AISLING BEA, BOB MORTIMER, MARK WATSON, NISH KUMAR & SALLY PHILLIPS
Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and Sally Phillips will compete to be crowned Taskmaster champion in series five of the BAFTA, Royal Television Society, Broadcasting Press Guild and Broadcast award-nominated show, produced by Avalon, starring BAFTA-nominated Greg Davies and Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Alex Horne. Series five of Taskmaster, 2017’s most watched commission on UKTV Play, will air on Dave this autumn.
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.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Avalon is a multi-award winning talent management, live promotion and television production group with offices in the UK and the USA.
The talent management arm has discovered and represents many artists which are household names, both in the UK, the USA, and around the world.
In 2017 Avalon was named the top true independent television production company in the UK and has produced numerous ground-breaking television shows including: Emmy and Peabody award winner Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), multi-award winning and Emmy-nominated Catastrophe (Channel 4/Amazon Prime), RTS and Rose d’Or winning Not Going Out (BBC1’s longest running sitcom currently on air), BAFTA and RTS-nominated Taskmaster (DAVE), multi-BAFTA award winning TV Burp (ITV1), Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC2), Fantasy Football League (BBC/ITV) and Workaholics (Comedy Central USA).
Avalon Television, Liberty Bell Productions, Flame Television and Topical Television form the television arm of the company and other shows currently in production include: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), Not Going Out (BBC One), Man Down (C4), Unspun with Matt Forde (UKTV), Stand Up Central (Comedy Central), Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish (UKTV), and The Russell Howard Hour w/t (Sky 1); whilst the catalogue is sold worldwide by Avalon Distribution.
Through Avalon Promotions the group produced Newman and Baddiel: Live at Wembley, the UK’s first arena comedy show; Jerry Springer: The Opera, the first West End show to win all four UK ‘Best New Musical’ awards; and has continued to produce live shows globally, as well as promoting more winners and nominees of the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award than any other company.
Sky 111/246, Virgin 128/194, Freeview 12, BT & TalkTalk 12
On demand on Sky, Virgin and UKTV Play
Dave’s had a haircut and shave in recent years as it grows from awkward teenager to fully-fledged commissioner of new and original shows. And it’s not just comedy these days but entertainment and even some knock-out live sport. Hit UKTV Original commissions include BAFTA-nominated Taskmaster, Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled and Crackanory, all laden with the biggest names in British comedy. Dave enjoyed critical success with two series of Hoff the Record, an International Emmy award-winning mockumentary ensemble comedy led by the living legend David Hasselhoff.
As well as home-grown delights Dave also goes stateside, cherry-picking cult US Shows including the sharp-witted and sharp-suited Suits and much-loved Parks and Recreation along with Emmy-nominated The Last Man on Earth. This all contributed to Dave’s award win at the 2016 Broadcast Digital Awards for Best Entertainment Channel.
Dave is the UK’s most watched non-PSB channel broadcasting to over 27 million people per month, and viewers continue to enjoy the ludicrously addictive American Pickers and UK remake of Storage Hunters. The channel continues to grow its original commissioning slate with political show Unspun With Matt Forde, Red Dwarf XI, Dara O Briain’s Go8Bit, fantasy comedy Zapped! and Celebrity Storage Hunters airing later this year.
UKTV is the biggest multichannel broadcaster in the UK. The award-winning independent has eleven imaginative brands – UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food. These include the two most popular non-PSB channels in the UK and account for 9.31% of the British commercial TV market. The company’s most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £319m and EBITDA of £82m. It invested £148m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.
UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat, Amazon Fire and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.
Now celebrating its 24th year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV – an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) – is proud to be the only British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list.