Thank goodness for Taskmaster’s New Year Treat, our annual dose of daft mayhem to lift us out of both our NYE hangover and the ‘Christmas is officially over’ doldrums. And to soften the blow of Taskmaster’s particularly funny series 16 ending, they’ve just announced who Taskmaster’s New Year Treat class of 2024 will be.
It’s a quirky but eminently promising line-up: Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden, TV and radio presenter Zoe Ball, wildlife expert Steve Backshall, multiple-MOBO-nominated musician Kojey Radical and award-winning actor and future star of Doctor Who series 14, Lenny Rush.
Let’s learn a bit more about them:
Despite still being pretty early in his career, musician, spoken word poet and mixed media visual artist Kojey Radical has already been nominated for a ton of awards, including MOBOs, Ivor Novellos and a BRIT. It’s easy to see why – his music covers complex socio-political issues with an effortless lyricism. Away from music, he’s also appeared on the Big Narstie Show and features in a particularly good episode of Chicken Shop Date, the YouTube series by Amelia Demoldenberg, one of last year’s New Year Treat contestants.
Fans of Dragon’s Den will be well acquainted with entrepreneur Deborah Meaden’s no-nonsense style, so we’re already worried for Little Alex Horne. Still, her stint on Strictly proved she doesn’t take herself all that seriously, as her self-spoofing tango to “Money, Money, Money” and her memorable appearance on the brilliant Murder in Successville proves.
He might only be 14 years old, but Lenny Rush has already won a BAFTA for his performance in former Taskmaster alumni Daisy May Cooper’s comedy Am I Being Unreasonable? He’s got seriously funny bones, so he should be a hoot on Taskmaster, and we’ll also be seeing him in series 14 of Doctor Who later in the year.
Zoe Ball has been a regular fixture both on our screens and in our ears (or, to put it in a less weird way, on the radio) since the early nineties. Her early work on wacky Saturday morning kids’ TV show Live & Kicking showed she’s well able to hold her own under pressure, and a successful stint on Strictly showed she’s nimble on her feet too. She went on to be the face of Strictly companion show It Takes Two for a decade until 2021, and she currently presents BBC Radio 2’s flagship breakfast show. As the clip above shows, she’s well game for a laugh, so she should be an excellent Taskmaster pick.
He might be mild-mannered and adorably enthusiastic, but wildlife expert Steve Backshall is double-hard: he’s been bitten by a wolf, quite literally tortured by bullet ants, and broken the Guiness World Record for kayaking the Thames. So whatever challenges Taskmaster sets will probably feel like a spa retreat on a fluffy cloud.
Taskmaster’s New Year Treat returns at 9pm on New Year’s Day on Channel 4