TV: Taskmaster, Dave

Never mind the new competitors this time round, what about the new face-fuzz on Greg Davies? The towering presenter is either nurturing designer stubble, belatedly growing a hipster beard or has just been too busy to shave for the first episode of the new series of Taskmaster. But actually that’s the only real change for this fourth run of the game show which truly brings out the competitive side of comedians.

The line-up is a starry one. As well as former Bake Off presenter Mel Giedroyc and future Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding, there is Hugh Dennis, Joe Lycett and Lolly Adefope. It’s good to see two women there and not just a token one. Their first task is to bring along as vegetable signed by a famous person. Full marks for Adefope bringing an autographed Black Eyed Peas CD in a bowl of black eyed peas – full marks from me that is, the judges chose another winner.

It is probably complete coincidence (Fielding’s new job may not have been confirmed at the time of filming) but the very first full challenge involved pastry. The quintet had to destroy a dessert in the most beautiful way possible. Dennis was so meticulous with his knife he seemed like a serial killer, Lycett used fireworks, Fielding stuck his cake in a washing machine. Giedroyc rushed her destruction a bit - she has probably had enough of cakes to last a lifetime.

Next up they all had to paint a portrait of a woman without seeing her. Most of them asked questions to get clues, while Hugh Dennis fiendishly used a mirror - a philosophical/semantic debate ensued with co-presenter Alex Horne as to whether seeing an image was the same as seeing the subject. Either way he didn’t win. Noel Fielding’s art school background stood him in good stead - at least his picture looked like a woman, unlike Mel’s unruly doodle. 

The final location task was knocking toy ducks off a wall. I won’t say how they did it just in case you haven’t seen the programme yet (it was on UKTV Play before transmission, hence this early review) but it was interesting to see that they almost all came up with variations on the same extremely aggressive theme. I particularly liked the way Alex Horne quietly glared at them while they worked things out, a little like Karen Brady does in the Apprentice.

Finally back in the studio everyone had to compete to extract the most juice from a fruit. With unlikely implements, some blindfold, some with one arm. You’d be amazed at how much lime juice you can extract with a shoe. Almost as amazed as you’ll be about how seriously the competitors take their challenges. I won't say who won in case you haven't watched yet. Needless to say I wouldn’t even play tiddlywinks with any of this bunch. 

Read interviews with the latest cast here.

Tuesdays from April 25, 9pm, Dave.

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