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Taskmaster's Katherine Ryan on her favourite TV

It's safe to say the stand-up still likes to sit down in front of the telly..

Published: Tuesday, 28th June 2016 at 8:24 am

A second run of Taskmaster – the game show in which nonsensical dares are doled out to comedians by mordant overlord Greg Davies  begins on Dave tonight at 10pm. Game gal Katherine Ryan, one of this series’s resident competitors, tells us about her favourite telly.


“When I was younger, my treat was to stay up on a Friday night and watch American late-night chat shows. I didn’t even know back then that it was stand-up but I loved the opening monologues. My mom would say, ‘You could do that!’

“My Dad’s Irish so we had lots of influences from the UK, we came over here a lot and I’d watch things like Only Fools and Horses, Father Ted, and I loved Ab Fab.

“I also loved Joan Rivers, and the Golden Girls. Betty White is one of the funniest actresses we have, and we should make sure she knows it before she dies. It’s only after people die that we tend to come out and say it, but I tweet her every year on her birthday. Of course she’s 94 and has Twitter, cos she’s a G. I loved Victoria Wood too, of course, and now I love other contemporary comedians, Sarah Millican, Sara Pascoe, and Aisling Bea. They’re all friends of mine.

“I always think Seinfeld deserves a second run in the UK. Friends was embraced so well here, but Seinfeld just wasn’t in the same way, and it’s a shame. Elaine was my favourite character – though not just because she was a woman. I think, depending on your culture of course, when you’re small you don’t recognise other people’s genders in the same way. I had a matriarchal upbringing, and watching Seinfeld, Elaine was just the funniest character. Maybe because she was the minority, she got more freedom, or the best gags. And Julia Louis Dreyfus is a genius.

“I LOVE Gogglebox. Because of my job, I come in late at night and miss lots of TV so it helps me to catch up and stay tuned in. I was so excited for Gogglesprogs to start, as it’s another show my daughter Violet (7) and I can watch together – we loved Britain’s Got Talent and the different Channel 4 ‘Secret Life of…’ series – kids, zoos, puppies, we watched them all. We’ve also been watching Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch on CBBC – it’s fascinating seeing Gordon Ramsay just relaxing and being a dad, and embarrassing his daughter.

“A guilty pleasure I can’t watch with Violet is Love Island – I don’t WANT to watch it, but I’m obsessed, it’s so brilliant. My friend Iain Stirling does the voiceover and it’s so funny, so there’s an element of comedy to it – though I didn’t understand the actual game for weeks. I think some other reality TV shows are a bit like sex trafficking - I still watch them, but I’m against a lot of it. I’m worried about the young women who are on television and prodded by producers to drink, get off with each other, and are constantly reminded that they need as much screentime as possible. They’re barely more than children and they’re being encouraged to have sex on camera and get drunk, and they really don’t get paid enough for that. It’s something I keep an eye on.”


Taskmaster is on Tuesdays at 10pm on Dave


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