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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."
The Taskmaster, Greg Davies
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Taskmaster is a British Comedy Series which first aired on Dave in 2015. Greg Davies is the host and titular Taskmaster, and is assisted by Alex Horne. Each series features five different contestants, with a "Champion of Champions" two-part special following the fifth series featuring the winners of each series to date.

The show consists of contestants participating in a series of odd tasks, which are then ranked (sometimes by Greg, depending on the nature of the task) from a given criteria, often best to worst performance, fastest completion etc. The ranks translate into points, with 5 points given to first place, 4 to second place, 3 to third place, 2 to fourth place, and 1 to last place, with disqualified contestants scoring zero points. Hilarity Ensues.

Each show starts with the prize task, where the contestants explain why their selected item has been placed in the themed prize pot. The next three/ four tasks shown are all pre-recorded, with live reactions of Greg, Alex and the contestants spliced in to, more often than not, defend their decisions of how they completed the task at hand.

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The pre-recorded tasks are performed in isolation from one another, which means the contestants are just as unaware as the audience are when it concerns how their competitors approached the same task at hand, compared to their own attempt. A lot of the humour comes from the contestants thinking outside the box, abusing the Exact Words of a task letter, and contestants will often employ 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! meaning a lot of contestants' attempts at a given task can be very different to one another. After the pre-recorded tasks, the contestants do a final stage task done live in the studio. At the end of the show, whoever has scored the most points wins the prize pot. There is also a special trophy presented to the contestant who has accumulated the most points over the series. The trophy being the golden head of Greg Davies (or, in Series 1's case, a cheap karate trophy, and, in Champion of Champions' case, a "lifesize model" of Greg Davies' body).

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     Contestants by Series 
  • Series One: Frank Skinner, Josh Widdicombe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan, Tim Key Final Scores 
  • Series Two: Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan, Richard Osman Final Scores 
  • Series Three: Al Murray, Dave Gorman, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett, Sara Pascoe Final Scores 
  • Series Four: Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett, Lolly Adefope, Mel Giedroyc, Noel Fielding Final Scores 
  • Series Five: Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar, Sally Phillips Final Scores 
  • Champion of Champions Special: Bob Mortimer, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding, Rob Beckett Final Scores 
  • Series Six: Alice Levine, Asim Chaudhry, Liza Tarbuck, Russell Howard, Tim Vine Final Scores 
  • Series Seven: James Acaster, Jessica Knappett, Kerry Godliman, Phil Wang, Rhod Gilbert Final Scores 
  • Series Eight: Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha, Sian Gibson Final Scores 
  • Series Nine: David Baddiel, Ed Gamble, Jo Brand, Katy Wix, Rose Matafeo Final Scores 

Some of the challenges are team tasks instead, with the winners earning 5 points eachnote , and the losers no points, but Greg can choose to split the points between the teams. The teams (which are always the same across each series) are:

     Teams 
  • Series One:
    • Team One ("the adults"): Frank and Tim
    • Team Two ("the children"): Romesh, Roisin, and Josh
  • Series Two:
    • Team One ("father and son"): Richard and Jonnote 
    • Team Two ("the thirtysomethings"): Joe, Katherine, and Doc Brown
  • Series Three:
    • Team One ("the siblings"): Sara and Rob
    • Team Two ("the beards"): Al, Dave, and Paul
  • Series Four:
    • Team One ("the parents"): Mel and Hugh
    • Team Two ("the youngsters"): Noel, Joe, and Lolly
  • Series Five note :
    • Team One: Mark and Nish
    • Team Two: Aisling, Bob, and Sally
  • Series Six:
    • Team One ("Team Funk"note ): Alice and Russell
    • Team Two: Asim, Liza, and Tim
  • Series Seven:
    • Team One ("the girls"): Jessica and Kerry
    • Team Two ("the boys"): James, Phil, and Rhod
  • Series Eight:
    • Team One ("the fun guys"): Iain, Lou and Paul
    • Team Two ("the actors"): Sian and Joe
  • Series Nine:
    • Team One ("the Puppies"): Ed, Katy, and Rose
    • Team Two ("the Oldies"): David and Jo

In the United States, Comedy Central adapted the show, and replaced Greg Davis as taskmaster with comedian Reggie Watts (perhaps best known for his role on Comedy Bang! Bang! and as bandleader on The Late Late Show with James Corden). Alex Horne remained to be the assistant. It ran for one season, and was confirmed to be cancelled by Reggie Watts on January 9th, 2019.

The lineup for the US series consisted of Lisa Lampanelli, Ron Funches, Kate Berlant, Freddie Highmore, and Dillon Francis. Final Scores . Unlike the UK version, there were no team tasks (though one task was converted into a solo task).

In 2016, as part of the Edinburgh Television Festival, an hour-long online exclusive Live episode was released onto Youtube. You can watch it here. The lineup for this episode wasn't comedians, or even famous people, It was TV Executives. This included Alan Tylernote , Clair Zolkwernote , Jeff Fordnote , Nerys Evansnote ,and finally Zai Bennettnote . Winner 

The show had a five year run on Dave, but after that tenure, the broadcasting deal for the show was not renewed by UKTV (Daves parent company) and the producers of the show. However, the show was confirmed to move to Channel 4 on 22nd November 2019, with Series 10 set for a 2020 release.

