Taskmaster – The Final review: After 16 series, is the show’s well of wacky ideas running dry?

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Taskmaster — The Final 

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Inside The Tower Of London 

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Have you ever settled down in front of the television and thought to yourself, ‘What I really fancy now is to watch Sue Perkins firing a ring doughnut at Alex Horne from a piece of industrial-strength elastic attached to the top of a wheelie bin’?

You were in luck last night then. That was just one of the eccentric spectacles on offer in Taskmaster — The Final (Ch4).

This is the 16th series of Taskmaster, and there is some evidence that they might be running out of wacky, oddball ideas. One challenge for the five contestants was to do some exercise. Comedian Lucy Beaumont simply head-butted an exercise ball, while actress Susan Wokoma put on some boxing gloves and used a couple of small weights as ab rollers. To be honest, I’ve seen wackier.

It was the doughnut that kept up the show’s reputation for oddness that shouldn’t really be amusing but somehow is. The contestants were introduced to the sugary treat, which was mounted on a small plinth, and ordered: ‘Do something shocking but family-friendly with this doughnut’.

One challenge for the five contestants was to do some exercise. Comedian Lucy Beaumont simply head-butted an exercise ball, while actress Susan Wokoma put on some boxing gloves and used a couple of small weights as ab rollers. To be honest, I've seen wackier

One challenge for the five contestants was to do some exercise. Comedian Lucy Beaumont simply head-butted an exercise ball, while actress Susan Wokoma put on some boxing gloves and used a couple of small weights as ab rollers. To be honest, I’ve seen wackier

Gamesmaster Horne was just asking for trouble, wasn’t he? He was shot with the doughnut by Perkins, while Julian Clary slowly chewed his and then spat it into Horne’s face. Charming.

But the winner was Beaumont, who dressed as a bird, ate the doughnut, regurgitated, and fed it to Horne.

In cold print, it doesn’t sound very amusing, but that’s the magic of Taskmaster. Accept it as childish and silly, and somehow you get swept up by the maniacal laughter. Well, mostly swept up.

The series winner was Australian comedian Sam Campbell, the only contestant who could throw a ball into a large bath of smaller balls without any balls dropping onto the floor. Who knows when that skill might come in useful?

There was a shocking revelation from Inside The Tower Of London (Ch5). Some of the country’s most high-profile civil servants became so comfortable during lockdown that they refused to return to normal duties.

They are the Tower’s famous ravens, who were confined to their cages for six months as part of the crackdown on avian flu. And Ravenmaster Chris Skaife could not tempt them back out.

Mind you, his main method seemed to be standing outside the cage and shouting, ‘Come on then, you lot’. Eventually, one of the younger ravens fell for the oldest trick in the book — a trail of food — and the others followed.

The Tower Of London employee Chris

The Tower Of London employee Chris

So if the Government is really serious about getting civil servants back to the office, would a trail of light snacks down Whitehall do the trick?

Elsewhere in the tower, a costume worn by the Earl of Caledon to the 1821 Coronation of George IV was being prepared for display, complete with wine and food stains. The knees-up afterwards cost the equivalent of £13m, and the Earl seemed to have spilled most of the food budget down his front and sleeves.

The stars of the show were the Yeoman Warders, who have bright, brash personalities to match their bright, brash costumes.

One of them warmed up a tour audience with the words, ‘Who’s up for a story with a happy ending?’

‘Yes,’ came the cheery reply.

‘Go visit somewhere else then.’

Once a formidable symbol of power, the Tower is now just another branch of showbiz.

JONATHAN TETELMAN: The Great Puccini (DG 486 4683)

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Born in Chile but raised in New Jersey, Jonathan Tetelman is a tenor to watch, with a most beautiful, cultured voice.

A year after his much-praised first DG recital of arias recorded in Gran Canaria, he has been to Prague to set down this freshly-vocalised album of Giacomo Puccini’s best-known tenor scenes.

Born in Chile but raised in New Jersey , Jonathan Tetelman is a tenor to watch, with a most beautiful, cultured voice

Born in Chile but raised in New Jersey , Jonathan Tetelman is a tenor to watch, with a most beautiful, cultured voice

It is a little early for the centenary of the composer’s death but very welcome, as Tetelman is better in tune than some of his big rivals and he has a feeling for Puccini’s brand of phrasing.

The expected hit numbers — ‘Che gelida manina’, ‘Nessun dorma’, ‘E lucevan le stelle’ — are here but some selections are a bit unusual, such as the scene from Madama Butterfly Act 3.

La Boheme gets three excerpts, including the love duet with the excellent Federica Lombardi and the farewell quartet from Act 3; and altogether Tetelman is supported by six other singers.

Music from Le Villi, Manon Lescaut and Il Tabarro is included; Carlo Rizzi conducts the Prague Philharmonia idiomatically but the climax of ‘Nessun dorma’ sounds a tad strange.

VENITE, GAUDETE! Choral Music For Christmas (Naxos 8.574575)

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The Christmas music on this CD is beautifully sung but you may have encountered it before, as it was issued on another label in 2011.

David Hill, one of our top choirmasters, conducts just 16 professional singers in the IKON ensemble which is convened for special projects.

The Christmas music on this CD is beautifully sung but you may have encountered it before, as it was issued on another label in 2011

The Christmas music on this CD is beautifully sung but you may have encountered it before, as it was issued on another label in 2011

The 2009 recordings from St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, still sound good and my sole reservation is that many of the arrangements are very tricksy and unnecessarily complicated.

The simplicity of the Coventry Carol virtually disappears under the weight of the harmonies heaped upon it by Richard Allain, and some of the modern composers are guilty of the same.

I do enjoy Kenneth Leighton’s G.K. Chestertoon setting and there are classics from Whitacre, Holst, Warlock, Joubert and Howells; the title track by Adrian Peacock was new in 2009.

TULLY POTTER



Post source: Daily mail

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