden, with Paul, Iain and Lou flushing the eraser down the toilet (Lou did this after trying to eat it, but still). Joe was quite furious in the studio that Paul, Lou and Iain were employing Exact Words, and went on a rant about how his efforts in his attempt essentially go to waste when Iain and Paul go with the least creative method possible, with him also arguing it was quite possible to retrieve the eraser back from the sewers. This rant prompted Greg and Alex to stand up and clap, followed by everyone else. He technically comes last in the task, but Greg gives him three bonus points for his efforts.
  • Silly Walk: A task in "Pea in a Haystack" was to get to a microwave in as few steps as possible. Cue contestants either taking very long steps or trying to avoid traveling on their feet.
  • Silver Fox: In "He Was a Different Man," Greg is flattered by Asim's description of him as one ("the tall motherfucker with the ivory hair") for the latter's declaration of love.
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game: The final task of "Residue round the hoof" was to balance on one foot while wearing a spiked shoe over a balloon. Alex would shout out instructions in the form of "Greg says...", which they then have to do, and "Alex says...", which they would ignore. Aisling wins, then Mark, then Sally, then Nish, then finally Bob.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Greg repeatedly praises Kerry Godliman throughout Series 7 for her straightforward, but effective approach to tasks.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Daisy in series 10. This is most notable in the live task for "I Hate Your Trainers", when the contestants had to say as many unique words of a certain length without leaving a gap any longer than 2 seconds in-between each word. When they had to list four letter words, Daisy just swore, and even had one word censored.
    Alex: (after Daisy had finished) There are no more swear words, as far as I can tell.
  • Sixth Ranger: Frederick the Swede can be considered one, as he has so far appeared in one task each series.
  • Slave to PR: Teased, but ultimately defied (at least when it comes to the live audience). Greg will occasionally second-guess his judgements out loud based on the live audience reaction, but ultimately sticks with his opinions. See the entry for Yes-Man.
    Greg: (While grading the prize entries) Fourth... it's the Chuckle Brothers, I—
    Joe: What?!
    (Audience boos and groans)
    Greg: (addressing the audience) You shut your fucking mouths. I will put him last!
  • Slippery Skid:
    • The first pre-recorded task in "Meat" is to slide the furthest. Joe and Lolly construct slip-and-slide runs and slather on (variously) butter, soap, running water, and a sled. Despite their preparations, they each slid the shortest distances and came bottom
    • The prize task for "This Is Trevor" had the contestants bring in the most slippery thing. Sian brought in slippers, Iain brought in a toy alien egg (which he admits is more slimy than slippery) Lou brought in a slide with a drawing of "Nasty Nick" on it, Paul brought in a banana Peel, Ban-jelly pie, and slippers (which Sian wasn't happy with), Joe brought in... soap. Sian got 2 points, Iain got 3 points, Joe and Paul "Banana King" Sinha get 4 points, with Lou wining the round, and getting 5 points.
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Greg has noted that it's a consistent trend that contestants who take the time at the start of a task to stop and think on how to approach it, instead of rushing off because of time limits, tend to do better.
    • Rhod Gilbert in Series 7 is repeatedly shown intensely thinking at the start of his tasks, often pressing his fingertips to the side of his head. In contrast to some of the others who rush off as soon as the task starts, this extra thinking allows him to come up with more imaginative (and sometimes more effective) solutions, such as digging up and carrying a golf hole closer to the tee to make his shot easier.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Iain comes across as being this in Series 8, repeatedly talking about appearing on a future "Champion of Champions" installment and throwing fits whenever he doesn't get the points he thinks he deserves.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: In a contestant's personal life, at least; on the official podcast, Romesh Ranganathan reveals that, contrary to expectations, he actually didn't get into as much trouble as you'd think for losing his wedding ring or his wife's car in the prize tasks (it's unstated, but it can be assumed that jokes aside he sought her approval for both beforehand), both of which are generally held as key examples of just how far contestants can be willing to go to win the prize rounds. In fact, the prize that actually caused him the most trouble turned out to be the cheap trinket snowglobe given to him by his sister-in-law he brought in for episode one. Romesh revealed that his sister-in-law was genuinely offended by the merciless put-downs and mockery he subjected it to on the show, causing a bit of bad feeling and leaving him with some explaining and apologising to do.
  • Smuggling with Dolls: Played for laughs in the series:
    • In Series 4 episode "Look At Me," the team task is to get as much dry flour onto a dartboard from their bandstand gazebo. The trio of Joe, Lolly, and Noel at one point cut open a stuffed toy fox and put as much flour as they can before tossing it onto the dartboard.
    • In Series 9 episode "Join Our Cult," the first recorded task is to hide three aubergines around the living room for Alex to search. Ed treated this task similar to a prison search for contraband, and hid his last aubergine by stuffing them into the baby head figurines around the room.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Applies to the first three series. The two hosts are male, as are four of the contestants, leaving Roisin, Katherine, and Sara the token women of their series. Averted with every series from the fourth onwards, which have each featured two female contestants while the ninth features three.
    • Justified in the Champion of Champions special since Katherine was the only woman to have won a series at that point.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Played with; on occasion, several of the contestants (particularly the ladies) have raised objections to a task which seems to be worded in a way which is discriminatory or politically incorrect. However, while they've often framed their objections in humourous terms, the hosts are often willing to consider and acknowledge when they've got a valid point.
    • For example, in the last stage task of series 2, Katherine Ryan objected to the requirement that the contestants put on a man's tie "correctly", since as a woman she'd never learned to do that, and framed her objections as an example of "top down misogyny". As it was agreed that she had a point, a compromise was reached wherein a comma was moved before 'correctly' instead of after, meaning that it was only necessary to put it on.note 
      Greg: Do you not know how to put a tie on? Is that—
      Katherine: No!! Let's all put on a tampon, and then we'll see! (thunderous applause)
    • Aisling Bea was also quick to raise feminist-based critiques of the show and tasks throughout her season. However, this trope most obviously kicked in during the graph task in the final episode, when she attempted to construct a graph outlining the female representation versus male representation on the show to this point. However, as Alex pointed out, the graph was flawed because it inaccurately appeared to chart the first season as having equal representation of men and women when this wasn't the case (there had only been one woman in that season). A mortified Aisling realised that her own poor grasp of mathematics had provided an opening for two men to justifiably "mansplain" to her about representation.
