BBC The Magicians

If you’ve been waiting for years to see the BBC bring back magic on a Saturday night since Paul Daniels left our screens in 1994, I have good news for you! The BBC will soon start filming a new Saturday night prime-time show called The Magicians.

We’re stil waiting to hear who the magicians on the show will be. A couple of my friends auditioned for it, so I think it will be an interesting line-up. Whoever is on the show though, it’s great to see magic given a prime time slot again and I truly hope that the new series with show magic in a fun and interesting light and that it gets the respect that this art deserves. Knowing several members of the production crew, I’m certain that it’ll be a great show and am looking forward to seeing The Magicians on BBC 1!

Come Dine With Me Magician

The ex-Product Manager in me (that’s what I used to be before I was a professional magician) likes to monitor trends of when and why people hire close-up magicians. An increasing trend lately has been people doing their own Come Dine With Me style challenges amongst their friends and hiring close-up magicians to entertain between the courses.

If you’re hiring a close-up magician for a Come Dine With Me style evening, here are a few suggestions that may help:

1. Make sure the magician suits your party
Just like you choose the best wine to go with your meal, be sure that you’re picky about which magician you hire. Find a magician that suits the style of the evening. For example, if you’re having a fun, upbeat evening, you may like to consider hiring a more contemporary magician (like me!). However, if you’re having a really high brow, posh meal, you might want to find a high brow, posh magician. Believe it or not, there are a couple of them around!

2. Have the magician between courses
I never, ever perform while people are eating. Any magician who does needs to consider that your guests are there to enjoy the meal and each other’s company and not just to enjoy the magician!

3. Make time to watch the magic yourself
Often when I perform at these kind of dinner parties, the hosts are busy stirring the gravy or putting the cherries on the cake. Try to make a little time to watch the magician yourself! For example, after the main course is always a good time if you’ve managed to prepare the dessert in advance.

4. Don’t overdo it
Magicians can really help create a great atmosphere and a really memorable evening. I’ve managed to find the perfect amount of time to perform at these kind of parties and recommend that you don’t have the magician work for hours between each course; instead leave plenty of time for your guests to chat during the meal and most importantly, enjoy your food!

If you’re organising this kind of party, good luck! The best part about organising your own Come Dine With Me challenge instead of going on the show is, of course, you don’t have to listen to your friends bitching about you and giving you low scores to show up to the cameras!

Las Vegas Magicians – in the UK

I’m just about to finish work for the night and tune into Jonathan Ross to watch Las Vegas magic superstars Penn & Teller perform. Then, on Wednesday, along with a group of other professional close-up magicians, I’m going to see the duo perform live at the Hammersmith Apollo.

I’ve seen Penn & Teller perform at their theatre (subtly named The Penn & Teller Theatre) in Las Vegas twice and have come to the conclusion that it’s the best magic show on earth. It’s funny, thought-provoking, entertaining and their magic fools even the best magicians!

There’s also rumour that David Copperfield will be performing in Manchester due to a ticket website listing that he’ll be performing at the Manchester Apollo over November. There are some mixed rumours about this so I’m waiting to hear from some friends close to David to find out how true this is. Last time I was in Vegas, I saw his show at the MGM and thoroughly enjoyed it. A few years before that, I happened to be in Chicago at the same time as David’s show and was taken by a friend of his to see the show and got the opportunity to meet the man himself. It was a great experience and I hope that the rumours of him being in Manchester are true.

Las Vegas Magician

“Have you ever performed as a magician in Las Vegas?”

That’s a question I get asked a lot. The answer is yes, I have performed in Las Vegas a number of times. Las Vegas is a mecca for magicians and one of my favourite places in the world. Even without all the fantastic magicians, it’s such a magical town and I have been there about a dozen times (sometimes for work, other times for pleasure!).

The first time I performed in Las Vegas was when I was 16 years old. I was flown over by master magician Lance Burton (a famous Las Vegas magician) to perform in his theatre for a television special. The television show has aired all over the world and was an amazing experience to film. It was my first time in America and my first time to perform for an international television show (before that I had performed on the Big Breakfast and a number of other shows, but never a show of this size and budget).

I was flown back to Las Vegas in 2004 to perform and teach my magic for over 1,000 magicians at a conference. I performed on the same stage as magicians such as Penn & Teller, David Blaine and more, which was an extremely nerve-wracking experience! Then, just last year, I was asked to perform at the conference again. After that conference, my girlfriend joined me and I proposed to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

So, Las Vegas is a pretty magical place for me … and an extremely fun place to perform magic in!

The 9 Faces of Britain’s Got Talent

My favourite TV show, Britain’s Got Talent is back. Over the years, I’ve noticed that whether you’re watching America’s Got Talent, Sweden’s Got Talent or Uzbekistan’s Got Talent, the same personality types seem to apply on each show:

1. The Nutcase
Words can’t describe this type of act. Perhaps they’re doing animal impressions whilst standing on their head or making a musical instrument out of a teapot, but whatever they do they’re nuts … and they’ll never get through.

2. The Child Star
They can only ever sing or dance (luckily nobody has taught them to recite poetry yet) but they’re normally very good. The downside though is that they’re always ridiculously smug and they always cry at the end.

3. The Pet Act
All pet acts go wrong. The ones that don’t go wrong at the audition will eventually suffer in one of the latter shows.

4. The High School Musical Star
Muscly guy does something that he’s slightly embarrassed about (such as dancing). Normally starts with a sob story and always ends with three yeses and a comment that he’ll never get bullied again.

5. The singer
Why don’t they just enter X Factor or America’s Got Talent?!

6. The SuBo
This one’s the rarity. Every now and then you see someone who is going to be so successful that they’ll end up in therapy within a couple of weeks after the audition, sat next to SuBo talking about what it was like to come second.

7. The Family Members
There has never been a good family group and there never will be. They always make me cringe and there’s always a dad, granddad or kid that lets the team down.

8. The Irony-monger
This act is so bad it’s good. Unfortunately, they can’t ever seen the irony and therefore think that they’re a million times better than they actually are; especially when they get a standing ovation.

And most importantly …

9. The magician
These kind of talent shows are tough for magicians for many reasons. The good magicians are the ones that understand why the format doesn’t suit magic and therefore won’t enter. This unfortunately means that most magicians on such shows are terrible. Please don’t judge us all based on them, however.

I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series! I wonder whether we’ll see any close-up magicians on there?

Britain's Got Talent

Gadget Show Exposure

Over the years television producers have felt it acceptable to expose magicians’ secrets. Normally, here’s what happens:

1. The television show exposes the secret.
2. Magicians go crazy.
3. The press pick up on it and make a big deal about it.

Whether that happens with The Gadget Show’s recent exposure of magic, time will only tell. I’m not going to go crazy because it was all a little far fetched!

If you saw the show, let me clarify that magicians don’t need to spend £40,000 to perform a card trick. Everything performed on the show can be created using genuine sleight of hand and skill.

It’s worth stating that when you hire a professional close-up magician like myself, you can be sure that you’re hiring someone funny, with fantastic presentational skills and the ability to perform genuine sleight of hand magic. Sure; those gadgets are cool; but we really don’t require them … and I hope to have the opportunity to show you that one day!