Full episodes can be seen on UKTV Play (UK only), as well as clips and compilations being put up on the the official Taskmaster YouTube channel (Mostly region-free). Currently, the Youtube channel is running a "Hometasking" web video series (starring both Alex and Greg) that has people from all over the world complete tasks that are "isolation-friendly", and submit them to Alex Horne's Twitter for immortal bragging rights.

Has nothing to do with Taskmaster, the fictional character of the same name, or with the Wrestler Kevin Sullivan who uses the name also. Has nothing to do with the similarly titled, but wholly different video game TaskMaker.


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This show contains examples of:

Tropes specific to the British version of Taskmaster

     A - F 
  • Accidental Innuendo: 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.
  • 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.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • It takes until Series 8, episode 7 ("This Is Trevor") for Greg to laugh at one of Alex's pre-show banter pieces. Alex revealed a juice delivery system in his jacket, and asked Greg to sip a tube connected to it. Then, a few moments later, he asked Greg to sip the water that would dilute the juice, causing Greg to do so, and him laughing immediately afterwards.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 did get an extra bonus point for eating Alex's beard hair, while Mel got an extra bonus point for inhaling an M&M via her nose, 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).
  • Ambiguous Syntax: The wording of the tasks can sometimes be open to interpretation. Sometimes this is very deliberate, such as 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), whereas sometimes the contestant will come up with an unorthodox solution that nobody thought of, and it will be up to the Taskmaster's discretion as to whether or not it's allowed. This often leads to contestants Cutting the Knot, abusing Exact Words, or employing Loophole Abuse to their advantage.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Given that each contestant place an item into the prize pot, the winner of each episode wins about four objects. There have been several episodes where the reward actually was 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.
  • 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.
  • Arc Words: "Your Time Starts Now" probably counts, as it's said quite a lot.
  • The Artifact: Greg Davies began to wear glasses from series 7 onwards, which makes the title sequence outdated, as it still shows Greg not wearing his glasses.
  • 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.
    Beat
    Kerry (now outside the front door to the house): Oh there's the doormat!
  • Aside Glance:
    • Alex does this a lot. For example, 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 one task, while blindfolded.
  • 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.
  • 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 by the rise on the cake.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Audience Participation:
    • Roisin asked the audience in "Down an Octave" about her sequinned 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, almost everyone 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.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Greg jokes about this happening to Joe Wilkinson after he loses his wedding certificate in "Fear Of Failure".
  • 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 Vodka (in a shotglass), then Whiskey (In a large beer glass), then Wine (in a wineglass).
  • Badass Moustache: Very much averted. A task in "A Novel About Russian Gulags" 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. Iains used a map of Liphook 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 stuck caviar to his face, 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.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Throughout "Spoony Neeson", Alex has been wearing a bandana as an attempt to rebrand himself as "Bandana Man" 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 looses his temper in response to the other contestants' efforts in the first task in "Clumpy Swayey Clumsy Man".
  • The Big Guy: Greg Davies is 6'8"/2.03m tall and towers over everyone else on stage, with most only barely coming up to his shoulders. He uses his stature to good effect in Series 7 when he pulls James Acaster aside for a talking to.
  • 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". There were items helpful for the task hidden on the underside of the table.
    • "Boing boing" has Greg, Sally, and Nish peppering French phrases during the flip book task onward. Greg also ends the show by speaking French.
  • 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."
  • Book-Ends: Occasionally happens in some episodes. For example, 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: This happens frequently, enough that it would overtake the Loophole Abuse entry by miles, but 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
    • 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.
  • British Brevity: Played Straight, then Subverted after Series 6. Series One has 6 episodes, Series 2 and 3 have 5 episodes, Series 4 and 5 have 8 episodes for their respective series', with series six through to nine having 10 episodes in each series. For serial comedy shows however, ten episodes isn't an unusual amount of episodes, but 8 episodes or below definitely is.
  • 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.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Josh (series one) appears in "A Pistachio Eclair" (series two) to help Richard and Jon in the team task.
    • Al (series three) appears twice in "Hollowing Out A Baguette" (series four).
    • Tim Key (series one) shows up in "Tony Three Pies" (series four).
    • Dave (series three) appears as the model for Aisling's 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).
    • Romesh (series one) appears in "Stay Humble" (series eight).
    • Kerry (series seven) and Katherine (series two) replaced Katy while she was ill for "Another spoon" and "Bready Bready Bready" respectively (series nine).
  • 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.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: A few gags in the show rely on Dave (the channel Taskmaster airs on) and it's notoriety for repeating the same show quite often.
  • 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). Often times 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 shows 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", put his bare arse into a cake, and for a blooper reel, had his face shoved into a cake before falling into a paddling pool full of water.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • In "He Was A Different Man", A task required contestants to show Love to the Taskmaster in any way the saw fit. They had 30 minutes to show off their love. In Liza's attempt, she made Alex into a Love Proxy in place of the Taskmaster, and had him stick his bare arse into a custard topped cake. And thus the episode title was born.
    • 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).
    • David Baddiel is openly mocked in series 9 as its worst contestant, particularly in episode 9 despite winning that one. Greg states outright that Ed having David on his team in a live task is a handicap.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 lost you 2 points, shaking your head lost you 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:
    • Josh Widdecombe appeared in Season 2 to help out Jon Richardson and Richard Osman with a team task. Unlike most of the others, 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.
    • In "Hollowing Out A Baguette", Al Murray shows up as one of the people Joe Lycett contacted on Twitter to help him camouflage himself. This leads Greg and Alex to quip that Al just can't accept that he's no longer on the show anymore.
    • Tim Key officiates Noel Fielding's marriage to a rubber duck in "Tony Three Pies".
    • Dave Gorman models Aisling Bea's Yorkshire pudding hat in "The Leprechaun and the Lesbian".
  • Camera Abuse:
    • James becomes so enraged by missing a par, 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!
  • 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!
  • Catharsis Factor: 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 left. Safe to say, it probably felt quite cathartic.
  • 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.
    • 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!"
  • 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 Dave maintained 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 lead 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", Dave 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, Their bucket looked suspiciously brown. Dave then tried to claim it was his spit, but footage revealed Dave had dumped extra coffee and tea into the bucket after the task had finished. This also lead 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Residue round the hoof", a task was to blow up a balloon to the size of a cucumber (30 centimeters) 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), Only Aisling had noticed that a mat had switched orientation, and that Alex was replaced with a body double, but a few contestants 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.
  • 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.
    • Paul in series three. Sara also fits this trope at times.
    • Noel, Hugh, and Mel all have their moments in series four.
    • Bob in series five, although Sally has her moments too.
    • Tim Vine and Liza Tarbuck in series six. Asim even lampshades this in "The Bubble Brothers".
    • Occasionally, James in series seven. See What Were You Thinking? below.
    • David Baddiel is this in series 9, rivalling Roisin in his unusual methods of task completion.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 made the teams go on a wild goose chase for the combination to free Alex, one big Red Herring that could've been avoided had both teams inspected Alex properly, he was holding the key
