TV: Comedian Ed Gamble on Taskmaster Champion of Champions - and teases what's in store

Taskmaster Champion of Champions with Ed Gamble

Picture: PA Photo/Channel 4 Television/Simon Webb
Taskmaster Champion of Champions with Ed Gamble Picture: PA Photo/Channel 4 Television/Simon Webb

In the ultimate Taskmaster tournament, five all-star winners of series six to 10 are going head-to-head to find out who is the Taskmaster Champion of Champions.

Previous winners Richard Herring, Liza Tarbuck, Kerry Godliman, Lou Sanders and Ed Gamble are battling it out once more in a whole host of bizarre, outlandish and ridiculous challenges set by the one-and-only Taskmaster Greg Davies.

For the uninitiated, Taskmaster involves a group of five celebrities going up against each other in a series of challenges umpired by Alex Horne and judged by Davies.

Over the years, comedy icons such as Mel Giedroyc, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding, Hugh Dennis, Alan Davies, James Acaster, Russell Howard and many more have appeared on the show completing tasks of various levels of silliness, such as creating a stop-motion movie with a potato, playing charades across the River Thames, and trying to guess what the Taskmaster is thinking of - either a horse or a laminator...

We catch up with comedian Ed Gamble to see how he's feeling about being in the running to be crowned the Taskmaster Champion of Champions.

TASKMASTER REALLY IS JUST A JOY, ISN'T IT?

I mean, it is the most joyous experience. Taskmaster, in general, is just like a shot of pure adrenaline into the veins. I love it.

I was very happy to get the opportunity to revisit it, even though it was just for a day of filming tasks and then one episode in the studios. It was amazing.

And the only sad thing is now I think I've exhausted every possibility to do the tasks and get into the studio. I've done a full series of 10 episodes, plus Champion of Champions. I don't think there's any way I can wangle my way back in.

Greg's already told me that the only way he'll be replaced as Taskmaster is if he dies. So I'm basically waiting. I'm basically waiting for Greg.

WHAT CAN YOU TEASE ABOUT THE TASKS IN THIS EPISODE?

Well, look, they're always all my favourite because I get to be involved and do them. But I'll tell you, I had one task that was incredibly frustrating, but is an absolute pleasure to watch for everyone apart from me.

Also, I can tell you that I think my prize task in this is the one - out of all the prize tasks I've done, 11 I've done - that I'm proudest of. So there you go, you get the highs and the lows this episode from me.

WHEN YOU'RE APPROACHING A TASK, WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY?

I mean, it depends what sort of task it is. There's some things that are, for example: throw something into this thing. And there's a solid goal, so you just have to start going.

But it's the creative ones that panic me the most - when you've actually got to come up with something from scratch. Panic tends to inform everything I do at that point - as shown by a lot of the results of the tasks. There's an art task in this Champion of Champions that I think everyone pretty much panicked on and created some absolutely demented results.

So I think panic plays a big part, and then luck as well. Sometimes it just works out. I had a task in series 9 when we had to make a water feature and I panicked and turned Alex into a mermaid, and it just worked out perfectly. And then sometimes it's an absolute disaster.

So yeah, if you've got to do it, you've got to do it. And sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.

AND THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO PREP FOR THE SHOW, IS THERE?

No, and that's the joy of it, really. And that's the joy of it as a comic, as well, that you can't do any prep. So it's going to be the best day at work, but you don't actually need to think about it before. You just think about it after - for the rest of your life.

WHO'S YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITION?

I think Kerry or Liza, probably, I thought would be the biggest competition.

James Acaster, who was on Kerry's series, says that they're the best line up and that any one of them would have won any other series, which I do not think is true. But I do think it was quite a good line up in terms of competence, and the fact that Kerry won that shows that she is a real contender.

And Liza is a wily one, and I think she has the great thing of not really caring and is also very competent, and was very, very good on her series. So those two I thought would probably be the biggest competition.

Lou is mad and she's one of the funniest comics out there, and on Taskmaster was brilliant. But she was too unpredictable and too wild. She might have an amazing episode, it might go terribly wrong, you never know.

And Richard, he makes me laugh so much because it's so funny on his series, he just sort of plodded along which really made me laugh. So certainly going in, I had no worries about Richard.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ALEX AND GREG BRING TO THE SHOW?

Well, I mean, obviously Alex brings the show. It's his baby. It's his voice. His voice is distilled in every single task you see there. Really, it's all through the filter of Alex's mind. So without him, that show doesn't exist.

But Greg does bring another voice to it, as well. It wouldn't be the same without Greg absolutely sardonically ripping into people, ripping into Alex, and it is so funny because the tasks are created by Alex and then we do the task. And it's like a little kid is bringing their dad a picture that they've done, and the dad just sort of sneers at it or rips it up. It's incredible. It's such a good dynamic between the two of them.

ARE YOU QUITE COMPETITIVE?

I am competitive, I think. Certainly, when I actually got in there, I'm more competitive than a lot of the other comedians. But also I think they conceal it better. I think I probably play it up a little bit on the show, but I am.

Of course I want to win - especially if it's something like Taskmaster.

Taskmaster Champion Of Champions, Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm.