Jason Manford recalls moment the ‘magnitude’ of lockdown hit him

Jason Manford has said he became emotional when he realised he would have to “retrain” as a full-time father and husband due to lockdown.

The stand-up, 39, said being at home had been “a very weird, dark treat” and had reminded him of the importance of family.

Before lockdown began, Manford was starring in a touring production of Curtains The Musical, but has recently been working as a volunteer.

Jason Manford on stage
Jason Manford on stage (Yui Mok/PA)

Manford, who is father to six children, told the Jacamo Arms Length series on Instagram TV: “I was driving on the M6 and the magnitude of the situation just landed on me and I felt like I was welling up.

“I suddenly thought, I’ve got to almost retrain to be a full-time dad and a full-time husband.

“My contribution to my house is that I cover the bills, everyone is fed, and we go on nice holidays.

“So suddenly, to have my major contribution to the family taken away, I thought oh shit, I have to learn how to do other things.

“Lockdown has been a very weird, dark treat in a way, a treat I would’ve never given myself.

“I would’ve never given myself this time off or given myself this time to spend with my children and wife.

“My children are all young and part of me thinks thank goodness I’ve made some realisation on the importance of the family now.”

He is among the guests to appear on Arms Length, a four-part series which sees celebrities opening up about mental health during lockdown.

The series, hosted in partnership with The Book Of Man And Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably), counts Russell Kane and SAS: Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox among its guests.

Manford said he hoped people would become prouder of their communities and local businesses after the pandemic.

“I’ve been doing volunteer driving, taking elderly people to the hospital,” he said.

“What we’ll take out of lockdown is a bit of civic pride, pride in your town and supporting local businesses.

“Hopefully we’ll remember the people who did step up and who were there and continue to support each other.

“Being in lockdown does make you a bit more thoughtful because all the distractions of life have been taken away.

“I don’t think it’s an accident that the Black Lives Matter movement has kicked off during this period of reflection.

“Lockdown has highlighted the human condition, we’re more attentive because we don’t have the normal distractions.”

He also addressed his new fitness regime, saying: “I never went to exercise and suddenly I was out every day like Mo Farah.”

He added: “Hopefully, as fathers and men, we’ve learnt about ourselves during lockdown.

“I don’t think I’ll go back to shaking hands, never really liked it in the first place. Quite like the elbow.”

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