Jason's in a right Muddle; Comedy star Jason Manford chats to Marion McMullenabout fighting the flab and why he's now muddle class; Itching to get on the road again.
How is the training going? I'm looking to be a bit thinner and I have a personal trainer. He's a polite mugger. He makes me work out for an hour, kills me, and then I hand over 40 quid. But the body you think you want is not the body you're going to get. I mean, that would be a little weird on me - big muscles and six pack. I'm still over the BMI scale, but I'm a little bit thinner and I'll be happy to lose a little more.
Do you enjoy stand-up comedy tours? I miss it actually. I'm really looking forward to it. It looks like a lot of dates, but it's planned around the school holidays. It's certainly going to be different from the last few tours when I did six nights a week for eight months. I'm a lot more selective about where I am and can I get home. I can't understand anyone doing nine to five, it seems like a terrible idea, but it's what you get used to. I'm just a night person anyway so I might as well do some gigs. I will still be doing my Sunday radio show as well. I can do that anywhere in the country.
Why have you called the tour Muddle Class? I'm stuck between working and middle class. My parents are working class, not to play the violin in the background, but we were poor. My children have become used to a middle class lifestyle and I'm stuck in the middle ground with a foot in each camp... the muddle class. It's lots of fun when you are stuck between two worlds. I still live in Manchester all my friends are friends I've had since school. (Laughs) I can never admit - ever - I'm tired because they'd just say 'Oh, it must be tough doing all that talking.' What was it like presenting the Olivier Awards earlier this year? (Chuckles) I think they heard the northern accent and thought 'that will do.' It was great fun. I loved it and the Albert Hall is such a wonderful venue. It was just an honour to be at the awards. I'm a massive theatre fan and TURN TO PAGE 44 FROM PAGE 37 have been in some great shows. I'll have a couple of years offand then I'll be itching to do it again, but it is hard work. That's the great thing about this thing called showbusiness, you are never sure what's round the corner. Presenting the Oliviers was not something I expected at all.
You've presented ITV game show Bigheads, run Manford's Comedy Club with your brother Colin and appeared in shows like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sweeney Todd and The Producers. Do you like to keep busy? I love it. Every day is different. There are four white boards on the walls in my office and each one has three different projects on it. I like the variety of it all. If I'm not good at something then I just don't do it.
There are enough things I'm alright at and I enjoy acting and radio, but stand-up is my favourite job.
What about Twirlywoos on Cbeebies? (Laughs) I asked if I could be in an episode because it was my kids' favourite programme. I didn't realise it was all filmed in stop motion and it took a while to put it all together. By then the kids were all older and were asking me 'Why are you on that show? It's for babies.' But I tell you what I've had more tweets and messages about that than anything I've ever done. They are all from tired parents saying 'Is that really you on Twirlywoos?' I also still bleat on about winning the technical challenge in Great Sport Relief Bake offand beating Samantha Cameron. I'm never doing any more baking.
What can audiences expect with the new tour? My audience has changed. It's nearly four or five years since the last tour and that's what's fun about doing this.
My first ever tour was about having a girlfriend, thinking about passing the driving test, my first flat away, living with parents. Then the next one was about mortgages, getting married and then it was about having kids. As you get older your life changes and your audiences changes as well.
Is it easy to find time to unwind? Relaxing is my biggest problem. I'd love to learn how to relax, but I'm not good at it. Even when I go on holidays, I've got five children, so not relaxing at all. You just have to keep plugging away.
..Jason Manford's Muddle Class UK tour visits Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on April 28, 2018. Plus Birmingham Town Hall on December 8, 2017; Wulfren Hall, Wolverhampton on December 11, 2017; Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena on July 20, 2018; and Dudley Town Hall on April 27, 2018.