Jason Manford hails from Salford, Lancashire. He is a stand-up comedian, writer, actor, radio and television presenter. He began his career in 1999, while working at the Buzz Comedy Club in Chorlton, Manchester. Jason was collecting glasses when a performer didn’t arrive for an evening set. Jason, who was 17, stepped in to fill the gap, an event which marked the beginning of his comedy career. Six gigs later he was crowned The City Life North West Comedian of the Year.
After winning several smaller awards, Jason was nominated for the Perrier Award in Edinburgh in 2005 for his show ‘Urban Legends’. He shot to stardom as team Captain on Channel 4’s, ‘8 out of 10 Cats’ in 2007.
Following his UK tours in 2008 and 2009, stand up sets on ‘Live at the Apollo’ (BBC One), ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’ (BBC One) and ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ (ITV1, 2009) have all helped establish Jason as a nationally known comic, a position which made him the ideal host of ITV’s reality comedy competition, ‘Show Me The Funny’.
A second series of his hilarious creation ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ (BBC One) aired in 2010. Jason has also hosted ‘Comedy Rocks with Jason Manford’ (ITV1). He was a regular panelist on two series of ‘Odd One In’ (ITV1).
Jason took his ‘I’m Turning Into My Dad’ tour across the UK in 2010, including a five night run at the Edinburgh International Festival that summer. He then went back on tour in 2011 with ‘Off On Tour We Go: Jason Manford Live’.
After his opera singing turn saw him emerge the winner on Born To Shine (ITV1) Jason put his new found talent into practice joining Alfie Boe on tour. This was followed by a well-received run in the critically acclaimed hit West End musical Sweeney Todd, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. He hosted ITV’s ‘Funny Old Year’ on New Year’s Eve 2013, giving his unique and personal take on everything from television to sport, from the gaffes to the feuds and the trends of the year.
Jason toured the UK with his ‘First World Problems’ show which took him to all corners of the British Isles which started in May 2013, performing more than a staggering 200 shows. First World Problems was released on DVD in November, 2014 and the tour finished in December 2014.
In April 2014 Jason appeared alongside Shameless star David Threlfall in ITV1’s drama based on the life of Tommy Cooper, ‘Not Like This, Like That’. Jason hosted a brand new series on BBC One, ‘A Question of Sport: Super Saturday’ throughout June 2014. In September 2014, the illustrious ‘Sunday Night at the Palladium’ returned to ITV and saw Jason as one of the guest hosts. He has also enjoyed appearances on ‘QI’ (BBC Two), ‘Big Fat Quiz of the Year’ (Channel 4), ‘Comedy World Cup’ (Channel 4) and ‘Lip Sync Battle UK’ (Channel 5).
Jason starred in ‘The Producers’ as timid accountant, Leo Bloom. The show is based on Mel Brooks’ beloved Academy Award winning movie. The hilarious musical comedy which has taken Broadway and the West End by storm, opened in March 2015.
In March and April 2015, Jason starred in the BBC One six part drama series ‘Ordinary Lies’ with co-stars Max Beesley, Michelle Keegan and Mackenzie Crook. For his role as downtrodden car salesman Marty, he was nominated for ‘Best Actor’ at the Royal Television Society Awards.
Following three successful end of year specials of ‘Funny Old Year’, Jason went onto host ‘Funny Old Week’ for ITV throughout July 2015.
Jason then hosted ‘The Money Pit’ on Dave (UKTV), where ordinary people decide whether or not to invest their own money on a variety of projects on the show in return for a share in the company or a special reward.
In July to November 2015, his ‘Best Of’ live show toured the UK. Jason wrote a comedy-horror show called ‘That’s The Spirit’ for Sky1, which aired Halloween 2016. He starred in this alongside Rebecca Callard, Imogen Gurney and Brenock O’Connor.
Jason took to the stage in February 2016 to star as Caractacus Potts in the UK critically acclaimed tour of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ for a 12 month run.
Jason hosts a live three hour show on Absolute Radio on Sunday mornings with celebrity guests and his own comedic take on the topics of the week. His show receives huge ratings and is very popular with audiences across the UK. In 2017, Jason was nominated for Best Music Presenter at the ARIAS, run by The Radio Academy. In 2018, Jason was nominated in the Funniest Show category at the ARIAS. The show holds the Sunday morning record for pulling in the most listeners in that slot since Absolute was launched in 2001.
