“I sit in a hot tub and let the bubbles inspire me”: Alex Horne and Greg Davies on 17 series of Taskmaster

Greg Davies

However, even though the two were video calling from a press event in New York, which proves their appeal worldwide, there were no signs of the assistant rebelling. The assistant still knew their role and place in the dynamic.

Keep reading to discover the genuine origin of Horne's immense creativity when it comes to creating tasks, and to hear Davies complaining about his unsatisfactory breakfast choice.

After 17 series, how has your connection changed throughout the course of the show?

Greg Davies and Alex Horne: Let's see...

AH: Our last three days together haven't been pleasant.

For the past three days, things have been pretty tense around here. However, when we're filming, I've noticed that our relationship has started to improve. There's less hostility between us, and Alex needs to put in more effort to make me angry on camera. Even though he deliberately says things to annoy me.

AH: I always try to give it my all.

I believe that as I've gotten older, I've become more mellow. Therefore, when filming, it appears that it is challenging for him to provoke a reaction from me. However, off camera, the situation is much more intricate, and discussing it would likely require the entire interview time.

Today, I decided to indulge in an omelette for breakfast and my companion, Greg, followed suit. Unfortunately, our experience with the popular breakfast dish did not meet our expectations. As a result, Greg has been fixated on this unsatisfactory meal and it is the only topic he has discussed thus far.

GD expressed regret for ordering an omelette, but decided to give the cook the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, it ended up being a bad decision again, which resulted in waiting 40 minutes for a tasteless omelette. GD is still filled with anger and this is not just an act for an interview, as it is a genuine feeling.

I am pleased to have obtained the major revelation. Alex, do you feel tired of being in a subordinate position to Greg?

AH: Absolutely not. In my opinion, either myself or my character is still basking in joy of being beside him, with thoughts of 'I am the most fortunate individual in the world'.

GD: How about when being recorded?

AH: I'm not feeling low-spirited whatsoever. And from time to time, I am given some control, or Greg allows me to do something and I become a tad apprehensive. So, the situation remains unchanged, in essence.

It's a story that goes back for ages. Whenever there was a king, there were always many people working hard behind the scenes. However, the leader always needs to be at the forefront.

Has there been any increase in difficulty when it comes to producing the show?

AH stated that the process has become simpler. Previously, they would have meetings prior to the show and plan the details, while now they rely on improvisation and mutual trust.

I have a sense of assurance that the world is predictable and has clear boundaries, making us feel certain about what actions to take.

AH: Some individuals often ask whether or not I am running short of ideas. However, I highly doubt that one can exhaust their creative ideas.

GD: I must say, I want to commend Alex for his ability to continuously create innovative tasks without exhaustion.

AH: Thanks so much, Greg.

GD: I find it remarkable how talented he is. It's impressive that he has found a place where his talents can be appreciated, as they would go to waste elsewhere. If he were to live in a small town, people would mock him.

I reside in a rural area.

GD: You understand what I'm trying to say, right? Without having discovered this as a way to express yourself...

AH: Yeah, absolutely, if I were attempting to carry it out on a farm…

In my opinion, you would probably be perceived as an eccentric figure within the community.

Alex, do you experience additional difficulties continuously as time progresses when it comes to producing innovative thoughts? Do you need to test alternative approaches?

AH: Actually, I have many things written down in my notepad. And the more I work on something, the more ideas I get. During the show production, some topics naturally come up. [*Glances at Greg*] Perhaps he wants to mention my hot tub. Yes, I do have a hot tub.

The person seems annoyed when I mentioned it since you inquired about their method, which is unique and they haven't shared with you yet. They should just go ahead and tell you about it.

AH: As I soak in the warm water of my hot tub, I refrain from using my phone, which is not suitable for the activity. Therefore, I have found a waterproof notepad that I can use to jot down my thoughts and ideas that surface while surrounded by bubbles.

If that statement isn't included in what you're composing...

That's the spot where I enjoy working the most, so I invest a considerable amount of time there. However, I don't believe that's the best impression to leave behind.

To what extent are you involved in the process of casting? And do you take into account the potential rapport between the actors?

We often talk about it and make sure we have a proper blend. However, what's intriguing is that we intentionally make what we believe is a great blend, and they always turn out to be splendid mixes, but not always as anticipated. Each time, individuals surpass our predictions.

AH: However, we make an effort to avoid being too predictable in our approach. Inevitably, there might be an elder member among us due to the natural order of aging, but we do not purposely choose someone to poke fun at for their age.

In the Taskmaster universe, they never say, "let's find a particular kind of person." Even if they did, it would be ineffective because the contestants always surprise them and never fit their initial expectations.

AH: However, we are aware of the upcoming two series that will follow this one. And I believe they will be unpredictable. My desire is for the lineup to not be easily predictable by anyone.

Free English: Surprisingly, Elton John was not anticipated to appear in the next series.

AH: Yes, Elton John is the first person who is not a comedian to be included in it.

[Editor's note: Regrettably, this was merely a humorous statement.]

Are there any discussions about broadening the requirements?

AH stated that the possibility of trying something other than comics is not completely dismissed. But presently, comics are what they are focused on. However, there are various kinds of comics available nowadays. This particular comic features Sophie Willan, who is recognized more as a writer and actress dealing in comedy. Additionally, Steve Pemberton is also on board who originates from different professional domains. The scope of comedy is vast in terms of its range and types.

