A quick chat with Dynamo

The Bradford-born magician Dynamo returns with a second series of his Watch show Magician Impossible on Thursday, July 5. We caught up with him to find out more…

You walked across the Thames in the last series. How do you top that?

“For the new series, I walked down the LA Times building in Los Angeles. It’s an 80-foot drop. I’ve never been the biggest fan of heights and it was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done. It was like a horror movie. The memory of it still churns my tummy. It very nearly killed me.”

What reaction did it get?

“Well, I got a hard time off the security guards afterwards, but then I always get a hard time off security.”

Where else do your travels take you this time?

“I took a trip to Rio and performed some magic in the favelas. I did a trick with coconuts because that’s what they had there. Not everyone has a mobile phone.”

The first series was a big hit around the world. How has it changed your life?

“It’s been shown in 160 countries, from Poland and Italy to America. Magic is a universal language. It’s all about cool visuals. The success of the show was a lot bigger than I expected. I began with a small cult following and now it’s gone completely crazy. It’s hard to film in England without attracting a massive crowd. It becomes like a Covent Garden show.”

There’s a lot of stuff on YouTube where people try to explain how you do your tricks. Does that bother you?

“I really don’t mind people trying to explain my tricks; I’m just happy they care. It actually makes me work harder so that no one can dissect what I do. People watch me so closely these days. It’s important that I keep raising my game.”

What inspires your magic?

“I’ve always loved films and they are still an inspiration. I go to the cinema a couple of times a week and watch loads of DVDs on my laptop. I am fascinated by CGI and what goes on behind the camera. If I wasn’t a magician, I’d probably be doing something like that.”

You’ve done lots of tricks for celebrities…

“Who features in the new series? I do a trick for the singer Labrinth in the first programme, but the emphasis is less about celebrities and more focused on amazing pieces of magic. In the UK so much focus is on fame that we lose touch with what it’s like to be a normal person. I don’t ever want to be all Hollywood.”

Is that why you go back to your hometown of Bradford in the series?

“I haven’t lost touch with my roots, or my friends and family. It is no exaggeration to say that if it wasn’t for my Grandpa I wouldn’t be where I am today. He showed me my first ever tricks and gave me the confidence to believe in myself. He was like a father figure to me. I’m so glad he lived long enough to see my career take off.”

You were bullied as a child. Do you ever run into the bullies these days?

“I believe one of them was killed and the other is a doorman. But I have no hard feelings against them. We all do stupid things as youngsters. Without that experience I wouldn’t be who I am.”

When did you start thinking of magic as a career?

“I used to perform a lot and do magic as a teenager, but I never really documented it or took it that seriously. But I ended up in hospital for six months because I have Crohn’s disease, and that was the moment when I decided to really focus on it. I applied for a loan from the Prince’s Trust. Through that I’ve got to meet Prince Charles a few times. He’s a cool guy and loves his magic. He’s even a member of the Magic Circle. When you talk to him, he really listens and cares about what you are doing.”

What’s next?

“The natural step is for a live show. I saw David Copperfield’s show in Vegas, and that was a real inspiration. There is a real demand for me to do a similar show, but I’d want to stage it in the UK first. I want to do it for the people who embraced me at the very beginning.”

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