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 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.
  • Creepy Twins: Greg calls Sara and Rob the "sinister Aryan twins" in "The Dong and the Gong".
  • 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: Alex's opening banter is a comedic version: it's so painfully unfunny that it has everyone (except Greg) in stitches at the sheer awkwardness.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Pretty much the entire audiences reaction in "The Barrel Dad" when Nell the toddler entered the living room for a task.
  • Cult: The first episode of Series 9 is called "Join Our Cult", which is the mantra said by Katie 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.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • 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 "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 took 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 "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 round the bunting to 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, and was 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 "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.
  • 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.
  • 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 one every time he greets him, to the point someone 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 account.
    • Romehs 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 had items fall out of her wheelbarrow, Rose's brick tower was 23 inches, not 26, David kept removing his hand from his hip, and Katy couldn't finish her jigsaw puzzle), 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.
  • "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 saxaphone 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
      • The following task was was for the two groups (Ed, Rose, Katy against David and Jo) to provide an audio track over a silent film created for the task, complete with music, sound effects etc. Ed, Rose and Katy got three points for accuracy, but David and Jo got two points for having a background music.
  • 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.
    • In "Pork Is a Sausage", the contestants mull 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.
    • 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.
  • 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, he 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    • Early 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!"
  • 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".
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Josh gets one in "The Poet and the Egg" as a present for Greg. It was Gregs 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 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 "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 (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 the 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 meters 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.
  • 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 Knows Morse: Al Murray suspiects that the balloons on the washing line in "The Dong and the Gong" are laid out in Morse Code, but thought nothing more of it. After the task, Alex revealed that it read; ".--. --- .--. /.--- ..- ... - / - .-- --- / .- -. -.. / .-- .. -.", which, when translated, spell out: Pop Just Two And Win.
  • 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).
  • Everything Is Racist: 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 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:
    • Often comes up when a contestant interprets a challenge differently from the obvious reading. For example, a challenge in the first episode of series two 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 summit and brought the yoga mat down from the hill, arranging the balls on top of it there. He argued 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 concurred with Richard, who won the round.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 movie 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 gave her clues about which bin Alex was hiding in.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Measurement System/Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: If a task involves measurements to determine the winner, Alex will sometimes give an alternative system such as the distance in Rolo's or Fruit Pastilles, and in the case of lemon towers in 'The Old, Soft, Curved Padlock', children's shoes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Fridge Brilliance: 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.
  • 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, particularly those who are particularly 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.
  • Game Show Host: Greg Davies, the "Taskmaster".
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Roisin in series one 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 seven. 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.
  • 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 Refugee: Paul Sinha is one, who is more a person you would find on a quiz show (like, say The Chase) than on a comedy series about completing ridiculous tasks for a maniacal taskmaster. He is a comedian, which qualifies him for the show more than some previous contestants, but his entire body behaviour screams cluelessnessnote . He gets wiser to the show later on, but in the pre-recorded tasks, he is still quite awkward-looking.
  • 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.
  • Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter: The prize task for "Little Polythene Grief Cave" had the contestants bring in battery operated item. Cue a portion of the audience laughing. Greg does lambaste the audience for their dirty minds:
    Greg: "So, It's going to be that kind of crowd..."
  • 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 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.
  • Goofy Suit: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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)
  • 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 climb over a metal fence, and hit his groin area. The other contestants winced as much as he did.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The tendency of contestants to use Exact Words and Loophole Abuse frequently means that someone who completes an arduous task strictly according to the rules faces losing out simply because someone else exploited an easy "cheat", which can 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.
  • 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.
  • Heartwarming: In series 8 episode 3, Paul Sinha is struggling with the live task because of his injured shoulder. The others all finish. Alex offers to let Paul stop, but he's determined to finish, and the others all move to help him get him done. Greg even stands up to cheer.
  • Hello!: The name of the first episode of Series 8, which references Paul Sinha saying "Hello" sixty four times in a task to find the location of a baby monitor in the taskmaster residence, while also holding the other end of the baby monitor.
  • 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
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 meters, 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.
  • Hollywood Webcam: Averted in "Meat", as a task required contestants to look at Frederick the Swede as they get dressed into a swimsuit. The camera's used on the webcams are the ones that came with the laptops, and the footage show in the studio are screen captures of the attempts.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: 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.
  • 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 action...as that blew out the candle!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Josh standing next to Greg. Actually almost anyone standing next to Greg. This is part of the joke behind "Little" Alex Horne, as Alex is actually fairly tall (~6'2"), it's just that Greg is enormous (~6'8") The opposite is true of Richard Osman, whose height often gets mocked.
  • I Call It "Vera": Various Toy animals get named by Alex and the taskmaster, specifically Patatas the Cat in Series 2, and Stuart the Camel in Series 4. On a related note, Bernard the Mannequin.
  • 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.
  • 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. This places him last.
    • 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.
  • 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 them the full five points.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • When tasked to bring in the "most meaningful" item for the prize task in "The Poet and the Egg," Roisin chose a dictionary. The entire studio let out an anguished groan when realization set in.
    • 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 pun s 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 lambast 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.
  • In-Series Nickname: Greg often calls Alex "little Alex Horne".
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Happens in a challenge where the contestants need to throw a tea bag into a mug from the furthest distance:
    Frank: Somone'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.
    • 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.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: In a series 2 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".
  • 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 in "Fear of Failure" does this 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. After replaying the footage in the studio, Joe is absolutely distraught at the discovery of his toe touching the red-green, 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.
  • 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.
  • Large Ham: Nish in series five.
  • 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 "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.
  • The Load: James Acaster leaves us in no doubt as to what he thought of Rhod Gilbert by the end of the series.
  • Loophole Abuse: Has its own page!
  • Lovely Assistant: '"...It's Lil' Alex Horne!"

