Number 674 - 25th May 2013


ITV commissions single drama based on the life of Tommy Cooper. David Threlfall plays Tommy Cooper with Amanda Redman as his wife Dove. ITV confirmed on Thursday commission of a single film about the legendary Tommy Cooper, written by Simon Nye and produced by multi award-winning production company, Left Bank Pictures.

Simon Nye’s script focuses on the dilemma the much-loved magician faced when he fell in love with assistant Mary Kay and embarked upon a relationship that would last 17 years. Tommy was married to Gwen, whom he adored and affectionately nicknamed Dove. Tommy was unable to choose between Dove and Mary, and his untimely death live on air in 1984 meant that he never did. The late nights and post-show drinks were taking their toll on his health, and Dove tried to convince him that TV work was enough. But touring was where Tommy’s heart lay: “A miner goes down a mine, a stand up comedian stands on a stage and looks the audience in the eye.”

But Tommy found he couldn’t tour alone and asked stage manager Mary Kay if she would join him. Mary was gentle, diligent and good at her job. She would arrange his props and tricks, flash a warm smile and reassure an often-tense Tommy before he took to the stage. He needed someone to bolster his confidence and it was Mary’s loving support that made the difference to his performances. The pair fell in love, and just like that, Tommy became torn between two equally devoted women.

Filming will begin in London this June with former London Weekend Television Producer and award-winning magician, John Fisher, acting as a Consultant on the drama. John was a personal friend of Tommy Cooper’s and is the author of “Always Leave Them Laughing”, a definitive biography of the comedy legend’s life. Casting is still underway, but comedian Jason Manford is confirmed to play Ken Brooke.


Houdini, to tour from September 2013: "Houdini, a sharply written, dramatic, darkly comic new play about two of the greatest performers the world has ever known – the Houdini Brothers: stuntmen, illusionists, magicians – will premiere at Stoke on Trent Repertory Theatre on September 9th before touring the UK throughout September and October. Featuring a dynamic script, sharply drawn characters and breathtaking live stunts, ‘Houdini’ was written by BAFTA award-winning actor (‘Risen’) and filmmaker Stuart Brennan. Theatre Giant’s creative director Peter Snee will direct the production with a creative dream team that includes film and TV production designer Danny Rogers, costume designer Fraz Roughton, sound designer Daffyd Gough, and composer Tord Brudevoll. To be the greatest, you have to be prepared to sacrifice everything. Harry Houdini was the greatest performer who ever lived, but fame and fortune do not come free. For his brother Theo and his wife Bess, the price may have been too high. This intricate look inside the gripping life story of Houdini explores the devastation that is reaped by ambition, love and jealousy. Witness the birth of a star. Marvel at his death-defying feats. Prepare to be amazed. Discover the legend. Believe in the magic." Now booking: September 9th – 14th Stoke on Trent Repertory Theatre; September 16th – 21st Blackpool Grand Theatre; September 24th – 28th Swansea Grand Theatre; September 30th - October 5th Theatre Royal Windsor; October 7th – 12th Dublin Gaiety Theatre 25.5.13


12 Again: Magicians Special is being repeated next Saturday at 4.30pm on CBBC: "Famous faces revisit the music and TV shows they loved and the big news stories that happened when they were kids. A cast of superstar magicians including Dynamo, Stephen Mulhern, Ben Hanlin, Dom Wood (with his friend Dick) and Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic stars Fergus Flanagan and Katherine demonstrate their first cool magic tricks, and share their memories from when they were 12. Step back in time and find out what first inspired them to become the mega magicians that they are today, what their favourite television shows were, what music they loved and what news stories had a big impact upon their lives." See TV Magic. 25.5.13


The Magic History Gathering @ The Magic Circle. A final reminder that on Saturday 1st June at The Centre for the Magic Arts, 12 Stephenson Way, Euston, London NW1 2HD, this annual event for all who are interested our magic heritage will take place, and to which non-members of The Magic Circle are warmly welcomed. It commences at 10am with coffee and a wide-ranging programme of topics with international contributors follows. Speakers include James Hagy and Richard Kaufman from the USA, together with Ian Keable, James Smith and Will Houstoun and there will be exhibitions of material relating to Professor Hoffmann and Philip Breslaw. Tickets cost £40 which includes coffee, lunch and afternoon tea, and can be purchased in advance from The Magic Circle at the above address. Telephone 0207387 2222 or email Payment can be made by cheque payable to 'The Magic Circle' or by Visa or MasterCard. 25.5.13


