Why did you sign up for Taskmaster?
I've watched the show since the first day.
Did you have a strategy?
It was just to not make a fool of myself, and not ruin my career. Just to survive, really. You think you're going to do alright but when you walk into a room and Alex is there, it all goes out the window. But I won a few of the tasks, I'm pleased to say, so it was alright.
How did you get on with the other contestants?
It was such a nice group of people. I know it's not a panel show but it does make me feel like those shows are changing because they can be a bit like a bear pit with people talking over each other. This felt like the opposite of that: really supportive and grown-up. I hadn't met Jo before and I was in love with her by the end. She has a comic persona of being spikey, but she's so friendly and so nice. She was very creative and left-field about everything. And she was quite anarchic in her attitude towards it. David had a bit of a crisis. I think he went in relying on his brain, but this show is so arbitrary in what it's testing. He was sitting there going, 'Why did I do that? Why didn't I think of that?', and I think he went home every night berating himself. I think it's so brave of anybody to put themselves through that. Ed was very impressive. He just got on with it in a very confident way. Rose is maybe the less well-known in terms of TV in this country and I think she was kind of nervous about that but she was so full of energy and cavalier in it, she was brilliant. Rose and I are going to have a board game night and she's going to take me to an Escape Room. She brought out my geeky side.
This is the first series with more women than men. Was there any difference between the sexes?
Having Jo as the matriarch set a tone of strong women getting on with it in a no-nonsense way. I think at first, David and Ed were more competitive and outrageous at arguing for a point. But halfway through I thought, 'Oh well if they're going to argue, so am I'. I didn't want it to seem like the women were passive. And in the end I think it was very equal. The girls did better at some of the building tasks, which went against gender stereotypes.
Did you learn anything about yourself?
I always did quite well in the art projects, anything to do with drawing or painting, and I was really pleased with that. It's made me want to go away and do an art course! People kept saying I was calm but what they didn't understand is that it was just fear, and being overly-cautious, and being self-conscious. People mistook that for being relaxed but I really wasn't. It turns out that I mutter to myself a lot, and I didn't know I did that. And as soon as I found out I'd been bad in a task, I had a really childlike reaction: 'I don't want to do it anyway, stupid task, mutter mutter'. That's quite terrifying to know, that the child in you is never that far away.
How did you get on with Alex?
I adore Alex. I feel like it's having a calm therapist there. I often used to start a task by hugging him, but he didn't want to do that. I thought it was nice but he didn't like it. You see in his face he wants you to do well and he's encouraging, and you think he's going to be there for you, but he's such a stickler for the rules. All he ever says is, 'All the information is on the card'. I think I did get more confident with asking him stuff though, as time went on.
How do you describe the relationship between Greg and Alex?
Well, it's mum and dad, isn't it? Light bickering. What's really sweet is that Alex will gain confidence and run with something, then Greg will squash him with one look or one comment. It makes me sad how quickly he loses his confidence. He genuinely is very easy to embarrass. He doesn't like anything dirty. I think there was one task where I wanted to use my bra for a task, and he was very uncomfortable with that. I guess it's bullying, but it's kind of fine. Maybe because we know Greg has respect for Alex, very very deep down, deep in his shoes. It couldn't work with just one of them. Greg would just be too, too angry on his own. And Alex would be muttering quietly on his own.
Who else would be good on future series of Taskmaster?
Holly Walsh. Tash or Jamie Demetriou. Ellie White. I'm just naming my friends! Dawn French would be great. Julia Davis would be incredible. Matt Baynton would be great. I wish Harry Enfield would do! He'd be so funny but I don't know if he would. Although actually, I don't know why they couldn't get anyone they wanted. People have seen enough of it now to know they're in safe hands.
Did you try to butter Greg up to get extra points?
I've known Greg for a long time. I used to be in a sketch show and we'd do double bill nights together. I didn't really use any insider knowledge apart from one thing: I knew if I brought him something shaped like a penis, he'd find it funny. Anything rude, especially with his face on it, was going to go down alright. But most of the time you can't read him. There was one week when I did something I thought was incredible, and he pooh-poohed it straight away. I was so cross. I said, 'Well you and I are just very very different people'. It felt like because he didn't like it, he didn't like me. Something can have a great reaction in the studio and Greg will go, 'No, come on, you just stuck a bit of glue on a thing', and you come last.