Taskmaster: Does Wearing a Special Outfit Help Contestants Win?

From a skeleton jumpsuit to a hardhat and high-vis, we evaluate the winner potential of Taskmaster’s craziest outfits

Phil Wang in a yellow Kill Bill jumpsuit on Taskmaster
Photo: Avalon

At the beginning of every Taskmaster series, the contestants know that they can only wear one outfit for all the task filming, for continuity purposes. So what would you pick? Stepping into the unknown, with all manner of physical and mental trials and tribulations ahead, the sensible bet would be… well, something sensible. 

And yet, series after series, we see contestants don the most ridiculous getup to take them through their Taskmaster journeys, including a dressing gown, a safari suit, and an Evil Knievel helmet. And series 14 is no different: three of the contestants – Munya Chawawa, Fern Brady and Dara O’Briain – are sporting particularly impressive themed jumpsuits.  

The question is: does a special outfit give contestants special powers? The edge over the competition, even? Let’s crunch the numbers.

Tim Key: 1980s-style tracksuit and headband over a shirt and tie (Series 1)

Series rank: fourth

Okay, so we’re off to a bad start. Points-wise, Tim Key did not perform well, but perhaps his outfit did give him the chutzpah to pull off so many dastardly cheats, from falsely claiming he was filming a Comic Relief segment to his sleight of hand with a bath plug. He ended up becoming a consultant on the show after his series finished, so maybe the outfit did help him out after all.

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Mel Giedroyc: personalised boiler suit (Series 4)

Series rank: third

It was clear that Giedroyc meant business with her utility-style boilersuit: not only was it functional, with little zipper pockets to store what we can only imagine would be snacks, it was also personal, complete with name tag and initials. Maybe it was because her boilersuit was so comfy that she was able to perform her memorable – and indeed winning – pseudo-erotic ringtone dance with little Alex Horne. Maybe its functional style is what allowed her to run a stuffed camel through a branch of GAP with only eight seconds to spare. Still didn’t win though.

Noel Fielding: yellow skeleton jumpsuit (Series 4)

Series rank: WON!

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere! If you’d asked people to predict what Noel Fielding’s Taskmaster outfit would be, we reckon ‘fluorescent waterproof skeleton’ would have been one of the top guesses. Maybe being so far in his comfort zone stylistically is what helped Noel romp to victory, or maybe it was because he committed so hard to the tasks that at one point he actually ate some of Alex Horne’s beard. His outfit certainly helped him win one particularly memorable task, where he disguised himself as a banana in a fruit bowl.

Aisling Bea: lime green tuxedo tracksuit (Series 5)

Series rank: fourth

A tuxedo tracksuit is the epitome of smart casual, and made Aisling Bea look like an adorable green penguin, but didn’t seem to help her much with the actual tasks. That said, there’s only twelve points between her series score and that of winner Bob Mortimer, so she put in a solid performance. And the rest of the series 5 cast wore some of the most unremarkable outfits in Taskmaster history, so she must get a bonus point for effort. During the series she tweeted about where she got her outfit from, confirming it’s an Irish company called Traxedo.

Tim Vine: safari suit (Series 6)

Series rank: second

‘What? These are my outdoor clothes,’ Tim explains, standing dressed in an old-timey safari suit with leopard print pockets. Although he came a respectable second place, his outfit actually prevented him from scoring points at one point: while trying to make a plastic bag as heavy as possible (a task measured by hanging it from some scales) he realises he’s misplaced the hook for the scales, and has to rush to create a makeshift one before the time runs out. It goes about as well as you’d expect, and he ends up coming last place, before discovering the hook hanging from his lapels.  

Phil Wang: Bruce Lee yellow bodysuit (Series 7)

Series rank: Last

We’ve recently celebrated Phil Wang as one of the ‘best worst’ Taskmaster contestants, and while perhaps he thought dressing as Bruce Lee in Game of Death (famously paid homage to by Uma Thurman’s ruthless assassin in Kill Bill) might make him deadly competition, it’s clear his somewhat distracting bodysuit didn’t do him any favours in the end. Greg openly admits he’s distracted by it ‘because all I can see is your genitalia’, and the hula-hoop challenge is a particularly harrowing watch.