2017 was non-stop for Jason. After finishing Chitty in February, he went straight into hosting a brand new Sunday night primetime TV game show called Bigheads. The series began April 2017 on ITV1 and ran for six weeks. April also saw Jason present the prestigious Olivier Awards (ITV1), before jumping into hosting duties for week seven of The Nightly Show (ITV1). He also made a guest appearance in the new series of Benidorm (ITV1). In September that year, Bigheads won Best TV Game Show at the prestigious Rose d’Or Awards in Berlin. Jason was nominated for Best Entertainment Presenter for Bigheads at the National Television Awards, while the show itself was nominated for The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award.
In October 2017, Jason released his debut album of musical favourites ‘A Different Stage’ on Decca Records. The record ranges from show tunes he has performed in the past, to songs that are close to his heart and some of his childhood favourites. The album reached the Top 10 in the UK.
In January 2018 Jason took to the road for his mammoth year-and-a-half long ‘Muddle Class’ UK tour, which explored Jason’s life growing up ‘working class’, then finding that as he’s got older, part of him has become ‘middle class’, causing much confusion!
In October 2018, Jason trod the boards once again, this time as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Towards the end of 2018, Jason filmed the Christmas special of his prime time ITV1 show, ‘What Would Your Kid Do?’ and a second series, which aired in March 2019. The series set the challenge for parents to guess how their kids will react in a variety of different situations, as child development psychology merges with an entertaining game show.
December saw the release of a special Christmas episode of Jason’s Cartoonito children’s show ‘Daisy & Ollie’, which saw a special guest appearance from Take That’s Gary Barlow performing a song. ‘Daisy & Ollie’ is now shown every weekday morning on Channel 5’s Milkshake at 7.15am.
2019 saw the continuation of Jason’s hugely successful ‘Muddle Class’ UK tour, and later in the year star in Scarborough, a BBC One sitcom written by Benidorm creator Derren Litten.
May 2019 saw Manford’s Comedy Club take over Blackpool with his first ever ‘Manford’s Comedy Festival’ in partnership with Winter Gardens and Absolute Radio. The festival line-up included big comedy names such as John Bishop, Sean Lock, Milton Jones, David O’Doherty and more.
In September 2019, Jason returned to musical theatre to star in the hilarious whodunnit ‘Curtains’ as Frank Cioffi, which toured the UK and included a month-long run at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre.
January 2020 saw Jason host a brand-new, primetime comedy gameshow for BBC One, ‘First & Last’.
In February, Jason claimed second place as ‘Hedgehog’ in the first series of ITV1’s ‘The Masked Singer’.
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Jason has hosted a number of events from his home to keep the nation entertained whilst being stuck indoors during the lockdown. These include a weekly Friday night gameshow ‘Jason Manford’s Games Arcade’, a kids quiz every Wednesday afternoon with questions thought up by his own children and also a ‘Lockdown Comedy Club for Kids’, where Jason invites children all over the UK to send in their own jokes to be shared on his YouTube channel.
On Friday 12 June 2020, Jason’s ‘Muddle Class’ show recorded at Stockport Plaza was shown on BBC One.
On 21 January 2021, Jason guest starred as character Craig in BBC One’s ‘Death In Paradise’.
Later this year on BBC One, Jason will host brand new quiz show ‘Unbeatable’.
In September, Jason will take his brand-new stand-up show ‘Like Me’ on a massive 178-date tour of the UK & Ireland, kicking off in Colchester on 25 September 2021 and culminating in Aberdeen on 19 November 2022.
In what spare time he has, Jason runs Manford’s Comedy Club with his brother Colin. Since the launch over four years ago, Manford’s Comedy Club has gone from strength to strength and have booked over 300 comedians to entertain more than 80,000 people in 70 different locations across the country. From Holiday Parks to Art Centres and from bustling City Centre Nightclubs to quiet out of town theatres, Manford’s Comedy Club has delivered a lot of laughs to a lot of people.
Jason supports Manchester City FC and has a season ticket with his dad and three brothers. He cites Billy Connolly as the first comedian he saw when he was nine years old, and as the first inspiration for him to become a comedian. He has a love for family friendly entertainers including Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper and Les Dawson.