The Taskmaster book, in front of the trademark curtains of the television show.

Five tasks to complete from Taskmaster, now that you can socialise again

With the series back on television, and the great outdoors at your mercy, we’ve extracted a handful of tasks from Taskmaster: 220 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People to complete alone or with mates. Your time starts now.

Alex Horne

A fundamental aspect of Taskmaster is that the contestants must leave their comfort zone and enter The Taskmaster’s comfort zone. And The Taskmaster has a very different idea of comfort to most people. His involves an all-white laboratory entirely covered by plastic sheeting, and an infinite number of pictures of Himself.

As the one hand-picked like a raspberry by The Taskmaster to ensure His tasks are accomplished without too much faff, I do try to make sure the contestants adjust quickly. As well as providing milk, sandwiches and cuddles, this involves giving them a warm-up task to help them settle down. As soon as you walk into the room and open up a task, the time starts. It has proved to be disconcerting. So the following tasks should help you bed in.

If you are intent on hosting your own Taskmaster event, feel free to use these to warm your taskers up. Or just give them the right sort of food and drink.

You must DO these tasks. There’s no point just reading them and imagining doing them.

Crucially, though, you must DO these tasks. There’s no point just reading them and imagining doing them. That’d be like playing football without a ball: a waste of time. I wish Greg would just buy me a ball.

So read them, yes, in your head or, even better, out loud. As loud as you dare. Then DO them, as best as you possibly can. And don’t hang around, either. It doesn’t matter where you are (for most of them – some do involve you having things like a toaster handy), have a go as soon as you read them. That’s the sort of attitude we need in life. Good luck. I believe in you (i.e. I think you exist).


A pen or pencil and a blindfold, if you don’t trust yourself.
With your eyes shut, draw a self-portrait on a piece of paper.
You have as long as you can keep your eyes shut for.
Best likeness wins.
Your time starts when you shut your eyes.

If you’ve opened your eyes again, welcome back. And congratulations; you’re off. Have a look at the picture. That’s you, that is. Mainly though, don’t worry too much about how little it looks like you. If everyone did all the tasks well the show wouldn’t work. Forget it and move on to the next one (as I say to pretty much every contestant after pretty much every task).


TASK TYPE: Solo or Group. (This task was used as a warm-up for series number: 1)
Say as many five-letter words as possible. You have five minutes.
Your time starts now.

This was the very first task that the very first contestants opened on their first day in the Taskmaster house. It appeared in the pilot of the programme but never on television and was tackled by Frank Skinner, Josh Widdicombe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan and Tim Key, all of whom deserve a lot of credit for agreeing to do something that didn’t previously exist and over which they had absolutely no control. Having said that, Roisin deserves a little less credit, saying just 48 words in total at a rate of one word every six and a quarter seconds. Tim Key won the task with an impressive 106 and a poem made out of all their best words can be found in this book’s appendix. If you get into triple figures you’re doing all right.


If everyone did all the tasks well the show wouldn’t work

TASK TYPE: Solo or Group.
Touch three trees.
Each tree must be a different species. Fastest wins.
Your time starts as soon as you blink.

I hope you remembered to time yourself. Any genuine time under a minute is good. It all depends how far away from a tree you were when you read it, of course. But once you found your first one, you’d think there’d be another hanging round nearby; trees are a lot like Hells Angels in that respect. The main thing is that you eventually touched and had a good look at three trees. You should do that sort of thing more often.


TASK TYPE: Solo or Group.  (A version of this task appeared in series number: 5)
Special apparatus: Should be fairly obvious.
Throw a slice of bread into your toaster from at least your body’s length away.
Fastest wins.
Your time starts when you salivate.

In series 5 the contestants were tasked with throwing something into something, impressively. Hugh Dennis put the toaster on the roof of the Taskmaster Lodge and tried to lob bread into it. He eventually succeeded but only after climbing up a ladder and getting really quite close to the toaster. As was typical of that series, Hugh didn’t win.


TASK TYPE: Solo or Group. (This task was used as a warm-up for series number: 2 and 3)
Say as many different items of clothing as possible in alphabetical order.
You have two minutes.
Your time starts when you next breathe out.

On his first attempt at a task, Dave Gorman got the highest score with 18, including the impressive sequence of ‘... scarf, turban, underpants, vest, waistcoat, xylophonist’s gloves ...’. Paul Chowdhry managed just four because he said things like ‘flannel’, ‘igloo’ and ‘mother’. Paul has been the least predictable of all competitors.

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