    • Although he plays his complaint for some laughs, Lee Mack appears genuinely irritated when a task led to him biting into an egg, when he had told the production team he's a vegan. When he brings it up in the studio, Alex is clearly embarrassed.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Averted for the most part as the show runs at 9PM onwards on British Television, where swearing isn't normally censored. "Spatchcock it" is a very notable exception, where both Alex and Greg say "Mega Cunt" in response to Mel's refusal to swear. In "What kind of pictures?", a task was to put "something surprising" in the middle of a chocolate egg. Alice's "surprise" was apparently the PIN for Alex's bank and burglar alarmnote  which got bleeped out.
  • Speaking Simlish: Sarah Kendall does this in "An Orderly Species", as the aircraft safety announcement task comes with the rule that the contestants had to speak in either a different accent to their own, or a different language. Since Sarah isn't billingual and is also unable to do accents, she decided to speak gibberish.
  • Spoiler Opening: The title sequence for the regular series is made up of fast-paced clips of that series' contestants carrying out the pre-recorded tasks.
  • Spot of Tea:
    • Greg considers tea such Serious Business, he disqualifies Josh for adding milk first.
    • The team task for "Think About the Spirit" is to create the best cup of tea while wearing gloves and using only the tea set where the implements are locked to the table.
  • Stealth Expert: Lolly in "No stars for naughty boys". A task required her to find a hiding place, and hid so well, it took almost 40 minutes for Alex to find her.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • It's possible that the "make an edible mask" task from "I've sinned again" came about because switching the first two letters of "task" and "master" produces "mask taster".
    • In Series 11's "Slap and Tong", a task was to make an outfit for a replica bee. The contestants all wore bee-keeping outfits, and some did sew items to the bee. This is most likely a shout out to The Great British Sewing Bee, only taken to its most literal interpretation.
  • Stern Teacher: Not literally, but Greg's teaching background has come in surprisingly handy for disciplining contestants on several occasions. In "Spoony Neeson", Greg takes Nish aside for a talking to about pulling his socks up and actually putting some effort into the show after his dismal POV video of him completing a sudoku puzzle (incorrectly, according to Greg), as if Nish is the class clown who has untapped potential he refuses to apply. Even more notoriously, in "Ollie" Greg's fumbling attempts to open a puzzle box brought in by Phil lead to the infamous "Just open it you pussy!" callout from James, which in turn leads to Greg taking him aside and giving him a dressing down like a teacher who's reached the limits of his patience with a troublesome student but is aware that he has to tread carefully in how to discipline him. And in "Moments of Silence", he is so unimpressed by everyone's failure to fill a cup of water suspended over the red green without touching it that he orders everyone to sit in silence for a minute while standing and glowering at them.
  • Sticky Fingers:
    • Seems to be a Running Gag with Joe Lycett, who took a bowl of lemons in "A Fat Bald White Man", a small bag of rice in "Look At Me", and the mannequin in "No Stars for Naughty Boys".
    • Mel has a habit of pocketing the wax seal from the task envelopes.
    • The prize task in Series 9 episode "A Cuddle" is the best thing stolen from somebody's house. David took one sheet of toilet paper from Buckingham Palace, Ed brought in a collection of souvenirs from the house of Greg himself, Jo brought in a ceramic phrenology tattoo head that she admits she borrowed from a personal friend, Katy brought in Kerry Godliman's Taskmaster trophy, and Rose took a pink cowboy hat from the Taskmaster house and improved it with photos of herself wearing the hat. David won the task with 5 points, Katy received 4 points, Ed received 3 points, Rose received 2 points, and Jo received 1 point.
  • The Stoic:
    • Alex rarely shows any extreme reactions to what the contestants do during tasks and in the studio. One task had contestants try and raise his blood pressure, but most barely got it up beyond a negligible tick.
    • Paul Chowdhry from Series 3 maintained a deadpan attitude throughout his appearances. So much so that Greg had to prod him to get a cheerful reaction in the studio.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: This tends to happen on occasion.
    • In "Pork is a Sausage", while brainstorming for the 'make a music video for a nursery rhyme' task, both Jon and Richard recall the same vulgar version of Hey Diddle Diddle, rhyming it with 'the cat did a piddle'. (Though only Jon carries on and recites the whole song.)
    • The prize task in "Welcome to Rico Face" was to bring in the coolest blue item. Doc, Katherine and Richard bring in blue-coloured items, but both Joe and Jon interpret the word "blue" as meaning indecent. Joe brings in a pornographic novel called Sea Going Sex Pot and Jon brings in a novelty fridge magnet from Lanzarote of a pig with an album of its sex adventures.
    • In "Pea in a Haystack", Al Murray and Dave Gorman brought in cooking appliances to the prize task for that episode, which was "flamboyant clocks". Al brought in an Oven, while Dave brought in a microwave.
    • In "The Dong and the Gong", a task required the contestants to surprise Alex after an hour of him being in a shed. Both Al and Sara had the idea of taking his kids from school and bringing them to him, though Sara went further, and said she'd tie them up to a chair!
    • In "Hollowing out a baguette", Lolly and Noel both thought of cheese-based subscriptions, the former is a service that sends you various cheeses, the latter sends you a gourmet cheese-toastie kit.
    • In "The leprechaun or the lesbian", the final task tasked the contestants in painting themselves as a vegetable, sweet treat, or toy with a canvas round their face. Stunningly, three of the five comedians painted a carrot as their choice.
    • In "Wiley Giraffe blower", the final task was to write down the second longest word while on a plinth with three steps. The second longest word got to move down, and the first to touch the floor won.Josh, Noel, Rob and Alex all had the word "Toblerone" as an example of a 9-lettered word, which got them disqualified from the task. This happens again in the following round to Katherine and Bob with the word "To", which made the three disqualified contestants back in the game again, and made the other two disqualified.
    • In "One Warm Prawn", a task involves writing and illustrating a bedtime story for adults. Both Liza and Asim make stories involving a man having a Potty Emergency after eating a meal involving spoilt prawns.
  • Strange Secret Entrance: In the Series 6 finale ad bumpers, Alex uses a wardrobe as a time machine of sorts to travel back to various challenges from Series 1 - 5.
  • String Theory: Two teams (Asim, Tim and Liza vs Russell and Alice) in "H." had to "Find the link, then do it 100 times" in the shortest amount of time. The board contained string connecting an overhead projector, various letter scrawlings, the word "Urination", as well as other odd pictures that seemingly mean nothing. The table below had Whiskey, a Bunny, and a Hotel Bell. The Link? They had to hop 100 times. The bunny was referring to... well "Hopping". The string arrangement spelled out the word "Hop", The whiskey was a Hop Whiskey, the Hotel Bell would be used to call a bellHop. Asim's team got 5 points, while Russell's team got 3 points.
  • Studio Audience: Presented as a theatre show of sorts. The audience gets to make decisions on the odd occasion.
