COMEDIAN Jason Manford has branded Oxford New Theatre’s management “parasites” over their charging policy.

Mr Manford, right, took to his Facebook page and unleashed a four-letter rant at Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) ahead of his appearance next week.

According to the comedian, the theatre added a £9 booking fee on top of his set ticket price of £22.50.

When the Oxford Mail last night tried to buy a ticket, an online booking charge of £8 was added to the potential cost, in addition to a further £1 fee.

Mr Manford, a performer on hit TV show 8 out of 10 Cats and former presenter of The One Show, said he would never perform at an ATG theatre on future tours.

He said on his Facebook page: “The maddest thing about ATG is they also own the venue.

“So not only do they take £9 off you but they take 20 per cent off me as well. So they actually make £13.50 off both me and you. And for what exactly?”

“These booking agents are parasites of the highest order, over-charging you and making it look like it’s the performer. I do my best to never rip anyone off but this makes my blood boil.”

He told the Oxford Mail: “I’m very angry about the booking charge that ATG add on to the face value of the ticket price.

“I deliberately lowered my ticket prices for this year’s tour because of theatre booking fees.

“People work so hard for their money and to put an extra charge on top of the ticket prices really got me.

“Why charge a booking fee when it is all done online and you even print the tickets at home?”

ATG said it would not respond directly to his remarks.

But in a statement, it said: “All, or the vast majority, of the sales income from the ticket goes to the producer, hence the need to charge for ticketing operations separately.

“However, booking fees only apply to customers who buy on the phone or online.

“The range of fees can vary depending on show genre and ticket price.”

Mr Manford is due to appear at the George Street venue on Monday and Tuesday.