Jason Manford stars in Death in Paradise

Jason Manford: Sexting scandal that almost ruined his career, weight loss journey, and why he had to leave Twitter after tragedy

The comedian was embroiled in a scandal

Jason Manford is a pretty permanent fixture on our TV screens these days, and this week has been no exception.

Not only did he join Morning Live for the first time as a guest presenter on Friday (June 28, 2024), his stand-up performance Recent Nostalgia will show on Saturday night, too.

It might be just what you need after drinking several bevvies while watching the Live UEFA Euro 2024 (Germany v Denmark). In the stand-up performance from the comedian’s Like Me tour, Jason reflects on absurd moments from lockdown, his early days on the comedy circuit, and why men aren’t as clever as women think they are.

He also showcases a dance track medley of religious songs sung in school assemblies down the decades. The routine was recorded at Sheffield’s City Hall at the end of September 2022.

Hard to imagine that – like Hugh Bonneville’s character Douglas on ITV – Jason was very nearly cancelled in 2010 over explicit messages sent to a fan behind his wife’s back.

Here’s everything you need to know about TV star Jason Manford, his home life, his career, and weight loss journey.

Jason Manford and the team of Children in Need presenters in 2023
Jason Manford and the team of Children in Need presenters – Ade Adepitan, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey, Lenny Rush and Mel Giedroyc – in 2023 (Credit: BBC One)

What is TV star Jason Manford famous for?

Jason came to fame on the comedy circuit as a stand-up comedian. He later went on to become a singer, TV presenter, radio presenter and actor.

He was team captain on C4 panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats from 2007 until 2010, and has presented TV shows including The One Show, Show Me the Funny, and Bigheads. The comedian also hosted The Money Pit on Dave, and It’s A Funny Old Week on ITV.

In 2020, he hosted The Royal Variety Performance. The same year, he surprised audiences when he revealed himself to be The Hedgehog on The Masked Singer.

He has appeared in numerous stage musicals such as Sweeney Todd, The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls and Curtains.

As an actor, Jason has portrayed Mike in Scarborough, André in Benidorm, and Marty in Ordinary Lies. In 2023, he guest starred in an episode of Death in Paradise on BBC One. He played Craig Mackenzie, a lottery winner who was involved in a murder.

More recently, Jason hosted the brand-new game show called Unbeatable, where four opponents were faced with a question and had to pick from a board of six answers.

In 2023, he hosted Children in Need, alongside Ade Adepitan, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey, Lenny Rush and Mel Giedroyc. Other notable TV appearances include playing Freddie in Murder, They Hope, and being a judge on Starstruck.

This year, he will join the cast of Waterloo Road as Steve Savage.

Who does Jason Manford play in Waterloo Road?

In February 2024, BBC One confirmed that Jason Manford will be joining the cast of Waterloo Road as new Headteacher Mr Savage. The upcoming new series will also welcome new students to the school, including Steve’s son Billy (Olly Rhodes).

Jason will play Steve Savage who, we’re told, “has a big impact on the staff and pupils at Waterloo Road when he becomes headteacher”. However, he ruffles a few feathers along the way. And where will this leave current headteacher Kim Campbell (Angela Griffin)?

Performer Jason will appear in Waterloo Road’s next series – series 14 – coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.

Jason said: “What an absolute treat it is to join the cast and crew of Waterloo Road, right here in my home city of Manchester. My kids and I binged the show on iPlayer during lockdown. It’s such a brilliant, iconic show, so I’m dead proud to now be part of its history. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher and now becoming a headteacher, I know I would have been terrible!”

Also joining Waterloo Road in the next series is Life’s Saira Choudhry, who’l play Nisha Chandra, Waterloo Road’s newest maths teacher.

Jason Manford as Steve Savage in Waterloo Road
Jason Manford will be playing Steve Savage in Waterloo Road later this year (Credit: BBC One)

Was Jason Manford in Death in Paradise?