  • Stunned Silence:
    • Greg reacts this way when Josh shows him a tattoo on his foot he had done for a task involving giving Greg the best present for £20. It was "Greg". He won first place.
    • Often subverted when the audience gives a polite round of applause to an unimpressive prize submission or task attempt that Greg really feels doesn't deserve it, with Greg lampshading the audience's generosity:
      [After Tim Vine's "join-the-dots" artwork of the wreck of the Titanic is unveiled:]
      Greg: We've done several series of this show. I genuinely do not know what they're applauding.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: In the task involving transferring water between two different fishbowls in "Hollowing Out a Baguette", despite the fact that the very first line of the task is "Without moving the fishbowls", Lolly Adefope appears to not take this in. Her reading out "without moving the fishbowls" interspersed with her repeatedly moving the fishbowls was set to music.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • In "Pork Is a Sausage," Joe Wilkinson's nursery rhyme video consisted of him delivering the wrong lyrics to "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" in a monotone whilst standing in front of a green screen of a farm with Alex who dons various props when each animal is mentioned.
    • The team task in "Hollowing Out a Baguette" is to create the best trailer for Taskmaster: The Movie. The team of Joe, Lolly and Noel make one in this style - narrated by Joe, the trailer features Alex performing (and dressed) as "Huge Denis, Jo Liset, Lollly Adderfopay, Mell Gedroche, and Noell Fieldang," while overseen by Noel as "Grog Davids" and Lolly as "tiny bitch-puppet Alix Horrny."
  • Subliminal Seduction: The team task in "Rock 'n' Roll Umlaut" had Sian and Joe parody this with them manually rewinding the vinyl that Alex had specially made to read the task out, with them dubbing over it:
    Joe: "Satan is your best friend in the world".
  • Sudden Death: If two or more contestants are tied in first place, then a tiebreaker happens. All tie breakers are pre-recorded tasks, with the exception of the tie-breakers in "The Poet and the Egg", "My Eyes Are Circles", and "Dog Meat Trifle". So far, this has happened in seventeen episodes:
    • "Melon Buffet" involves a game of hide and seek played to determine whether Frank or Romesh won. Frank won.
    • "The Poet And The Egg" sees Alex ask Romesh and Josh in the studio to guess how old Frank was in minutes. Josh won.
    • "Hollowing Out a Baguette" has a tiebreaker between Noel and Joe. The task is to decant as much wine as possible in one minute while seated in an umpire chair. Joe won.
    • "Meat" has a tie breaker between Mel and Hugh. The task is to eat as many peas as possible in one minute. Hugh won.
    • "No stars for naughty boys" has a three-way tie between Hugh, Lolly, and Joe. They are tasked with opening a Vaseline-covered mayonnaise jar. Joe won by figuring out the task, completing it, and then opening the task sheet to start his time.
    • "Residue round the Hoof" has a tie between Mark and Aisling. They have to sit in a chair and throw a picture of Fred the Swede into a bin behind them within the least amount of attempts. Aisling took 66 attempts whilst Mark took 15, meaning that he won overall.
    • "Spoony Neeson" has a tie between Bob and Sally. The task is to kick a pot of yoghurt at a shooting target, and the winner was whoever got the most yoghurt nearest to the bullseye. Sally won. Bob missed the target completely, while Sally kicked the container into the target, but no actual yoghurt got onto the target. Greg asked an audience member who he thought should win the task and picked the one that the audience member didn't choose.
    • "The Old, Soft, Curved Padlock" has a tie between Russell and Alice. That task is to spin as many times as possible, then to kick a football at a caravan. Alice won.
    • "What Kind of Pictures?" has a tie between Russell and Liza. The winner is determined by whoever received a text the fastest. Russell won.
    • "My Eyes Are Circles" has a tie between Kerry and Jessica. In the studio, they have to guess the number on Alex's arm. Kerry won.
    • "OLLIE." has a tie between Rhod and James. They have to create a paper plane using toilet roll and get it to travel the farthest. Rhod won.
    • "Hello" had a tie between Iain and Lou, who have to peel a banana with only their feet, with the fastest winning. Iain won.
    • "The Barrel Dad" has a three-way-tie between Sian, Lou and Joe. They have to whip a bottle off of a barrel from a distance, with the fastest time to do so winning. Sian won.
    • "Think About the Spirit" has a tie between Ed and Rose. They have to make a pop-up toy pause for the longest amount of time using one of the provided food spreads. Despite both using peanut butter, Ed won by a longshot with a time of just under an hour and a half.
    • "A Documentary About Despots" has a tie between Katherine and Richard. They have to select a wind-up dinosaur toy and have it travel the furthest distance without the toy falling off a table. Despite her toy traveling a miniscule distance, Katherine won by default because Richard's toy fell off the table.
    • "Legit Glass" has a tie between Johnny and Mawaan. They are given 30 seconds to guess the number of individual sheets on a toilet roll. Johnny won.
    • "Dog Meat Trifle" has a tie between Richard and Mawaan. They have to guess the number of green eggs underneath Greg's chair. Richard guessed 6 eggs and Mawaan guessed 8. Richard won, as there were only 2 eggs.
    • "Absolute Casserole" has a tie between Jamali and Mike. They have to flick as many rubber bands into a bum bag which Alex is wearing under a time limit. Jamali won by flicking 7 rubber bands to Mike's 1.
  • Surprise Creepy: The introduction to "A Fat Bald White Man"'s Felling Ducks task has the typical visual showcase of the task with the typical music being cut into a few times with discordant shots of the aftermath of the task, making it look like a horrific rubber duck massacre.
  • Surprise Incest: For the "create the best soap opera cliffhanger" task in "A Coquettish Fascinator," Jessica and Kerry devise a show called "Cul-de-Sac" and they play Donna and Donna who fight over their lover (played by Alex). Donna (played by Jessica) dramatically announces that Donna (played by Kerry) is actually the mother of Alex's character, which causes Donna (played by Kerry) to vomit.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language:
    • Sally's flick book film in "Boing Boing" is narrated in fluent French. Justified since it had been pointed out in an earlier episode that Sally did study modern languages at university.
    • In the fourth series, there is a team task that requires the contestants to not speak English while completing it. Hugh and Mel are on the same team and both know a fair amount of French, so it's not a problem for them. On the other team, Lolly and Joe have decent enough German to communicate quite well too.
  • Swapped Roles: In "Welcome to Rico Face", a task was to set Jon Richardson a task to do. As Jon was not aware of this at the time, he got points for working out who set which task that he had to complete, one point for each task he guessed correctly, and if he guessed wrong, the contestant would get the point. The tasks in question were; "Prove how strong you are" set by Joe, "Watch a clip of the Taskmaster" set by Richard, "Perform a recognisable rendition of the William Tell overture" set by Doc Brown, and "Do a makeup tutorial" set by Katherine. The results had Jon guess all of the tasks' creators correctly, and wins all 4 points.