James Freedman "The Man of Steal" popped up on the BBC World News last week, to talk about the recent rise in pickpocket crime. Of course, he couldn't resist a demonstration! You can see the report here: 25.5.13


Young & Strange: Magic, Illusion And A Hate For Each Other, Old Fire Station, George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ (Map). 25th May, 5:45pm-6:30pm; 29th May, 5:45pm-6:30pm; 30th May, 7:15pm-8:00pm; 31st May, 7:15pm-8:00pm Tickets £8.00. Sold out in 2012, the illusionists return to The Old Fire Station with a brand new show suitable for all ages. Featuring spectacular stage illusions and intimate sleight of hand, the boys are back with their magic, unique blend of humour and a hate for each other! For more info and to book Click Here also see 25.5.13


Van Buren & Gandey present The Victorian Wonders Carnival, a show of magic and time travel: "Making the impossible possible, the credible incredible, bringing the past to the present, but would Her Majesty be amused?" At the Brighton Fringe Festival 25th May - 1st June. Victoria Gardens Studio Big Top. Shows throughout the day. Tickets on the door or call 08717 058888. 25.5.13


The Bristol Day of Magic with Scott Wells: "In case you missed the 2013 Bristol Day of Magic or if you were present and you would like to re-live some of the moments from the convention, then I think you will enjoy seeing some of the sights and sounds (two hour podcast) recorded throughout the day on The Magic Word. Visit: You can listen online or download the file through iTunes or as an MP3. If you enjoy this podcast, then you can always go into the archives to hear interviews with other magicians and podcasts from other conventions. Keep up to date by subscribing to this free podcast." 25.5.13


Danny Orleans UK Lecture tour now booking. Tour organiser Steve Gore writes: I am organising a magic lecture tour for Danny Orleans from Chicago. He is looking forward to an opportunity to do his children's magic lecture in the UK between 29th April and 10th May 2014. He recently released a 3 DVD set, "The Art of Presenting Magic to Children," that received wonderful reviews in all the major magazines; see He has lectured throughout the US and is booked for Kidabra in Tennessee, The Houdini Convention, and Magic in the Rockies. This is his first visit to the UK so it is a rare opportunity to book him. Email for more info and to book him. 25.5.13


Jon Allen UK Lecture tour now booking. Tour organiser Steve Gore writes: Top British magician Jon Allen is launching his new lecture tour of the UK. In the lecture, your members will not just learn the tricks and methods but also the reasoning and thinking behind why they are so effective. This invaluable advice and knowledge can be applied to any magic trick or routine they already perform. He has created some of the most universally acclaimed effects in recent years with Double Back, The Destination Box, The Pain Game, Flexion and The Silent Treatment. These effects are firmly established in the performing repertoires of magicians worldwide. Close-up magician Jon Allen is England's only World IBM Close-up Magic Champion, a Gold Star Member of The Inner Magic Circle and a natural entertainer. To see Jon's performance on 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' Click Here. Jon has previously lectured at major magic conventions and clubs around the world. There are no set dates for the tour so please get in touch to secure your preferred date. Jon has appointed me his lecture tour agent. Please email with any queries you may have and I will reply by return. 25.5.13


Magicians at the Half Moon, London, Friday 31st May. Andy Clockwise writes: "Magicians at the Half Moon" has its second show on Friday 31st May featuring top magicians Ian Manly and Sean Heydon with compere Martin Cox. Last month's show was a sell-out, so please contact Martin ( ASAP to reserve your tickets. For more information visit and if you have 20 minute act and would like to be considered as a performer at "Magicians at the Half Moon", please let Martin know. 25.5.13


