Channel 4 and Avalon have announced the launch of new children-focused entertainment show Junior Taskmaster following the continuing success of ratings and critical hit Taskmaster, which is also renewed for a further six series by the broadcaster.

The PG and “Bleeped” (family friendly) versions of the BAFTA and twice National Comedy Award winning show have seen continual growth in popularity with younger viewers, parents and family audiences generally. While an increasing number of schools across the UK have also been taking Taskmaster into the classroom, either informally, or now via School Tasking, the not-for-profit primary school outreach project, and Taskmaster Education, which recently partnered with children’s mental health charity Place2Be. The brand-new eight-part series, Junior Taskmaster will see young people aged 9 to 11 bring their fledgling wiles, athleticism and creativity to the game that recognises genius at any age. Hosts for the new series will be revealed soon.

Alex Horne, the show’s creator, said: “I’ve watched many, many comedians flounder when given simple instructions over the past few years and I fully expect the competitors in Junior Taskmaster to be both more competent and just as funny. For that series, I will be handing over my assistant’s clipboard to someone equally as efficient and persistent as myself because I have a lot more admin to do with six further handfuls of supposedly talented adults. I live for bureaucracy so this is all excellent news”.

Greg Davies, the original Taskmaster, said: “My long-term contempt for young people is a matter of record but other people here at Taskmaster HQ seem convinced that they have merit. I am thrilled that two new team members are putting this questionable hypothesis to the test and will take on the challenge of corralling and assessing them on television. I will be watching closely to ensure standards are met. I am also delighted that Alex and I return to test the intelligence of comedians in the most scientific of ways. I’ll be pretty angry. It’s not even an act anymore.”

Tom Beck, Head of Events for Channel 4, said: “Taskmaster is the funniest, most creative show on TV and we’re so excited not only to have three more years of Greg and Alex on the brilliant original but also to expand Taskmaster. Junior Taskmaster is set to be hugely entertaining family-friendly treat with as much madcap nonsense as the main series and, who knows, it might unearth the comedy stars of tomorrow”.

Phil Harris, Head of Entertainment and Live Events for Channel 4 said, “We’ve seen some brilliantly memorable task-tackling talent in recent series and I’m delighted Alex and Greg are bringing our viewers even more of the award-winning Taskmaster. After the success of our Taskmaster’s New Years’ Treat specials to be able to extend the Taskmaster universe with Junior Taskmaster is incredibly exciting.”

Jon Thoday, executive producer, added: “It’s been a joy working with the team at Channel 4 – we’re delighted to be continuing the relationship and excited to be working together on Junior Taskmaster”.

Taskmaster is already watched by a broad multi-generational audience and in terms of profile was Channel 4’s youngest skewing series last year. In terms of audience share of young viewers (16-34) it is in the top three in the coveted 9pm slot, with Gogglebox and Derry Girls. Taskmaster is also hugely popular on All 4, where it is available for free and, since 2021, the average views per episode [0-7Days, O+O] have grown for the title with each series

Taskmaster is produced by Avalon and Executive Producers for the series are Alex Horne, Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, James Taylor, Jon Thoday and Andy Devonshire who also acts as Series Director, while Andy Cartwright will also continue as Series Producer. Taskmaster is commissioned for Channel 4 by Tom Beck, Head of Live Events and Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, with Phil Harris, Head of Entertainment and Events.

Pippa Considine

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