     T - Z 
  • Tablecloth Yank: In "H.", Asim, Tim, Russell, Alice and Liza all succeed in getting 10 eggs off of a piece of cloth without breaking any eggs. Greg is a little annoyed by this.
  • Take That!:
    • Sara Pascoe and Greg got in a couple of jabs against the group Take That! and the members' tax avoidance scandal in "Little Polythene Grief Cave". This continued in the next episode, "A Very Nuanced Character".
    • Happens in "Spatchcock It":
      Noel: There's no such thing as a carrot skipping rope. You just made that up [...] it's not a real thing though, is it?
      Greg: Right, and you don't like flights of fancy, Noel, do you?
    • In The Edinburgh TV Festival episode, A task required the contestants (who are TV Executives) to pitch an original TV show to Alex. After they read the task out, they cut back to the stage, and it was revealed that Alex wasn't listening to the contestants at all, and was instead booking a restaurant for the Taskmaster. Alex goes on to point out that some of the words the contestants used were Technobabble, and that's what made him bored. He didn't even edit down the footage for the live show, and says it's such as shame that the concepts they came up with will never be seen by anyone. They immediately cut to the final task. This is an obvious jab at TV executives that deny original show ideas when someone pitches them.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • Occasionally, Greg will take a swipe at the studio audience based on their reactions.
      Greg: You know your way around a boiled egg don't you?
      Rose: I do.
      Greg: I'll tell you why, it's because that noise - that "Oohhhh" - is the sound of a room full of adults... being excited by a boiled egg.
    • At the start of Series 10, Greg announced that he'd be strictly enforcing the rules due to viewer complaints. This led to the entire cast being disqualified for two tasks and the lowest scores in the show's history.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That:
    • On being asked to say a letter of the alphabet, Ed Gamble says "a letter of the alphabet". He's then given another envelope that laughs at him and asks him to less ambiguously choose a letter of the alphabet and say it out loud. It later turns out that Ed was the only contestant for whom this eventuality had been prepared.
    • In "Lotta Soup", Rhod makes a random dig at Greg's weight during the preparation for the final task. Immediately Alex produces a note from his pocket proving that Greg had anticipated him doing exactly that.
  • Tastes Like Purple: In "This is Trevor", a task was to guess the flavor of crisps while wearing a silly costume. Iain thought that the Gin and Tonic crisps tasted like purple.
  • Temporary Substitute: Katy Wix missed the studio recordings for two episodes of Series 9 due to illness, and was replaced by former contestants Kerry Godliman and Katherine Ryan (both champions of their respective series, but presumably primarily chosen because they kept the gender balance the same, and kept everyone in the same seatnote ). This left the substitutes in the position of having to justify somebody else's performance, apparently without having seen the tasks in advance.
    Greg: (addressing Kerry during the prize round for "Another Spoon") What did Katy bring in and can you fill a minute talking about it?
  • Tempting Fate: Happens on occasion:
    • In "Little Denim Shorts", the prize task was the most valuable item. Josh put in the pot a blank signed cheque, meaning whoever won could take up to £20,000 out of his account. Frank won, and took out £19,000 (though he apparently did return it immediately afterwards).
    • Lou in Series 8 is wearing a bright pink high visibility jacket with the words "Taskmaster Winner Series 8" written on the back, despite the fact that the points for each task are (mostly) decided in the studio, not on the day the task is recorded. At the end of Series 8 Lou wins and gets 164 points!
    • At several points in Series 8, Iain Stirling confidently asserts his intention to win the series by expressing a desire to appear in a hypothetical Champion of Champions sequel, including at one point while launching his truly epic attempt at creating a model volcano. He's less successful in both winning the series and his volcano; although he does manage to come second in the series, his volcano turns into an absolute Anti-Climax.
    • In the live task for "The Perfect Stuff", Greg reassures Kerry Godliman that she's not likely to fall off the stage while performing the task, which involves attempting to hit a drum after doing a magnificent walk for exactly 9.58 seconds (Kerry was confused because the competitors have to wear blindfolds during the others' attempts, but not during their own). Shortly after, Jessica Knappett falls off the stage during her attempt.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Russell Howard's contribution to the "Do the Most Masculine Thing" challenge in Series 6 is to take his shirt off to reveal "tattoos" of various manly interests (such as beards and Top Gear), repeatedly saw the same bit of wood, rant about his ex-wife and bellow life advice at his "son" (Alex), most of which revolves around going on a using a hammer on animals at an abattoir and cooking the spoils on an open fire to attract a mate. His one regret is forgetting to also put a tie on.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: In "No stars for naughty boys", one of the tasks is a game of hide and seek. Mel hides in a wardrobe, using a hanging shirt to cover herself. When Alex reaches into the wardrobe, he unintentionally brushes his hand across Mel's chest and is mortified.
    Mel: It was fine! It was- you saw there was a little bit of awkwardness.
    Alex:Yeah, I found you after two and a half minutes, then felt embarrassed for three days.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • When Greg interrogates Mel on how she got a rubber duck into a courier's box:
      Mel: I made him look away and then slipped it into his box. (realises what she says and grimaces)
    • Bob reading out the live task in "The Leprechaun or the Lesbian":
      Bob: With your head placed firmly in your holenote  — (stops to laugh)
    • In the simply-titled episode "H." of Series 6, Greg makes two innuendos about his...sexual prowess (for context, he was judging "sturdy items" that would survive his weight when he gets dropped onto them)
      Alice: You'd bounce right off, spread the load.
      Greg: I'd spread my load (immediately realises what he says, cue laughter and disgust)
      Greg: So until I distribute myself... (stops to laugh a bit)
      Greg: So until I distribute myself across Alice's Mum's Poly Tunnel.
  • Thing-O-Meter: In "The Dong and the Gong", for the task "Surprise Alex when he comes out of the shed", Greg had Alex rate how surprised he was by each contestant on a hypothetical, ill-defined "Surprise-O-Meter". (Which Greg insists is pronounced "Surprise-oh-me-ter", not "Surprise-ometer".)
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Romesh and Tim in series one, referred to by Greg as "the two psychopaths". They both approached the challenges much more brashly than the other contestants, and had a habit of attempting to hinder each others' progress in the live tasks by fighting each other.
    • "Brad" and "Jeff" from Frank and Tim's blooper reel in "The Last Supper." Every year, they have high hopes for huge plans, and every year something goes awry.
