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Channel 4 snaps up Taskmaster

Greg Davies and Alex Horne in Taskmaster

Commercially funded UK public broadcaster Channel 4 has poached popular comedy format Taskmaster from its commissioning network UKTV.

C4 has agreed a six-season deal across three years with the show’s creator and producer Avalon and new episodes will arrive on the network late next year before repeating on its youth-skewing sister channel E4.

The show stars comedian Greg Davies as the ‘taskmaster’ with Alex Horne as his loyal assistant. Between them they set strange and surreal challenges for comedians to compete against each other in.

The programme started as a live show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before being developed for television, initially with C4. It was later commissioned by multichannel broadcaster UKTV for its comedy channel Dave where it has aired nine seasons so far and garnered Bafta and Emmy nominations.

UKTV had been keen to hang onto its leading original show and the move to C4 echoes the channel’s poaching of BBC format The Great British Bake Off when that show’s producer Love Productions hawked it around the UK’s commercial networks.

Alex Horne, the show’s creator, said: “We’ve had an amazing nine seasons on Dave and I’d like to thank UKTV for letting us do such ridiculous things for so long. Greg and I are looking forward to getting started on a new series for Channel 4 from next year.

“It seems like the right time to move to a channel with a broader audience. I can reassure people who like the show that it won’t be changing one bit and I’ll still be forced to do things no one should ever have to do.”

Ian Katz, Channel 4 director of programmes, added: “Taskmaster is anarchic, original and a brilliant springboard for new comic talent. It’s everything we look for in a Channel 4 show and, like millions of others, I’m a massive fan so I’m delighted it will soon be taking its place in our unrivalled slate of scripted and studio comedy.”

Produced by Avalon, executive producers for the series are Alex Horne, Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, James Taylor, Jon Thoday and Andy Devonshire.

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