Preview: Paul Daniels at the Islington Assembly Hall

Paul Daniels speaks to Jon Dean about his new show Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

�Few British magicians have enjoyed the fame and fortune afforded Middlesbrough-born conjurer Paul Daniels.

A performer from the age of 11, his big TV break came on talent show Opportunity Knocks in the 1970s.

From there he starred in his own slot on ITV and the BBC, as well as children’s TV show Wizbit.

His talent for trickery has seen him perform all over the world for audiences including the Royal Family and the Sultan of Brunei.

Now, he is back on the road with his wife Debbie McGee and son Martin in his new production Hair Today Gone Tomorrow [which was due to come to Islington on Saturday, before it was announced today that the show has had to be postponed - see below for his statement].

Paul decided to take the show, a combination of comedy and magic, on the road after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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But the tour was in doubt at the start of the year after the 73-year-old chopped off the top of a finger in January while building props. Doctors reattached the digit and he is raring to go.

He said: “Everything is healing very well and I was back rehearsing properly fairly quickly with no big problems. It only hurts when I laugh.


“We tested Hair Today Gone Tomorrow out at the Fringe and it was one of the few shows to make any money. Not too bad, we thought.

“But in Edinburgh the show only lasted an hour, and we needed two hours for the tour.

“Luckily my son Martin, who has been the king of comedy on cruise ships for the past two years, wanted to do more land-based stuff so it all came together really well.

“It’s nice working with the family. I am used to it – years ago my mother used to make the curtains while my brother would be painting the props.

“Now I’ve got the wife, who does magic and Martin does comedy. We all just have a laugh really.

“The audience think it’s for them, but we are having a party and they come along for the ride.”

But is the comedy element a new departure for the Daniels clan?

“My show has always had laughs in it,” said Paul. “It sounds conceited but I have always been funny.

“People used to come and meet me by the stage door and say ‘I didn’t realise you were that funny’.”

“In TV, they always cut a lot of stuff out and in my shows they used to take out the gags. You get pigeon-holed a lot in this country so I was seen as just a magician, but in truth they lost out on the real essence of what my show is all about.”

And in a career that has spanned the globe, is this his first performance in Islington?

“I haven’t been for a long time, but used to play in a lot of Islington pubs early on in my career.

‘‘I can’t remember the names of them though – I can’t even remember the pub I was in last night.”

* Paul Daniels was to perform Hair Today Gone Tomorrow at the Islington Assembly Hall on Saturday March 3. The gig was today postponed until further notice for health reasons, but he promised it will go ahead in the near future.

A spokesman for Mr Daniels said: “Paul Daniels has had to cancel his Islington Assembly Hall date on Saturday March 3. Paul has had to go back into hospital to have a minor procedure related to his earlier gall-bladder problems.

“Paul is doing well, but will obviously need his bed-rest over the next few days... he sends his apologies and promises a fantastic rescheduled show in the very near future - please keep an eye on Paul’s website for news of a new date -”