Q&A with Greg Davies and Alex Horne

Category: Press Pack Article

We’ve had a few firsts on this series of Taskmaster. One of which is that there was a proposal in the studio!

Greg: Aww. There was, and we were there. It made me cry. I actually teared up, genuinely. It caught me by surprise.

Alex: It was really lovely. We have had couples turning up at the house to propose before but this was the first time it’s happened in the studio. It was nice to be there. It’s always funny when people say they met and bonded over Taskmaster. It’s been going for so long now that there are people who watched it as students or whatever and now have kids.

Greg: It’s a very wholesome show.


Talking of romance, all the contestants seem to be in love with you this year, Greg.

Greg: I’m not aware of that. All five? One of those is an openly gay woman. Have I converted her?


You have. She was the most enthusiastic, in fact.

Greg: Great, Sue’s on board.

Alex: I could see that working, for the record.

Greg: It’s the story of my life. It’s the cruel age gap that will prevent our love.


What do you think generally of this series’ contestants?

Alex: I can tell you one thing that Greg wrote down on his screen at one point during the studio record: “This might be my favourite five ever.”

Greg: Well, they might be. They’re definitely one of my favourite fives ever. They’re a great combination of individuals. They’re so different from each other.


Let’s go through them then, starting with Lucy Beaumont.

Alex: I’ve known Lucy from the circuit and socially for a while and I thought I knew her a bit but it turns out I didn’t know her at all. She’s pretty consistently unpredictable. Her stories are all insane.

Greg: We initially thought it might have been an affectation to a degree, or a character. But the more it went on, we both started to go, “No, I think this is how Lucy lives her life.”

Alex:. She turned up to one studio show with sweets in her hair and that was definitely real. She’s the only woman we’ve ever had who had no make-up on at all. That’s not relevant in a sense, but it does show she is different. She turned up another time with her hair in a complete mess and she said it was because she’d been trying to get into a suitcase in her dressing room just to prove that she could.

Greg: She’s not vain.

Alex: She turned up and pottered about with us, and then went back to her daughter. It was really interesting to spend time with her.

Greg: What’s interesting about her is that she’s clearly really clever but she just lives in a sort of other world. She sometimes looks at the most simple parts of the task and appears absolutely bemused by them.

Alex: I think you got quite cross with her in the studio a couple of times.

Greg: Did I?

Alex: She tried to change the rules a lot.

Greg: Yes. She often tried to move the goalposts but in a relaxed and innocuous way.


Of all the contestants, I’d say she cares the least about what you think.

Greg: Oh I don’t think she gives a s**t what I think. But unfortunately, she must dance to our tune. But in terms of her self-esteem, I don’t think it’s wavered at all. She’s really funny as well. Really funny.


Let’s move onto Sam Campbell.

Alex: Lucy and Sam are similar in that they’re both a bit in a parallel universe. Sam even more so, perhaps.

Greg: I think Sam genuinely lives in a parallel universe, and I think he’s aware of that. It’s not an act – he’s able to access it when he feels like, but I do think he genuinely thinks differently to a lot of us, in the most glorious ways.

Alex: And he says some of the darkest things on the show with a little smile on his face. I don’t know how many will make the cut, but I think a few will.

Greg: I never go to him without a frisson of excitement about what’s going to come out of his mouth. I love it. I love the way his mind works.

Alex: The audiences got him straight away. They really got on board with him. He’s probably one of the least well-known people we’ve had in telly terms, even though he’s been in Bloods and a few other things.

Greg: They really like him. I think audiences do like people who are authentically different, as he is.


He does say some quite dark things.

Greg: But with a little twinkle in his eye. He’s so funny and he knows exactly what he’s doing.

Greg: He has this bizarre Victorian vernacular that he slips into sometimes. He’ll sometimes go, “Well, open your eyes, man!” like a First World War officer, which I find fascinating. He’s so funny.

Alex: But when he’s next to Julian, it makes him look like such a little boy. Because he’s teeny tiny as well and Julian is such a big man, it’s such a contrast. And Julian’s stillness compared to Sam’s energy is funny.

