The hugely popular hit show The Magicians returns to BBC One in the New Year, with a show-stopping live new format, a dazzling new host and an astonishing line-up of magicians.
Following last year’s ratings success of over six million viewers, the 2012 series will be extended to six 75-minute programmes which will transmit live – which will see the first time a magic series has been transmitted live on the BBC in over 30 years.
In addition to the new format, The Magicians has an exciting new host in Scottish-born television host Darren McMullen, in his debut UK primetime presenting role.
Darren has fronted national shows in both Australia and the US and will preside over the celebrities and magicians as well as announcing the live audience vote each week.
He said: “I can’t wait to host live shows here. The Magicians is a huge entertainment show and talked about around the world so I can’t wait to be at the heart of it. Being a live show, the pressure really will be on the magicians and whether or not they can pull off dangerous stunts in front of a live audience. I’m certainly going to have to have my wits about me!”
Magic duo, Barry & Stuart, return to the series this year and are joined by magicians Pete Firman and Jason Latimer. Each magician will be paired with a different celebrity partner each week.
Together they will perform three illusions, both live and pre-recorded, from the classic to the never-attempted before, after which their performances will be put to the viewers’ vote. The magician and celebrity pair with the fewest votes will then have to face a live and dramatic forfeit.
Award-winning Scottish duo Barry and Stuart have had four sell-out shows at the Edinburgh festival, including this year’s smash hit Show And Tell. Previously they starred in the TV shows Dirty Tricks, Magick and Tricks From The Bible, for which they were nominated for a Scottish BAFTA Award. They also won the “Best Comedy Illusionist” Award at the World Magic Awards in 2009.
Pete Firman is the UK’s leading comedian/magician. He’s one of the few magicians to have been invited to perform at Canada’s prestigious Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. A familiar face on British television, Pete has previously starred in TV shows Monkey Magic, Dirty Tricks and The Secret World Of Magic, as well as being nominated for a Golden Rose at the Rose d’Or Festival in Montreux.
Jason Latimer is an American illusionist as well as an academic specialising in the fields of Economics, Mathematics and Applied Physics. Attributed as being the man who makes the connection between technology and magic, Jason also holds the title “Grand Prix Best Overall World Champion of Magic”.
The Magicians will need to dazzle, delight and excel beyond their own favoured speciality, be it escapology, illusion or sleight of hand card tricks, to ensure they get the audience’s support for the live vote.
Karen Smith said: “We are delighted to have The Magicians back with the new format making it even more spectacular than the first series – and it will certainly hold more jeopardy in front of a live audience. It will be a show-stopping array of magic and illusions, set to astonish, grip and entertain. Darren will be the perfect host for this new format and we’re delighted to welcome back Barry and Stuart to the show. Pete Firman and Jason Latimer promise to be equally mesmerising!”
BBC Commissioning Editor, Jo Wallace, said: “Magic is always a fantastic source of entertainment for the whole family. Last year’s show was a resounding success and this year is set to be even more so with the live show element and the addition of Darren McMullen and the new magicians. It will have viewers spellbound.”
Commissioned by BBC Controller of Entertainment Commissioning, Mark Linsey, The Magicians is produced by Shine TV, makers of BBC One hits Merlin and Masterchef, and Executive Produced by Karen Smith, joint Managing Director of Shine TV and launch producer of Strictly Come Dancing.
Viewers at home will once again be able to both enjoy and learn interactively via a series of exclusive tricks and step-by-step guides to give budding magicians an introduction to the art.