Taskmaster Series 18 Line-Up Revealed (Incl. Alex Horne’s Dream Comedian Jack Dee!)

Babatunde Aléshé, Rosie Jones and more are taking on the Taskmaster next time.

Andy Zaltzman, Babatunde Aleshe, Emma Sidi, Jack Dee, Rosie Jones in Taskmaster Series 18
Photo: Avalon/Channel 4

Where does the time go? It feels like only yesterday that Taskmaster’s series 17 contestants first appeared in the studio, shakily establishing their pecking order, testing out their rudeness vs sucking-up strategy when it came to Lord Greg Davies, and shifting nervously in their seats as they wondered which of their psychological breakdowns had made the edit. Now, they’ve all grown-up and left home, leaving five empty chairs waiting for the next set of bums to warm them.

Those bums, and the comedians attached to them, have now been officially announced. Competing for the head of the Taskmaster in series 18 will be: Andy Zaltzman, Babatunde Aléshé, Emma Sidi, Jack Dee and Rosie Jones.

Here’s a little bit of info about each of them.

Andy Zaltzman

BBC Radio 4 satirist, stand-up and co-host of The Bugle podcast, Andy Zaltzman is a political comedian and cricket obsessive whose interest in statistics may even outstrip that of Little Alex Horne. Zaltzman has hosted BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz since 2020, following in the footsteps of Sandi Toksvig and Miles Jupp (surely both names we can expect to see on future Taskmaster line-ups). He’s a frequent collaborator with The Daily Show’s John Oliver, his former co-host of The Bugle, and a huge fan of tortuous puns.

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Babatunde Aléshé

Stand-up and actor Babatunde Aléshé is a rising star on his way to becoming a household name in British comedy. He’s also well-known for his appearances alongside fellow comic Mo Gilligan on Celebrity Gogglebox, and for having appeared the cast of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and on a huge range of panel and quiz shows and podcasts including Richard Osman’s House of Games and Off Menu.

Emma Sidi

Fans of (Taskmaster Junior host) Rose Matafeo’s Starstruck will know and love Emma Sidi for playing Kate, Jessie’s uptight flatmate and best friend in the BBC Three sitcom. Sketch comedian and actor Sidi has also appeared in Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats and had a lead role in influencer comedy Pls Like, as well making appearances in loads of other great comedy shows including W1A and BBC Radio 4 drama Curious Under the Stars.

Jack Dee

What finally broke him? For years, Alex Horne has been telling anyone who’ll listen that famous stand-up Jack Dee would be his dream contestant on Taskmaster, but with every new series, no big D…until now. What finally convinced Dee to take the plunge? Perhaps it was the recent involvement fellow big names who convinced him – seeing the casual glee with which Julian Clary ruthlessly mocked Horne, the general f***-it-all-offness of Jo Brand, or how Dara Ó Briain stormed his way to winning every point on offer? Either way, Britain’s best-loved comedy grump is doing the show.

And now, incidentally, Horne has come up with a new “dream contestant” with whom to answer that question – Mr Stephen Merchant.

Rosie Jones

Stand-up, actor, documentary maker, screenwriter, children’s author, disability rights activist and general mischief-maker Rosie Jones is a familiar face on Channel 4. You may have seen her stand-up live at Edinburgh or on tour, or on screen on Live at the Apollo, The Jonathan Ross Show and more, as well as appearances on loads of panel and comedy chat shows from The Last Leg to Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back. As an actor, she’s appeared on Silent Witness, Casualty and Call the Midwife, she wrote for Netflix’s Sex Education, and as part of an assisted-wheelchair team pushed by past Taskmaster comedian Ivo Graham, completed the London Marathon in 2024.

Taskmaster series 18 is expected to air on Channel 4 in September 2024.

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