Top Taskmaster Candidates – Paste


The UK and Ireland have recently produced a steady stream of high quality TV programs. If we are in another golden age of television, we owe a lot to this lot. While sitcoms and dramas have attracted more overseas fans in recent years, the panel remains the flagship genre on British television. As Fat fat quiz and 8 out of 10 cats are counting down, Tyrant gone from a little-known gem to a water cooler show with many Americans finding out via YouTube during the lockdown.

The basic format is as follows: five actors / animators are responsible for taking up small challenges around the Tyrant property, a modest house and a courtyard with a tool shed and a caravan. They can use anything they find on the property, unless the task’s rules explicitly prohibit it to accomplish it. The tasks are reminiscent of a party ride or summer camp activity, ranging from installing a stuffed camel across the smallest space, designing the most remarkable shot, building the tallest tower with from cardboard boxes in the middle of the woods, to painting a rainbow in the correct order of colors inside a room in total black. Some challenges are fairly straightforward while others work like a puzzle.

Each episode features cast and presenters Greg Davies and Alex Horne viewing footage of each task in front of a studio audience with Davies (the Taskmaster) awarding points to each member based on their performance. Scoring is based on timing, creativity and respect for the brief. The most entertaining contestants are either deviously clever or hilariously inept. As the show ends on its 12th cms
this fall, we take a look back at some of the best competitors in Tyrant the story.

Our Pastry shop queen, Mel Giedroyc is no stranger to the industrial complex of the panel show. She’s a bright light on every show she presents, bringing the right amount of silliness and enthusiasm to the program. Like many contestants, watching the often distraught Giedroyc go through her thought process aloud provides many of the episode’s more comedic moments.

Memorable task: Camouflage yourself.


Nish represents one of the main archetypes of the series: the eternally exasperated. More entertaining than cunning, Kumar is often deliciously baffled by his obstacles and regularly yells out curses, namely the hilarious childish cry, “ah, piss and shit!” Part of Kumar’s fun is watching him react to his own pitiful performances in the studio, sometimes learning that he overlooked a key element that would have saved him from rage.

Memorable task: Light the candle in the caravan.


Most Americans will probably recognize Phillips for his role as Prime Minister of Finland Minna Häkkinen the Veep. Rather silent, it is a very modest competitor who seems to come out of nowhere to impress the Taskmaster. She is almost always the last shown during rounds, a place reserved for the brightest or most dismal performance. Philips is the first, either by getting the job done perfectly as if nothing had happened or by finding a particularly clever solution. She inspires a truly significant impostor syndrome.

Memorable task: Remove the table tennis ball from the hose.


Gilbert is the king of “technically That matters. ”Unlike Philips, Gilbert’s prowess in the series is often the subject of debate. He’s a devious bastard who takes challenges completely in his element. He never fails to surprise like one of the contestants. The most unpredictable and ingenious in the history of the series. Gilbert seems the most playful of all actors and clearly enjoys finding unique ways of interpreting the rules, which makes him so captivating to watch. His satsuma in one sock won was bullshit, which brings us to our next guy …

Memorable task: Don’t blink.


Acaster is always a welcome sight. His performance on Tyrant are a mix of aimless mess and winning spins. The comedian is more endearing for his humor than his problem-solving skills, in large part because of his apparent contempt for the show he signed up for. Watching him chase Davies and other contestants, like Gilbert, produced some of the show’s best moments.

Memorable task: Bring the most confusing price.


The Starstruck the star is also charming and funny on Tyrant as you might expect. The New Zealander is a rather skillful performer who really shines on more theatrical tasks. Like a good stand-up, she provides a lot of fun and witty banter with Davies and the rest of the team. It is impossible not to take root for her.

Memorable task: Makes part of your body look unusually long.


Olivia Cathcart is an actress and writer.


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