    • Mark and Nish have this vibe in series five. Not only do they form a team together, their efforts are usually shown together as well (partly because they both tended to do poorly), and if one does particularly badly they often physically comfort each other. Nish even points this out in "The Leprechaun or the Lesbian" after watching his and Mark's attempts in the bread slicing task.
      Nish: I have to say, I'm starting to increasingly understand why we're being grouped together [...] because when you got that grill out, I was like, "This guy's a fucking genius."
  • Tickle Torture: In "Welcome to Rico Face", Richard and Jon build a "Taskmaster Tie-up Tickle Station" as part of their hostage video/tent infomercial to the Taskmaster. Alex is tied with gaffer tape and seated in front of Richard, both wearing the top of a tent. Jon threatens (in a Colombian accent) to tickle Alex, which Richard does.
  • Time for Plan B:
    • Roisin opts for this in one task. Instead of painting a horse while riding another horse, Roisin paints a horse while riding a mechanical horse provided by the crew. Although her painting was initially judged as the third-best painting, she was penalised for not actually riding a horse and was awarded last place / 1 point.
    • Lolly does this for the prize task in "Tony Three Pies". The winner was whoever bought in the most cash, so Lolly decided to put in the pot a cheque with a value of 1 pence more than the amount of whoever had bought in the most cash. Greg points out that they're looking for bank notes and coins, so Lolly opts for her backup plan—an envelope containing £2,000 in cash. In comparison, Joe Lycett took second place by bringing in £250.
  • Title Drop: Most episode names are taken from a line spoken during the show. The exception thus far is the Series 1 finale "The Last Supper."
  • Toilet Humour: Numerous jokes about urine, faeces, farts, and genitalia pop up in nearly every episode of Taskmaster. Highlights include such examples as Bob Mortimer's story (from the episode "Spoony Neeson") about his... unique toilet habits due to a high anus.
  • Token Minority:
    • Every series has had exactly one contestant who was either Asian or black. They also had exactly one woman for the first three series.
    • Although all four are UK-based comics, Katherine Ryan from Series 2, Aisling Bea from Series 5, Rose Matafeo from Series 9, and Sarah Kendall from Series 11 were the token Canadian, Irish, New Zealander, and Australian of their respective series.
  • Too Clever by Half:
    • Tim is capable of thinking outside the box to win a task, but this creativity often veers into outright cheating which costs him on more than a few occasions.
    • Dave shows signs of this at times, and ends up being disqualified for cheating twice in the third series.
    • Hugh has shades of this in series four. Most of the time, he has been disqualified for it.
    • Rylan Clark-Neal in the New Year Treat 2020 special clearly wanted to win the episode and looked for creative solutions, with mixed results.
      Alex: Is there anything you are looking for in particular?
      Rylan: Not really. I'm trying to work out how I can cheat.
  • Too Much Information: In "Spoony Neeson", a task wherein the contestants are given a Go-Pro and asked to record a POV film leads to Bob Mortimer giving Greg, Alex, his fellow contestants, the in-studio audience and the TV audience rather more information than they expected or may have needed regarding his method of using the toilet.
  • Trail Of Breadcrumbs: The first task in "Boing Boing" features the contestants being led blindfolded to the same point in the middle of a field and told to walk, still blindfolded, in any given direction for three minutes before finding their way back to the starting point. In a clear homage to Hansel and Gretel, each contestant was given a slice of bread, with the clear (but unspoken) implication that they were to use it in some way to find their way back. Incredibly, only Bob Mortimer realised the reference straight away; both Aisling Bea and Mark Watson only figured out what the bread was for a little distance into their walk, whereas Sally Phillips and Nish Kumar never picked up on it and ended up wandering around aimlessly. Perhaps not surprisingly, Bob won the round.
  • True Art Is Angsty: invokedPaul Chowdhry's "Snow Bear"note  creation for the "make the best snowman" task in "Pea in a Haystack," which is both dark and hilarious at the same time.
    Paul: The expression and the tears reflect what I'm going through on the inside. (sad ambient piano) Bastard's crying, innit?
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: invoked
    • Parodied by Joe in "This Is Trevor", where he had to do something powerful with his pinky finger. He attached a lit match to his pinky finger, and burnt some string to unveil an art piece, which is just a spray painted word "Recycle" onto a wall in the taskmaster's garden, and framed it. He then exits the shot with a powerful and confident sashay.
    • From the same "do the most powerful thing with your pinky" task in "This is Trevor," Lou's attempt is a "performance art" piece about pollution that involved pushing a brick (originally a bowling ball complete with words like "VEGAN?" written on sticky notes attached) off of an oil drum into a bowl of water filled with rubber ducks and baby dolls.
  • Two First Names: In Series 6, Alex jokes about Russell Howard's name by saying "Russell, Howard, and Alice" when grouping Russell and Alice Levine together for a task.
  • Unexpected Successor: Discussed in the first episode; in his introduction for Tim Key, Greg sarcastically quips that Tim is a future Poet Laureate "if there's some sort of massive poet disaster".
  • Unfazed Everyman: Jo Brand was bemused by the tasks set for her, did things at her own pace despite the ticking clock, and non-chalantly dismissed tasks she knew she wouldn't win. In episode 3 of the official Taskmaster podcast, Jo said that this behaviour of hers is a remnant of her time as a psychiatric nurse, and that she used to have to deal with truly pressing situations on a regular basis, so the tasks and the show's stakes didn't raise any real sense of urgency from her.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Accidentally invoked and discussed in "A Very Nuanced Character". When the team task comes up, the conversation turns to the fact that Rob Beckett and Sara Pascoe, who were in the same team that season, look very similar, with a joke arising that they are in fact siblings who were accidentally separated at birth. When time comes to watch their submission for the team task, it turns out to be a video... in which they are playing a married couple. The Surprise Incest Subtext that this creates does not go without notice:
    Dave Gorman: Introducing them as "brother and sister"'s taken on a sinister twist, hasn't it...
    Rob Beckett: Shoes are the least of our worries.
  • Unit Confusion: When Alex describes the size of something for a task, he will often use utterly bizarre measurements, such as referring to a bubble blown by Tim Vine as "1/2 of a Danny DeVito". Subverted in that he also gives imperial/metric measurements as well.
  • The Unsmile: Romesh in series 1, on those rare occasions where he tried to play the game outside of his usual "grouchy killjoy" persona. Naked attempts at emotionally manipulating Greg for points would often be matched with an incredibly forced saccharine smile that just came off as unsettling, as many of his fellow contestants would note.
