Has Taskmaster Finally Bagged Jack Dee As a Contestant?

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, or maybe little Alex Horne just teased the Taskmaster series 17 line-up might finally contain his dream contestant…

Alex Horne in Taskmaster
Photo: Avalon

Okay, nobody panic, but we think we might be onto something… we think comedian Jack Dee might be in Taskmaster series 17. And it’s about flippin’ time.

You see, quite predictably, Alex Horne has been asked many times over the years who his dream Taskmaster contestant is – and he’s been blissfully, almost eerily, consistent. 

It’s Jack Dee. Yep, again, Jack Dee. Dream Taskmaster contestant is definitely Jack Dee. He really couldn’t make it any clearer: he wants Jack Dee on the show. 

Even as recently as this March, when The Express asked him, he said:

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“Jack Dee, and I say this anytime anyone asks me this question. I think it’s the only way to persuade him to do it. So, Jack Dee, if you’re listening, please do the show.”

And then, yesterday, Taskmaster released a video Q&A with Alex Horne on YouTube:

Skip to five minutes in, and he’s asked

“Is there anyone you would want desperately on the show but know you’d never get?”

And for the first time, Horne’s answer ISN’T JACK DEE! In fact, it’s The Outlaw’s Stephen Merchant. Here’s his answer in full:

“I’m going to say Stephen Merchant. I desperately want Stephen Merchant on the show. I don’t know that we’d never get him. But he’s busy. But I feel like he’s tangible, he’s within reach. I desperately want him.”

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Not even a whisper of Jack Dee in that answer. Hmmm. INTERESTING.

So why the sudden swerve to Merchant? It feels like there’s three options here:

  1. Jack Dee RSVPd no to Alex Horne’s 50th birthday party, and now he doesn’t like him any more
  1. Jack Dee got so sick of being asked he got a restraining order against Alex Horne, or just sorted the issue the old-fashioned way by calling him up and screaming “LISTEN HORNE, I’M NEVER DOING YOUR STUPID SHOW, SO SHUT UP ABOUT IT OR I’LL SMASH YOUR LITTLE FACE IN”
  2. (And we like this one the best) Jack Dee finally relented, and he’s going to be on the next series of Taskmaster!

It would actually make quite a lot of sense. Recent Taskmaster series have seen some surprising stalwarts of British comedy take part in the show, like Julian Clary in the current series, and Frankie Boyle in series 15 (who happens to have been one of Greg Davies’ dream contestants. His other one is – for reasons which remain unclear – talk show host and theatrical artist Lorraine Kelly). Jack Dee is certainly of a similar calibre of comedian, and would be an ideal fit for the “grumpy Dad” that seems to feature in each line-up.

It’s not even like Dee himself has ever ruled it out – in fact, Alex Horne himself revealed Dee once “gave a hint that he might do it one day.” 

So was this Horne’s sneaky way of hinting to the superfans that Dee will finally be on the Taskmaster line-up next series? Thankfully, we won’t have long to wait – the show usually reveals the next series’ contestants just after the finale episode of the current series has aired, and that looks set to happen on Thursday 23rd November.

But maybe, just maybe, you’ve heard it here first.

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Taskmaster airs weekly on Channel 4 at 9pm on Thursdays