Inspired by the recent post from Jay over at Life vs Film, in honour of the brilliance of Taskmaster, I’ve decided to do my own ranking of the contestants of the show. Now this was a difficult list and it is very likely that this order can change depending on when I re-watch the show, and, since it is ongoing, I have not included the current competitors in series 10. Also, this is not based on how well each contestant did on Taskmaster and more on how much entertainment value I got out of them. At the end, I have also put my own personal 10 dream contestants for Taskmaster. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
45. Iain Stirling
Series 8 of Taskmaster is currently me least favourite of the show, and a big part of why is Iain Stirling. There have been competitive contestants on Taskmaster before and after him, but for them, their competitiveness was still funny. For Stirling, especially in the team tasks, he came across as a bit of a dick. At the very least, Stirling recognised that he did act pretty awfully in the team tasks, and there were some fun moments when things ended up going badly for him, but overall, I found Stirling pretty annoying when he was on the show.
44. Dave Gorman
This is a case of a comedian not quite gelling with the format of Taskmaster. I do like Gorman and found him entertaining, but his way of thinking didn’t 100% work for Taskmaster. I still had fun watching him, and it was interesting to find out he was related to Cary Grant, but he didn’t adapt to the Taskmaster format as well as other competitors.
43. Paul Chowdhry
For Chowdhry, his role on Taskmaster as the sad clown was solid enough, but his efforts in the tasks just didn’t make me laugh as much as other contestants. There were some great standout moments from Chowdhry, like his fun on a bouncy castle and his snowman, but I just didn’t find him all that funny.
42. Lou Sanders
The lowest ranked Taskmaster winner on this list, I did enjoy a lot of what Sanders did, but I did think there were some times when her efforts came across as a bit mean spirited. When she was more wholesome and fun, she was great to watch though.
41. Joe Thomas
Thomas ended up being one of the more blunt contestants on Taskmaster. His very literal interpretation of the tasks made for entertaining viewing, but lacked the imagination that other competitors of Taskmaster have had. His indignation at the efforts of other was entertaining to watch though, and made for one of the best rants on Taskmaster.
40. Paul Sinha
Taking series 8’s role as the incompetent contestant, the efforts of Paul Sinha were entertaining to watch most of the time, but there were occasions when his failure at some tasks came across as less funny and more depressing, especially considering what we know now about Sinha after series 8 aired. Still, Sinha did end up being a very entertaining contestant on the show for me.
39. Rob Beckett
Sometimes, my own opinions of comedians come through and can impact how I see a contestant. Beckett had some of the best moments in series 3 of Taskmaster, his mad granny and failed attempts at multiple accents being highlights, but outside of Taskmaster, I cannot stand Rob Beckett. His general stage persona just doesn’t work for me and I find it annoying. He was a strong competitor on Taskmaster though and great fun to watch.
38. Alice Levine
One of the nicer contestants to be on Taskmaster, Levine made for a welcome change of pace for the show. Some of her efforts lacked the efforts of others, but when she was on form, she ended up being a solid contestant, and all of the nicknames she gave to Alex were adorable.
37. Russell Howard
It was a tough call over which member of ‘Team Funk’ I ranked highest, but whilst some of Howard’s efforts in the second half of the series weren’t as strong, his idea of manliness (i.e. taking a hammer to an abattoir) is one of my personal highlights of Taskmaster and pushed him just above Levine for me.
36. Sian Gibson
Like with Levine, Gibson was one of the nicer contestants on Taskmaster, having this lovely energy to her that made her fun to watch, and made when she cheated all the more shocking and I ended up really enjoying her time on Taskmaster.
35. Sara Pascoe
I’m someone that really enjoys the stand up of Sara Pascoe and I found her to be a good fit for Taskmaster when she was on. It’s hard exactly to explain why I enjoyed Pascoe so much, but I found her to be really entertaining on the show, although the lack of episodes in series 3 meant she didn’t have much chance to shine.
34. Roisin Conaty
Being the first of the ‘incompetent’ contestants on Taskmaster, Conaty had some standout moments, her trying and failing to get a boulder to Camber Sands in an hour being a highlight. It’s a mark of how strong the other contestants are that I had a lot of fun with Conaty and she still ends up this low in the ranks.
33. Joe Lycett
Going from really funny to really creepy with some tasks, Lycett had the right chaotic energy for Taskmaster, his increasingly cheerful smiles and cake fireworks display made him a consistently entertaining contestant.
32. Doc Brown
Doc Brown is one of the contestants who could very easily be higher up on the list if I watch series 2 again. Having some moments of genius (his rap of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … Once I Caught a Fish Alive) and ineptitude (not realising that there were bridges to cross a river), Brown was a very consistent member of the show, and one that’s a lot of fun to watch.
31. Lolly Adefope
I’m a big fan of Adefope outside of Taskmaster and it was great to see her on here. Having a blunt approach to some tasks, like dragging a camel through the smallest gap, worked out well in some cases, and made for entertaining failures in others (like her attempt to slide on concrete).
