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

Hosted by Jason Manford, the 2020 Royal Variety Performance will see some of the biggest stars in the industry take to the stage for one night only.


The extravaganza was filmed at the Blackpool Opera House in the Winter Gardens Complex in November and will air on ITV this month.

With performances coming from the likes of Gary Barlow, Celeste, Mel C, Steps, as well as Britain’s Got Talent 2020 winner Jon Courtenay, viewers are in for a spectacular evening of telly.

As well as this, members of the Royal Family will be attendance, with Princes Charles sitting in the Royal box this year.

So, what can viewers expect from the show? Here’s 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.

Speaking about his new gig, Manford said: “It’s such an honour to do it. I’ve performed at the Royal Variety 3 times now so to actually get to host it has always been my dream. Hosting the Royal Variety Performance is like a comedian’s Cup Final. It’s a big deal in the industry and of course it’s a big deal for the charity and for the people that it helps. So yes, I was really chuffed to bits.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to being part of that line-up as it’s always the best variety show going. To be on the bill with some brilliant people and knowing that I get to introduce them and to tell the audience at home who’s coming up next is brilliant. Also, just to know after such a difficult year that everybody has had there is going to be a couple of hours where we can all just forget about our worries and struggles and just enjoy ourselves and just have a laugh.”

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.


The Royal Variety Performance will air on ITV on Tuesday 8th December. 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.