Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) and Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) are rival magicians in 19th century London in the BBC AMERICA adaptation of Susanna Clarke‘s bestselling novel (Saturday, June 13 at 10/9c). These two aren’t the only smooth operators in town; check out nine modern-day British magicians and illusionists who have the skills to pay the bills:
Wow factor: Dynamo, whose proper name is Steven Frayne, is most recently known for his TV series Magician Impossible. He’s stunned viewers, leaving their jaws dropped with stunts like levitating above The Shard. Or on the side of a London double-decker red bus as seen in the above video.
Birthplace: Bradford, England
How he got into magic: As an attempt to avoid bullies.
2. Ben Hanlin
Wow factor: Hanlin hits the streets in his TV show Tricked, pulling off fun stunts like pouring a can of coke into a shopper’s grocery bag, but then refilling the can with the wave of his hand. People who are duped might get a little peeved, but Hanlin has that boyish charm, which may get him out of trouble as seen in the above clip.
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
How he got into magic: Pulling things apart at a young age to see how they worked.
3. Derren Brown
Wow factor: In 2000 Brown had a TV show simply called Derren Brown: Mind Control. He explains that he can’t really control people’s minds, but it appears so with the use of “magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection, and showmanship.” Our Anglo fan favorite Martin Freeman can do no wrong in our eyes, but when Brown’s around, Freeman can’t even lift a pencil as seen in the above clip.
Birthplace: Purely, London, England
How he got into magic: He wanted to impress a girl at primary school with a card trick.
4. Troy Von Scheibner
Wow factor: Von Scheinbner says people would label his style as “street magic,” but he prefers calling it just “magic.” We kind of like the street aspect because we get to see him interact with regular folks, and his Channel 4 show Troy caught their reactions as witnessed in the above clip.
Birthplace: South London, England
How he got into magic: He saw David Blaine on TV and was captivated. He joined The Young Magician’s Club at age 13.
5. Megan Knowles-Bacon
Wow factor: Knowles-Bacon signed up to learn magic at a young age and soon realized there weren’t too many girls in the class. It’s not that magic leaves women out, Knowles-Bacon said it herself, “For some reason, women just don’t seem to be as interested,” as explained in the above clip. To add her own flair, she has incorporated dance into her act, specifically ballet.
Age: Early 20s
Birthplace: Eltham, England
How she got into magic: She was given a magic set at age 5. And at age 8 a magician came to her birthday party. The latter sealed the deal.
6. Peter Firman
Wow factor: Firman doesn’t just do magic. He’s funny. And he’s smart to combine the two in his act. Of course, the combination might be a bit much for a children’s party like when Firman creates the illusion of tossing a small mouse into food processor.
Birthplace: Middlesbrough, England
How he got into magic: His mum bought him a magic book.
7. Chris Cox
Wow factor: Like Brown, Cox says he can’t read minds, but somehow he can. Cox explains it as, “I use a mixture of magic, psychology, neuro-linguistic programming, reading body language, subliminal messaging, influencing, devilish good looks, and … lying.” Oh, is that all? Cox is funny but also has that disarming self-deprecating way about him.
Birthplace: Bristol, England
How he got into magic: He made his first TV appearance doing magic on The Big Breakfast with Zig & Zag when he was about 12 years old.
8. Paul Kieve
Wow factor: Kieve kicked off his magic career at the age of 16, performing magic in a music video, and since then he’s segued into film and stage. He’s worked as a magic consultant on the Harry Potter films and created illusions for stage productions like Alice in Wonderland, Matilda, and Ghost the Musical as seen in the above clip.
Age: Late 40s
Birthplace: Woodford, London, England
How he got into magic: He received a magic set when he was 10 years old.
9. Fay Presto
Wow factor: Presto is a member of the Inner Magic Circle and was named the Magic Circle Close-up Magician in 2012. Some magicians may perform in a club, or on TV, but Presto works the restaurant scene, and considers magic a way to connect with her audience as seen in the above clip.
Birthplace: Holloway, North London, England
How she got into magic: She was a late bloomer and picked up magic in her mid-thirties.
If you’re in the mood for more magic, check out BBCA’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell on Saturday nights starting on June 13.
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