Alternative: Having individuals who are motivated by making others laugh can be beneficial.

How did the new team fare?

Sophie and Joanne McNally were the ones that we weren't very familiar with, so they amazed us the most with their tremendous sense of humor. On the other hand, I was already acquainted with John Robins in real life, so his highly competitive nature wasn't a shocker for me.

I was taken aback by Steve Pemberton, as I'm a massive admirer of his creations. You're unsure of what to prepare for when you ponder the strange and peculiar characters he's unveiled to the public. Nevertheless, he displays pleasant manners, charisma, and intelligence that aligns with his British background.

AH: Nick Mohammed is quite eccentric.

Nick met my expectations, which wasn't surprising since I know him quite well. However, he exceeded them by fulfilling all my aspirations.

If your only exposure to him is through Ted Lasso, you'll encounter an unexpected surprise.

Well, you see, Nick made the decision to wear vampire attire for the entirety of the show.

Were you aware of his wardrobe choice prior to beginning filming?

AH: Whenever we have a new episode to shoot, we ask our actors, "What outfit do you want to rock?" We also give them examples of what their colleagues have previously worn. Usually, there's one person who takes fashion risks by donning a daring jumpsuit. This person is the first to go all out and completely embody their character. Wearing this outfit didn't affect their acting performance, but it allowed them to fully embrace their role as Dracula.

Did it not obstruct his problem-solving mission?

The weather was extremely warm.

A person with a more negative viewpoint may suggest that he purposely hindered himself by wearing a cloak typically associated with vampires.

The TV series is recognized for featuring emerging comedians as well as highlighting veteran comedians in a fresh perspective. Is there anyone in particular that you take great pride in contributing to?

AH: During our recent journey, we discussed Sam Campbell quite frequently, expanding his reach to a larger group of individuals. Although he would have inevitably gained an audience, being featured on our show for 10 weeks allowed him to fully showcase his talents and personality.

I believe that in the UK, we have exposed his craziness to a larger audience, and we really enjoy it.

AH said that it's probable that we caught their attention at the perfect moment. However, individuals like Fern Brady would be able to freely express herself on the show. Additionally, Mike Wozniak and John Kearns are also likely to reach success regardless of the show.

GD: We don't consider ourselves to be the ones who can make or break someone's career. However, we do believe that we have the ability to make a positive impact by promoting talented individuals who haven't had the opportunity to showcase their skills yet.

Don't worry about appearing on the show, it's not a cause for anxiety. Yes, it's an opportunity for exposure, but you won't be expected to perform a set routine. You just have to be yourself for a straightforward 10-week period.

It can be quite difficult for individuals to accept that all their efforts in creating their content and characters cannot necessarily be incorporated completely. They have to be willing to let go of some of their hard work to some degree.

It leaves them open to attack, and it somewhat illuminates their method of generating ideas. After all, it's all unrehearsed, correct?

AH observed that it's been a challenge for individuals, especially actors, to display their true selves on television. However, Sally Phillips managed to do so exceptionally well, which is not often seen from her.

It was such a blast and very liberating. Take Steve Pemberton for instance, he's a prime example of how you can't predict his roles based on his work in the League of Gentlemen or Inside No. 9.

AH: And there were certain tasks that he didn't perform well, which is actually quite positive. It's not ideal for someone to excel in everything all the time.

I really enjoy the idea of revealing the human side of individuals who are often thought of as highly capable. It can be beneficial for them to show their vulnerable side. One person who comes to mind is Deborah Meaden, who is known for her investment role on Dragons' Den.

Have you ever been asked about your preferred candidates for a competition? Well, let's broaden the question a bit- if you could choose anyone, regardless of their current state of existence, who would be your dream contestants?

AH: I wouldn't object to having Pelé, especially during his prime.

AH expressed amusement at the idea of Pelé, a famous soccer player, being part of a lineup featuring four comedians. As for real people, AH suggested Stephen Merchant as a potential candidate, believing he would be amusing.

GD: We had a conversation with Stephen and I believe he's interested in doing it. Unless he's not being truthful with us.

AH: If you repeat the names often, they will eventually comply. Therefore, I will choose Pelé and Merchant.

If an American appeared on Taskmaster, I believe Theo Von, the comedian, would be an outstanding choice. I appreciate individuals whose minds function differently than mine, and Theo's approach to thinking is one of them.

The program has been sold to various nations, and the brand has widened its scope to incorporate board games and literature. What future possibilities exist?

AH: The virtual reality game will be released shortly and I have had the chance to play it. I can say that it's truly impressive and it's a perfect fit for virtual reality technology.

GD: They made me appear more muscular, which I found pleasing.

In contrast to them, I've become quite vulnerable because of my lack of strength. Additionally, we're eager for a potential live event where physical activities could be involved, and I believe it will come to fruition. However, we prioritize doing activities that will be enjoyable and beneficial instead of just exploiting the situation.

I'm secretly hoping that Alex and I will start figure skating together in the future, away from the camera.

Taskmaster received a nomination for the Comedy Entertainment category at the 2024 RTS Programme Awards. The 17th season of Taskmaster will begin airing every Thursday on Channel 4 at 9:00pm, starting from March 28th.

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