Taskmaster is chaotic enough as it is – that’s why we love it so much – so can you imagine the kinds of unbroadcastable mayhem that occurs during filming?
Well, you don’t need to imagine, because we’ve rounded up a wild array of anecdotes from former contestants podcast interviews, the Taskmaster book and Little Alex Horne himself about all kinds of secret shenanigans that occurred but didn’t (and mostly couldn’t) make the cut:
Task Attempts Nixed For Legal Reasons
The producers certainly have their hands full trying to prevent the contestants from going overboard (those comedians are drawn to the Taskmaster House roof like iron filings to a magnet, but just aren’t allowed), with some attempts at tasks being either illegal or simply unbroadcastable.
Mark Watson also revealed that one unaired task in series 5 – in which contestants had to make five far-fetched predictions come true – was cut because Sally Phillips predicted something “legally compromising.” We’d love to know what that was…
In Doc Brown’s episode of the Taskmaster podcast, he explained that his original attempt at the “impress the mayor” task in series two involved him getting “rough-looking youths” to rush the mayor, allowing Doc to swoop in and save him. This became another attempt that was forbidden by the production team for legal reasons.
Sometimes The Producers Intervene for Other Reasons…
Other acts have been disallowed for fear of offence rather than simply being illegal, such as Ed Gamble’s submission of LaserDiscs of Kevin Spacey movies for the “most defunct thing” Prize Task.
And in a Reddit Q&A, Lou Sanders described the production team’s various issues with her proposed Taskmaster outfit:
“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.”
The Hopeless Bubble Wrap Challenge & More
In the show’s first book, Taskmaster: 200 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People, Alex Horne reveals that in series one and three they asked contestants to pop all the bubbles in a five-metre roll of bubble wrap as quickly as possible.
While “Tim Key found a large garden roller” and “Josh Widdicombe… wielded a knife,” their attempts – live everyone else’s – ended up seeing them spend over 20 minutes simply popping all the bubbles by hand – which was deemed too dull to show on TV.
According to the book and various guests on the Taskmaster podcast, other unaired tasks included “describe things in another language” (series 9), “make some art out of the Taskmaster house” (series 14 – Fern Brady put Nutella on a clock), and “represent the planets using fruit” in series 4, which Alex Horne explained the contestants were so good at that it became “more like a demonstration for a kids’ TV show than a challenging test of wit and skill”.
Unaired Tasks We’ve Got Footage Of
In series five, the “make a concrete flag base” task wasn’t aired simply because the attempts were all so rubbish:
In series six, contestants were asked to “make a life-enhancing instructional vlog”. We don’t know why it didn’t air, but it’s hilarious so it should have done:
Series 7 saw the show’s 50th episode, which also led to this bonus “write a poem about the Taskmaster” task, which was never aired but did get shown to the studio audience:
Another task that was attempted on multiple series (11, 12 and 13) but never aired except as a tiebreaker between Ardal O’Hanlon and Chris Ramsey on series 13) was to turn over the most beer mats. The footage was later released on YouTube to celebrate the Taskmaster account getting 1 million subscribers:
Taskmaster airs on Thursdays on Channel 4 and is available to stream afterwards on Channel 4 online.