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 who train their celebrity assistants through a range of seemingly impossible tricks.
Following last year’s ratings success of over six million viewers, the 2012 series has been extended to six 75-minute programmes which transmit live from Saturday, 7th January – 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 presenter 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 results of 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 and Stuart return to the series this year and are joined by magicians Pete Firman and Jason Latimer (Latimer).
Each magician is paired with a different celebrity partner each week which includes: actors Daniel Roche and Tyger Drew-Honey, Tina Hobley and David Hasselhoff; TV presenters Julia Bradbury, Joe Swash, Mel Giedroyc, Myleene Klass, Arlene Phillips and John Torode and Gregg Wallace; from the world of sport, boxer David Haye and former England cricketer Phil Tufnell; stars of Strictly Come Dancing Flavia Cacace and Craig Revel Horwood; comedian Ed Byrne; and from the world of music, Kimberly Wyatt and Keith Duffy, and street dancer George Sampson.
Together the Magicians and celebrities perform four illusions, two live and two 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, a dangerous trick that no-one really wants to tackle.
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.
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.
Against the stunning backdrop of a specially-created set at Shepperton Studios, three of the magic world’s most successful acts will do battle every Saturday night for six weeks in early 2012.
Host Darren McMullen will be joined by American born Latimer, current World Champion of Magic, whose unique combination of science and magic is ground breaking and jaw dropping; Pete Firman, the UK’s leading comedian/magician who has a flair for fusing comedy and magic with hilarious and mind boggling results; and hugely popular and talented UK magicians, Barry and Stuart, whose brand of dark and exciting vaudeville will keep audiences enthralled.
Each week The Magicians are paired with a new celebrity partner (or partners) to perform live magic on BBC One. They will each perform a live grand illusion, a pre-recorded grand location illusion, a pre-recorded piece of street magic and a two minute live trick. Once the first trick or illusion has been performed by each of the magician/celebrity pairings the phone lines open for viewers’ voting.
Once all live and pre-recorded magic has been shown and performed the phone lines will close. Whilst the votes are verified and counted there will be a speciality performance from invited names in the world of magic.
Once the votes are in, host Darren will announce the results; each week the celebrity/magician act will be ranked in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The pairing who are unfortunate enough to come in 3rd place will then have to face a live, petrifying and dangerous forfeit, which will be genuinely alarming and require real bravery as well as skill.
The details of the forfeit will only be revealed to the celebrities just before the show goes on air, during which time they must be briefed by health and safety. The stakes are therefore raised, each of the celebrities under the pressure not only to fulfil their role in assisting and aiding their magical mentor to the best of their abilities but also ensuring they get enough votes so as not to face the forfeit.