Taskmaster Interview: Sam Campbell

Taskmaster Interview: Sam Campbell

Why did you sign up to Taskmaster?

I don’t know. I didn’t know what it was. I’ve not been allowed to watch it because of my conservatorship.


So why did you say yes?

I was forced to by my management company. It’s almost military service, you have to do it. 


Did you know anyone else who’d done it previously?

No. I know some people who did Taskmaster Zimbabwe but never this one. It’s good. It’s the best one. 


The Australian one – is amazing.

Yes, that one’s not good. It’s not a quality product. It’s just nasty stuff. Nasty business. Wretched.


Had you met any of your fellow contestants before?

I’d seen some of their stuff. And they’re very different to their public personas. Just cruel, calculating people.


Tell me about your approach to these tasks. Did you have a strategy?

Yes, but not in a good way. I was living at the house, up in the attic. 


Why did you decide to live there?

I just needed shelter. It was good, but there was a snake in there. 


What kind? 

A carpet snake. Oh, wait. You don’t have carpet snakes here. 


We have grass snakes. 

Okay, yes. Sorry. I don’t know. There was something up there that kept trying to bite me.


Did you plan for any of the tasks? 

Well, I did all of them, but then they said they lost the footage. So, on the day of the first record, I had to do all of them again. They didn’t want me to remember the ones I’d done so they got Sue Perkins to drop a brick on my head so I’d forget. 


So this is like a massive conspiracy, basically. 

Paranoia is just reality in finer detail. 


Did you have any kind of strategy for the tasks?

I found it distracting. Alex Horne was often taking phone calls from a mysterious woman throughout. He seemed to be kind of phoning it in. He was throwing around lots of statements like, “I’ve got a lot of money.” I barely spoke to the guy.


So he wasn’t any help to you?

Not really. He’s off doing his own thing. Making deals and that sort of thing.


What do you think of Greg?

We didn’t get to meet him. He films all his stuff afterwards, and they put it in. 


Like VFX? 

Yes. At this point, it’s just a machine. 


Was that disappointing for you? 

I guess so, yes. It’s hard. I think a lot of stuff like that is happening at the moment. Social contracts being broken.


You and Lucy seemed to form a bit of a bond for living on a different planet compared to the others. 

I would not want to be from that planet. She is a nasty person. She is Mean with a capital M. Wickedly intelligent. Very crafty. I would use the word ‘sinister’. 


Are you trying to say you’re the normal one? 

No, there’s something wrong with me. I was dropped on the head. As an adult.


Who dropped you? 

I couldn’t tell. They were wearing a kind of bird mask. 


But you were normal up to that point?

Apparently. But I can’t remember my life up until a few weeks ago.


Okay, so you don’t even know whether you were a comic. And then suddenly, you find yourself in Edinburgh like on stage in front of all these people. 

Pretty much, yes. 


Are you enjoying it? 

No, I feel really confused. I feel like an experiment.


Do you know who your friends or family are? 

I’ve been seeing messages on magazine covers and newspapers and signs. I’m working on some stuff. I’d like to find out who I am.


On one of the tasks you bribed an eight-year-old with £100. Do you feel okay about that? 

I think child bribes are wrong. 


So you regret it?

I just thought other people would try that tactic. Do you think it reflects poorly on me? 


A little bit.

I guess. Yes. I mean, she’s not really a child. She’s an animatronic. 


Did she keep the £100? 

I think they’re going to give it to the family. They said they would. Maybe in a trust fund or something. An animatronic trust fund. 


How competitive or not did you feel about the show? 

I just wanted to keep a low profile. 


But I thought we were trying to advertise yourself to the people that have lost you.

That’s such a good point. I’ve got twelve birthmarks, which I could describe. They’re all in different shapes. One’s quite long. One is near my ear, and the rest are on my legs. So if you know someone with those, give us a buzz. 


What have you got lined up after Taskmaster?

Career-wise? I don’t know if I’m supposed to ... I guess I can talk about it. I’m going to be hosting a new show. Basically, you know after the rain when you see a worm? We are returning them to safety so it doesn’t end up covered in ants or something. 


How long is the programme?

Hour-long episodes.


Episodes, plural?



What else happens? 

We find the worms, we helicopter down. I’ve got to pick up the worm and show it to the camera. But I don’t kiss the worm or anything like that. 


Because that would be weird. 

No, it’d be wrong. And I just say gently to him, “See you later. Run. Return from whence you came.” Oh, it’s not one worm per episode, by the way. There are two. 


I’m going to regret asking this, but what’s it called? 




It’s called Hey. 


That sounds … really good. 

Yes. Yes, it’s on a new channel. It’s called Ryan. Ryan TV. I’m working on an album as well. It’s me singing all the national anthems of countries that don’t exist anymore. Just so people don’t forget them. 


Like where? 



That still exists. 

Does it? Okay. We’re going to have to change that track. That was going to be the lead single. 


It’s called Myanmar now, to be fair.

Oh, really? I’ll check. 


Thanks, Sam.

Thanks for your advice.

Read more Taskmaster interviews here.

Taskmaster, Thursdays, 9pm, C4, from September 21. 

Interview and pictures: Avalon



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