Alex Horne

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Alex Horne
Alex Horne 20181206.jpg
Horne in Waterstones, Piccadilly, London, December 2018
Alexander James Jeffery Horne

(1978-09-10) 10 September 1978 (age 42)
Other namesLittle Alex Horne (Taskmaster)
OccupationComedian, writer
Years active2000–present
(m. 2005)

Alexander James Jeffery Horne (born 10 September 1978) is a British comedian. [2] Horne is the creator of BAFTA award-winning Taskmaster , a comedy panel show in which he is the assistant to "Taskmaster" Greg Davies, who judges comedians on various absurd tasks they are asked to perform. He is also the host and bandleader of The Horne Section , a comedic band with whom he runs their eponymous podcast, as well as their music variety show which has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and Dave.


He was a contestant on the numbers and letters show Countdown in 2008 for Channel 4, and has been a dictionary corner guest many times on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown with his band.

Early life

Horne was educated at independent Lancing College (1991–1996) and at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he studied classics, [3] graduating in 2001. [4] While at Cambridge he was a member of the Footlights. [5]


He made his first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000 with his show, "How To Avoid Huge Ships". [6] His 2003 Edinburgh show, "Making Fish Laugh" was nominated for a Perrier newcomer award. [7] In 2004 he won a Chortle Award for Best Breakthrough Act. His shows with Tim Key have been "Every Body Talks" and "When in Rome", both of which featured unusually extensive use of Microsoft PowerPoint for a comic act. Horne toured Roman towns of the UK with the "When in Rome" show in early 2006.

As a solo performer, Horne wrote and performed "Birdwatching" at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival and "Wordwatching" at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival. He signed a two-book deal with Virgin Publishing to write up both of these stories as books. The first, entitled Birdwatchingwatching, came out early in 2009. The second came out in early 2010.

On 18 January 2007, Horne became the first comedian to perform in Second Life for a feature on Sky News. Between 24 October 2006 and 24 October 2007 he worked alongside fellow comedian Owen Powell, in an attempt to find a person from every nationality living in London. After a year's search, they finally managed to meet people from 189 of the UN's 192 countries, and hence suggested there is nobody in the city from Tuvalu, Palau, or the Marshall Islands. [8]

The Horne Section performing in 2019 Horne Section 2019.jpg
The Horne Section performing in 2019

Since 2010, Horne has also been performing with his band The Horne Section as the compere of comedy variety shows. [9] Alex Horne Presents The Horne Section (2012–14) ran for three series on BBC Radio 4, and The Horne Section Podcast has streamed since 2018.

Horne, along with Tim Key and Mark Watson, created the YouTube series "No More Jockeys" during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown in the UK, [10] itself based upon their earlier BBC web series "No More Women". Horne also hosts the YouTube channel Bad Golf with John Robins. [11]

Television work

Horne appeared as a contestant on Countdown in August 2008, winning three matches before being defeated. [12] He also won the inaugural Comedians' Countdown Competition held at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the same month, beating Mark Watson and Stephen Grant to lift the trophy.

Horne acted as the on-stage expert responsible for graphics and sound-effects on the quiz show We Need Answers on BBC Four, in 2009 and 2010.

In 2011, Horne appeared on BBC One's Celebrity Mastermind . His specialist subject was the comedian Ken Dodd. He finished in 2nd place with a score of 25. During Comic Relief 2011's 24 Hour Panel People marathon, Horne appeared on the Call My Bluff segment, on a team with Tim Key and Roisin Conaty. Horne also appeared in the TV show on BBC Three called Britain in Bed in 2011. He appeared as a guest on The Matt Lucas Awards on 16 April 2013 where he won "The Bravest Guest" Award. He has appeared eight times on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown , seven as a Dictionary Corner guest, and once as a replacement for Joe Wilkinson. He has appeared twice as a contestant on The Chase on ITV. [13]

On 26 November 2012, Horne chaired Never Mind the Buzzcocks on BBC Two. The Horne Section performed behind him at various points during the quiz, and played songs about guests Louis Smith, Josh Widdicombe and Paloma Faith.