  • Visual Pun: One or two ocassionally make their way into the setup of a task:
    • The premise of Series 4's "get this stuffed camel through the smallest gap possible" is possibly inspired by the Biblical saying "it is easier for a camel to through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
    • For Series 8's "create a ventriloquist dummy" task, a bottle of beer was sitting on the table next to the task envelope. Joe Thomas was the only contestant to pick up on why this was: "bottle of beer" is one of the hardest things for a ventriloquist to say without moving their lips.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Rhod and Greg in series 7, to the point that Greg correctly predicted when Rhod would make a fat joke about him.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: During the "get to the microwave in as few steps as possible" task in "Pea in a Haystack" Rob's method of getting to the microwave was to roll on his side, which makes him dizzy and causes him to retch several times because he had a large coffee ahead of the shoot. The vomit is concealed by the microwave and table.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • For the "eat the most watermelon task" in "Melon Buffet," when Alex blew the whistle signaling the end of the task, Romesh immediately retches and throws up some of the watermelon.
    • For the "soap opera cliffhanger" task in "A Coquettish Fascinator," Kerry (as Donna) pukes when she finds out that her lover (played by Alex) is also her son.
  • Walking Spoiler: Any of the contestants in the "Champions of Champions" series, which are made up of the winners of the past 5 series. There's a good reason the names of certain people are spoiler tagged on this page when talking about Champions-of-Champions-related tasks, otherwise, it would ruin at least 5 series of television.
  • Washy Watchy: When challenged to destroy a cake as beautifully as possible, Noel Fielding opted to put it, plate and all, into a washing machine. Greg admitted that he could happily watch it spin for hours.
  • Water Torture:
    • As part of her "special hug" with Alex, Sally brings in a platter of food and smears it on him while sitting atop him, ending with pouring a bottle of water on his face as time runs out. Greg points out that she waterboarded Alex.
    • Katy's egg timer in "Another Spoon" amounted to the Chinese water torture variant - her instructions to Alex were to hang a bag of water above his head, poke a hole and allow the water to drip out onto his head until empty.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Happens in series 2 whenever Doc Brown (a comedian/ actor/ rapper) talks to Greg.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: In "Wiley Giraffe Blower", after the first round of the final task the contestants discover the markers they have been given are permanent markers, instead of whiteboard markers. The show unceremoniously cuts to a little later with whiteboard markers having been handed out.
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • Normally the team tasks require and demonstrate a certain amount of cooperation, but this trope came fully into play in Series 4's "Meat", when one such task required giving each participant different instructions regarding a bath without (initially) telling the others what these were; to illustrate, in one team Joe Lycett was told to cover the bath with clingfilm, Lolly Adefope had to fill the bath with as many objects as possible, while Noel Fielding had to fill it with water. As none of them seemed to realise this was a team effort, this quickly degenerated into outright chaos with Joe and Lolly ending up not just undoing but outright sabotaging each other's efforts while Noel just watched the bath fill up with a hose and didn't lift a finger to intervene. Conversely, Hugh Dennis and Mel Giedroyc, when given the same task (minus the water requirement) quickly realised that they were supposed to complete both tasks at the same time, with Hugh ending up helping Mel with hers once he'd finished his.
    • Played fairly straight in Series 7's team tasks. James Acaster grew very frustrated with Rhod Gilbert's lack of familiarity with the show's conventions and at-times unhelpful and uncooperative attitude, while Phil Wang awkwardly stood off to the side. Reached a nadir in the "construct the best extension to the house in thirty minutes" task when, after standing around thinking intensely for a few minutes without helping, Rhod ended up wandering around looking for a truck to use as an extension before eventually sticking some cardboard on the garage door and spray-painting "This Is An Extension" on it. Much to James's incredulity and frustration, he ended up roping Phil into helping him, leaving James to work on a more serious (if admittedly not much better) attempt at completing the task all by himself. It was also revealed that Rhod had discovered that the garage was open and stocked with all manner of potentially useful items, but not only didn't use any of them but didn't bother to inform the others that they were there. When judging the task, Greg decided that as James had essentially been abandoned by his team he'd get an extra point, with Rhod being punished for his unhelpfulness and Phil for his "spinelessness" in enabling Rhod by only getting one point each. In comparison, Kerry Godliman and Jessica Knappett got on quite well together.
    • Also played a bit straighter in Series 8, when owing to a combination of intense competitiveness, stubbornness and some clashing domineering personalities, Lou Sanders and Iain Stirling seemed to spend a substantial amount of their team tasks together shouting at each other while Paul Sinha tried to unobtrusively work in the background. The definitive example of this happening would be the team task in "Barrel Dad" ("put as many things into this hammock - heaviest hammock wins, and if an item falls out, the team is disqualified"). On the other team, while Joe Thomas and Sian Gibson didn't really seem to "click" together, they at least proved more cooperative and less inclined to argue.
  • Welcome to Corneria:
    • In "Hollowing out a baguette", a task required contestants to move water from one fish bowl to another without moving the fishbowl, while only using items found on the table. They also had to speak in third person to themselves. Lolly got shown first, and immediately broke one of the rules (don't move the fish bowl), which got edited in the final video as Lolly saying "Without moving the fishbowl" interspersed with footage of her doing exactly that. Not surprisingly, Lolly was disqualified.
    • In "Hello", Paul Sinha says "Hello!" a lot into a baby monitor in order to find the other baby monitor his one was connected to. According to Alex, he said it 64 times.
    • In "Spoony Neeson", during a task where a candle had to be carried through numerous obstacles to light another candle in the caravan, Mark Watson was given the additional hurdle that he wasn't allowed to say any word which contained any of the letters in the word "Taskmaster" at the same time. This was presumably intended to be a frustrating impediment to communication for him, but in practice he just ended up being largely silent except muttering the word "fiddly" every so often. Which, as Mark noted in his defence, was largely because the task was "bloody fiddly".
  • Wham Line:
    • Any time a contestant really goes above and beyond for a task (this is especially common in prize tasks). For example, Romesh putting up his wedding ring.
    • From the "buy the Taskmaster a gift for £20" task in Series 1:
      Josh Widdicombe: Greg, I felt you and I have been getting in on this show.
      Greg: Yeah, it's been alright.
      Josh: And I was afraid that you'd forget me, so I got a tattoo.
      A photo of Josh getting Greg's name tattooed on his foot appears on the screen.
    • Any two-part task. Contestants never know that there's a second part to a task until they've completed the first part. It's especially common to make the second part of the task harder the better you did at the first part. This includes things like eating "exotic" sandwiches they were tasked with making, or using charades to get the other members of their team to figure out obscure animals they'd made a list of.
    • Jon gave one of these during Series 2 when he cracked the code on the "Build a Bridge" challenge too late:
      Jon: I'm very frustrated to have asked if you knew what "debajo de la mesa" means.