Yep, Jason Manford is one of several hundred TV stars who have appeared as a guest star on Death in Paradise. He starred as Craig Mackenzie in episode three of Death in Paradise series 10 in 2021.

The mystery centred around a couple of lottery winners and their friends holidaying in Saint Marie. And when one of them mysteriously died, the body then disappeared into thin air.

Cherry died at her luxurious villa, much to the horror of her husband. Ralf Little‘s DI Neville and his team had to work out how to draw up a suspect list when there was no actual corpse. Kelvin Fletcher and Faye McKeever also guest starred in the episode.

How old is he? Where is he from?

Jason John Manford was born on May 26, 1981, in Salford, Greater Manchester.

He is currently 43 years old.

Jason was born and raised in Salford with his four siblings. He comes from a family of singers and musicians. He subsequently attended the University of Salford.

Jason Manford as Craig in Death in Paradise on BBC One
Jason Manford and Faye McKeever in Death in Paradise in 2021 (Credit: BBC One)

Who is the wife of Jason Manford?

Jason married his first wife, Catherine, in October 2007. However, after having four children together, they announced they had separated after just five years. The divorce went through in 2013.

Sadly, the marriage was beset with problems from the start. Jason was embroiled in a sexting scandal just weeks before their wedding (see below).

At the time, he claimed then-wife Catherine had forgiven him. But it obviously wasn’t to be. Jason admitted that the marriage “disintegrated” because he didn’t give it enough “care and time”.

He told the Mirror: “My first marriage really disintegrated on my theory of, I don’t want my children to have the childhood I had. So I was out working all of the time and I didn’t put the care and time into that relationship that it deserved and needed.”

Jason was brought up in a council house and didn’t wanted his kids to have an “underprivileged” childhood like he did.

Who is he married to now?

Five years after his split from Catherine, Jason got married for the second time to Lucy Dyke. They wed in 2017.

The pair are still happily married, and have two children together.

Not much is known about Lucy as the couple have chosen to keep their marriage private – apart from when she features in the comedian’s stand-up material.

Jason previously told The Sun: “We all get along and it is good material. My family are half of my act. People like to hear about them. They come to hear that they are not a terrible parent. That it’s normal to lose it in front of a packed shopping centre.”

Jason Manford and his second wife Lucy Dyke
Jason Manford and his second wife Lucy Dyke pictured in 2024 (Credit: Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock)

Does Jason Manford have children?

Jason Manford has four children from his first marriage to Catherine. Together, they are parents to twin girls, born in 2009, a third daughter who was born in 2010, and a son who was born in 2012.

He also has two children with second wife Lucy Dyke.

Jason has six children in total.

Jason Manford sexting scandal

In 2010, Jason quit The One Show on BBC One after admitting that he had shared sexual messages online with female fans. He and Alex Jones had taken over from Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.

Jason said: “I have decided after careful consideration to step down from The One Show to concentrate on my family and tour commitments.”

The comedian resigned, saying that he wanted to leave “to ease the situation surrounding newspaper allegations”. The BBC responded with the statement: “We have got nothing to say except that we accept Jason’s decision.”

Jason later told The Sun: “I have only myself to blame. I have never felt so low.”

He issued an apology, saying: “I can see now that what started out as a bit of messing about and having a laugh on Twitter has been misjudged. I’d like to apologise to anyone that this has offended as that was the last thing I ever intended to do.”

He was also accused of having phone sex with a fan just five weeks before he got married.

A fan told the tabloid she was “horrified” at the messages from Jason, who allegedly said “I will be your naughty boy” during the exchange. On Facebook, he called another fan “a hot busty girl”. Reports at the time also claimed he exposed himself in nude cyber sex.

Jason Manford dressed up for Children in Need
Jason Manford and Mel Giedroyc fooling around on Children In Need 2023 (Credit: Studios/James Stack)

Can Starstruck TV judge Jason Manford sing?

The British comedian actually comes from a family of singers and has performed regularly with them. In 2011, Jason entered the ITV series Born To Shine, where he was taught to sing in an operatic style.

