COMMENT: Nightly Show viewers nod off on Jason Manford's watch

No-one dances themselves dizzy with Jane McDonald

It has been a long six weeks for the bosses at ITV and there are still two more to endure of the unmitigated disaster that is The Nightly Show.

Here at Who’ll Win we have followed the commercial station’s decision to replace the News at Ten with an entertainment slot with interest – and some enthusiasm – but sadly we've never been rewarded for our attention as the weakness of the format, which became apparent in week one on David Walliams’ watch and has still not been addressed in any way.

The penultimate host to take what now looks to be a real poisoned chalice is comic Jason Manford. On Monday he took to the same old rickety over-lit stage, that has been home to Walliams, John Bishop, Davina McCall, Dermot O'Leary, Gordon Ramsay and Bradley Walsh, understanding that it was already public knowledge that the powers that be were likely to reinstate the news programme in a fortnight.

Perhaps this is why Manford really didn’t do too badly on his debut. Knowing that seasoned presenters like O'Leary and McCall and great comics like Bishop and Walliams were hostage to a ridiculous format, Manford simply went through the motions, talked to his guests threw in a couple of jokes and simply did not try too hard.

An interview with Matt Lucas gave this weekend’s Doctor Who a PR boost and wheeling out Ricky Tomlinson for the ‘craic’ was tepid but harmless. 

There was an awkward five minute slot featuring Jason trying to help a best man with his speech. Unfortunately, as Manford sat directing the poor chap via a secret microphone – while the aspiration was clearly to replicate the success of Ant and Dec’s use of a similar device on Saturday Night Takeaway – the outcome was simply limp. 

In fact the whole affair was neither offensive or inoffensive, it sat out on the end of the pier on a grey autumn day waiting for passing pensioners to take a moments refuge from the cold.

As if performing in her previous incarnation as a cruise ship singer, Jane McDonald wrapped up the programme with the extraordinarily inappropriate Dance Yourself Dizzy as the viewers and the audience gently nodded off.

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