In each series, the Taskmaster and his loyal assistant will judge five new unwitting comedians as they compete against each other with creativity, cunning and genius in a series of stupefying tasks. The first series was won by Josh Widdicombe, and Katherine Ryan took home the series two crown. Series three, won by Rob Beckett, premiered with 836k viewers (consolidated), making it the highest original non-scripted series of 2016. Won by Noel Fielding, series four has peaked with 945k viewers (consolidated) making it the highest rated UKTV series of 2017.The series four premiere of Taskmaster previewed on UKTV Play seven days prior to its linear broadcast and is UKTV Play's best performing preview in 2017 (up to end May 2017) and the second most viewed preview ever, behind last year's Red Dwarf XI. An Avalon Television production, series five of Taskmaster was commissioned by Hilary Rosen, deputy director of commissioning at UKTV and ordered by Richard Watsham, director of commissioning and Dave general manager, Steve North. Executive producers for the series are Alex Horne, Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, James Taylor, Jon Thoday, and Andy Devonshire (The Apprentice and The Great British Bake Off), who also acts as series director, and Hilary Rosen for UKTV. Andy Cartwright is series producer.
Taskmaster started out as a critically acclaimed live show, devised by Alex Horne, which ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2010 and 2011. Earlier this year the show was commissioned for a series by Comedy Central in the USA, with Reggie Watts (The Late Late Show with James Corden) as the Taskmaster and Alex serving as his assistant. The format has also been licensed internationally into five territories - Belgium, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands and Finland.