Greg: His choice of outfits gets me as well. He turned up once all in grey. Grey everything. It’s the formality of it. I found myself staring at him for probably too long.

Alex: We should also mention the fact that Sam turned up to the tasks with his own equipment. He was the first one to ever do that on our show. He realised there was no rule against bringing your own equipment but he brought the most useless stuff like a golf ball picker-up.


Moving on: tell me about Sue Perkins.

Alex: It’s amazing she hasn’t been on the show before. She always gets a huge cheer in the studio. She’s hugely popular.

Greg: She’s a huge fan, yes. Sue’s a household name, a national treasure. But the reason she’s so brilliant on the show, I think, is that she hasn’t bought any of the requisite ego with her on her journey to becoming a household name. She obviously loves Taskmaster. I think she frequently has the demeanour of an excited child, and I love that. I love seeing her go all giddy with what she’s about to do, or what she’s just done.


She’s got a bit of reputation for being cerebral, well put-together and controlled. But on this she’s just rolling around laughing.

Greg: She’s embracing the madness of it. She’s such fun.

Alex: She has said she’s been her true self more than she normally is on things.

Greg: And she comes across so well, I think. She’s so naturally funny. And also the little friendship between her and Susan that’s developed is adorable. I was ripping the p**s out of them saying they’re like the Famous Five, but they are. They’re giddy to be in each other’s company and to help each other. I find it adorable. I want to go on a picnic with them both. Now that I know they fancy me, though, it’ll turn into an awful orgy.


What was Julian Clary like?

Alex: I really liked spending time with Julian. There were a couple of nice tasks where we’d have a good chat, and we’d suggest we might go off together and do an activity together. I feel like he did put up with me, I suppose. He’d grumble at me a bit. But he’s so nice to spend time with. He’s just so nice. And he doesn’t need to do the show at all.

Greg: I’m always fascinated by people who have a comfortable stillness to them. I think that he’s very comfortable in his own skin, and there’s a quiet confidence to him. It’s a huge contrast for someone like me – I feel like a bag of rubbish that has been tipped out all the time. My life is chaos so I’m always intrigued by people like Julian who are like the top part of a duck in life, sailing around serenely. I do find myself watching him. When I ask him a question, and he gives me a concise answer, I look at him in awe.

Alex: He’s not trying hard to be funny either.

Greg: He’s effortlessly funny, and I look forward to his dry put-downs of Alex during every task. I know that Alex is going to get slammed at some point in a very gentle way which is always fun.

Alex: Jo Brand told him to do the show, which I really love.


Last but not least, Susan Wokoma.

Alex: Susan is great. She’s not a stand-up, but she makes up for that by the force of her personality. I think she’s really grown throughout the series.

Greg: She’s someone who’s found her way of approaching this more as the show’s gone on and is more comfortable in the studio.

Alex: She’s not done panel shows or anything like this before but she’s such a winning person.

Greg: And she always has a proper go at the tasks. She does her best. She had this ongoing joke that she spent £30,000 being trained at RADA and now she’s on Taskmaster being ridiculous. I started calling her “RADA’ and that was never not amusing. There was one task where I was having a joust with her about, “Damn you, RADA, you’ve foiled me again.”

Alex: She has actually demonstrated her acting skills quite often.

Greg: She is a really good actor. There was one task where they had to pretend to do something and she was the only one who was even vaguely convincing. So yes, money well spent at RADA, I reckon.


You haven’t been that humiliated, have you, Alex?

Alex: I did have to bare far too much flesh. It was horrible. For everyone.

Greg: I do think that one of Alex’s most endearing characteristics in life is that if you ask him to do something, he will do it. And that’s outside of the show as well. Especially after a drink, he really is compliant. I haven’t really taken advantage of it enough yet, but I think I made you eat a pat of butter once.

Alex: Yeah.

Greg: I just said, “Eat that butter,” and he did.

Alex: Yeah. That was a good night out.

Greg: We got told off in the Groucho Club because Rosie Jones told him to go and get her a stuffed owl in a glass case from the bar so she could see it. Alex immediately stood up and went and got it, and then the staff all went mental. If you ever bump into Alex on a night out, you can get him to do stuff.