Taskmaster. Image shows from L to R: Greg Davies, Alex Horne. Copyright: Avalon Television.

Taskmaster

Dave comedy show setting comedians tasks. 74 episodes (9 series), 2015 - 2019. Stars Greg Davies, Alex Horne, Romesh Ranganathan, Frank Skinner and others.

Next new episode is on Wednesday at 9pm. Series 9, Episode 3
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Taskmaster. Image shows from L to R: Romesh Ranganathan, Frank Skinner, Greg Davies, Alex Horne, Roisin Conaty, Josh Widdicombe, Tim Key.

Contestants interview

Talking behind the back of The Taskmaster (Greg Davies), Alex Horne and the five Taskmaster contestants talk about the show here...

Alex Horne

Taskmaster. Alex Horne. Copyright: Avalon Television.Hello Alex. First question, do you think The Taskmaster will be pleased about the commitment the contests have shown?

For me, The Taskmaster is like sort of an enigma wrapped in a blanket and I'm not allowed to think for him or about him - that is one of his main rules.

How would you describe your role on Taskmaster?

What I do on Taskmaster is very much a step on the career ladder, it's just sort of financial, get it done and get food for the children and to get them some shoes... the cold hungry children... Get them sorted.

Lovely, very nice. How would you describe your attention to detail?

I'm a details man; people keep telling me that I'm a details man. They've said it to me eighteen times and I agree.

Ok big one now. What does The Taskmaster really like?

Ham sandwiches and discipline I think.

Do any of the tasks stand out as being particularly memorable in your opinion?

It's hard to think of them. They blur, as I've been there for all of them - so I've seen each of them five times - so definitely 'no' is the answer but if I had to say 'yes', then I'd say 'yes'.

Now in your own words Alex, who would you like to win Taskmaster?

For me it's either Roisin Conaty or Romesh Ranaganathan because I've been practicing their names and I've got them down, so that's purely based on pronunciation.

Really? Ok but who would you like to lose?

Tough question. Tim Key because he is a former colleague of mine and it didn't end well, so it's nice to have a bit of revenge.

Frank Skinner

Taskmaster. Frank Skinner. Copyright: Avalon Television.Any regrets at this stage having taken part?

No, I don't regret taking part; it's actually been a bit like the closest I'll ever be to being in the Olympics. But with zero team spirit.

If you could get a comedian to replace you who would you choose?

To replace me in this? Well I'd stick with Ken Dodd as I think it's good that you've got an older statesman.

You think Doddy? Even though he's against the clock?

Yes, I think he'd be fine with that. It would be a good discipline for him.

When you agreed to take part did you think you'd win, did you have a winning mentality?

Well I have an optimistic mentality generally. I do a radio show and what I really like about it is that you can't hear the audience reaction; so in my mind everything I say has got people rolling around in laughter at home. And with this, until I meet the competitors and see what they have done, I really feel (generally speaking) that I have done the best. [Phone rings] That will be my agent; it's too late now. Shall I get it?

Well you might as well.

Hello, ok, mmm, ok.

Good news?

Ken Dodd said he can't do Tuesdays.

Dodd's off, that's a shame. In general do you think you're good at tasks?

I think just before I open the envelope I have a sense that I won't be able to do it but, once the challenge is at my door as it were, I somewhat surprising myself as I feel like I often spring into action.

Did it cross your mind: 'should I try and win this or should I try and be funny doing this?'

Well, I'm operating on two levels - it's head and heart. I do want to win definitely but I do realise that if I did have a straightforward answer to every task it would be pretty dull.

So you don't want to win ugly, you don't want to 'Chelsea' this?

No, no I can see myself ending up like Kevin Keegan's Newcastle, won't quite win it but entertained a lot of people.

And you'll get very frustrated with the person that does win it...

Yes and I'll probably look back and think that I shouldn't have got Tino Asprilla half way through the series.

Romesh Ranganathan

Taskmaster. Romesh Ranganathan. Copyright: Avalon Television.Do you regret taking part?

When I was first approached about the show I was told that there would be no embarrassment or humiliation and it would be very light hearted and fun but what I found is that some of the tasks have been humiliating, some have been embarrassing and others I don't really want going out on TV but I've signed the thing now so that's out of my control.

It's just a yes or no really...

If you're asking me if I regret doing the show: yes, yes I do.

When you agreed to take part did you think you'd win?

What do you mean, do you think I won't win?

We don't have an opinion.

Yes I still thought I'm going to win, until this.

Looking back over the tasks now do you think you'd change your general approach and attitude?

I wouldn't change my attitude, I think my attitude has been bang-on. My approach however... the running clock affected me more than I would have liked. As soon as the clock started running I panicked and I wish it hadn't done that.

Why is that?

I don't know it happened when I was doing my teaching qualification. You know when you have to do three tests? In that case I wish I sort of thought a bit more about things before the start.

Who is The Taskmaster, in your own words?

It's very difficult to put the words 'Greg Davies' into my own words.

Well, if you could try...

He is an authoritarian comedian who is responsible for overseeing all of the tasks and he has the ultimate and final word on who has done the best in the tasks. How was that?

How do you think The Taskmaster will judge your efforts?

I think that The Taskmaster will judge my efforts fairly and with the understanding that I have been enthusiastic and eager to perform to the best of my abilities in all tasks.

Finally, what would you like to be your legacy from this show? How would you like us to remember Romesh?

I'd like my legacy to be somebody who really went for it. I didn't leave any of myself behind.

What do you think it will be though?

That's what I think it will be. What did you think?

You said you hoped? When you hope for something it rarely happens. So realistically what do you think it will be?

