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Ten Things About... Jason Manford

By
Jason Manford

© Rex Features

Jason Manford and Alex Jones stepped into Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley's hefty shoes as the new hosts of The One Show earlier this week without so much as the slightest hitch. The Northern comic didn't seem scared about taking the helm of the BBC magazine show, which has very quickly become a much-loved institution. But how much do you know about funnyman Manford? Here are ten fast facts about the 29-year-old TV star:

1. Manford was born in Salford on May 26, 1981 to mother Sharon and father Ian. He grew up in Manchester and has three younger brothers and one sister.

2. We're sure that Jason isn't one to brag, but we think it's fairly safe to say that he's currently one of the biggest comedy draws in the country. His 2008 to 2009 tour called in at 94 sold-out venues and he played to more than 42,000 punters in total. Impressive!

3. Even at school, Jason couldn't stop himself from having a laugh and a joke. In his first school report, his teacher Mrs White wrote: "He's always telling jokes. Perhaps he should become a comedian."

4. Jason began his stand-up career in 1999, but it wasn't a normal path he took to get his first gig at the Buzz Comedy Club. He was working upstairs at the Southern Hotel collecting glasses when a performer didn't arrive for an evening set. The 17-year-old Manford filled in for the absent comic and never looked back. It must have been fate.

5. Jason lists his comedy heroes and inspirations as Billy Connolly, Peter Kay, Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper, Jasper Carrott and Les Dawson. An impressive and daunting list of icons.

6. Jason may seem like he's a healthy bloke in the peak of his life, but he very nearly didn't make it past the age of 2. His dad revealed in an interview earlier this year that Jase was "touch and go" after getting whooping cough as a baby.

7. According to Jason, the most surprising part of his career was being called a "fat Northerner" by Piers Morgan. "I know he's a respected journalist, but he's not exactly a slim jim!" he joked.

8. One of Jason's biggest gripes about TV comedy is the repeat channels on Freeview and Sky. It causes him problems when he plays live and he doesn't even get any extra cash! "I did a gag on stage, and a bloke goes ‘I heard that'. And I said, ‘Yeah, I have told it before'. ‘I've heard it about 15 times', and I went, 'I only told it once'," said Manford. "He said, 'It was on Dave. Dave ja vu!' I said, ‘Your problem is with Dave, that's who you need to be writing to! And maybe you need to stop watching it!'"

9. Not only has Jason had cameos in shows such as Ideal and Shameless, he has also apparently seriously considered a full-time career as an actor. He studied drama at university and has previously admitted that treading the boards is "always something I had in mind".

10. In the 2010 Channel 4 list of the Greatest Stand-Ups of all-time, Jason finished in an impressive 65th position. That was behind Billy Connolly, Ricky Gervais and Roy Chubby Brown, but ahead of Ronnie Corbett, Freddie Starr and Ken Dodd.

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