There will be laughter guaranteed during the Signature Lunch with writer, actor, presenter and stand-up comedian Jason Manford this year’s special guest.
Jason, who cites Billy Connolly as his inspiration to become a comedian 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, he stepped in to fill the gap and so 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.
After 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) 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. Further television opportunities followed and as host of Bigheads, the show won Best TV Game Show at the prestigious Rose d'Or Awards in Berlin
When his opera singing turn saw him emerge the winner on Born To Shine, 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. Jason’s debut album of musical favourites, A Different Stage and reached the Top 10 in the UK.
Jason has toured the UK extensively, and has enjoyed appearances on QI, Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Comedy World Cup and Lip Sync Battle UK. He hosted Bigheads which won the best TV game show and presents a weekly live show on Absolute Radio. In his free time, Jason runs Manford’s Comedy Club with his brother Colin.
Television acting roles have seen him star alongside Shameless star David Threlfall in ITV1’s drama based on the life of Tommy Cooper, Not Like This, Like That. He also starred in the BBC One drama Ordinary Lies which co starred Max Beesley, Michelle keegan and Mackenzie Crook.
He’s also made a name for himself in London’s musical theatre scene, starring as Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, and as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.