30. Jessica Knappett
Doing the best impression of an airhorn in Taskmaster, there was a sense of fun that Knappett brought to her time on Taskmaster that transcended to the audience. She is one of the more enthusiastic contestants on the show and ended up being a very positive presence.
29. Phil Wang
Even though he is best known for the pendulum drawing the eye and he did end up being judged a bit too harshly, I ended up really enjoying Wang’s efforts, from his consistently ineffective haggling to his recreation of Goldeneye.
28. Asim Chaudhry
It’s easy to see why Greg Davies took such a shine to Chaudhry when he was on the show. Using the task on being the most manly to talk about mental health issues and trying to act out an eight bollock cat, Chaudhry is one of the more underrated contestants on the show.
27. Richard Osman
Known more for his presenting work than comedy, I wasn’t sure what Osman would be like when he was on Taskmaster, but he created some great comedic moments and interesting interpretations of tasks (the exercise balls one being a highlight) and made for a fun presence on the show.
26. Katy Wix
Whatever I expected from Katy Wix, I didn’t expect her to go as weird as she did. It’s a shame that Wix was unable to be in the studio for every task but her oddball sensibility worked brilliantly for the show and made her a unique presence.
25. Jon Richardson
Creating one of the creepiest moments in Taskmaster with his rendition of Three Blind Mice and one of the funniest moments in his failure to impress the mayor of Chesham, Richardson was just a good, solid competitor on Taskmaster.
24. Jo Brand
Brand is the clearest example of a contestant who just didn’t give a shit when taking part in Taskmaster, at one point even going to the toilet during a task, and this complete lack of care translated into a great comedic presence throughout the show, especially when paired with David Baddiel.
23. Hugh Dennis
Dennis is one of the contestants I was more familiar with, having watched Mock the Week and seen Dennis and Steve Punt live in Birmingham, and his way of thinking for Taskmaster was fun to watch. When Dennis shone in tasks, such as the pommel horse and the plastic bag goal, he really shone, and it was fun when he earned the ire of Greg Davies.
22. Rose Matafeo
Sometimes, it can just take one word to make someone a highlight and for Matafeo, the way she pronounced shed with her New Zealand accent created such a moment. Alongside disguising herself as a rock with legs and doing a country and western version of the Taskmaster theme, these made Matafeo a fun contestant on the show, and the competitive energy she had with Ed Gamble made for a fun rhythm in the studio segments.
21. Katherine Ryan
Whilst I enjoyed Ryan in series 2, it’s her performance in the Champion of Champions that pushed her up this high, with the multiple miracles she performed and being willing to destroy her family in creating a mess being classic Taskmaster moments.
20. Kerry Godliman
Godliman is probably the most blunt of all the contestants who have taken part in Taskmaster, creating this Cockney stereotype using brute strength, at one point trying to find a bin by lobbing a drainpipe and bricks over a fence, her role being a welcome contrast to the insanity of other contestants.
19. Al Murray
Going for Moneybags Murray here, easily the contestant who spent the most during tasks (not including the prize task) in his series of Taskmaster, Murray had some good outside the box thinking. Some worked (like his usage of gongs), others didn’t (substituting urine for sweat) but he was the contestant in series 3 that entertained me the most.
18. Tim Vine
The best pun master that Taskmaster has had on so far, Vine made most of his solutions to tasks pun related, to the point where that was a specific task. The moment that solidified Vine up there for me was the hook and how his safari suit affected it, which was one of the highlights of series 6.
17. Aisling Bea
Whilst Bea can be overshadowed by the other contestants in series 5 of Taskmaster, she was still a lot of fun to watch. Her coconut businessperson and cuddle robot were great bits of creativity and seeing her work with Bob Mortimer and Sally Phillips created some fun moments in the team tasks.
16. Frank Skinner
Without Frank Skinner, we probably wouldn’t have Taskmaster in the way we have it now. From what I’ve read, it was only when Skinner signed on that other comedians did so as well. It also helps that Skinner was a good fit for Taskmaster, some of his highlights being the pretty nice looking meal he made for Alex and getting the camera crew to cry by singing Old Shep.
15. Liza Tarbuck
Tarbuck was a case where she was easily the frontrunner in the series she was on, and it was easy to see why. Her earlier tasks were pretty normal, but after she smashed a toy man to smithereens her efforts got more violent and bizarre, with her expression of love towards Greg Davies being one of my favourite Taskmaster moments.
14. Ed Gamble
Gamble was one of the more competitive contestants on Taskmaster, but his competitive streak ended up creating an endearing nature to him, with his enthusiasm for the show coming through all the time. Plus, his increasing exasperation with David Baddiel created one of the best moments for one of the studio tasks.
13. Joe Wilkinson
There has never been a tragedy in Taskmaster as powerful as Joe Wilkinson’s potato throw. He is a contestant you feel sorry for, but in a way that is fun to watch, mainly with how the other contestants interacted with him. He did also have some task approaches more along my line of thinking, from choosing to do a proper meal when tasked with eating an egg fastest to trying to impress a mayor with 42 Calippos.
