COMEDIAN Jason Manford has sparked an online debate about accommodation in Sunderland after branding it a “nightmare.”
The top comic is heading to Wearside later this month in a new production of The Producers.
Touring theatre stars have to find their own accommodation for each date on a tour, and Jason took to his Facebook page to ask fans for their help.
He told his 1.1million followers: “Really struggling for somewhere nice to stay in Sunderland on tour! Me and Cory English are staying together but the nearest place that looks suitable is in Newcastle! No Decent AirBnBs or serviced apartments! Nightmare!”
Jason was specifically looking for a serviced apartment, but many took it as a slight against the city, with hundreds of people commenting on the post.
Lee Turner wrote: “Have you not heard of Google and Trip Advisor??? I’ve stayed in Sunderland a few times, The Roker is a good hotel, or are you too posh to go there!!!!”
Julie Fox added: “Nothing wrong with Sunderland you lot...... your nasty comments come from complete ignorance and Jason Manford...shame on you for your status which you must have known would have started debate bringing Sunderland down yet again.”
Others waded in and used it as a platform to criticise the city as a whole.
Kris Patterson wrote: “Wouldn’t let me next door neighbour stop in Sunderland never mind myself.”
Jacqueline Palmer added to the comments: “From Sunderland and I am ashamed of how dated and rough it is these days don’t worry J!”
Ralph Clay Thompson said: “Somewhere nice in Sunderland, save the jokes for your live crowd.”
Jason returned to the page to voice his shock at the negative backlash.
He wrote: “Can’t believe the abuse on the thread about accommodation in Sunderland. Firstly, there was nothing offensive written by me so if you were insulted, then that’s in your own mind.
“Secondly, I wasn’t after a hotel cos I’m there all week with my family, so needed a serviced apartment so I can cook rather then eating out every day!
“Thirdly, this is a fan page. If you want to insult me or my fans then please do so on your own facebook. It’s not that it’s even upsetting, it’s just boring. Then we (can) all just get on having a laugh.”
Although Sunderland does have some serviced apartments, such as Hawksley House in John Street, there aren’t as many available as other big cities. Over the past few years, efforts have been made to increase accommodation in the city as a whole, with the building of a new Premier Inn in the shadow of the Sunderland Empire, plans approved for a Hilton Hotel at the Stadium of Light and a proposal put forward for a new hotel in Keel Square.
The Producers will be at Sunderland Empire from May 11-16.