     M - T 
  • 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 7 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.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Alex Horne uses this to make segues when presenting a video of a task to be shown.
  • Maneki Neko: They appear in parts of series 8, as it had an asiatic theme.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 comprised of 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 meters away, and was 74 meters away from her starting point, and came third, while Mark thought his starting point was in the wrong direction and came fourth. Nish literally went in circles when retracing his steps, and ended up being 87 meters 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.
  • 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.
  • "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 please.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The sinister-sounding hurdy-gurdy music that links in between the games. slightly discordant and rather unsettling.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Starting from Series 2, Greg ending each episode with "So what have we learned today?", which recounts the episodes events.
    • Greg will, more often than not, call Alex: "Lil' Alex Horne" at the start of each episode, or at some point during it's 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.
      • He also wore the same outfit on in each episode of Series 7 too, 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 (5'7") and Josh Widdicombe.
  • One Steve Limit: Zigzagged. Overall, there have been two Tim's (Key and Vine), two Paul's (Chowdry and Sinha), and three Joe's (Wilkinson, Lycett, and Thomas) competing in the show. 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.
  • Phrase Catcher: James Acaster manages to make two in Series 7:
    • "Suck It!", which he used five times overall.
    • "I can hear it gooping" was only used once, but apparently counted as this by Greg.
    • And, of course, the Taskmaster's Assistant shall now and forevermore be known as...
      [High pitched squeak] "Li'l Alex Horne!"
  • 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.
    • 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 Pauls 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.
  • 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 episode, 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.
  • P.O.V. Cam / Shaky 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 makes a very odd video involving him making zombie noises, digging a face buried in cheesy puffs out, covering said face back up, him lifting the box to reveal no face, and then leaving. Nish "completing" a Sudoku page, of all things, which prompted Greg to privately talk to him about his seriousness of winning the competition, while 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, and Greg to be absolutely horrified at what he just saw. Sally came first with 5 points, Aisling, Mark and Bob came joint second with 4 points each, with Nish coming last and getting 1 point.
  • Portmanteau: Nish comes up with the team name "Wumar" in "Residue Around The Hoof".
  • Precision F-Strike: Doc Brown does this for his version of the nursery rhyme One, Two, Three, Four, Five.
  • 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 Sinclair 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: Mark Watson refers to the dilemma faced by the contestants in the "coconut bobsleigh" task by the trope name. The aptly titled "Coconut Harness" in the caravan, which 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, Hugh and Joe all get a minute tacked onto their time, Lolly used sticky tack and was done in under 30 seconds, with no penalty, and Mel touched all the items, before settling on what the first three used, and got a 5 minute penalty.
    • 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.
  • 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 stationers. 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 stationary equipment. Sadly, No one got it right as the answer was 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.
    • Richard and Jon form a team in series 2, on the basis that Jon is Richard's son.
    • 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.
  • Race Against the Clock: Most of the challenges are done with a fixed time limit to complete in.
  • Rage Breaking Point: 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.
    • Ed Gamble, nromally 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.
  • Rage Quit:
    • Paul Chowdhry delivers one for the final task of Series 3.
    • 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.
  • 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?"
  • Rated M for Manly: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: The "banter section" at the start of the episode "A Novel About Russian Gulags" has Alex proclaim he's gotten fitter in six months, and has gotten his own personal gym, but says that it's always good to read the instruction manuals for the equipment. Turns out he had only taken the six months to get through one and half instruction booklets, which as Alex points out, has a lot of languages.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • "Pork Is A Sausage" has Doc Brown saying several times that he is "not a [food] man".
    • 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.
    • Mark looks like a heron.
    • 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".
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shmuck Bait: One task involved moving a large number of coconuts, with the proviso 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: A lot of tasks end up this way when the contestants are disqualfied for breaking one of the rules, especially if they only discover this in the studio, several months after filming the tasks.