Last Saturday the Wolverhampton Circle of Magicians held their Annual Dinner at the Molineux. Sue Oakley writes: The excellent cabaret was provided by Lee Thompson and Steve Hewlett. A great night was had by all. President David Oakley awarded long service awards to: Philip Tate, Amin, Ron Popple, Donald Bevan and a 50 year award to Jon Marshall. Dave Pitt was awarded the President's Trophy, Chris Chambers was the winner of the Newcomers Trophy and Steve Evans collected trophies for Pocket Tricks, Close-up and Stage. He is the only person ever to have won all trophies in one year. Steve recently received the good news that his latest treatment has reduced the size of his tumour again, meaning that he will be with us for a little longer at least. With this in mind he continues to stay active, is all set for the IBM Convention in September, and continues to do lectures which are receiving rave reviews. His next lecture is at the Watford Associations of Magicians on 4th June. You can see Steve’s Lecturette at The Magic Circle on YouTube: Click Here. To contact Steve email: 25.5.13


Fylde Mystics Close-up Competition. Alan Mylecraine writes: The Fylde Mystics recently held their annual close-up competition to a capacity audience. The judging panel had a very tough job and commented that the competition was of the highest standard and judging had been difficult, they also commented that the standard has evidently derived from the Fylde Mystics being a 'performing society'. After considerable deliberation the winners were announced: 1st Place - Paul Joyce, 2nd Place - Allan Clarke, 3rd Place - Harry Moulding, Allan Clarke also secured the Best Card Trick award. For more details on The Fylde Mystics visit Pictured are the prize winners receiving their awards from Northern Magic Circle President, Dr Roger Woods. 25.5.13


The Card Collection Bank Holiday Sale is on right now - ending at 11am on Tuesday 28th May. There will be a discount of 10% on all orders with a goods value of £25.00 or more. Spend £40.00 or more and you'll get 15% off. Free UK mainland shipping still applies, providing that the goods total, after discount, is £50.00 or more. Don't miss out on the bargains! 25.5.13


Leamington and Warwick Magic Society Day of Magic. Mark Traversoni writes: The Leamington and Warwick Magic Society Day of Magic is fast approaching and is now over two days; the 18th and 19th of June. On the evening of the 18th there will be a dealer demonstration from Saturn Magic and a Mental Miracles Lecture from Mick McCreath. The following day will have lectures from Jamie Allan, Luke Jermay, Shane West (Zoobee) and James Brown (photo). There will also be a workshop from Mike Gancia. Early evening there's a show with Luke Jermay followed by the Midlands Champion of Champions Close-up Competition. Food will be provided from breakfast through to an evening BBQ all for the bargain price of £25.00. Full details including the list of dealers attending can be found on the club website: 25.5.13


Watford Association of Magicians Close-up Winners. Andy Clockwise reports: On Tuesday 21st May, The Watford Association of Magicians held their annual Close-Up Magician of the Year Competition. Mick Ramsden, Steve Rowe, Kurtis Whitehead, Chris Garside, Gary Schiffman and Lee Florida fought it out with six rounds of close-up magic, performing their acts three times each, to small groups of members and visitors; presenting a barrage of effects including a borrowed signed bank note appearing in a kiwi and a signed card appearing in a sealed bottle of J2O. Lee Florida walked away with the first prize plus the technical award. Second place went to Gary Schiffman and third to Chris Garside. Lee is pictured here with WAM Club Chairman Andy Clockwise. For more information on Lee, visit 25.5.13


Alakazam 20% Off Bank Holiday Weekend Offer Ends Tuesday 28th May at 9am. Visit 25.5.13


Cards in a Bottle - the perfect gift: From the makers: "Imagine you have just finished performing at a wedding, party or corporate event and when you bid farewell to the bride, birthday boy or CEO of the company, you also present them with a unique keepsake that they will be talking about long after your departure. It is something they will never have seen before and unlikely to have been received when they booked 'that other magician' for last year’s Christmas party! This gift will guarantee you get asked back time and time again." Visit for details. 25.5.13


