Jason Manford told TV viewers to ‘chill out’ as he defended Starstruck co-star Sheridan Smith.
The Salford comedian and West End star took to Twitter after the first episode of their new Saturday night talent contest was aired.
Jason, who is a judge on the ITV show with the award-winning actress and singer, addressed comments about Sheridan, 40, being on TV ‘a lot.’
READ MORE: Jason Manford claps back as ITV Starstruck viewers complain about the sound
Sheridan shot to fame in the sitcoms The Royle Family as Emma Kavanagh and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps as Janet Keogh.
She went on to win a best actress BAFTA TV award for her role as Charmian Biggs the wife of the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in the 2012 series Mrs Biggs and a National Television Award for best drama performance in Cilla about the early life of iconic singer and TV presenter Cilla Black.
She also won two Laurence Olivier Awards for her stage roles in Flare Path and Legally Blonde.
Earlier this month she starred as secondary school teacher Jenna Garvey in the Channel Five thriller The Teacher and she is currently playing mum Kathy Powell in the harrowing BBC ‘holiday from hell’ drama No Return.
Jason tweeted: “Seen a few comments about Sheridan being on TV a lot this week.
“It’s not sommat she’s in charge of, she would’ve filmed those three excellent shows last year and some scheduler decided they went on this week.
“So chill out, also she’s excellent and you’re lucky to have her.”
Jason, 40, was backed by Sheridan’s The Royle Family co-star Ralf Little, who played her fiance Anthony Royle in the Manchester-based comedy.
I agreed: “Such a weird comment isn’t it.
“Even if you didn’t like an actor, the idea that they have any say in when TV shows end up getting aired is ridiculous.
“It will have taken her the best part of a year to film all of that.”
And Jason replied: “I know! A TV star on the TV! The madness of it!”
TV and radio presenter Jeremy Vine said: “Agree with this. Sheridan Smith is unbelievably good at everything she does and her range is remarkable.
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“Haters, go and hate on someone more deserving. Go Sheridan xx”
And fans rushed to agree with him.
@KerTG said: “She’s a great talent and comes across as a nice person when not playing a role. What’s not to like?
“And I’ve discovered if there’s anyone, or any programme, I don’t want to watch – I have the power to change channels.”
And @stickiebeak1 replied: “She is a fantastic actor, singer and performer… and to be honest we need more talent like hers she is cast a lot because she is a true allrounder, we have a fair few talented actors around at the moment and yes some appear a lot…simply because they’re good and we watch them.”