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.
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 starting 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 hilarious musical comedy which had 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 each Sunday morning 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. Earlier this month, Jason was nominated in the Funniest Show category at the 2018 ARIAS. The show holds the Sunday morning record for pulling in the most listeners in that slot since the station 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. 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. 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 October, 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 explores 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 the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Towards the end of 2018, Jason filmed the Christmas special of his prime time ITV1 show, What Would Your Kid Do? and the second series, which transmitted in early 2018. The series sets 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.
2019 will see the continuation of Jason’s hugely successful Muddle Class UK tour, and later in the year star in Scarborough, a new BBC1 sitcom written by Benidorm creator Derren Litten.
In what spare time he has, Jason runs Manford’s Comedy Club with his brother Colin. Since the launch over two years ago, Manford’s Comedy Club has gone from strength to strength and have booked over 260 comedians to entertain more than 40,000 people in 57 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.