What a boon has been the latest series of Taskmaster in keeping some of us sane these past few weary weeks. A glorious kind of alchemy pervaded from the very first episode in 2015: five highly personable individuals, of undoubted “celeb” status but staunchly non-sleb in outlook, a pair of sweetly bickering hosts (Greg Davies and Alex Horne) and a phantasmagoria of truly outre tasks, the stuff of cheese-dreams – how this recipe somehow magicked itself into unmissable telly still has the more by-numbers tickbox “creatives” of the industry scratching heads.
There were those who fretted a little that it might not survive its transition from the self-consciously wacky Dave channel. That it has done so, and in spades, is surely half-down to a canny producer’s choice of lineup for this first series on C4: Katherine Parkinson, Richard Herring, Mawaan Rizwan, Johnny Vegas and the phenomenal Daisy May Cooper, who did it all while pregnant. It felt by Thursday’s finale as if we’d known them for years as, if not friends, then the loud (more interesting) table a couple of seats away in the pub, full of disparate characters who could giggle together while disagreeing and competing. As used to happen the minute before social media landed.