TV Review: Taskmaster, C4

Video: Taskmaster Outtake – Greg Davies Flips

Yes, that's right, in case you hadn't noticed (and in which case where have you been?), Taskmaster is now on C4 instead of Dave. But as the hosts Greg Davies and Alex Horne made clear from the outset of the debut on the new channel, little else has changed, apart from the fact that this was recorded under Covid conditions – "I don't like being near members of the public," quipped Davies.

It is still five funny people doing ludicrous tasks while the Taskmaster passes judgement and awards points. Oh, and the winner get Davies' head cast in solid gold. Yeah, right. 

And do you know what, if it ain't broke don't fix it. So they didn't and it is still as funny, inspired and daft as ever in its tenth series. The contestants this time are as strong as any past quintet – Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson (and not Amanda Abbington who she resembles), Mawaan Rizwan and Richard Herring.

The fiendish first task set the scene - all they had to do was knock a coconut off a pole. And then transport some drinks without spilling a drop. While carrying teddy bears of varying sizes. Lateral thinking won the day. Nobody said you had to use the provided balls to knock the coconut off. And while you weren't allowed to walk on the grass, no rule said you couldn't tippy toe run, which Katherine Parkinson did to great effect.

Elsewhere the inventive fivesome came up with similarly brilliant ways to make the largest 'thing' in a room vanish. No trick editing was allowed, but there was plenty of trickery otherwise, with Richard Herring making Alex Horne disappear using a mirror and Mawaan Rizwan making a cow vanish with the magic of perspective.

But perhaps the most thrilling moment was watching everyone attempt try to land an egg on a frying pan on a raised platform from a high walkway a significant distance away using boxes of random props. Most of the contestants used helium-filled balloons to float the eggs over the pan. Rizwan went further and tried to fill an egg with helium. It didn't work. Amazingly seven months pregnant Daisy May Cooper managed to land her balloons carrying an egg on the pan and did a dance of victory, only for ruthless referee Alex Horne to spot that the egg wasn't actually in the pan. Harsh, but Daisy did at least get a bonus point for being closest.

In fact the whole episode was pretty close. As it came to the final studio game – the only game where the competitors are in the same place at the same time, everything else is pre-filmed separately – anyone could have won. All they had to do was get the most balls of the same colour from a bucket on their back into a bucket on the floor. While four of them helped each other out Richard Herring quietly flew solo, trounced everyone, and topped the table.

First episode, as thoroughly entertaining as ever. Victory for Herring. And, I expect, victory for Channel 4. Just don't try filling an egg with helium at home. 

Thursdays on C4, yes, C4, at 9pm and on catch-up.


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