Since 2015, Horne has served as co-host alongside Greg Davies in the series Taskmaster , which he created. The series was originally broadcast on Dave, and transferred to Channel 4 in 2020. In 2018, Horne co-hosted the US remake of the show, which carried a shorter, but similar format to the UK series. Versions of the programme have also been made in Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand. The show was awarded with a BAFTA [14] for its 9th series in 2020.

In April 2018, Horne voiced a talking Button in the BBC One's game show The Button . [15]

In May 2018, Horne presented The Horne Section Television Programme, a musical comedy stage show based on his BBC Radio 4 show, The Horne Section. The show was recorded for UKTV in front of a live audience at the London Palladium and aired on Dave on 24 May. The show featured The Horne Section band as well as performances from comedians Sue Perkins, Sara Pascoe and Joe Wilkinson, drag act and opera singer Le Gateau Chocolat, and Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle. [16]

Personal life

Horne is married to BBC business journalist Rachel Horne, [5] and the couple have three sons. [17] [5] He is a birdwatcher, which he describes as the perfect activity "for someone who likes sport but is getting too old to play, likes the outdoors and is slightly anal". [18] He is a supporter of Liverpool F.C. [19]


2008 Countdown Himself, contestantFour episodes
2009-2010 We Need Answers HostAlso creator, writer
2009-2010 No More Women Commentator, contestant
2010The Games That Time ForgotPresenterTV Movie documentary
2011 Celebrity Mastermind Self1 episode
2011 Call My Bluff Self Comic Relief Special
2012-2013 Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums Self, special guest4 episodes
2013–present 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Self, guest
2014 Live at the Electric Himself1 episode
2015 Drunk History Self, drunk storyteller1 episode
2015–present Taskmaster Host, Greg's assistantAlso producer, creator, writer
2018 The Button The ButtonAlso producer
2018–present The Last Leg Self, house bandWith The Horne Section
2019TaskmastermindSelf, hostInterviews with Taskmaster contestants
2019 Richard Osman's House of Games Self, contestant5 episodes
2019–presentBad GolfSelf, presenterWeb series
2020 Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer Self, host
2020–present No More Jockeys Self, presenter, contestantWeb series, started in lockdown

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  1. Armstrong, Stephen (11 October 2020). "Alex Horne on how to win at Taskmaster". The Times. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  2. His middle name Jeffery is in honour of his father's birdwatching tutor Jeffery Harrison, as explained in Horne's book Birdwatchingwatching (p. 120-1), and hence is correctly spelt in this way.
  3. classics careers at Retrieved 25 April 2013
  4. "Reporter 11/7/01: Congregations of the Regent House on 28, 29, and 30 June 2001". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "Tim Key and Alex Horne: How we met". The Independent. 12 July 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  6. "How To Avoid Huge Ships : Reviews 2000". Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide.
  7. Armstrong, Stephen (28 September 2003). "Comedy: The Critical List". The Times.
  8. Horne, Alex (24 October 2007). "The End of the World (in One City)". The World in One City. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  9. Logan, Brian. "The Horne Section – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  10. Moloney, Ciara (5 November 2020). "Taskmaster's Alex Horne actually fronts another show". Digital Spy.
  11. "Bad Golf" . Retrieved 29 May 2020 via YouTube.
  12. Brown, Mike. "Series 59". The Countdown Page. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  13. "The Chase Celebrity Special - S6 - Episode 1". Radio Times. Retrieved 3 August 2019.. "The Chase Celebrity Special - S8 - Episode 4". Radio Times. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  14. Morris, Lauren (31 July 2020). "Taskmaster stars Greg Davies and Alex Horne say BAFTA TV Award 2020 win is 'perfect way to start a new era' on Channel 4". Radio Times.
  15. "The Button review: A simple, silly yet surprisingly good new game show on BBC1". Radio Times. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  16. "The Horne Section website" . Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  17. "My Secret Life: Alex Horne, 33, comedian". The Independent. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  18. Kellaway, Kate (22 November 2009). "To a birdwatcher, one glimpse, one moment is happiness enough". The Observer. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  19. Price, Glenn (28 March 2021). "'Virgil van Dijk would be great on Taskmaster!'". Liverpool F.C. Retrieved 1 April 2021.