1. ITV Report

Russell Brand and Dalai Lama form an unlikely double act

Russell Brand and the Dalai Lama on stage at The Manchester Evening News Arena. Photo: PA

The Dalai Lama and comedian Russell Brand formed an unlikely double act on Saturday as an audience of youngsters was enlightened and entertained.

Brand was master of ceremonies at Manchester Arena where the Dalai Lama addressed several thousands youngsters on the theme Century of Dialogue - Stand up and Be the Change.

The funnyman-turned-movie star had said before the event that he presumed he was asked to compere proceedings because they wanted him to be funny.

He did not disappoint the crowd of mainly under-25s - who were given free entry - as he also hosted a question and answer session on stage and obviously created a good impression with the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

At one point the Dalai Lama playfully tugged Brand's beard on stage as the joker responded: "Not really a lot I can do in a situation like this. I just have to go with it."

The Dalai Lama is on a 10-day tour of Britain with a mission to spread his Buddhist teachings of peace and understanding to youngsters.

Brand introduced the event by saying he had just met him for the first time and found him "amazing".

He is intense and sort of mellow, which is what you expect of someone who meditates five times a day.

– Russell Brand on the Dalai Lama
Russell Brand and the Dalai Lama on stage at The Manchester Evening News Arena. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Renowned for his frankness, Brand then said: "Going from junkie to Shagger of the Year...three times... to now introducing the Dalai Lama. It has been an interesting journey."

The spiritual leader was unperturbed as he revealed that he preferred informality.

Brand told how he had turned to drugs because there was something missing in his life and went on to muse if happiness could be derived from consumerism to Danny Welbeck's winner for England against Sweden last night in the Euro 2012 tournament.

"This person who introduced me is very fit," the Dalai Lama said, "completely informal!Brand later quipped: "Did you pick up any spiritual tips?"

The Dalai Lama replied: "I think your openness transfers wonderfully."

The Dalai Lama continues his national tour of the UK. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The pair went on to talk about their contrasting sleep times with the Dalai Lama arising early in the mid-morning which Brand thought was still evening.

"Day is for work, night is for sleep but you can do what makes you happy," said the Tibetan leader.

"Thank you for sanctioning my lifestyle," replied the comedian.

The Dalai Lama then explained how his sleep patterns were unaffected by whatever time zone he was in, although he could not say the same for his toilet habits.

Brand said: "That was more information then I imagined was possible to receive."

The Dalai Lama said the future was in the hands of the young people who could make change happen. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Dalai Lama said the future was in the hands of the young people who could make change happen.

"The 21st century belongs to you," he said. "My generation belongs to the 20th century, it has already gone so my generation are ready to say bye bye.

"You are the main people who really create the better shape of the world so therefore I think quite certain this century can be more pleasant, more peaceful and more equal."

He said vision, warm-heartedness and determination were necessary to attain those goals and that young people were more open-minded.

Dialogue was the key to avoid violent conflicts, he said.

He continued: "At the age of 16 I lost my freedom. At the age of 24 I lost my own country. During these 50 or 60 years I have faced a lot of problems but I never give up hope. Hope based on truth, hope based on reason."

Prime Minister David Cameron meets the Dalai Lama in London recently during his tour of the UK. Credit: PA Wire

The Dalai Lama was asked about what message he would give to the youth of Manchester following last summer's riots in the city.

He said he was surprised to learn about the outbreaks of violence in the city and in London and had written to Prime Minister David Cameron to express his sadness.

Demonstration and protests were sometimes warranted but never violence, he said.

Brand, who has been a long-term supporter of the Tibetan cause, thanked the Dalai Lama as the two-hour event drew to a close.