Everyone’s favourite lockdown saviour is back for series 11, but how will the latest jokesters fare?
By Laura Rutkowski, Staff Writer
Before we’ve even had a chance to miss Taskmaster, it’s back on our screens for another series – oh, we do feel spoiled!
It continues on Channel 4, its new home after running for nine series on UKTV’s Dave.
Taskmaster Greg Davies dishes out points to the five participants, who are asked to complete an array of stupefying tasks in the most creative way possible – things like getting a frozen banana into a bottle of lubricant and making the best upside-down film. Meanwhile, Little Alex Horne, who was inspired by The Crystal Maze when creating the series, once again joins as Davies’ assistant.
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Horne imparts the not particularly helpful advice of “All the information is in the task.” It’s reminiscent of Paul Hollywood’s advice to Bake Off hopefuls during the Technical challenge: “Read the instructions very carefully.” Thanks a lot, guys.
Regardless of whether the Taskmaster competitors absorb the information or not, they all take very different approaches. They could be funny just for the sake of it and fail the task, or perform the task to a T and still score nul points.
There’s confusion, there’s cheating, there’s a general sense of mayhem and there’s no rhyme or reason to the points system. It just depends on what side of the bed Davies woke up on that morning.
Ahead of series 11, we gave ourselves the task of predicting how the latest stars will perform (but, as is the way with this show, we’ve probably guessed all wrong)…
5. Sarah Kendall
“I didn’t try to be funny at all,” the Aussie comedian and Frayed creator said of her appearance on the show. “I wanted to do the tasks well and I tried really hard and didn’t succeed a lot of the time, which is really the sad bit.” We know Davies loves a tryer, and it sounds like Kendall’s being hard on herself, but does she have the edge? For someone who’s “not good in an emergency”, we think, sadly, not this time, especially for a show that operates in constant panic mode.
4. Charlotte Ritchie
If you know the Ghosts and Feel Good star, you know what she’s capable of, but if you don’t, you’ll be delighted watching her flex her comedy chops. Although she’s not a stand-up like the rest of her competitors, it’s fun to get some insight into the way her brain ticks. Davies calls her a “children’s TV presenter” throughout the show, and we’re going to guess he doesn’t mean that in a good way.
3. Jamali Maddix
The comedian, who fronts Vice’s Hate Thy Neighbour, tweeted in December 2020: “I’m on the next season of Taskmaster giving minimal effort,” which could be the ultimate fake-out or just brutal honesty. His competitive side comes out when he goes up against Lee Mack, and the pair squabble over their points, but Davies is not for moving. Maddix is definitely the dark horse in this competition.
2. Lee Mack
People online are mainly backing comedian Lee Mack (Not Going Out), who is finally gracing the show with his presence. It’s been a long time coming, but we have a feeling the pressure is going to get to him. He’s bound to give the Taskmaster some lip, which could cause him to just miss out on his chance at the top spot, giving Davies the last laugh. We expect plenty of mouthing off and back and forth, with Mack ready with a quick comeback if anyone questions his methods. In his attempts to be witty, he might just fall short of winning.
1. Mike Wozniak
Does Mike Wozniak have an unfair advantage? Well, when Horne was first testing the idea in 2009, he sent 20 comedians, including Wozniak, monthly tasks via email over the course of a year. At the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Horne hosted The Taskmaster, a “two-hour drunken show”, he told The i, where Wozniak was announced the winner.
Not only did Wozniak beat 19 other comedians, rather than just the four others who appear on the show, but he was also the first ever winner, and that has to count for something. He’s kooky and quirky, and stars with Davies in Man Down, so we think his sense of humour will go down a treat. Although, it could go another way – to negate any type of favouritism, Davies could come down hard on Wozniak, but we’re hoping not.
When is Channel 4’s Taskmaster on TV?
Taskmaster airs on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141) on Thursdays at 9pm, with the first episode screening on Thursday 18 March. It is also available for 30 days in Apps & Games > All 4.
The ten-part series will subsequently air ever week until Thursday 20 May.
Later this year, we are also being treated to a new Champion Of Champions special. The respective winners of Taskmaster series 6-10, Liza Tarbuck, Kerry Godliman, Lou Sanders, Ed Gamble and Richard Herring, will go head to head to be crowned the ultimate winner.
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