    • The stand-out incident 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Some of Alex's unusual measurements are like this, such as saying that 52 meters is "the distance to the moon and back, if you start 26 meters 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 did some DIY outside, with Alex asking questions about what to do about specific things (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.
  • 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:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • "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. Aisling wins, then Mark, then Sally, then Nish, then finally Sally.
  • 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 based on the live audience reaction, but ultimately sticks with his opinions.
    Greg: (after the audience groans) I will put him last!
  • Slippery Skid: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 for the Champion of Champions special since Katherine was the only woman to have won a series at that point.
  • Sneeze Cut: A task in "Residue round the hoof" was to sneeze as fast as possible. Some of the contestants used Pepper, Dust, and various other types of small irritants to force a sneeze. Only Bob and Mark get points, 5 for Bob for sneezing in 10 minutes, 4 for Mark who sneezed seven times in a 48 hour period and filmed himself each time to prove it, while Aisling, Sally, and Nish all failed to produce a sneeze, and so got disqualified.
  • 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 
    • 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.
  • 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 Pincode for Alex Halls' Bank and burglar alarmnote  which got bleeped out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Chowdry 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 "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", Noel and Lolly 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Studio Audience: Presented as a theatre show of sorts. The audience often gets to make decisions on the odd occasion.
  • 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 in 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-breaker in "The Poet and the Egg" and "My Eyes Are Circles". So far, this has happened in eleven episodes:
    • "Melon Buffet" involved a game of hide and seek played to determine whether Frank or Romesh won. Frank won.
    • "The Poet And The Egg" saw Alex ask Romesh and Josh to guess how old Frank was in minutes. Josh won.
    • "Hollowing Out a Baguette" had a tiebreaker between Noel and Joe. The task was to decant as much wine as possible in one minute. Joe won.
    • "Meat" had a tie breaker between Mel and Hugh. The task was to eat as many peas as possible in one minute. Hugh won.
    • "No stars for naughty boys" had a three-way tie between Hugh, Lolly, and Joe. They were 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" had a tie between Mark and Aisling. They had 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 had 66 attempts whilst Mark had 15, meaning that he won overall.
    • "Spoony Neeson" had a tie between Bob and Sally. The task was to kick a pot of yogurt at a shooting target, and the winner was whoever got the most yogurt nearest to the bullseye. Sally won.
    • "The Old, Soft, Curved Padlock" had a tie between Russell and Alice. That task was to spin as many times as possible, then to kick a football at a caravan. Alice won.
    • "What Kind of Pictures?" had a tie between Russell and Liza. The winner was determined by whoever received a text the fastest. Russell won.
    • "My Eyes Are Circles" had a tie between Kerry and Jessica. They had to guess the number on Alex's arm. Kerry won.
    • "OLLIE." had a tie between Rhod and James. They had to create a paper plane using toilet roll and get it to travel the furthest. Rhod won.
    • "Hello" had a tie between Iain and Lou, who had to peel a banana with only their feet, with the fastest winning. Iain Won.
    • "The Barrel Dad" had a three-way-tie between Sian, Lou and Joe.They had to whip a bottle off of a barrel from a distance, with the fastest time to do so winning. Sian won.
  • 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."
  • 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 completely fluent in 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.
  • String Theory / Connect the Deaths: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 was 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.
  • 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 seat). This left the substitutes in the position of having to justify somebody else's performance, apparently without having seen the tasks in advance.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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, and uses a shirt to cover herself. When Alex reaches into the wardrobe, he unintentionally brushes his hand across Mel's chest.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
    • 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, 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."
  • 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.
    • 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: Each episode's name is taken from a line spoken during the show.
  • Token Minority: Every series prior to 9 has had exactly one contestant who was either Asian or black. They also had exactly one woman until Series 4, since which there were exactly two.
  • 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.
  • 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 Incomprehensible: 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 taskmasters garden, and framed it.
  • 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.

