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TV Quickfire: Comedian Jason Manford on hosting new BBC TV quiz First and Last

In Jason Manford's ingenious new game show First and Last, the premise is simple – players mustn't come first or last. We found out more from the comedian...

Jason Manford is the host of new TV quiz First and Last
Georgia Humphreys

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT FIRST AND LAST THAT APPEALED TO YOU?

IT'S nice and simple; don't come first, don't come last! It's a show that celebrates your Plain Janes and Average Joes; most of us, basically. And I quite like that. I've been average at everything for a long time, so it's a perfect show for me.

What I love about this show is that it's silly. Up to £10,000 is a lot of money, but it's not life changing. You might have paid off your debts or something, but in a year's time you'll be thinking, 'Do you remember when we won that £10,000 last year?' You went on a big holiday, or you bought a car.

Somebody's going to get a huge treat at the end of this episode, and it's about the fun that we have on the way there.

YOU'VE PREVIOUSLY SAID YOU NOW ONLY DO TV SHOWS YOU'D ACTUALLY WATCH YOURSELF...

Yeah, you've got to be honest with yourself, and be able to go on your social media and say, 'Hey, I'm doing this new show, and I think you should watch it, because I'd watch it' and that's what I'd always try and do. The same with my kids – I think, 'Would my family sit down and watch this show if somebody else was doing it?' And invariably, yeah, we would.

YOU MUST NEED A LOT OF ENERGY TO PRESENT A SHOW LIKE FIRST AND LAST?

It's a lot of brain capacity. You've got your script and the things you have to say, so everyone knows what's going on, and then you've got the other bit of your brain which is ad-libbing and making things up and trying to say funny things. You definitely sleep the night after a record!

DO YOU FIND YOU GET REALLY CONNECTED TO THE CONTESTANTS?

I try to do shows that have got real people on them. Everybody on telly seems to be media trained now and know what they're saying and what not to say, and so I sort of try to stay away from shows that have got 'celebrity' in the title. I don't really want to be interviewing and chatting to a load of celebs. Is that interesting? Not really.

But real people who live their lives every day, I just find that fascinating. And for me, as a stand up, they're my audience. When I go and talk to a front row at a gig, they're the ones that I'm having fun with.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING CALLED A CELEBRITY?

It's a weird thing, the word celebrity. What does it mean, to 'celebrate' somebody; well, there's lots of people who should be celebrated who are not celebrated, so I always cringe a little bit at the word celebrity. It just makes me feel a bit dirty, you know.

You speak to kids now and they want to be 'a celebrity'. I do feel a bit sad about that. I'm a comedian, and some people like me and they're willing to pay money to come and see me or watch me on the telly; that's my job.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU CAREER-WISE?

I'm on tour with a musical, Curtains, until April. Then I'm writing a tour at the moment for myself. It's hard to be away from your children, but the bonus of what I do is I get to spend two or three months at home at the end of the year. So, it works itself out.

:: First And Last airs on Saturday nights on BBC One

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