Test the Nation BBC 1

22nd December 2003
Reported by Mandy Davis


Fifty magicians took part in the Review Quiz of 2003 on Monday 22nd December - Test the Nation on BBC1. It was an experience! It was great fun - and more fun from the fact that, compared to the other groups, from the minute they arrived, the magicians congregated and chatted non-stop till the end of the evening.

Arrival time was scheduled for 4pm but well before that long queues formed for registration. The opposing sides consisted of Fire fighters, Beauticians, Forces Families, Lawyers and Wheel Clampers and, although this was the third time they have hosted this type of event, the BBC team weren't prepared for it. Registration took so long that many missed the sandwich and cake buffet tea that had been available because supper was served from 4.30 in allotted time areas. In fact some people hadn't even realised there was tea!

However the quiz was fun, the friendly rivalry between the groups gave a great atmosphere. It was sad that the presenters and the celebrities were kept well away from us and there was never a chance to mingle with them.

Several magicians performed - Nick Einhorn was admirable when he managed a 'come-back' to Anne Robinson's remark about his production of twenty pound notes from a handful of parking tickets. Stuart Watkins from Newcastle borrowed Paul Schofield's wedding ring for Ring Flight, record holding Jean Purdy ate fire, Michelle produced some misletoe from silks and Young Magician of the Year Paul Dabek lassoed a playing card from a paper bag. I don't have all the names (the TV company won't release them) but some of the other magicians present were:

Magical Mandy Farrell, Mandy Davis, Neville........, Paul......., Bob Sacco, Romany, Janet Clare, Myles and Patti Sinclair of Magical Wonders, Jimmy Carlo, Theo and the two girls who go under the name of Fizztastic from Surrey Society of Magicians, JN from Portsmouth area, Andi and the Treasurer of the Isle of Wight magic club, Marc Dominic, Andrew Murray, Jenny and her partner from Manchester who I believe have an act called Genesis, Mel Harvey, Eliana Stovold, Michael Vincent, Michael Gee, Stephen Barry, Rhianne, Mark & Kerry Shortland and Matthew Garrett. Apologies to those who have been missed or whose names are incomplete.

Well, the magicians didn't win - but thankfully didn't come last either! Fourth place with a score of 41 - which apparently means very good with varied knowledge about the year. Well, we were too busy with magic and bookings to read a paper weren't we?


Mandy Davis, December 2003