      Greg: Have you worked it out now?
      Jon: Yeah, not followed through on that.
      Alex: What does it mean, Jon?
      Jon: I think it means "under the table".
      Other Contestants: big gasp
    • In "Premature Conker", Sarah Kendall realising the bag of "salt" is actually sugar.
  • Wham Shot: The infamous overhead shot of potato golf showing that Joe Wilkinson's toes were on the red green, disqualifying his hole-in-one.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • James delivers one to Rhod in "The Perfect Stuff", after watching back that episode's team task.
    • In "Another Spoon", Katy Wix's water-torture egg timer, which required Alex to sit for over six minutes having cold water dripped onto his head, is compared to David Baddiel's rudimentary hourglass as they worked on a similar principle. Alex made a crack that Katy's was "slightly better executed", since her timer got closer to a perfect egg. Annoyed, David retorts that this isn't a very nice thing to say considering that his attempt didn't require Alex to be literally tortured.
    • Greg has this reaction when Katy Wix brought in Kerry Godliman's Taskmaster trophy and becomes even more irate when Katy reveals that Kerry had tossed it away in a grungey garage and doesn't even know it's missing.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Greg might occasionally ask a contestant what their line of thinking was if their attempt at a task leads to an Epic Fail and it's not immediately clear how they thought it would work. In "The Mean Bean", James Acaster's attempt at the "build a cardboard box tower" task is so bizarre that Kerry beats him to the punch:
    Kerry: What — what was he doing?
    Greg: Oh, trust me — we're coming on to that.
  • When She Smiles: In Series 3, Paul Chowdhry plays up his comedic persona by being grouchy throughout the live and recorded parts of the show, and even (jokingly) pipettes blue tears onto a snowman he built to show his pain inside. But when he finds out that he is winning in one episode despite consistently performing awfully, he breaks into a wide grin in disbelief.
  • While Rome Burns: Invoked by Greg in "Meat", who quips this verbatim as a description of the cooperation Noel, Lolly, and Joe had in a team task: fill a bathtub (Noel and Lolly's job), then cover in clingfilm (Joe's job). Noel just got a hose and filled it with water, Lolly tried putting a table into the bathtub, while Joe kept taking the table out.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Often after a task is described, Greg and Alex will casually discuss how the most obvious approach would definitely not work, and the competitors should be smart enough to realize this and come up with an alternative solution, which almost always leads to a Gilligan Cut showing at least one competitor following exactly the method described.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Noel wears a dress at his wedding to the duck.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Josh Widdicombe is terrified of balloons, as is Mark Watson. Mark is unable to complete a task that involves stuffing objects in it and blowing it up, and has to ask one of the crew to do it for him.
  • Why Didn't I Think of That?: Often crops up, complete with Face Palm, given that the contestants are watching their efforts back weeks or months after struggling through a task they might not have had ample time to prepare for and are surrounded by snarky comedians also watching it back.
    • In "Friendship is Truth," the envelope for "the highest splash" task was posted on the side of a caravan and a telescope had been set up pointing towards it. Most of the contestants struggled to read it through the telescope (Noel complained about the sun's glare and Hugh took a photo of the envelope through the telescope lens). In the studio, Greg tells everyone that nobody had asked them to read the task through the telescope.
    • For the "stacking the tallest tower of cans" task in "A Wind-Dried Puffin," Alex asks the contestants to stand inside a rope hoop around their waist that was tied to the table on which they were to stack their tin can tower before giving them the task envelope. Only Bob questioned whether keeping the rope hoop on was allowed, re-read the task, and then took off the rope hoop, which made completing the task so much simpler for him.
    • For the "don't blink" task in "The Perfect Stuff," Phil shut his eyes for 5 seconds before the whistle was blown. In the studio recording, Alex notes that if he had kept them shut, there wouldn't have been a blink (to the dismay of all the contestants). Alex also notes that his 7-year old came up with that solution. In fairness to all the contestants, they were only allowed 10 seconds to prepare before the whistle was blown and the clock started.
    • In the "hide in a red phone-box task" in "Rock 'N' Roll Umlaut", we see Paul Sinha struggle to cover the windows of the phone-box with newspapers only for them to keep blowing away in the heavy breeze. The very first thing Greg points out once the clip is complete is that Paul could have put them up on the inside of the phone-box rather than the outside.
    • In the same episode, in the "memorise the cards and tell Alex the order they appear in" task Iain had been getting particularly frustrated by the apparent lack of a pen in the room to allow him to note down the order of cards. He claims that Alex had a pen that he was taunting Iain with by refusing to give it to him; Alex denies this (though it was shown that a pen had been concealed on the table the contestants had been sitting at)... but then points out that the iPad he was holding has a camera setting. The contestants could at any time have asked to borrow it, or indeed any of the numerous other cameras in that room being used to record the events, and photograph all the cards had it occurred to them. This does not help with Iain's frustrations.
  • Willfully Weak: On occasion, some contestants will realise a loophole in the task wording that they can exploit, but will for some reason fail to exploit it all the way, resulting in a situation where they are essentially kneecapping themselves while completing the task:
    • In the "guess what's in these pies" task in "The Pie Whisperer", Roisin realises that while she cannot "breach" the pastry of the pies, there's nothing in the rules stating that Alex cannot. However, she inexplicably turns her back while Alex does so and tries to guess what's in the pies from his taste reactions, thus making the task even harder for herself.
    • Katherine Ryan quickly realised that the "red green" surrounding the golf hole in the "throw a potato into a golf hole" task in "Fear of Failure" was just a carpet, and she could avoid stepping on it by rolling it up. However, as Greg pointed out in the studio, she for some reason decided not to roll it up the whole way (meaning she could essentially just walk up to the hole and easily drop it in) and instead decided it would be more profitable to tie a piece of string to the potato so that she could retrieve it without stepping on the red green. Katherine claimed that she had been trying to respect the spirit of the game, but considering the surprisingly emotional speech she delivered immediately after about how much she hated sports and couldn't figure them out, it's equally likely that she just didn't think of it at the time.
    • Richard Osman accidentally does this to himself in the task where the contestants have to acquire facts from Fred, a Swedish person who has been prohibited from speaking in English. When asking about Fred's greatest fear, Richard hits on the idea of getting Fred to spell it out by going through the letters of the alphabet one by one — but forgets to clarify that Fred should spell the word out in English. This means that they end up getting halfway through the Swedish word "misslyckande" before Richard realises what's happening. He's consequently rather dryly amused to note the irony when the fear Fred was spelling out in Swedish turns out to be "failure".