     U - Z 
  • Uncle Pennybags: Al "Money Bags" Murray, who has spent absurds amount of money to complete tasks. He rented a Gong to surprise Alex (we don't know the price, but there's a good chance it wasn't cheap), he's bought a fairly costly taxi cab ride so he could drive to Slough with a pea in a rolled-up red mat (£150), he did the same thing to cover 4 corners of London with his clothes (price unknown, also likely not cheap), £60 for Alex's Taxi, Al also paid a man to walk with a piece of clothing, and has bribed Alex to lift water for him (£80). His spending spree has reached over £380!
    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
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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 "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.
  • 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 "Don't move the fishbowl" interspersed with footage of her doing exactly that. Not surprisingly, Lolly came last.
    • 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 Sixty-Four 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • James delivers one to Rhod in "The Perfect Stuff", after watching back that episode's team task.
    • 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.
  • 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 Balloons? Josh Widdicombe is terrified of balloons, as is Mark Watson. Aisling Bea cannot blow up balloons.
  • 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. 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 came 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.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Your Cheating Heart: One of the tasks in "I've Sinned Again" is to create the biggest mess and completely clear it up. Katherine's take on the task is to create an emotional mess within her family, so she phones her sister to claim that her husband is cheating on her.

Tropes specific to the US version of Taskmaster

    A - L 
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Kate in the stage task of "Engineering". The task was in two parts, and the contestants had to guess what to do with the items in front of them. The second part was to hold them all up and touch their head with their other hand. Kate had taped all her items together, and so won the task.
  • Aside Glance: Alex, on occasion.
  • Bullying the Disabled: Not to the extreme the trope tends to use, but Lisa claims her upper-body strength is the equivalent of Stephen Hawking. Cue Dude, Not Funny! from the other contestants. She claims that it's OK if he's not here.
  • Audience Participation: Kate uses this as her weird noise for the Stage Task in the "Ebony" episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: Twice.
    • Fellow Englishman Freddie Highmore had a unique condition to a task in "Ebony". The task required him to get a ping pong ball out of a hole-ridden tube, and for him specifically, only Freddie had to speak in accents other than his own, and had opted for a mix of Scottish, French and Italian. The same stipulation was applied to him at the last minute by Reggie when he had to read out the Stage task of that episode. He chose to use a French accent for that.
    • Ron Funches never won an episode of the show.
  • Callback: The final prize task of the entire series ("101 ducks") consisted of an item from each episode that was used in a task; A XL Pizza, Old Ice...which is now water, A Microwave, a Leaf blower, a basketball, a picture of Ebony the model horse, some handcuffs, and a giant rubber duck.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: A task in "Bubbles" was to give the contestants 10 minutes to camouflage themselves in any part of the house, and not get detected by Reggie when he was shown the pictures in the studio. Dillon wore a blue tarpaulin and hid himself in the Pool, Rob hid underneath a massive comfy chair outside, Lisa hid behind a curtain outside, Kate disguised herself on the coat rack, wearing half a coat and a hat angled towards the camera, with decoy boots/ hair placed to obfuscate her location, while Freddie hid underneath the water, with only a wooden board hiding him from view. Both Dillon and Freddie got spotted, the former not getting the right shade of blue to match the pool water, and the latter sticking out like a sore thumb, and was immediately spotted by everyone in the studio. Everyone else successfully defeated Reggie with their camouflage, with Kate getting five points, Rob and Lisa getting four points, Freddie getting two points, and Dillon getting one point.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Lisa seems to have very colorful language, and often get's bleeped out. Lampshaded in "Engineering", as at the start of a task in "Engineering", Alex decides to start with the angriest person, and then points out that, for once, He wasn't referring to Lisa. He was referring to Dillon.
  • Crowd Chant: After winning a task involving creating a flag in the form of food in "Engineering", Kate and the audience chant "U.S.A" repeatedly to celebrate victory.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • In "Die, Die, Die", a task required a block of ice to disappear as fast as possible. Most of the contestants did what was logical, and tried to smash the block of ice up with various tools. Not Lisa, who decided to hide the block of ice in a basket, then place a rug over it to hide it from view (the task specified it had to disappear, not necessarily by melting it). Lisa wins the full 5 points.
    • In "Hostage", Lisa didn't understand the task of freeing Alex properly (the task letter had the required information written in UV Ink), as so interpreted it as creating her own task. Alex does point out that the task wasn't done, but was adamant that the clock should be stopped. Reggie gives her one point for creativity.
    • In "101 Ducks", a task required the contestants to knock over 101 ducks perched on two walls, while standing behind a velvet rope. Freddie had the idea of looping rope around the walls, and pulling on them to fell one of the walls. He also got a hose and tried sprinkling some water to fell those ducks, but failed to do so, and resorted to throwing balls at it instead He took 38 seconds, and won second place, and 4 points.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: An adbreak will leave a cliffhanger on the last 1 - 2 people to complete a task. The final task and it's results are always separated by an adbreak.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Lisa tries to use a vacuum tube to get a ball out of a hole-ridden tube for one of the tasks in "Ebony". It gets stuck, and while Lisa is able to retrieve the tube and do the task, Lisa gets no points as the task specified the Tube couldn't move, and it had fallen off of the table
