Tees

Magician Paul Daniels 'thrilled' at Redcar steel rebirth

Paul Daniels on Strictly Come Dancing
Image caption Paul Daniels says he knows what steel means to the area

Paul Daniels has described the return of steelmaking to his boyhood home on Teesside as "thrilling".

The TV magician grew up in South Bank, close to the Redcar plant which still dominates the landscape.

His uncles worked at the site and he described growing up in the area as "really happy days".

The plant was mothballed in 2010, but new owners SSI relit the furnace on Sunday and the first slab is expected to be produced on Wednesday.

'Real homecoming'

Daniels said: "I knew this was coming, but when I saw the news at the weekend I just thought 'yes!'

"I grew up right bang in the middle of the works really, or Dorman Long as it used to be called, and steel was just a huge part of everyone's life in those days.

"South Bank was the most polluted town in the country at the time, but we just got on with things really.

"As kids we used to play on the slag heaps at Clay Lane - I hope they're not bringing those back - and I remember them as really happy days.

"So I know what steel means to the area, and I'm absolutely thrilled to see it still going strong for future generations."

The 74-year-old husband of Debbie McGee, famous for his catchphrase "you'll like it - not a lot, but you'll like it", is returning to the area on Saturday, to appear at the Middlesbrough Theatre, where he performed his first gig almost 50 years ago.

He said: "It feels like a real homecoming."

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