Diary: Why Jason will be the Manford the job

Jason Manford will host the 2017 Olivier Awards
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The Oliviers are the pinnacle of theatrical achievement. An awards ceremony of this calibre demands only the finest host: someone with poise and panache, to guide and illuminate the evening as though expertly operating a followspot.

We’ve had Staunton, we’ve had Bonneville, Ball and Sheridan Smith – all beloved of the theatre world, and each a force in their award-winning stage roles.

So, ladies and gentlemen, host of the Oliviers 2017 is… Jason Manford. Yes – the comedian who’s always on Live at the Apollo on TV in the background while Tabard makes dinner on a Saturday evening.

Perhaps that’s too unkind. Maybe Manford will be just what the Oliviers need: a breezy, bright host who brings comic excellence to proceedings. Maybe he could be to the Oliviers what James Corden was to the Grammys. Or what Warren Beatty was to the Oscars.

He’s even beat Tabard to it with his own self-deprecation: “Hosting the Oliviers is the closest I’m going to get to getting one!”

Besides, for all those doubters out there, Manford has actually appeared in a number of theatre shows. He recently played Leo Bloom in the touring production of The Producers, a performance that The Stage’s own Mark Shenton described as “an absolute revelation, not just in his on-the-note singing but his effortless dancing, too”.

So, maybe Manford will be the man.

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