Loose Women: Jason Manford performs a Christmas song

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Jason Manford, 40, was on The Masked Singer UK during their first season last year, coming second place on the show while disguised as a hedgehog. The comedian has revealed exclusively to Express.co.uk that when he was on it some of the team “didn’t really know what they were doing”, with the show improving since.

You stood there for 20 minutes.

Jason Manford

When asked whether there was a fan or cooling device inside his heavy hedgehog costume, the comedian hastily replied “no”.

He continued: “I’ve got to say they have improved it since I was on it by all accounts, as I’ve heard from people that have been on it since.

“But that first series when they didn’t really know what they were doing you were in that costume for ages.

“Now I think there’s a limit, you’re only allowed in it for five minutes or something and then it comes off.”

Jason revealed: “But when we did the first series you stood there for 20 minutes.

“Somebody would be holding a fan into the hedgehog’s mouth, so I could get cooler.”

Jason came in second place in the ITV contest and former Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts was crowned as the winner, after wowing with her powerful voice as Queen Bee.

In third place was classical singer Katherine Jenkins as Octopus.

Jason told his wife he was doing the show but never told his children, who were not happy when they found out.

The comedian said: “I actually didn’t tell any of my family I was doing it, I told my wife obviously but I didn’t tell my kids.

“They watched the final as it went out and my daughter was at a sleepover I think at the time.

“All her friends were saying, ‘That’s your daddy’ and she was like, ‘I think I would know if that was my dad’.

“So, obviously when the head came off she was absolutely fuming.”

Jason has just been announced as the host for the National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals, due to take place in 2022.

Talking about the show he said: “They’ve done it as a thank you essentially to the theatres, as they have been hit the hardest out of most industries [by the pandemic].

“We were the first ones to be cancelled and the last ones to come back, and we’ve been on this constant ‘will they, won’t they’ ever since really.

“There are actually hundreds of thousands in front of house and ensemble and crew who are not getting paid incredible amounts.

“So it’s a bit of a thank you to them really.”

Jason comes from a family of singers and musicians, and sings regularly with them.

He starred in the TV competition Born to Shine in 2011 and was taught to sing in an operatic style. He went on to win.

From this he released an album of show tunes, titled A Different Stage.

The first 7,000 tickets released for The National Lottery’s Big Night Of Musicals have already been claimed but a further 3,000 tickets will be available from 9am on January 7 here: www.BigNightOfMusicals.Com

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