Review: Taskmaster (Series 10)

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Series 10 of Taskmaster puts five more celebrities through side-splitting moments in the first tasks hosted by Channel 4.

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Everyone had a show they binged incessantly during the national lockdowns. For some, Strictly Come Dancing. Others, I’m a Celebrity. Me? Taskmaster. Series 10 of this delightful challenge-based show premiered during a surprise jump from Dave to Channel 4, but that didn’t stop the chaos and shenanigans unfolding. If anything, it has just enabled it even more.

Of course with five varying celebrities completing tasks from the simple to the outright bizarre, you’re bound to get your mood lifted and sides hurting from laughing at their antics. From trying to carry glasses across an obstacle course of their own design (whilst holding an overly sized teddy at all times) to the return of the quest to do something with £20 or even guessing how many sheets are in a roll of toilet paper, there were moments where I was laughing so hard I was in tears. After a year as upturning as 2020, Taskmaster provided the humour we all needed to cheer ourselves up. And as someone who participated in some of the #HomeTasking challenges, I can understand how in the heat of the moment your mind goes blank as you try to be stylish both in your motives but also in your bid to win.

Greg Davies and Alex Horne are back to see the show into a double-digits series, and their humour is the staple of the show’s hosting and presenting prowess. Their banter punctuating each task and reviewing contestants’ attempts is witty and sarcastic and Greg’s status as The Taskmaster is still undisputed. After 10 series you couldn’t imagine anyone else trying to sit in that chair.

The set-up of the in-studio pieces of Taskmaster were tweaked due to COVID restrictions, although most of the pre-recorded tasks had been completed by that time. Having removed the studio audience (Greg instead just quipping how it was instead because he didn’t like them, in his typical cynical humour), some of the vivid action of in-person tasks at the end of each show feel a little bit lackluster, but they give it a go nonetheless. Some of my favourite parts of previous editions of the show are when the cast get the audience to help them out, so it’s sad to see it missing – but safety must come first.

Likewise, the five contestants were socially distanced on the studio floor, which made for some awkwardness – both in camera angles and feel. The lack of uproar and laughter made it feel off somehow, but as the series progressed I became accustomed to it. As with the team tasks at the end of episodes, they find a workaround to keep it fun and engaging while still abiding by socially distancing the interactions. The show itself even saw some firsts for Taskmaster including an infamous incident where all five were disqualified from a task for their spectacular failures. And on the flip side, series 10 also saw the first time all five contestants ended an episode with each in double digits, and the first time the series’ winner has won both the first and last episodes.

The ultimate winner of the series, of course, must be named. And while Daisy May Cooper put up a spectacular effort (despite being visibly pregnant throughout the studio tasks!) she only managed second place. The winner of Series 10 was Richard Herring with a lead of 4 points on Cooper; Herring even set a record of episodes won, with half of the ten episodes under his belt. And the others certainly did not make it easy for him, with three tie breakers throughout the show (including one he lost to Katherine Parkinson’s only win).

An honourable mention must also go to the New Year Treat special released over the holiday period, with another five (including Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan and Rylan Clark-Neal) which compacts the full chaos of a new team into one short piece. It’s a wonderful taster for the second “Champions of Champions” and series 11 which are both going to be coming in the new year.

I’m glad that the spirit of the show never got lost in the move from Dave to Channel 4 as happens so often with shows as they switch networks. And with more Taskmaster on its way, then I cannot wait to see what chaos is unleashed in the future.

Taskmaster is available on All 4 in the UK. You can watch a teaser below!

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Second-year archaeology & history student and Culture Editor 2019/20. Loves archery and Assassin's Creed, and still hoping to one day find the doorway to Narnia.

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