When is The Royal Variety Performance 2020 on? Host, line-up, air date, venue

Despite the effects of COVID-19, the show will go on, with Prince Charles in attendance.

Jason Manford

Jason Manford will present one of the most prestigious gigs of his life when he takes to the stage for the 2020 Royal Variety Performance later this year.


The extravaganza was filmed at the Blackpool Opera House in the Winter Gardens Complex in November and is coming very soon to ITV.

With performances coming from the likes of Gary Barlow, Celeste, Mel C, Steps and Britain’s Got Talent 2020 winner Jon Courtenay, it’s sure to be a night of unmissable telly.

Prince Charles will be in attendance in the Royal box this year.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Royal Variety Performance.

When is the Royal Variety Performance on?

The star-studded spectacular will be aired on ITV on Tuesday 8th December at 8pm. It was filmed in Blackpool in front of a virtual audience on Sunday 29th November.

Who is in the line-up for the Royal Variety Performance?

The event typically gathers the best in mainstream entertainers from the preceding year and, considering the year has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic it’s perhaps appropriate that one of the key contributors will be Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised £33 million for NHS charities in his remarkable charity walk in April.

Captain Tom will join from home as Michael Ball will be on stage at the Opera House with the NHS Choir to perform their chart-topping version of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Gary Barlow will be making a solo appearance, while Sheridan Smith will perform as Cilla Black in a song from Cilla The Musical while the star of Frozen the Musical, Samantha Barks, will also appear.

Other musical acts who are appearing include Brit Award winner Celeste, former Spice Girl Melanie C and high-energy popsters Steps.

There will be magic from Catchphrase host Stephen Mulhern, a performance from West End star Marisha Wallace as well as a jaw-dropping performance from Kenyan acrobats The Black Blues Brothers.

The premiere comedy act in the line-up, aside from Manford himself, will be Britain’s Got Talent 2020 winner Jon Courtenay, but other stand-ups appearing will be Jo Caulfield and Malawian funnyman Daliso Chaponda.

Who is hosting the Royal Variety Performance?

Comedian and actor Jason Manford, 39, is hosting this year’s event after previously appearing three times as a performer. Manford is a versatile entertainer who has appeared in musicals (Sweeney Todd, Guys and Dolls), has been a TV presenter (The One Show, Bigheads), a TV panel show captain (8 Out of 10 Cats), an actor (Ordinary Lies, Moving On, Scarborough) and a stand-up comic – he’s been a regular on BBC Two show Live at the Apollo.

Manford was meant to be the host of The 2020 Laurence Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in April, but the event was cancelled due to the first coronavirus lockdown.

Which Royals will attend the performance?

According to ITV, the Prince of Wales will be the Royal representative at the Blackpool Opera House. It’s his first appearance at the event since 2016 and he will give a special message to the artists and charities involved in this year’s event. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended last year’s performance, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended in 2018.


Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.