Enterteasement: Magic, Comedy, Burlesque. "Enterteasement is a monthly show featuring Comedy, Magic & Burlesque. The June show features 6 'As Seen on TV' acts including Woody The Magician, Vendetta Vain and Stu Who." Saturday, 8th June, 8pm - 10.30pm at The Admiral Bar, 72 Waterloo Street, Glasgow. 25.5.13


This bank holiday weekend, Danny and Annette of Amethyst will appear at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton to perform with legendary comedian, Ken Dodd. With a new show for 2013, the duo return to the Floral Pavilion, the venue for their first ever performance with Ken back in 2008, marking their 5th year touring in the Ken Dodd Happiness Show. For more info see or 25.5.13


Congratulations to Magic Amit, winner of the Roy Johnson Shield Close-Up Competition for 2013. Members of the Leicester Magic Circle competed in front of an invited audience on Tuesday May 21st for the coveted trophy. Magic Amit fought off competitors with an array of "stunning visual card magic and comedy, which was based around well known TV Magician Paul Daniels." Magic Amit would also like to thank close friend Mozique for his help support. The competition was judged by lay judges and magical judge Chris Congreave. 25.5.13


Chris Strickland and Andy Hurst visit the British Magical Society in Birmingham on Tuesday 28th May: "Not just a Dealer dem, but a chance to catch up on the latest in magic." 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th May at Selly Oak Ex Serviceman’s Club, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 7DL (Map). Non-members are invited to attend for a modest £5 fee. See for details. Paul Cadley. 25.5.13


UK Balloon Modeller of the Year Competition, sponsored by Qualatex and Playtime Balloons. From the Kidology UK organiser: 10th September 2013 will see the introduction of this exciting new competition at the Kidology UK Convention. Full entry details will be posted on the Kidology UK website in due course and everyone attending the convention will be able to take part and win a unique Kidology UK Trophy, together with £100 of Qualatex 260Q balloons. The fairest possible judging system will be used and all necessary balloons will be supplied free of charge. This is going to be a great addition to a great convention, moving forward and looking to cater to all aspects of entertainment for children. Make sure you don’t miss out this year and register now! If you prefer to register by phone, call Alec Powell on 07831 115448. 25.5.13


Michael Gee performed close-up magic at last week's British Soap Awards held at MediaCityUK in Manchester and appeared on ITV2 during the after-show party. He's seen here with X Factor boy-band Union J. 25.5.13


Merlin Magical Society news: "The Clifford Morrow Cup Competition for originality was held on Thursday May 23rd. It was judged by guest Don Quest who later did a Dealer Dem. It was won by Martin Peirce. Photo: The cup, being presented to Martin by our President, with Don Quest in the middle." John Clayton, Secretary, Merlin Magical Society. 25.5.13


Afternoon Drama: Haunted... 2.15pm on Wednesday 29th May on BBC Radio 4. "A dark psychological thriller by Sally Griffiths in which a TV illusionist and a medium both have their belief systems tested when a voice from the past refuses to keep silent. With Steffan Rhodri, Zoe Tapper and Vineeta Rishi." See TV Magic. 25.5.13


Bob Ostin. Very sad to report that Bob Ostin died last weekend aged 83. His funeral will take place on Friday 31st May at 11.00am in the Rosemary Chapel of Springwood Crematorium, Springwood Avenue, Woolton, Liverpool L25 7UN. 25.5.13


"Siegfried Visits Jan Rouven’s Illusions at Riviera Hotel & Casino" Click Here • "Criss Angel Will Be Eaten by Alligators in the Everglades, Hopefully" Click Here • "Angel axes death-defying stunt" Click Here • "Tips On Entertaining Kids" Click Here • "Slightly Off Target – Bullet Catch – The NT Shed - Review" Click Here • "Magician Rodd is ‘close-up’ master" Click Here • "World Record for Mind-Numbing Magic Shows Broken in South Hungary" Click Here'Doomsday 2013' is reviewed by Paul Voodini this week, Click Here"Now You See Me Clip: Magic as Self Defense!" Click Here • "David Kwong: Hollywood's Favorite Trickster" Click Here • That's it for another week, your UK magic news is always welcomed, see you next week, Duncan. 25.5.13