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Thursday, 17 March 2016

In Memory Of Paul Daniels


My childhood memories have been under constant attack this year with the passing of many significant people...


Just a few weeks ago Paul Daniels was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and only last week it was announced he was going home to spend his final days. I had hoped that this was a figure of speech but this morning the sad news was given that he had died. This saddens me deeply as Paul's weekly Saturday night magic show was very much a staple viewing in my childhood household. In an era where the entertainment show format was king of prime time family viewing and Daniel's mixture of "magical happenings" and amusing audience involving table magic made for wonderful television. The eighties was a time when family viewing was not shocking and Daniel's was an inoffensive and amiable host that the BBC adored as much as his fans. Daniels was very much the star and his format focused on personality rather than gaudy show pieces. Looking back at his shows now compared to the brash and soulless Britain's Got Talent I find myself yearning for the type of variety show that Daniels excelled with. Daniels genial and warming personality led him to hosting popular quiz shows when there was no more Magic Show, I personally really enjoyed Every Second Counts and it was Daniels himself that was the focus and not the gimmicky format. In fact I would say that there was no one else that could have done that show!


The thing is, you knew what you were going to get with Paul Daniels and he delivered week after week. Like him or loathe him, Paul Daniels was respected by audiences and fellow magicians as a consummate professional who was a master of his craft. In latter years and, yes I am skipping over Wizbit, Daniels devoted his time to supporting his wife in her own various projects. This coincided with a definitive moment when the variety show format fell out of favour and were largely disregarded along with their hosts. I recently watched the excellent Louis Theroux, Weird Weekend, which featured both Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee. I was struck by Daniels affable and warm nature but also his protection of elements of his personal life. In an age where the slightest and most nauseating piece of celebrity gossip makes for headline news I found this privacy wonderfully refreshing.

Paul Daniels was a talented and loving man who simply adored entertaining and with so much negativity and darkness nowadays well, that's magic!

Paul Daniels April 6th 1938 to March 17th 2016



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