    • Lolly's attempt in the "felling ducks" task in "A Fat Bald White Man." She chooses to use a hose to knock the ducks off of the wooden fences, but also realises that there is not enough water pressure from where she is standing behind the velvet rope. She enlists Alex and the crew to move the fences closer to her, but as Greg notes, the fences were not moved very close. In Lolly's case, she justifies if as not wanting to fell any ducks in the process of moving the fences (the task rules state that the contestants must be standing behind the velvet rope while felling their ducks).
    • In "Another Spoon," Rose realises that she can move the line (marked by a piece of tape) closer to Alex in order lasso him. However, she initially folds up the carpet and doesn't move the line very close. Eventually, she does move the line immediately in front of Alex just like Jo and Ed do.
  • With Cat Like Tread:
    • In "No stars for naughty boys", Hugh tries to hide by changing locations within the house, and peeking outside to see where he was. He gets caught in just over a minute, as Hugh had been peeking at the wrong person (a cameraman). Greg calls him "as stealthy as a cow". The next person to try their luck was Noel, who, as Greg graciously points out, was wearing a yellow boiler suit. Noel got spotted by Alex in sixteen seconds after he tries hiding behind the caravan. Noel comes last, while Hugh comes third.
    • In "Rock 'n' Roll Umlaut", a task was to hide in a red London phone box, but they had to cover themselves up so no part of them or their clothing was visible from the outside the phone box. Once done, they had to shout "I'm invisible!" to denote that they've stopped. The fastest who was also fully covered up wins. Joe used red bubblewrap to cover up the windows, Sian wrapped herself head to toe in three bin bags, Iain made a mattress fort inside the phone box with some mattresses, Lou concealed herself in a grey blanket, while Paul got people to stand around the phone box and used mattresses to cover the windows (he tried using newspapers to cover the windows initially, but they blew away). Paul came last, and Lou came second. Iain came first, with Joe and Sian failing the task at joint fourth.
    • There is a task in "Don't Like Them Go Bang" where the contestants need to deliver Alex a set of 5-word instructions in the most spy-like manner. Ed Gamble recruits one of the production staff to walk up to Alex dressed conspicuously in a boiler suit with a decoy set of instructions. Meanwhile, Ed (in Greg's words) "thunder[s] across an open field" and throws the instructions at Alex. He places joint fourth with Rose, who disguised herself as a walking boulder.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • In one task in Series Two, on encountering a collection of groceries including an airbed next to a canal, having clearly learnt his lesson about being prepared Richard Osman decided to inflate the airbed before opening the task just in case it was necessary to do so. On actually reading the task, he ruefully noted that it said nothing about the airbed, meaning he might as well have not bothered.
    • Rhod Gilbert didn't realize that the competition was real and thought that it was all about getting the biggest laughs. Because of this, he spent each prize task needling Greg and getting placed last.
    • A task-specific variation occurs in "Think About the Spirit" where the teams need to make the best cup of tea where all the tea-making implements are locked or sealed to the table. Ed was certain that Alex had the key that would unlock the implements hidden (much like the task from Series 3 episode "The Dong and the Gong") and spent a good 5 minutes searching Alex's person for a key while his teammates worked on the tea. He didn't have one, and they didn't need it anyway since Ed was able to forcefully pull one of the mugs off the table.
    • In the first team task of Series 11 (which was also apparently the first team task overall), Jamali Maddix and Sarah Kendall meet each other at a park, where they are required to stand on two boxes with the task resting on a third, identical one. They immediately seem to assume that acquiring the task is part of the task, and immediately start brainstorming ideas for how they can get it... apparently not stopping to consider the possibility that they might simply have a third teammate who hasn't arrived yet. Naturally, when Charlotte Ritchie — said third teammate — finally shows up, they've reached the point where they're stripping belts and shoelaces to tie together to form a rope.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: Greg and Alex do this during the credits of "I've Sinned Again" after the Champion of Champions is crowned. Amusingly, everyone else is still moving.
  • Yes-Man:
    • The comic dynamic between Greg and Alex tends to be characterised by homoerotically-charged fawning towards Greg on Alex's part, with a bit of Stockholm Syndrome mixed in thanks to Greg's constant bullying.
    • In several tasks, particularly prize tasks or those which require doing something specifically for the Taskmaster, the contestants have tried making overt attempts at flattering Greg, such as getting a tattoo of his name on their foot (Josh Widdicombe) or buying a piece of land that entitles him to use the title "Lord" (Katherine Ryan). Though it's played with: while Greg is far from immune to flattery and frequently makes a Self-Deprecating Humor Running Gag about how needy he is for positive attention, he often doesn't seem particularly impressed by overtly obvious or insincere attempts at sucking up. He generally seems more willing to reward people who apply creativity or a sincere attempt to find out something about him and what he likes rather than just shameless flattery. For example, in a "Buy The Taskmaster A Gift" task in season 3, he rewards Rob Beckett, who bought him a comfortable foot-cushion for the throne he uses the in the series, fewer points than Dave Gorman, who bought him some memorabilia from his hometown of Wem, because Dave's contribution showed some effort to find out something about who Greg was and where he came from.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Sally is diagnosed with this by Greg at the end of Series Five after a collection of responses to tasks which have included, in order, a weirdly sensual food-based "special hug", a one-night-stand with a water-cooler, the birth of a fully-grown Alex-baby, and finally a graph charting how much sex she wants versus how much sex she gets over time.
  • You Say Tomato:
    • The cast of series nine get a lot of mileage out of making fun of Rose's Kiwi accent and her pronunciation of certain words like "mayor" (sounding like MEER) or "shed" (sounding like SHEED).
    • In "God's Haemorrhoid," Greg objects to Alex's pronunciation of the words "room" (with the same vowel sound of the word "book") and "tissue" (as in TIS-you).
  • Your Mom: A variation appears in "A Pistacho Eclair" after Doc Brown's dinner party guestnote  is subject to mockery from the other contestants due to his rather rough-looking appearance.
    Doc: It was a toss of the coin for me between the Last Skeptic and my mum, and now I'm so glad. Because you lot would have just cussed my mum out for like ten minutes.
    Greg: I would never have cussed your mum unless she looked like a common criminal.
    Doc: ... You lot would have just cussed my mum for ten minutes.

So what have we learned today? We've learned that the Tasks set by the Taskmaster are Serious Business, Nish Kumar and Mark Watson know how to make a song in under 30 minutes, and of course, that TV Tropes will indeed ruin your life!. But for now, please give it for a round of applause, for you! You completed the Task! Goodnight!


Taskmaster: Andre killed JFK

In which Greg Davies defies the need to disclaim a preposterous slander.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

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