Legendary magician Paul Daniels and his assistant Debbie McGee are heading towards South Wales with their first farewell tour but as you may expect from the magical pair all is not as it seems!
Having seen the title of Paul Daniels brand new magic show The First Farewell Tour which comes to Monmouth’s Savoy theatre on October 28 I feel compelled to ask the question, “Are you retiring?”
“Shy and retiring,” Paul jokes before his irrepressible other half, Debbie McGee, offers up a more straightforward explanation. “The Rolling Stones and Status Quo are always doing the first of their farewell tours,” says Debbie, “Paul sees himself as a magician in that kind of vein – a rock magician! We were thinking of a title for this years tour as we’re doing a completely new show so that’s how it came about.”
Coming up with fresh ideas for a live magic show is not a new scenario for Paul Daniels who has constantly adapted his act over the years since learning the art of magic from library books as a schoolboy.
“I learned magic from all the books and therefore developed my own style of doing things so I never wanted to be David Nixon. Bruce Forsyth appealed to me much more at the time as a style of presentation so I just became me. That’s what I tell young magicians, “Don’t copy me or Dynamo or any of those guys – just be yourself!””
Paul of course came to major prominence through his successful light entertainment shows on British television between 1979 and 1994, although before then he had worked many years on the live circuit, “I started off in the workingmen’s clubs and did all that for many a year and gradually broke into television,” he says.
Paul took a very realistic stance when approaching the presentation of his TV shows. “Television is the theatre on the wall or on the stand in your living room,” he says, “if you’re doing workingmen’s clubs you have one set of performance rules, if you have cabaret clubs it’s different again. Come television time, I would get American guests for example and they’d go “We’ve got 16 million viewers!” and I’d say “Whoa! You’ve got four! They’re sitting 12 feet away from you on a settee” Once you perform to that technique you become a much better television presenter.”
Paul’s has remained on the live circuit since the 1990s and still at his side, like on television, is Debbie. The pair have been together for 34 years, Debbie; a professional dancer, met Paul following a successful audition for The Delfont Organisation. When did they realise they were falling for each other I ask?. “We still haven’t” jokes Paul. “I was attracted to Paul immediately,” laughs Debbie, “there was definitely chemistry. I don’t know when he fell for me. It took him a lot longer.” “No it didn’t, it was instant!” interjects Paul. They both laugh.
The pair married in 1988 and Debbie says Laughter has been a driving force in their partnership, both off stage and on. Their forthcoming Monmouth show will feature many magic moments from mindreading to illusions and has already been well received by audiences. “We tested all of this show out in a big village festival a few weeks ago,” says Paul, “there was one child sitting in the front and he was screaming with laughter and he made the whole audience laugh even more.”
- Catch Paul Daniels First farewell Tour at Monmouth Savoy on October 28, 2013.