7 Questions with… Taskmaster’s Greg Davies & Alex Horne: 'We see a different side, we find parts of their personality that are lurking'
Greg Davies and Alex Horne tease what fans can expect now the show's on Channel 4, look back at the most surprising contestants and reveal why Greg would happily get a new co-host.
Hosts Greg Davies and Alex Horne take their hit show, which started at the Edinburgh Festival, to Channel 4 this week with a new line-up of comics willing to embarrass themselves for our amusement.
This Country’s Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Richard Herring, Mawaan Rizwan and Katherine Parkinson are the lucky five, who will be tackling the most awkward, unusual and baffling challenges in order to win points and claim the highly coveted prize of Taskmaster champion.
We caught up with Greg and Alex to find out what fans can expect from series 10…
1. You've moved from Dave to Channel 4. Where are you spending the big bucks?
Alex Horne: That’s a very good point.
Greg Davies: I’ve had an extension on my house. And you know how eccentrics sometimes convert a sofa into a car that they can drive, I’ve had one of my sofas turned into a car. And I’ve driven over Westminster Bridge.
Alex: We see the sofa in one of the episodes, but just in the background.
Greg: Do you actually want me to tell you what I spent my money? Or do you want us to say how this money has been spent for Channel 4.
Alex: I’ve invested in my children’s future… But in terms of the show, reassuringly, you won’t see any extra money on screen. Because we didn’t want to change the show.
We haven’t moved to a bigger house or anything. But there is a massive cow in the Taskmaster garden now.
Greg: That’s a good answer. We bought a fibreglass cow.
Alex: And you can put real milk in it.
2. Have you ever been tempted to change the format?
Alex: After the first series, we thought we might lose the prize task at the beginning, but people said it was pretty funny. And since that conversation, we’ve not changed it once.
We have thought about having it with non-comics. That’s still being talked about. We think that might be fun. That might happen one day.
Greg: It was a very deliberate decision not to change it. When we moved channels, it was a conscious decision to not alter it at all. The people who have watched it for nine series, we don’t want to disappoint them by giving them a show they don’t recognise anymore.
Alex: Because on every single show the tasks are different, it feels like every episode is different anyway. We meddle with it enough. We never repeat a game. Most TV shows have the same challenges every single time. So if we started meddling with the format, it would be a different show.
3. Is there any part of either of you that is disappointed you can’t be a contestant?
Greg: Not one cell in my body wants to do that.
Alex: And there’s a lot of cells in that body. That’s a high percentage of cells.
Greg: And I’ll put it out there now, I won’t even do it for charity.
I’ll put it out there now, I won’t even do it for charity
- Greg Davies
Alex: Whereas I would love to do it, but nobody has ever put it out there as an option.
What I wouldn’t ever want is Greg’s job. He actually makes me the judge in one task in this series and I hated it.
Greg: I did it to teach him a lesson.
Alex: And the lesson was learned.
4. What can you reveal about this year’s contestants? Who is useless? Who is over-competitive?
Greg: Herring is surprisingly competitive.
Alex: He’s in it to win it. As ever, no one is amazing at all the tasks and no one is useless at all the tasks.
Greg: There is always a gulf between someone who is very competitive and their actual ability. Herring being the case in point.
Alex: I think you might expect Katherine Parkinson to be a fully functioning human. But she lets herself down more than anyone. That’s really good.
Greg: But she does it very gracefully.
5. Which contestant has surprised you the most over the years?
Greg: I think we see a different side to everyone. However well you know someone and how you think they will respond, you are always mistaken. They are as well. They find parts of their personality that are lurking.
Alex: Paul Chowdhry was one of the most surprising people we’ve ever had.
Greg: But I expected Paul to be surprising. So he delivered in that regard. He was absolutely fascinating. Liza Tarbuck really surprised me. I didn’t really know her before, but her honesty was very refreshing. If she thought a task was beneath her, she simply didn’t take part in it beyond a point. I enjoyed that honesty.
6. There have been lots of controversial decisions. Do you have any major regrets from previous series?
Greg: Yes, I’ve got multiple regrets, where with the wisdom of hindsight, my judgements were far from fair.
But when you’re in the eye of the storm, when you’re in the heat of the battle, even of the greatest of generals have made a mistake. I’m not sure whether I should compare myself with illustrious military leaders of the past… but, I am.
It’s important we take it seriously. And when you’re doing it, it really does feel like a bubble and it’s your life now. I am the judge of these people’s efforts. One thing I can’t be accused of is not taking it seriously, because I really agonise over it.
Obviously, when I get home, I reset and couldn’t care less. But when you’re in the room, you do feel a responsibility to get it right. And I frequently haven’t.
7. Bake Off changed its line-up when it moved to Channel 4. Would you have carried on if one of you decided to leave?
Alex: You would have gone on without me, is that what you’re saying?
Greg: In a heartbeat.
Alex: I would have been out if anything had happened to you.
Greg: It’s good that we’re different isn’t it. As far as I’m concerned, you could drop in anyone. Name any person with a TV profile now and I would drop them in, no profile. Name the first person that comes into your head now.
BT.com: Kym Marsh
Greg: There you go, bam. Straight in.
Alex: Actually, I would watch that.
Greg: Are you telling me, we’d lose viewers if you were replaced by Kym Marsh. No way. We wouldn’t lose a single viewer.
Alex: If she the one from Coronation Street, who used to be a pop singer? I’d love to see that.
Greg: If you’re out there Kym… call me.
Watch Taskmaster on Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4.
Series 1-9 are available to binge now on All 4.