Channel 4 panel show Taskmaster is just weeks away from crowning the champion of series 10, who wins a golden bust of presenter Greg Davies’ head, which sadly means we won’t have an hour of absolute ridiculousness to look forward to each week.
Not to fear however – the series created by ‘little’ Alex Horne will be returning for a one-off Taskmaster Christmas special in the New Year, featuring some of the biggest stars in the film, journalism and television worlds.
Here’s everything you need to know about the festive line-up, as well as the stars currently competing in Channel 4’s current series of Taskmaster.
Taskmaster’s festive special contestants
Scottish actor John Hannah is best known for starring in blockbusters such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Mummy trilogy and Sliding Doors, as well as series like Sky One’s A Touch of Cloth, BBC One’s New Street Law and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as Holden Radcliffe.
He recently appeared in BBC One’s 2019 drama Trust Me, narrates Race Across the World and stars in Canadian medical drama Transplant.
Taking on Taskmaster’s festive special this year will be Krishnan Guru-Murphy – broadcaster and leading Channel 4 News anchor.
Guru-Murphy began his presenting career as a reporter for CBBC’s Newsround in 1991 and has since appeared on BBC Two’s Newsnight, BBC News 24 and BBC World before becoming the second-longest-serving presenter on Channel 4.
Nicola Coughlan, best known for her role as Clare in Channel 4’s Derry Girls, will be attempting to impress Greg Davies and Alex Horne in Taskmaster’s festive special this year.
The Irish actress has appeared in StarzPlay’s Harlots, medical drama Doctors and is set to star in Netflix’s upcoming period drama Bridgerton.
Television presenter Rylan Clark-Neal is best known for presenting the revived editions of Supermarket Sweep and Ready Steady Cook, as well as co-hosting Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two alongside Zoe Ball.
The broadcaster started his TV career as a contestant on the 2012 series of The X Factor, making it to the quarter final before being eliminated, before entering the Celebrity Big Brother House. He has since presented This Morning, Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, Celebrity Big Brother, The Xtra Factor Live and appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox.
Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas is set to compete in Taskmaster’s festive special this year, taking on the likes of Nicola Coughlan, Krishnan Guru-Murphy and John Hannah.
Ballroom champion Ballas, who earned the nickname The Queen of Latin, retired from dance competitions in 1996 and has since appeared on Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing, on which she is currently head judge.
The series 10 contestants
Daisy May Cooper
Daisy May Cooper is best known for her BAFTA winning turn as Kerry Mucklowe on the hugely acclaimed BBC Three sitcom This Country, which she co-created and wrote with her brother Charlie.
Her other appearances include roles in the film The Personal History of David Copperfield and HBO series Avenue 5, while she has also appeared alongside her father on Celebrity Gogglebox.
Vegas has been active in the UK comedy scene since the ’90s, a popular stand-up and a panel show favourite. He’s been a regular panelist on Shooting Stars, a guest captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and made several appearances on shows including QI and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.
He’s also got a wealth of acting credits to his name, with roles in sitcoms such as Ideal, Benidorm and Still Open All Hours – and of course there’s those famous adverts for PG Tips.
Comic actress Katherine Parkinson probably remains best known for her role as Jen on The IT Crowd – for which she won a BAFTA in 2014 – but she’s had a number of other acting credits as well, both in comedies and more serious fare.
Highlights include a main part in three series of Doc Martin, a lead role on Channel 4 sci-fi Humans and appearances in films including The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Radioactive.
Mawaan Rizwan started his entertainment career on YouTube, and has gone on to pick up credits as an actor, writer and director as well as a successful stand-up comedy career.
Recently he was a main cast member on Sky One comedy Two Weeks Two Live – which starred Maisie Williams – while he has also written for Sex Education and starred in the BBC Three drama Murdered by My Father.
A veteran of the comedy scene, Richard Herring started out as part of a double act with fellow stand-up Stewart Lee in the early ’80s, and more recently has been a hugely successful podcaster, with Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast.
He has toured almost twenty stand-up shows, written several books and worked extensively in TV and especially radio.
The Taskmaster himself, Greg Davies has fronted the show since it began back in 2015, and is also well known for his stand-up and acting career.
His best-known acting credits are the role of headteacher Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners and his BAFTA-nominated turn as Ken Thompson in Cuckoo, while he has made appearances on panel shows including Would I Lie To You? and Mock the Week as well as showing off his stand-up skills on Live at the Apollo.
Davies’ sidekick – and often the butt of his jokes – Alex Horne is actually the creator of Taskmaster, having first devised the format for the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2010.
Away from Taskmaster he is best known as the frontman of live music variety show The Horne Section, with whom he has appeared on shows including 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.