12. Josh Widdicombe
The first champion of Taskmaster, and the first recipient of the secret tasks, Widdicombe set a good bar for Taskmaster champions. Being more methodical in his approach compared to other contestants, Widdicombe made some strong efforts in his tasks and is a worthy first Champion of Champions.
11. Mel Giedroyc
Probably the nicest contestant to be on Taskmaster, despite every effort to break her, nothing could dampen Giedroyc’s pleasant nature. From making a diabetes inducing sandwich (and snorting an M&M for good measure) to taking a camel through Baby GAP, Giedroyc had some good out of the box thinking, which combined with her nice persona to create a fun contestant to watch.
10. Mark Watson
Everyone’s favourite contestant who looks like a heron, Watson was fun to watch on his own, the cheeky texts task and trying to slice bread with a grill being highlights, but it was when he was paired with Nish Kumar that Watson really shined. The two worked brilliantly (in entertainment value at least) off each other and the song they did at the end of the series was a remarkable display of competence from them both.
9. Tim Key
Being a friend of Alex Horne and still involved in the show as a task consultant, Key’s approach to tasks was very direct, and ended up with him cheating in a few instances and, in one notable instance, he used charity to try and get ahead (earning one of the best angry reactions from Greg Davies). He worked well in the team tasks paired up with Frank Skinner and the disgusting meal he made Alex (which included Um Bongo and dog food) was one of the more entertaining responses to a food task.
8. David Baddiel
Baddiel is probably the most incompetent contestant on Taskmaster, but not for lack of trying. No matter what Baddiel did and how much effort he put in, his efforts were hilariously pathetic, to the point that one task, intended to be a tiebreaker, became a full task because of how badly Baddiel messed it up (that task being to lasso Alex, which he did by tying wooden spoons to the lasso).
7. James Acaster
A contestant where we know definitively that his eyes are circles, Acaster was one of the more competitive contestants on the show and a sheer force of nature when he did the tasks. Being pretty blunt with how he handled tasks, although some tasks ended up being, in his words, a waking nightmare, Acaster’s competitive nature made him a joy to watch on Taskmaster. Plus, no other contestant will ever do any recreation of something as perfect as Acaster’s recreation of Grand Theft Auto 3.
6. Noel Fielding
Another contestant whose mind is perfectly suited for Taskmaster, Fielding was one of the more bizarre contestants on the show, but worked wonders in creating entertaining responses to tasks. From disguising himself as a banana in a fruit bowl to marrying a rubber duck, Fielding was one of the most consistently entertaining contestants on the show.
5. Romesh Ranganathan
Tree Wizard and his box related anger are pretty much all I need to say to justify why Ranganathan is this high up in the list. Ranganathan was one of the grumpier contestants on Taskmaster, as per his comic persona, and this energy was a welcome contrast to the other contestants on the show and the interactions between Ranganathan and Key in the studio tasks were great fun to watch, with them constantly trying to sabotage each other.
4. Nish Kumar
Last in PE, first in being a legend, Nish Kumar is up there with David Baddiel as being one of the most incompetent guests on Taskmaster, from taking dozens of attempts to chip a basketball into a hoop to blowing out bubbles by shouting ‘bubbly fuck,’ and panicking to the point where ‘piss and shit’ became his catchphrase and Greg had to take him aside, Kumar was one of the funniest contestants on Taskmaster, and, as we know, he’s not a bad guy.
3. Sally Phillips
Phillips is a case where I had no idea which direction she would go down when on Taskmaster. Whatever I did expect, it did not extend to waterboarding Alex Horne after putting cake in his armpits and her miming having sex with a water cooler. Throughout her time on Taskmaster, Phillips showed herself to be the nicest psychopath on the show.
2. Rhod Gilbert
Even compared with other Taskmaster contestants, Gilbert was one of the more insane contenders, mostly with what he inflicted upon Alex Horne. From pouring coffee into Alex’s throat through a funnel to making it look like water was flying out of Alex’s arse, Gilbert was great fun to watch. Plus, his attempts to wind up Greg Davies and the antagonistic nature between him and James Acaster made for some of the best studio segments.
1. Bob Mortimer
I don’t think any contestant has fit the format of Taskmaster better than Bob Mortimer. The unique way his mind works has created comedy gold in pretty much every episode he was in. His talk about his anus being too high is a highlight of the in studio segments and his oddball approach even extends into the team tasks. My personal favourite moment in Taskmaster is ‘Rosalind’s a Nightmare’ and I’m pretty sure the more insulting lyrics of the song were from Mortimer. There was never a point when I was not entertained by what Bob Mortimer was doing in Taskmaster and he is my favourite contestant to date.
Dream Taskmaster Contestants
- Richard Ayoade
- Suzi Ruffell
- Matt Berry
- Rachel Parris
- Tom Davis
- Bec Hill
- Bill Bailey
- Ellie Taylor
- Andy Zaltzman
- Cariad Lloyd