It’s certainly a good time to be a Taskmaster fan. Series 15 had one of the best casts yet, becoming an instant fan favourite (and making the top 5 of our series ranking), and series 16 has a seriously promising line-up. Channel 4 has confirmed we’re getting at least six more series of Taskmaster-y goodness over the next three years, and the show is even getting its first spin-off: Junior Taskmaster, fronted by former Taskmaster alumni Rose Matafeo and Mike Wozniak.
Now that Junior Taskmaster is confirmed, there’s been a rumour that there’s a second spin-off on the way: the culinary-themed Foodmaster. If rumours in The Sun are true (!), there’s a pilot in the works already for this foodie version of the show, but Greg Davies and Alex Horne aren’t on the menu.
What if this is true and – more importantly – what if this is just the start? What if there’s a deal in the offing for a full-on Taskmaster Cinematic Universe, placing us unwittingly at the Iron Man/”Phase one” end of the scale, with an exponentially expanding franchise of Taskmaster-themed TV franchises stretching to the horizon – or even Alex Horne’s 50th birthday party – and beyond?
The demise of The X-Factor has left a singing-competition-shaped hole that it is surely in the public interest to fill, and come on, guys: the name Choirmaster is right there! It’s not like Taskmaster doesn’t have form when it comes to musical masterpieces, from Doc Brown’s hip-hop version of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive and Nish Kumar and Mark Watson’s legendary I’m Always Seeing You (Do Cool Stuff), which frankly should have topped the charts already. To avoid the controversies around public votes, Choirmaster would choose its winner by awarding 5 points to whoever makes Simon Cowell say “I didn’t like it… I LOVED IT” the most convincingly.
For legal purposes, we’d like to point out this series has nothing whatsoever to do with fitness equipment, climbing or otherwise, and anyway you can’t prove anything. Right, now that’s over with, let us introduce Staremaster, which is of course a good old-fashioned staring competition. We’ve already seen how successful the format could be on TV thanks to surreal BBC comedy Big Train, and we can’t wait to see the StareCam in action, as celebrities like Joe Pasquale and Anthea Turner battle it out to see who can channel their inner S. Spatsky:
Everyone knows (definitely us included) that Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain aside from World Champion, and The Queen’s Gambit has already shown us how dramatic and sexy chess is on screen, so this one’s an easy win for the Taskmaster franchise. Of course, it wouldn’t be Taskmaster without a fun twist, so Grandmaster will give contestants an actual grand (that’s £1,000 for those not down with the lingo) and 1,000 minutes to become as good at chess as they can be, and then they’ll have 1,000 seconds to beat a Chess Computer set to level 1,000. Hang on, we’re actually considering pitching this to Channel 4…
Like all that stuff with the chess, only it’s DJing.
The theme of this spin-off is…. you guessed it: heads. Buffy star and former fictional headmaster/bat-like alien on Doctor Who Anthony Head would host, and contestants would undertake tasks like “Fit your head in the smallest gap”, “Cover your head with the most bees” and “Make the best hat out of this full English breakfast”. We can already taste the BAFTAs…
Contestants get points for writing and performing the most inspiring speech about bread. Everyone loves bread, so this is a sure-fire hit, and bread’s international popularity also bodes well for European spin-offs like Focacciamaster and… Painmaster (working title).
We haven’t had a Postmaster General since 1969, but these days political nostalgia seems to be all the rage, what with all the strikes, risk of electricity shortages and skyrocketing inflation, so what better time to hold a TV competition to bring the role back? We could decide the winner based on letter-themed tasks like “Write the sauciest love letter to Greg Davies”, “lick the most stamps” and “knit the most extravagant postbox topper”. The old Postmaster General used to be in charge of electric telegraphs too – what the heck, let’s bring them back as well! They can be used to deliver the tasks. INVENT AN EFFICIENT NATIONWIDE POSTAL SYSTEM –(STOP)– YOU HAVE TWENTY MINUTES –(STOP)– YOUR TIME STARTS NOW –(STOP)–
Taskmaster returns to Channel 4 later in 2023