John Robins

John Robins

Winner of the 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Award, which he shared with Hannah Gadsby. Having begun comedy in 2005, and made his Edinburgh debut in 2007 as part of the Comedy Zone showcase. The following year, he teamed up with one of his contemporaries for Carl Donnelly vs John Robins vs Predator, before making his solo debut in 2009. He was named best compere in the 2015 Chortle Awards, too
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Revealed: Who's in series 17 of Taskmaster

Joanne McNally, John Robins, Nick Mohammed, Sophie Willan and Steve Pemberton

The line-up has been announced for the 17th series of Taskmaster tonight, following the completion of the third Champion of Champions special.

Taking part in the next series will be Joanne McNally, John Robins, Nick Mohammed, Sophie Willan and Steve Pemberton.

Here’s more about them:

Joanne McNally

Irish comedian, known for her long-running Prosecco Express stand-up tour and for co-hosting the podcast My Therapist Ghosted Me with model Vogue Williams. Her TV credits include Channel 4's The Big Fat Quiz of Everything and the Republic Of Telly, a show she co-hosted on Ireland’s RTE2. 

Some Taskmaster fans picked up a clue she dropped on a podcast last year in which she spoke  about flying to London to film a show that required her to pick out an outfit (a jumpsuit).  Reacting to the speculation on the Taskmaster Reddit forums, viewers said: ‘Really hope you’re right, Joanne is hilarious. I can’t tell if she’d be great or awful at the tasks, I just know I want to see it’ and ‘Seems like a good choice.’

John Robins 

Comedian who won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2017, sharing the accolade with Hannah Gadsby. He has co-hosted a radio show and podcast with Elis James for a decade, first on XFM and latterly on Radio 5 Live. As well as its humour, is known for an honest approach to men’s mental health and the pair are publishing a book next year entitled How Do You Cope? 

He has an association with Taskmaster creator Alex Horne as they host the Bad Golf YouTube channel together.

On Richard Herring’s podcast in 2021, Robins was asked directly why he hadn’t been on the show and he replied: ‘I don't get asked to do a lot of telly stuff. But and I can either let that get to me and stress me out and make me feel bad about myself, or I can think John, you’ve got a radio show, you’ve got podcasts that people really like, you sell really well, when you do stand up people like you stand up…  

‘There's always going to be something you can use to get pissed off about? Am I going to define my life by whether I'm on Taskmaster? No, no!’

But he admitted he would be annoyed if Elis James was asked on the show before him… 

Nick Mohammed 

Probably best known for his role as  Nathan Shelley in the Apple TV+ comedy Ted Lasso, which has won him two Emmy nominations, Mohammed also created and starred in the Sky comedy Intelligence with David Schwimmer.

His credits include  Maggie Moore(s), Christopher Robin, The Martian and the Ab Fab movie on the big screen – plus one episode of the Horne Section Radio 4 show with Alex.

Live he performs as the enthusiastic but irritating Mr. Swallow,   a character who has played the West End and also made several appearances on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Do Countdown.

He’s dressed as a vampire for his Taskmaster photoshoot…

Sophie Willan

The Bolton comedian’s second solo show, Branded, earned her a nomination for the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2017. She went on to create the BBC Two sitcom Alma's Not Normal – winning a Bafta award for her writing – inspired by her upbringing as the daughter of a heroin addict. A second series is in the pipeline. 

Willan narrated Channel 4’s The Circle and her acting credits include Still Open All Hours and BBC One prison drama Time, where she played Maeve in last year’s second series.

Steve Pemberton 

Pemberton  is best known for creating and starring in Inside No 9 with Reece Shearsmith, the pair having initially been part of The League Of Gentlemen with Mark Gatiss and writer Jeremy Dyson. The anthology series is set to come to an end after the forthcoming ninth season.

His other television credits include Doctor Who, Benidorm, Blackpool, Shameless, Whitechapel, Happy Valley and Mapp and Lucia.

An eagle-eyed crossword fanatic discovered that Pemberton revealed himself as a Taskmaster contestant in September – via the medium of crosswords. 

A Reddit user called Thunder_Child_209 noticed that the Guardian ran a crossword set my Sphinx – the name of a compiler Pemberton played Inside No 9, which contained a hidden message relevant to the show.

No broadcast date has yet been announced for the 17th series of Taskmaster, but the show typically launches in March and September.

Taskmaster was one of Channel 4’s most popular programmes of 2023 – coming in as the channel’s third most streamed title of the year with 2.3 billion viewing minutes recorded.  The launch episode of series 15 alone has had 85.4million streaming minutes so far. 

 Channel 4 has committed to making at least four more series after this one – as well as a junior version coming this year with Rose Matafeo as the Taskmaster and Mike Wozniak as her sidekick.

It has also been a hit internationally with local versions now in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Nordics, Croatia and Portugal 

A virtual reality game based on the show is  to launch this year for Meta Quest 2 and 3.

 Taskmaster production credits

Made by: Avalon
Series director: Andy Devonshire
Series producers: Andy Cartwright 
Executive producers: Alex Horne, Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, James Taylor, Jon Thoday and Andy Devonshire
Commissioned for Channel 4 by: head of live events Tom Beck and head of entertainment Steve Handley.

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Published: 14 Jan 2024

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