Oh, to be in Alex Horne’s head. This wizard of our screens can conjure up more strange, curious and complicated tasks than previously thought imaginable. Unchain locks using numbers from the Periodic Table derived from Jelly Babies? Yes. Rotate a pulper wheel as many turns as possible before you smash an egg? Bring it on. Taskmaster has long been able to stake a claim for being and looking like one of the most fun shows on television. In another week dominated by endless chat about Phil, Holly, This Morning and daytime TV toxicity, it is refreshing to see entertainment made off the backs of pleasure not discomfort.
One of the things the show has always done well is getting a good mixture of characters in every intake and this series has been no different
Each and every series has retained the same magic balance of delicately constructed tasks and in-game mayhem. Horne knows that the magic comes from what is not written and planned, but the joint art of deduction and perception and the very human skill of being comfortable with looking silly. In fact, Channel 4’s Taskmaster is one of showbiz’s great levellers. Take Frankie Boyle, a comedian who has built a career as an acerbic, dry and at times controversial stand-up comedian, not afraid to take on challenging topics. This series has seen him wailing into an oven as his imaginary friend accidentally perished under the roaring heat (not really, just another crazy task).
Alongside Boyle is another great and eclectic mix of comedians. Jenny Eclair, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Mae Martin and Ivo Graham also join the growing pantheon of Taskmaster contestants. One of the things the show has always done well is getting a good mixture of characters in every intake and this series has been no different. Rarely for the show, I was already quite familiar with all five this time around, but it was still just as fun seeing how they took on the challenge of the programme.
Taskmaster continues to defy the odds
For a show which is fast becoming a household presence on our screens (and generating a range of international versions as well as a fantastic education programme at our very own University of Warwick), Taskmaster continues to defy the odds. There may come a point where it doesn’t feel fresh any more or where they have exhausted their range of willing and moderately famous participants. But not yet. So roll on more of the most fun show on TV.