Taskmaster | Taskmaster (U.S.) | Taskmaster New Zealand | Taskmaster Australia | Other Global Versions
Taskmaster is a British Comedy Game Show which first aired on Dave in 2015, before switching to Channel 4 in 2020. Greg Davies is the host and titular Taskmaster, and is assisted by Alex Horne (who also acts as showrunner and the head task-deviser behind the scenes). Each series features five different contestants (almost invariably stand-up comedians or comedy actors / perfomers with the occasional wildcard), with "Champion of Champions" specials featuring the winners of the preceding five series.
The show consists of the contestants being assigned a series of odd, seemingly simple and trivial yet often quite surprisingly challenging tasks to complete, many of which involve some kind of creative or lateral thinking. They are then ranked and given points (usually between 1 and 5) according to how well (or not) they completed the task, either based on relevant measurable criteria (fastest completion, most required objects accumulated, etc.), Greg judging them on his personal preferences, or some combination of the two. Hilarity Ensues.
While the nature of the tasks vary, each episode follows a general structure of the prize round, about three-four pre-filmed tasks, and the final in-studio task.
- The prize round involves each contestant bringing in an item, implicitly one of their personal possessions, that has been chosen around a particular theme; themes range in eccentricity from "most valuable item" to "most pleasing thing the size of a cat". Each item goes into the prize pot which is taken home by the winner of each episode; as such, each contestant must make a case for why their item both meets the theme and is the best item brought in. Greg then ranks the items from best to worst, based usually on his own subjective opinions.
- The pre-recorded tasks are all filmed on location, either at the "Taskmaster House" note or a secondary location that varies from season to season. They are then played to the audience, with reactions from Greg, Alex and the contestants spliced in. These are further split into:
- The individual tasks, where each contestant performs the tasks in isolation from each other and are bound to secrecy until the recording, meaning they are unaware of how they performed compared to their rivals. They must then explain — or, more typically, defend — their ability or lack thereof in completing the task to Greg, Alex and the audience. With some exceptions, tasks are usually worth a maximum of five points and a minimum of one (with disqualified candidates getting zero).
- The team tasks, where the five contestants are split into two teams for the series, one of three members and one of twonote . In Series 1, the winning team got two points each and the losing team got zero. From Series 2 through 9, Greg usually divided five points between the two teams (for example, if the first team scores three points, the second gets two). In Series 10, Greg started scoring each team out of five instead of splitting the points or even score players individually due to COVID-related social-distancing rules often making team tasks more difficult. This continued into Series 13 (the first full series post-restrictions) and beyond, despite Alex trying to prod Greg into returning to the original format of splitting five points.
- The live studio task, as the name suggests, is performed live in front of Greg and the audience, and involves the contestants directly competing against each other. Sometimes, the live task is played as a team task instead; in this instance, the teams usually remain the same as the pre-recorded tasks, though there have been a few exceptions. The live tasks are usually themed along some kind of competitive party game requiring physical and/or mental dexterity and are often performed against the clock. As with pre-recorded tasks, live tasks are usually worth a maximum of five points and a minimum of one point, although some live tasks are played on a "winner takes all" basis, with all other contestants receiving zero points. Following this, the final tally is counted and the episode's winner revealed.
- In the case of a tie, the episode will end with a tiebreaker. The tiebreakers are usually quick and simple in nature (examples have included a game of hide-and-seek and removing the lid off a jar of mayonnaise covered in Vaseline) and are frequently pre-recorded along with the live tasks. While all contestants will record a tiebreaker, only the attempts of the contestants who are tied will be shown. No points are awarded for winning the tiebreaker. The winner of the tiebreaker consequently wins the episode.
A lot of the show's appeal and humour comes from the contestants thinking outside the box, abusing the Exact Words of a task letter, and employing Loophole Abuse to bypass certain task requirements; a trope so well-loved and used so much by this show that we had to give it its own page! This means a lot of the contestants' attempts at a given task can be very different to one another.
At the end of each series, the contestant with the most points is crowned Taskmaster Champion and receives a trophy, usually in the form of Greg's golden head. There have been several exceptions; the Series 1 Champion received a cheap karate trophy; the Champions of Champions receive a lifesize model of Greg's body; and the New Year Treat Champions receive Greg's golden eyebrows.
The show has proven incredibly popular in the UK, and has spawned a multi-media franchise spanning international TV adaptations, books, a board game, and a podcast. More information can be found on the franchise page.
Full episodes can be viewed on UKTV Play and All4 (both UK only). The official Taskmaster YouTube channel also features full episodesnote , along with clips and compilations. The episodes of the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish adaptations are available on the channel as well. In March 2022, a new dedicated subscription service called Taskmaster SuperMax+ was launched, allowing viewers from around the world to watch the series ad-free.
Complete summaries of casts, episodes and tasks can be found at the show's Recap page. A brief cast listing for each series of the British edition can be found in the folder below.
- Series One: Frank Skinner, Josh Widdicombe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan, Tim Key
- Series Two: Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan, Richard Osman
- Series Three: Al Murray, Dave Gorman, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett, Sara Pascoe
- Series Four: Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett, Lolly Adefope, Mel Giedroyc, Noel Fielding
- Series Five: Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar, Sally Phillips
- Champion of Champions Special: Bob Mortimer, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding, Rob Beckett
- Series Six: Alice Levine, Asim Chaudhry, Liza Tarbuck, Russell Howard, Tim Vine
- Series Seven: James Acaster, Jessica Knappett, Kerry Godliman, Phil Wang, Rhod Gilbert
- Series Eight: Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha, Sian Gibson
- Series Nine: David Baddiel, Ed Gamble, Jo Brand, Katy Wix, Rose Matafeo
- Series Ten: Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan, Richard Herring
- New Year Treat 2021: John Hannah, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Nicola Coughlan, Rylan Clark-Neal, Shirley Ballas
- Series Eleven: Charlotte Ritchie, Jamali Maddix, Lee Mack, Mike Wozniak, Sarah Kendall
- Series Twelve: Alan Davies, Desiree Burch, Guz Khan, Morgana Robinson, Victoria Coren Mitchell
- New Year Treat 2022: Adrian Chiles, Claudia Winkleman, Lady Leshurr, Jonnie Peacock, Sayeeda Warsi
- Series Thirteen: Ardal OíHanlon, Bridget Christie, Chris Ramsey, Judi Love, Sophie Duker
- Champion of Champions 2: Ed Gamble, Kerry Godliman, Liza Tarbuck, Lou Sanders, Richard Herring
- Series Fourteen: Dara ” Briain, Fern Brady, John Kearns, Munya Chawawa, Sarah Millican
- New Year Treat 2023: Amelia Dimoldenberg, Carol Vorderman, Mo Farah, Greg James, Self Esteem
- Series Fifteen: Frankie Boyle, Ivo Graham, Jenny Eclair, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Mae Martin
- Series Sixteen: Julian Clary, Lucy Beaumont, Sam Campbell, Sue Perkins, Susan Wokoma
Now has its very own character sheet. Fill in tropes related to contestants and their time on the show there. Your time starts now!
Not to be confused with the Marvel Comics supervillain/anti-hero of the same name, with the professional pseudonym of wrestler Kevin Sullivan or with the video game TaskMaker.