    • In "Magnets and Magic", a task required Lisa to get to a microwave in as few steps as possible. Lisa attempts to swim to the microwave, only to be made freezing cold after getting out of the pool, and, more crucially, her plan didn't work as expected, as the Microwave was in a shed, not near a body of water. This did get Lampshaded by Reggie after the video.
  • Enemy Mine: Alex and Lisa have a "friendship" on the show, and on more than a few occasions Lisa makes it clear he doesn't like Alex and his general English personality:
    • In a Task in "Magnets and Magic", he threw Alex into a pool while he was tied to a wheelchair.
    • A task in "Engineering", Lisa recreated the flag of the US, while insulting him as she made it. Her goal was apparently to make it as inedible as possible.
    • A task in "Hostage" made Lisa force feed him food through a meat grinder, an apparent revenge tactic for making Lisa do torturous tasks.
    • A task to knock over 101 ducks in "101 Ducks" made Lisa make fun of Alex's use of the word "Fell" instead of using the phrase "knock down".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Zigzagged. Everyone calls Reggie by his name in the studio, but in the pre-recorded challenges, Reggie is referred to as "The Taskmaster" instead.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Due to the format changes, the rules of the show are explained over the main title sequence.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • In "Engineering", a task was to make a bridge for a potato to get over a pool in a miniaturized version of the house. The task specified that they could only use whatever was on the table. However, throughout the room and on the table, there were clues to "Look under the table", as that would give them the ideal supplies to complete the task. This included a boat engraved with a spanish phrase; "Debajo de la mesa" (Underneath the Table), a sign over the door that said to look under the table, and a button that would flash a light that read that exact sentence. Dillon wasn't happy about this as he'd spotted a button earlier that told him to look under the table. Only Freddie noticed the lamp clue, though he was more thinking of using the lamp housing itself as a bridge, but discovered the note.
    • In "Hostage", a task was to free Alex from his cuffs. It took Freddie quite a while to figure out what "look at the phone" meant. Both Kate and Rob figured it out it was the phone on the painting behind them, and Freddie didn't work this out for a good couple of minutes.
      • Freddie, Kate, Lisa and Rob in the same task didn't spot Alex was holding the key the whole time. Only Dillon noticed.
    • In "101 Ducks", a task required the contestants to knock over 101 ducks perched on two walls, while standing behind a velvet rope. Kate constantly barraged the wall with balls to knock over the ducks, however she missed one duck that was perched upon a tile that she didn't knock over, and so was disqualified. Similarly, Dillon used a leaf blower in his attempt and also misses a single duck still perched on the wall, and also gets disqualified.
  • Fish out of Water: Some of the humor from this iteration comes from the fact Alex and contestant Freddie Highmore are English, and have to get used to a different way of speaking to the others.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Each episode introduces the contestants, much like the original, but unlike the original UK version, they all have their name on-screen, as well as a cheeky subtitle. For example, in "Physics", Ron Funches's subtitle was; "Ron Funches:" International Man of Mystery, where in "Ebony", it's "Ron Funches:" Funch-a-Maniac.
  • Genre Savvy: In "Hostage", a task was to free Alex from his cuffs. Upon entering the room, Dillon tries to shake Alex's hand, but Alex doesn't. After reading out the task, he questions Alex if he has the key in his hand, and Dillon immediately unlocks him, winning the task. Dillon said in the studio the reason he did his actions was because Alex didn't shake his hand, and when he refused, he suspected something was up.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: The episode titles for the show, much like the UK version, have out of context words and/ or quotes from the episode. Since there were only eight episodes in total; "Physics"note , "Ebony"note , "Bubbles"note , "Die, Die, Die"note , "Magnets & Magic"note , "Engineering"note , "Hostage"note , and "101 Ducks"note , the list is much shorter than the UK version as this version only ever had one season.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: A task in "Bubbles" had the contestants order a pizza without using specific words (Extra, Large, Pizza, Pepperoni, Peppers, Pepper, Pineapple, Tuna, Dill), with a bonus point given to anyone for getting the person taking the order to say the word "bubbles". Ron said that he'd give the person a tip by saying "Bubbles", and flatly denies his request. Dillon tries to trick the person into completing his sentence about cheese being so hot it bubbles, and when that didn't work, he tries spelling out Bubbles, and the person pronounced it the wrong way as if it was a foreign name. Freddie asks for Alcohol in a roundabout way, Lisa tries to claim that the Pizza is for a friend, and her nickname is bubbles, and gets the person to read out her nickname.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In "Ebony", the "Paint a Horse while riding a Horse" task has Freddie on a carriage at the end of a horse, thus giving him a much more stable ride than the other contestants, who were riding on the horse itself. The contestants were confused by this, and when Alex clarified, he claimed that the change was due to his age (He was 25), and he wasn't sure if he could reach the horse. The others, rightly shocked by this, asked for his disqualification. He placed third.
    • In "Engineering", a task required to create "flag food" (create food in the shape of a flag). Robs attempt was at making the Japanese flag with cheese and a pepperoni square-circle in the middle. Rob claims he made it because he likes Japanese culture, and after the video, he says that a few reasons he wants to go to Japan for is because he likes Japanese wrestling, videogames, and pornography.
  • Literal-Minded: Kate in "Engineering", as a task required her to make a "flag meal", which Alex described as a meal made into the shape of a flag. Kate went incredibly literal, and found a flag of Reggie, placed Fettuccine pasta, Lemon, Arugula, and Garlic into the shape of Reggie's hair. Alex was quite amused by this interpretation of the task.
  • Loophole Abuse: Has its own page!