Well realistically, I think it will be as somebody who is punctual and hygienic, who opened the letter and read it and did what it asked. If you want me to answer the question what my legacy would be realistically then that's it.

Josh Widdicombe

Taskmaster. Josh Widdicombe. Copyright: Avalon Television.In your own words Josh, what is Taskmaster to you?

I think Taskmaster is the future of British entertainment television.

So the future not the current?

Well it's not in the can yet, as we speak.

So it's entertainment that's going to happen in the future?

Yeah.

British?

I don't think you've got a Big Brother on your hands, let's put it that way.

No international sales at all for this? Japan?

I fear that in Japan this would be considered too mainstream, slightly pedestrian.

Instead of painting a horse while sitting on a horse what do you think the Japanese would do?

Hammering genitals to a horse while sitting on a horse.

If you could get a comedian to replace you, who would you choose?

Oh Jack Dee, I'd love to see him, I think he'd hate every minute of it. That's what we are here for, right?

When you agreed to take part in Taskmaster did you think you'd win?

I never thought I'd win and then we got started and I thought I'm doing quite well at this, then I tailed off.

Where do you think you'll come?

Above Roisin.

Well above Roisin?

I might come 4th out of 5 but still well clear of Roisin.

Really? Are you that pessimistic?

You have met her haven't you?

No, we mean are you that pessimistic about the other three contestants?

Yeah, I think they are all quiet competitive people. Key is more competitive than he'd like to let on.

If you look back now over the tasks, do you think you would change your general approach at all?

I think I've been pretty consistent.

What is your general approach?

Thoughtful, like trying to work out if there is a way you can do it rather than just going in and doing it.

Unlike?

Well I haven't seen anyone else.

But in your mind?

Oh Roisin.

So you would stick with that thoughtful approach, you don't think you dithered too much?

I don't think I dithered too much, the worst words you can read are 'the time starts now'. The tactic I've learnt through the show is that if you glance down it says 'the time starts when you read this' you can kind of stumble on reading the question a few times to buy yourself some time.

Yeah, that didn't go completely un-noticed. We think that shows how competitive you are...

Or how I like to think outside the box. Now looking back I regret ever saying 'the time starts now'.

That would have literally ruined the show.

Yeah but a win is a win at the end of the day mate, you've got to literally grind them out.

How do you think The Taskmaster will judge your efforts? Do you think he's going to be fair?

I think he will be fair. I hope he's pleased with the amount of effort I've put in and that I've taken it seriously. I think as long as he understands this is a serious business and not just some mess around TV show.

You've put everything into it have you?

Not everything, I've still got stuff left in the tank.

Roisin Conaty

Taskmaster. Roisin Conaty. Copyright: Avalon Television.What is Taskmaster?

Well... you know, it's a man.

Good good answer.

It's a man that is also a TV show.

Like Mastermind?

No.

Like Mr Bean?

No.

Mr Ben?

No, Taskmaster is like Taskmaster.

Like nothing else?

Yeah.

If you could get a comedian to replace you who would you choose?

Someone not very good, to make you appreciate me more. I wouldn't get someone who you would go, 'oh good choice'.

Who is the worse comedian?

Well I would never say would I because I'm not that kind of person.

Give us three.

I would get this lady who is really inept, who works in a bakery in Crouch End and I'd pretend she was a comedian and I'd bring her in.

So you'd really screw over the show for the sake of your reputation?

For my ego, yeah.

When you agreed to take part did you think you'd win?

I didn't think I'd lose.

That's quite zen.

That's what they say about me.

So fourth or something like that?

I thought 'you know what, I'm going to be vulnerable, I'm going to put myself out there'. I'd read a book by Brene Brown about vulnerability. I thought by being vulnerable I might win.

How do you feel about Greg as The Taskmaster, is it different to your normal relationship?

No it's very similar really, a lot of bossing around.

Is it normally the other way?

Yeah, yeah. I think he's a good taskmaster, it suits his demeanour.

How do you think The Taskmaster will judge your efforts?

I think harshly, based on previous experience. It depends on what he's eaten, if he's tired, if he's happy in his own life.

What do you think will make him judge it in a fair way, which foods?

If we can get to the point where he judges my tasks not long after a nap and a sandwich we are all doing alright.

Take away that sandwich.

Ah it's going to be all about the rules, all about the flaws.

What if we forced him to eat too much?

I think then he'll just sleep anyway and that's just worse.

Tim Key

Taskmaster. Tim Key. Copyright: Avalon Television.So Tim, in your own words, what is Taskmaster?

It's a show where you go along and you are given tasks which you have to complete as well as you can, or as quickly as you can.

Do you regret taking part in Taskmaster?

No, I enjoyed it.

Have you regretted it? At any point in the process?

Yes, I regretted it once.

If you could get a comedian to replace you who would you choose?

Tuffnell, Phil Tufnell.

Definitely Tuffnell? Just because he has the same sort of vibe as you?

Yeh or maybe someone like Matt Dawson.

How would you like to be remembered?

From Taskmaster? So, the ones where I felt like I really nailed it were the teabag, the highfive and the cooking.

What would you like your legacy to be?

I would like people to imagine me trying to carry 20 kilos of ice down a verge. My idea for that one was to go to the riverbank and throw the ice off but the tide was out.

It's not really a legacy is it?

What does legacy mean?

It's more like money you leave behind to set up a foundation. Would you like to do that?

I'd like to give my fee away to charity.

Will you do that?

I don't think so.

Who do you think is going to win?

Romesh.

Who do you think is going to lose?

Roisin.

Where will you end up?

Second.


Taskmaster is on Dave on Tuesdays at 10pm.

More Taskmaster interviews

Published: Monday 27th July 2015