Lou Sanders: pink and silver jumpsuit (Series 8)

Series rank: WON!

It really shouldn’t have come as any surprise to see Lou Sanders crowned Taskmaster series champion: her jumpsuit literally had the words ‘Taskmaster Winner Series 8’ in sparkly silver letters on the back. She also looked like a cross between a superhero and a Power Ranger, a mighty combo, although in a Reddit interview she confessed the jumpsuit wasn’t quite how she’d wanted it: ‘I had some things I wanted to put on it like ‘Vote labia’ which they said ‘maybe not’ to and a picture of Anika and a pocket of rice (Anneka Rice) but there’s all sorts of regulations regarding people’s faces on TV and stuff.’ Thankfully, the lack of a ‘vote labia’ sign didn’t affect Lou’s performance.

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Paul Sinha: dressing gown and pyjamas (Series 8)

Series rank: Last

On the other end of the series 8 scale we have poor Paul Sinha, so adorably naff despite his best efforts, whose performance really matched his laid back sleepwear attire. Perhaps he was too resigned to his fate from the start – or maybe if he’d had a bit more self-belief and stitched ‘Taskmaster Third Place Series 8’ (because he’s nothing if not a realist) onto the back of his dressing gown it might have done wonders.

Katy Wix: hardhat and high-vis (Series 9)

Series rank: third

She’s fun, she’s safe, and she’s visible. Katy Wix might not have stolen the series nine Taskmaster trophy, but she did steal a Taskmaster trophy, as we discover at the start of episode seven. In fact, in this episode, we see Katy win with one of the highest episode scores of all time (24 points), earning herself a whopping four five-pointers. So maybe playing it safe pays off sometimes after all.

Series 10 cast: Mawaan Rizwan, Daisy May Cooper, Katherine Parkinson, Johnny Vegas

Rank: second, third, fourth, last

It’s like before series 10 aired, the cast started a group chat daring each other to wear a silly outfit, but forgot to add Richard Herring. Mawaan’s NASA-style orange boilersuit trumped Katherine Parkinson’s more traditional offering, whereas Johnny Vegas looked dapper indeed in his Peaky Blinders-style formal suit and pocket watch. 

But it’s Daisy May Cooper’s homemade black-and-gold superhero costume, complete with crown, cape and stickers, that really stole our hearts. During the show she reveals she’s dressed as Achievement Woman, and admits the costume’s stickers keep falling off, but stands by her choice of outfit. Perhaps that’s why she earns second place overall, but on the flip side Richard Herring winning the series as the only contestant not dressed up might be the clearest sign yet that special outfits make no difference.

Lee Mack: Evil Knievel (Series 11)

Series rank: third

Although he didn’t go for the full jumpsuit (now that would have been an outfit!) Lee Mack replicated Evil Knievel’s daredevil style with a leather jacket complete with his signature red, white and blue design and cape. In the promo photo for the series he also had a matching helmet, which unsurprisingly didn’t feature much, but more disappointing was the fact that – because filming took place during a hot summer – the leather jacket is often discarded as well. This left Mack all too often just wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. He did make a further homage to his outfit by choosing a stunt-performing Evil Knievl look for the ‘make a uniform for this bee’ task.

Bridget Christie: Spaghetti Western look (Series 13)

Series rank: third

If series thirteen of Taskmaster taught us anything, it’s that Bridget Christie can really wear a hat. She’s also one of the only contestants to wear a novelty outfit but also look devastatingly chic somehow. In the Taskmaster podcast she revealed she’d styled herself on Lee Van Cleef’s uniform in The Good The Bad and The Ugly, and that’s probably quite a good description of her performance as the show progresses: on episode three she wins with a huge score of 25 points, on episode six she scores nine points, and on episode nine she racks up just seven points. Still, third place isn’t last.

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Taskmaster series 14 continues weekly on Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4 and is available to stream on All 4