    M - Z 
  • Mistaken for Prank Call: A task in "Bubbles" had the contestants order a pizza with specific toppings, with said toppings that the contestants couldn't say to the person on the phone. Freddie didn't get very far, as the person hung up on him. He has better luck when he rings again a few moments later.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In "Physics", a task had the contestants get a basketball through a hoop, but without using their hands or "anything that could reasonably be construed as hands". This is a permutation lifted from the UK Series, and originally was used in the series 5 episode "Dignity Intact", where similar tasks prior to that episode had people use impromptu gloves to complete their goal. The task itself is verbatim copied from that episode too.
  • On the Next: At the end of each episode (except "101 Ducks", which was the last ever episode), a montage of clips from the next episode is played.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Reggie starting the show by saying:
    Reggie: "Good evening, I'm Reggie Watts, and this is Taskmaster, and I am the Taskmaster. But wait! What does that mean?"
    • Lisa calling someone "A little bitch" at some point in the show, be it Alex, Dillon, or just out of general frustration.
    • Reggie ending each episode by saying:
    Reggie: "And Remember...Goodnight!"''
    *Cue End Credits*
  • Patriotic Fervor: Freddie parodying American culture in a task from "Magnets and Magic" that involved throwing a ball to himself.
    • After winning a task involving creating a flag in the form of food in "Engineering", Kate and the audience chant "U.S.A" repeatedly.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Kate Berlants' personality in a nutshell. For a task in "Physics", the contestants had to get a basketball through a hoop, but without using their hands or "anything that could reasonably be construed as hands". She used some crutches to throw the ball into the hoop on the first try, but she touched the ball when it fell off of one of the crutches. Kate gets disqualified, which she isn't happy about, and tries to fruitlessly claim that both Alex and Reggie were being sexist.
  • Playing with Fire: A task in "Hostage" 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. Rob decided to blow out ~100 candles off of a cake with a leaf-blower. The amount of fire on the cake was a sight to behold, and rob admitted it was a fire hazard for his hair.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: The stage task for "Hostage" had the contestants place in a whole number of donuts onto a stick concealed in a box. A contestant got disqualified if they had the same amount of donuts or higher on the stick as another contestant. Kate won the 5 points, with 4 donuts.
  • P.O.V. Cam / Shaky P.O.V. Cam: A task in "Hostage" 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 incredible footage won. Dillon stuck a stick to his head and made Alex throw flamingo hoops at him to get them on the stick, Kate did a magic trick involving floating cards. Rob blew out ~100 candles off of a cake with a leafblower. Lisa force feeds Alex some food from an impromptu grinder, while tied down (apparent revenge for torturing Lisa with tasks) and Freddie took a bike ride, which lead to him riding on the house walls. Dillon got one point (he volunteered for last, which ,made Reggie's life easier), Ron got 2 points, Kate got 3 points, Lisa get's second place and 4 points, while Freddie wins with 5 points.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Dillon tries to bribe Reggie with a $100 bill in "Hostage" so he doesn't come last in the stage task. The bribe was not accepted, and it doesn't work, though Reggie happily kept the $100.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The subtitle for Ron Funches at the start of "Bubbles" is his name: Ron Funches - Ron Funches.
  • Silly Walk: In "Magnets and Magic", a task was to get to a microwave in a shed within 5 minutes, while taking as few steps as possible.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Unlike the UK Version, it's played with, as the show ran at around 7PM on US Television, where some curse words were censored. Not all swearing was censored, however.
  • Spoiler Opening: The title sequence for the series is made up of fast-paced clips of that series' contestants carrying out the pre-recorded tasks, while Reggie explains the concept of the show over it.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Alex Horne's basic personality, already present in the UK version, is also present here. Lisa does not like Alex because of this.
  • Studio Audience: As with the UK version, The show is presented as a theater show of sorts.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Lisa and Ron used a chair for the Stage task of "Ebony" as their unusual noise.
  • Sudden Death: If two or more contestants are tied in first place, then a tiebreaker takes place. This only ever happened in one episode; "Die, Die, Die". It was a three-way tie between Rob, Kate, and Lisa. The task was to answer a question: For how many Sundays has the Taskmaster (Reggie, not the show itself) been alive for? Helpfully, a graphic on screen did the mathematics for each answer. Lisa wins, as her answer was closest to 2363 Sundays (45 years, 23 days)
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Taskmaster US is made by Comedy Central, and only ran for one season. There were a few key differences, and the changes to the show from the UK version include:
    • Greg Davies' role as the Taskmaster being filled by Reggie Watts, but Alex Horne is kept as the assistant
    • The format was altered to fit within one half an hour episode. However, the show broadcast two episodes back to back on the same night, totaling to six ad-breaks (three ad breaks per episode), whereas in the UK, it was one episode for one hour, with three ad breaks per episode.
    • Because of the above, The prize task was downsized from a full task, to one contestant per episode bringing in a belonging to serve as the prize for that episode. Also, no points are awarded for that round.
    • Despite Reggie's claims in the beginning, the tasks themselves are mostly a repeat of tasks seen in the UK series, with around 4 tasks total created for the US version.
    • The trophy is a bust of Reggie, instead of Greg.
    • Both Taskmaster Reggie Watts and Alex Horne actually contribute to the prize pool in this iteration, as well as the contestants. This happens in "Engineering" for Alex (a big lion statue), and "Hostage" for Reggie (a DL4 modeler). The final prize pool consisted of an item from each episode that was used in a task; A XL Pizza, Old Ice...which is now water, A Microwave, a Leaf blower, a basketball, a picture of Ebony the model horse, some handcuffs, and a giant rubber duck.
    • There are no team tasks in this version. The only task that was converted to the solo format was the "Free Alex from his handcuffs" task in "Hostage", which was a team task in "The Dong and the Gong".
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: A few instances:
    • Despite the task not saying they should put one on, while ordering a Pizza for a task in "Bubbles", Lisa and Dillon put on fake accents, the former using some form of Indian accent, the latter using an eastern america Brooklyn-based accent.
    • In "Magnets and Magic", Lisa puts on a fake English accent while pushing Alex into a pool of water.
    • In "101 Ducks", Lisa puts on a fake English accent again, while making fun of Alex's use of the the word "Fell" to refer to knocking over 101 ducks.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lisa Lampenelli's hair.

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!

 
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