Taskmaster Series 17: Who Is Steve Pemberton?

Steve Pemberton Taskmaster

by Tom McDermott |
Updated on

Taskmaster is back and with it five new celebs (Joanne McNally, Nick Mohammed, John Robins, Steve Pemberton and Sophie Willan) who will be fighting it out for the honour of being named champion. The puzzles and games filled TV show has been going strong since 2015 and series 17 promises even more brain-teasers designed to stump and surprise.

Who will be this year’s outside the box thinker and join the likes of Bob Mortimer and Lou Sanders in the hall of fame?

Let’s take a closer look at those in the running to take home Greg’s golden head.

Who is Steve?

Born and raised in Blackburn, Lancashire, Steve Pemberton is an award-winning actor, comedian, director and writer. He has a long history in the world of comedy but is perhaps best known for his work with the sketch group The League of Gentlemen alongside Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and non-performing member Jeremy Dyson.

The League, including Steve, came to prominence in 1997 after winning the Perrier award for comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for their darkly comedic stage show. A radio series soon followed which was subsequently adapted for television, bringing Steve and the group to the attention of an even wider audience.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Steve Pemberton attends the opening night of "Dear England" at Prince Edward Theatre on October 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images)

Where do we know him from?

Steve is perhaps best known for portraying multiple characters in the cult favourite sitcom The League of Gentlemen including monstrous Job Centre employee Pauline, oddball local shop proprietor Tubbs Tattsyrup and innuendo-prone German teacher Herr Lipp.

Following the conclusion of the aforementioned series, Steve has never been far from our screens for long, appearing in 43 episodes of ITV sitcom Benidorm as holiday-maker Mick Garvey as well as collaborating with fellow League of Gentlemen member, Reece Shearsmith, to create and star in both the black comedy mystery series Psychoville and the darkly humorous anthology series Inside No 9 (the first episode of which is all to do with a game of Sardines).

Additionally, Steve has also taken on various dramatic roles in programmes such as Whitechapel, Worzel Gummidge, Killing Eve and Happy Valley, as well as appearing on the West End stage.

A man after our own hearts, Steve is also a cryptic crossword fan, and worlds collided in 2017, when a crossword was published in The Guardian under the pseudonym Sphinx. That puzzle featured in an episode of Inside No 9 the very same evening and Pemberton was unmasked as its compiler.

His love of brainteasers doesn’t end there, he has described watching Only Connect as one of the highlights of his week, and has even appeared on a special celebrity episode for Comic Relief.

Our prediction

The mind which helped to create some of the characters and shows discussed above isn’t short of imagination. Will this bode well for Steve or will seeing the story play out become more interesting than the task itself. Time will tell...

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