Thursday 22nd February
Fresh off its Best Entertainment Show win at this year's Broadcast Awards, it was announced today that UKTV has ordered four more series of BAFTA and EMMY-nominated Taskmaster from Avalon for its award-winning comedy and entertainment channel, Dave. Greg Davies persists as the all-powerful Taskmaster alongside his ever-loyal assistant Alex Horne for series six, seven, eight and nine, of the UKTV Original series.
The four-series commission, each extended to 10 episodes (10x60'), follows Taskmaster's continued success in 2017 becoming UKTV Play's most popular programme of the year and one of Dave's highest rating original commissions.
The highly anticipated sixth series, which will air in the spring, welcomes five new competitors willing to take on the fiendish and frivolous challenges. Alice Levine (BBC Radio 1, My Dad Wrote A Porno), Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing), Liza Tarbuck (Upstart Crow), Russell Howard (The Russell Howard Hour), and Tim Vine (Not Going Out) will all compete to lift the hallowed hollow head-of-Greg-Davies-trophy.
Richard Watsham, director of commissioning at UKTV, said: "I couldn't be more proud of Taskmaster and Alex Horne's brilliant creation.
Once in a while a startlingly original bit of TV comes along that redefines an entire genre and I'm just pleased it's on Dave. Can't wait to work with Andy Devonshire and the fantastic team at Avalon on another 40 episodes which will enable us to keep booking the very best comic talent both new and established."
Jon Thoday, executive producer, said:
We are delighted by Dave's ongoing commitment and support for Taskmaster. It's great to know the exceptionally creative team behind it will continue to surprise and entertain viewers with this hugely popular and original show.
Taskmaster, created by Alex Horne, is a comedy game show where the omnipotent Taskmaster (Greg Davies), with the help of his meek assistant (Alex Horne), sets out to test the wiles, wit and wisdom of five hyper competitive comedians through a series of ingenuous and ingenious challenges. With the chance to be crowned show champion, rivalry amongst the comedians is encouraged, dodgy tactics rewarded and bribes accepted in what is the most hard-fought and ridiculous comedy entertainment show on TV.
Alex Horne, executive producer and creator of Taskmaster, said:
Once more I'm surprised by and indebted to the hitherto-respected performers who have agreed to put their careers on hold to do this stupid thing, and to UKTV for allowing it to happen 9 (NINE!) times. Also, for the record, I'm well over six foot tall.
Taskmaster most recently received a 2017 BAFTA nomination for Best Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme, a 2017 International Emmy nomination in the category of non-scripted entertainment and won the award for Best Entertainment Series at last week's Broadcast Awards 2018. Taskmaster has also been nominated for RTS, Broadcasting Press Guild and Broadcast Digital Awards. Following five hit series, UKTV commissioned a two-part special Taskmaster: Champion of Champions which reunited the victors from the previous series and saw Josh Widdicombe crowned the ultimate Taskmaster victor. Airing in December, the special was one of Dave's highest rating programmes with a consolidated audience of over 900k.
An Avalon production, series six to nine of Taskmaster has been commissioned by Richard Watsham and Hilary Rosen, Deputy Director of Commissioning at UKTV. Executive Producers for the series are Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, Alex Horne, 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.
Notes to editors
Sky 111/246, Virgin 127/194, Freesat 157 Freeview, BT & TalkTalk 12/79
On demand on Sky, Virgin and UKTV Play
Since bursting onto TV sets in 2007, Dave has been putting in hours at the gym and is now a beefed-up powerhouse of brand new and original commissions from some of the biggest stars and production companies in entertainment. Romesh Ranganthan, Jon Richardson and YouTube sensation Yianni Charalambous are just some of the latest additions to the channel's ever-increasing slate.
Whether it's innovative comedy entertainment like the BAFTA and Emmy-nominated __Taskmaster, Unspun with Matt Forde_, and Dara o Briain's Go 8 Bit or scripted sitcoms including the worldwide hit Red Dwarf, Zapped, and Porters, Dave's guaranteed to work your funny bone like never before.
Dave's also committed to bringing live sport back to free-to-air and has an ongoing deal to show fights from David Haye's Hayemaker Ringstar venture. There's also Red Bull Soapbox, Cop Car Workshop, Sin City Motors and a whole host of much loved programming, all shot with Dave's unique personality that's led to the channel reaching 20million adults a month.
UKTV is a commercial broadcaster reaching over 40m viewers every month.
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 nearly 10% of the British commercial TV market. The network delivers 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 over 20 years 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 first British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list.
Avalon is a multi-award winning talent management, live promotion and television production group with offices in the UK and the USA.
Avalon and ARG, the talent management arms of the business, have discovered and represent many artists which are household names, in the UK, the USA, and around the world.
In 2017 Avalon was named the number one 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 (the BBC's longest running sitcom currently on air), BAFTA and RTS-nominated Taskmaster (DAVE/UKTV), multi-BAFTA award winning TV Burp (ITV1), Russell Howard's Good News (BBC2), Fantasy Football League (BBC/ITV) and Workaholics (Comedy Central USA).
Avalon and Topical Television form the television arm of the company and other shows currently in production include: Taskmaster USA (Comedy Central), Man Down (C4), Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish (Dave/UKTV), The Chris Ramsey Show (Comedy Central), and Stand Up Central with Chris Ramsey (Comedy Central); whilst the catalogue is sold worldwide by Avalon Distribution.
Avalon 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.