wed 21/10/2020

Taskmaster, Channel 4 review - comedy show makes seamless transfer | reviews, news & interviews

Taskmaster, Channel 4 review - comedy show makes seamless transfer

Taskmaster, Channel 4 review - comedy show makes seamless transfer

Still utterly daft and joyous

Greg Davies and Alex Horne (centre) oversee the 10th series of Taskmaster

After nine successful series, a Bafta and an Emmy nomination, Taskmaster has moved from Dave to Channel 4 – amusingly, the broadcaster that its creator Alex Horne first took it to but which turned it down.

After nine successful series, a Bafta and an Emmy nomination, Taskmaster has moved from Dave to Channel 4 – amusingly, the broadcaster that its creator Alex Horne first took it to but which turned it down. It has made the transition seamlessly – ie, without changing a thing – and is still utterly daft and a joy to watch. But then, when you have a great concept that's well executed, why muck around with it?

For the uninitiated: in each series a different group of five comics or comedy actors solve a succession of parlour-game tasks, using just silly props and their ingenuity, against the clock. It often goes disastrously wrong, of course, and there's much pleasure to be had watching otherwise intelligent people missing a really obvious solution or, more sadistically, a very competitive comic getting their comeuppance as inanimate objects take their revenge.

It's filmed at a house with a large back garden and a props-filled shed, and Taskmaster Greg Davies awards points – often based more on how much he likes the participants' planning rather than the execution. At the end of the 10-part series, whoever has the most points overall is crowned champion.

Back in the studio where the participants gather after the tasks are completed, Davies, sitting imperiously on his throne-like chair, is assisted by Horne, with whom he has an archly comic boss-sidekick relationship. Davies flings out the insults to Horne and the contestants with vigour.

This series' line-up is comedy actor Katherine Parkinson, stand-ups Johnny Vegas and Richard Herring, comic and film-maker Mawaan Rizwan and, last but not least, Daisy May Cooper.

This Country's co-creator has fashioned herself a special superhero outfit – Achievement Woman – which is very fetching; but as Davies joked after one task went disastrously wrong for her: “It's amazing how Achievement Woman can so quickly be made to look like Drunk Woman in Magaluf.”

Actually Cooper – who was seven months pregnant when filming took place earlier this year – proved herself to be a serious contestant but a delightful giggler when the participants gathered in the studio (with, for this series only, we hope, no audience allowed).

Parkinson showed early signs of being this series' duffer, in one task failing for several minutes to spot the frying pan into which she was required to deposit some eggs from a distance (without throwing them), using just the props provided – which included helium balloons, surgical tube bandages and guttering pipes.

Vegas was outwitted by the balloons, while Rizwan showed the episode's best lateral thinking in the “making something vanish” task. Herring, who steadily worked his way through each task, won the opening episode and already looks to be a contender for the champion's title.

Actually Cooper proved herself to be a serious contestant but a delightful giggler

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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