Jason Manford buys audience round of drinks to apologise for being late – and picks up tab for £3,500

Manford later tweeted an image of the huge bill and said it had ‘seemed like a good idea’ at the time

The comedian Jason Manford apologised to fans for being late to a gig in Lincoln by promising to buy them all a drink – and ended up with a bill for more than £3,500.

The audience of 850 people was expecting the show to begin at 7.30pm – and for the bar to close 10 minutes beforehand – until Manford posted a message on Facebook telling them he was stuck in traffic.

Already running 15 minutes late, the comedian said he had spoken to staff at the Engine Shed venue and asked them to give everyone a drink “to relieve the boredom till I arrive with my show”.

He wrote: “Lincoln, I’ll be there in 25 minutes, go to the bar and get yourself a drink… Don’t be ordering doubles you cheeky bastards!”

The gesture received a predictably warm response on social media as people rushed to the bar – and people were even more impressed when Manford later posted a picture of the receipts he was given at the end.

The image showed a grand total tab of £3,532.40, and the comedian added: “Seemed like good idea to offer free drink cos of lateness! But shoulda added Kopparberg to the banned list of drinks!”

Abbi Quinn, venue manager for the Tower Bars and Engine Shed, told the Lincolnshire Echo the gesture was unprecedented – and entirely Manford's idea.

“It was very generous of him,” she said. “When he finally got to Lincoln he rushed upstairs, changed his shirt and went straight on and delivered a fantastic show.”

Responding on Twitter while Manford was still on his way, audience-member Lorna Sims Byrne (‏@MissLanor) wrote: “Jason Manford is late for gig tonight cos of roadworks - so he is buying his whole audience a drink. No other artist would do that. Respect.”

Later, Sam Bell (‏@mrsslbell) said: “@JasonManford you were well worth the wait!”

And Twitter user “TheSilverFox” (‏@Dougieton) said today: “Great gesture last night, nice to see, but it sets an expensive precedent for you! #canneverbelateagain.”

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