Royal Variety Performance: Jason Manford opens show with song
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Jason Manford, 39, has opened up about his interactions with Queen Elizabeth II, 94, following a number of performances at the Royal Variety show. The Death in Paradise guest star admitted he was “pretty impressed” that the Queen remembered some of the topics he had mentioned during his stand-up comedy routines at the televised event.
Describing the monarch as being “incredibly personable”, Jason praised her for her “amazing memory”.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the comedian said: “The Queen is incredibly personable and has an amazing memory.
“I remember her remembering some of the stuff I’d spoken about in the show.
“And I thought, ‘She’s just watched a variety show and she’s remembered what we all do,’ which was pretty impressive.”
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Jason went on to admit he found it “odd” that the Royal Family were not part of the virtual audience for The Royal Variety Performance 2020.
The star hosted the show, which the royals usually attend each year.
However, due to coronavirus restrictions, it was only Prince Charles who sent in a brief video message at the start of the performance.
When quizzed on whether he found it odd that the royals couldn’t attend last year, Jason quipped: “Yeah, even if we just got a Corgi!
“Yeah it was a shame, we got a nice message from Prince Charles before the show.
“But it would have been nice to have them there or even at least on Zoom or something, so I don’t really know why that was logistically impossible!”
However, Jason also admitted there was one upside to the royals not being in attendance for the first time last year.
He divulged: “But in a way, it took a bit of pressure out of the gig to be honest, so we could just get on with making a great show.
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“That’s the fourth time that I’ve done Royal Variety, which is great.
“It’s the first time I’ve hosted it, but the fourth time I’ve actually done it.”
Reflecting on his stint as host amid the pandemic, Jason said: “It was weird, but actually we had a really fun time doing it and everyone was so chuffed to be back on stage and being in a venue and being with each other, so it was actually alright.
“As stressful as it was, the fact that there was no audience, it was kind of a bit of a laugh.”
Jason was also grateful that the royals were happy for him to take creative control of the jokes he told on the night.
The comic said: “Nobody said, ‘Don’t say this, don’t say that’.
“They want you to be positive and that’s sometimes hard when you’re a comedian and the world is so negative.
“You want to sort of take the mickey out of them and the odd situation we find ourselves in and take a wry look or a cynical look on it.
“But what was nice I thought is that this show is a real escape from everything that’s going on, so why not just embrace that and have a bit of fun with it.”
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