Jason Manford: ‘It’s A Question of Sport after an energy drink!’

Jason Manford talks to TV Times magazine about hosting his new A Question of Sport spin-off Super Saturday, how Manchester City made him cry and the joy of electrocuting Louie Spence…

As a fan of the show, you must be thrilled to be asked to host a spin-off of A Question of Sport…
“Yeah, it’s a great institution, isn’t? It’s had 44 series and only three presenters – David Vine, David Coleman and Sue Barker – so it’s stood the test of time. My dad has always been a big fan of the show, so I watched it as a kid when David Coleman was presenting it. I remember particularly enjoying the era when John Parrott and Ally McCoist were team captains.”

What’s different about Super Saturday?
“Imagine you’ve given A Question of Sport an energy drink – that’s basically what Super Saturday is. We’ve got all sorts of games and celebrities on the show. Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell are still the team captains. On the first show we’ve got Louie Spence being electrocuted while trying to paint the lines on a tennis court! We’ve also got Matt and Phil going on the fastest zip wire in Europe.”

What are your highlights from the series?
“Well, watching Louie Spence being electrocuted is as good as it sounds! We filmed it all in two days and I just spent the whole time laughing. I loved watching Phil trying to play charades on a conveyor belt while the UK dodgeball team were throwing footballs at him. That just really made me laugh! So that was great and then I enjoyed meeting proper athletes like Winter Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold and former swimmer Sharron Davies, who’re both guests, and then getting them to do really silly things!”

Do you watch lots of sport?
“Yes, I loved the Olympics. Obviously, this summer we’ve got the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Commonwealth Games. In my basement I’ve got a signed Louis Hamilton shirt, an Ian Botham bat and an Andrea Agassi tennis racquet, all of which I bought at charity auctions. I’m a Manchester City fan and I’ve got a shirt signed by Carlos Tevez, when he was still in favour. Unfortunately the shirt was a regular one that fits footballers and not one for a comedian, so I’ve never been able to wear it!”

Has a sporting event ever reduced you to tears?
“Yeah, when Manchester City got promoted from the old second division by beating Gillingham at Wembley in 1999. I cried absolute buckets! I was a young lad and I’d endured so many years at school where they were rubbish. So, yeah that was pretty exciting.”

Are your children into sport?
“I’ve just started taking my youngest [Jason has three young daughters] to football. I’m a well-behaved dad on the touchline because I qualified as a referee when I was 15 or 16. When I refereed games the parents were just horrible! So I’m very respectful towards referees. My brother can be saying all kinds of horrendous things about the ref when the football’s on the TV and I’m like, ‘Come on now. He’s got a job to do!’”

You were a guest once on A Question of Sport – how did you do?
“Yeah, I did all right. When I was asked, ‘Do you want a home question or an away one?’ Well, I wasn’t picking an away one, I’ll stick to a home one about football, thank you very much. I’m not bad at quizzes, but I remember going on Celebrity Mastermind a few years ago and once I got one answer wrong it just sort of snowballed! You can’t get back on the horse at all.”