The star left many viewers speechless with his performance, and he went on to win the show.

Since then, Jason has released an album of show tunes called A Different Stage. He has also enjoyed a career on the West End stage, making his first foray into musical theatre in 2012’s Sweeney Todd.

He’s since appeared in The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Curtains and Guys and Dolls. Jason also came second in The Masked Singer in 2020, when he appeared as Hedgehog.

Has Jason Manford lost weight?

Jason Manford has been open about his attempts to lose weight. He decided to cut back after tipping the scales at 17st 5lb.

Jason told the Mirror Online: “You get to the point where you go ‘Am I getting enough joy out of life if I’m thinking about my weight?’ I don’t want to be that person any more.

“I think I’ve thought about my weight every day of my adult life. Not crying about it, but gone upstairs and tried to put something on that doesn’t fit, or got out of breath chasing the kids. To get to a point where I’m thinking about it in a positive way feels good.”

As a result, Jason decided to start counting calories and working out. In addition, he also began documenting his journey on The Jason Manford Weight Loss Support Group on Facebook.

The star was once branded the “fat Michael Owen” at a stand-up gig.

How much weight has TV star Jason lost?

Just six months into his weight loss journey, Jason managed to slim down to 14st 10lb – that’s nearly a three stone loss!

Speaking about his weight loss, he said: “Often, caring about appearance can be seen as a female thing. So to see some of the men say ‘I’ve been struggling’ is moving.

“They can laugh about being the chunky one of their friends’ group, but actually they don’t like it and don’t want to be that person any more.”

Jason in ‘terrifying’ road rage incident

Comedian Jason once opened up about a “terrifying” ordeal that saw him chased in his car for almost 80 miles. He said he was travelling back from an event on Saturday (17.08.19) when a man blocked the road and asked to borrow some jump leads.

Jason’s driver, who was taking him home from a concert on Hayling Island, near Portsmouth, reportedly told the man no and drove past – but the motorist drove after them.

Jason told The Sun: “He’s shouting out the window, ‘Why didn’t you have any jump leads?’ and ‘What are you doing here, on the island? This is my town’. I thought, ‘We’re going to wake up in a wicker man here’.

“He follows us, driving dangerously, undercutting us on the A3, getting in front and braking suddenly. He was coming up behind us, flashing us, beeping us, shouting, and swerving in the road in front of us. It was a bit terrifying.”

Jason and his driver eventually managed to lose the man, only for him to reappear and continue the chase. They eventually lost him for good when they pulled up to Sutton Police Station in Surrey.

Jason said the ordeal was among “the weirdest experiences” of his life, as it turned out the stranger had pursued him and his driver for almost 80 miles.

Jason Manford with Nicole Scherzinger on Big Night of Musicals 2024
Jason Manford with Nicole Scherzinger on Big Night of Musicals 2024 (Credit: TBI Media/Cassy Chamberlain)

Why did Jason quit Twitter?

In 2017, Jason Manford revealed that a family friend had died in the tragic Manchester attack – and the reaction eventually forced him off Twitter.

Twenty-two people were killed at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22. The next day, Jason posted an emotional video on his Facebook revealing that a family friend, Martyn Hett, was missing after the terror attack.

Sadly, Martin was killed in the awful attack. The tragedy provoked strong reactions in people, and Jason subsequently quit Twitter after one of his comments caused outrage.

Jason deleted his Twitter account after he was confronted by trolls following his message to US singer Ariana Grande.

A heartbroken Ariana tweeted after the explosion saying: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

In turn, Jason replied: “@.ArianaGrande you gave those kids the night of their lives, their hearts were full of joy and happiness and that was because of you. Remember that.”

However, some Twitter users thought Jason should have been paying more attention to the victims… An opinion he called “childish”.

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Jason Manford is back on our TV sets with his stand-up show Recent Nostalgia on Saturday, June 29, 2024 at 10pm on BBC Two.

Would you like to see more of Jason Manford on TV? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor