Jason Manford has explained why he had not pulled out of his touring musical amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The comedian said he had been getting messages urging him to cancel the current tour of Curtains The Musical, a comedy whodunnit which also stars Ore Oduba and Carley Stenson, as concern about the spread of Covid-19 continues to grow.
With shows coming up in Leicester, High Wycombe, Wolverhampton and Southampton, Manford said lots of people are financially dependent on them going ahead.
In a statement shared on Twitter, he wrote: “Keep getting the odd, shall we say ‘forceful’ message about it somehow being my choice to ‘put my foot down’ & cancel the current tour I’m in.
“Unfortunately I, like many people, irrespective of my opinion have a) a contract and a boss who’s decision this is and b) have a lot of people depending on the income of a tour this size.
— Jason Manford (@JasonManford) March 15, 2020
“At a push I could financially get through half a year not working before it became a problem financially but if I decided to not go to Leicester on Monday say, the show would still go on as I have an understudy.
“With cast, crew, band & the folks in the office (not to mention the hundreds of zero-hour contract folks who work in the theatres) there are over 100 people all working on this show and if they suddenly cancelled it without the Government’s say so, their insurance would be null and void putting a lot of those people in financial ruin.
“So please do not patronise me about the seriousness of the pandemic, I’m well aware, I get the same news channels as you; I just have a responsibility to these people to make sure that when the worst happens they are in the strongest position to get through it.”
The show centres around a mystery after a musical theatre star is murdered on stage on opening night and the entire cast and crew are suspects.
Manford plays local detective Frank Cioffi, who is also a huge musical theatre fan.
The next performance of the show will be at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester on Monday March 16.