Thursday 27 Nov 2014
It was announced today that BBC One will put magic back on Saturday nights for the first time in nearly two decades* and at a scale never seen before, with the commission of a new entertainment spectacular from Shine TV.
The Magicians sees three of the magic world's most currently successful practitioners, both critically and at the box office, do battle for across five weeks in early 2011 in the world of magic's first competitive competition on UK screens.
Against the stunning backdrop of a specially-created set on Pinewood Studios, each Magician will perform with a different celebrity partner each week; with the three pairs performing illusions from the classic to the never-attempted-before and adapting their respective roles as the challenge or trick dictates.
The Magicians will be pushed to excel beyond their own favoured speciality, be it escapology, illusion or sleight of hand card tricks, as the tournament will throw weekly challenges and themes designed to best test the competitors' originality, ingenuity and ambition with many large scale stunts set to be attempted.
Just as audiences in theatres have shown their approval or otherwise for the art of illusion through the centuries, only the studio audience will determine which magician is victorious each week and ultimately triumphs across the weeks.
There are no judges and no phone lines. The same three magicians battle each week – those that amaze the audience most will win, whereas the pair that receive the least applause will be asked to close the show with an uncomfortable, dangerous or impossible forfeit of a trick that no-one will want to tackle.
Commissioned by BBC Controller of Entertainment Commissioning, Mark Linsey, The Magicians will be 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.
Host and further format details will be revealed at a later date.
In addition, viewers at home will 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 .
Mark Linsey said: "The Magicians is a bold, big scale entertainment show that will bring the best of the latest crop of amazing illusionists to a wide audience for the first time, in a head-to-head contest. It is family viewing at its best and we're delighted to be bringing it to the BBC and to Saturday nights."
Karen Smith said: "The Magicians will astound, amaze and amuse. It will look like nothing seen before it, a truly spectacular Spectacular."
* The Paul Daniels Magic Show ran on BBC One from 1988 to 1994.
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