As a professional magician, I always keep a close eye on famous British magicians appearing on TV, and those breaking through, making a name for themselves in the industry.
With the help of talent shows such as Britains Got Talent, more and more people are getting interested in magic, and the public’s perception of it is changing. Magicians are no longer seen as dusty old men with rabbits in hats, but rather, as exciting and innovative artists.
In this article, I want to take a look at some of the most well-known magicians in the UK, and how they have influenced the modern magic performed by wedding and close up magicians today. First up, a bit about me –
1. Nick Rushton
Nick Rushton is a top-class Magician working at corporate and private events all over the UK. He has won countless awards, performed on TV and has entertained numerous celebrities in his 20+ year career. Contact Nick Here
2. David Nixon
Before my time David Nixon (29 December 1919 – 1 December 1978) was an English magician who achieved fame through his appearances on television. He was one of the first magicians to perform illusions on live TV, and his show, David Nixon’s Magic Show, ran for many years.
3. Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper (19 March 1921 – 15 April 1984) was a British comedian and magician.
Who wears a fez celebrity?
Tommy Cooper is the most famous celebrity to have worn a Fez. Known as one of the most popular and innovative TV comedians of his era, he is remembered for his red fez and comedy, to cover tricks gone wrong on stage, and his self-referential/self-deprecating humour.
4. Paul Daniels
Following David’s footsteps, Paul Daniels quickly became an institution in British magic. The Paul Daniels Magic Show was certainly a huge inspiration for me growing up and the show, with special guest appearances from top performers around the world, made me want to become a magician. His catchphrases brought him fame over the years such as – “You’ll like this …not a lot, but you’ll like it!”
Not always loved by all, Paul Daniels will still go down as one of the biggest names in magic from the UK. Sadly Paul Daniels passed away, on 17th March 2016 aged 77.
5. Wayne Dobson
Wayne Dobson is a British magician illusionist who made numerous television appearances in the late 1980s and 1990s. I actually went to see Wayne perform his stage show live and was amazed, it was certainly an experience I’ll never forget. At the height of his career, he was among the most famous entertainers in the UK with his own television series Wayne Dobson – A Kind of Magic.
6. Ben Hanlin
Ben is a TV magician, presenter and entertainer, most well known for his TV show ITV2 series “Tricked”. More of a prank show than magic but very entertaining none the less. His recent appearance on Dancing on Ice was great fun to watch, very entertaining.
7. Derren Brown
Derren Brown is a UK Mind Reader, Hypnotist and Illusionist who has built up an incredible following on TV. His live shows are extremely popular these days, and he is constantly pushing the boundaries of what magic can be. I particularly love his show – Derren Brown: The Events – a series of “How To’s” where he demonstrates his skills in order to manipulate the outcome of certain events, like winning the lottery for example.
British magician Steven Frayne is best known by his stage name Dynamo. He is a British magician born in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
The street magician turned TV magician Dynamo is THE magician everyone mentions when I’m out and about performing at events. He has made a massive impact in the UK and indeed the world with his huge fan base. With clever close-up street magic mixed with larger stunts and illusions, he has been stunning audiences for years and has brought the art of magic bang up to date. Popular routines include the phone in bottle, walking on water across the River Thames and “levitating” in Rio.
9. Britain’s Got Talent
Magicians and entertainers who have made their mark via the popular TV show Britain’s Got Talent include:
Ben Hart, Jamie Raven, Maddox Dixon, Marc Spelmann (also known as “Magician X), father and son duo James and Dylan Piper and also Richard Jones who won back in 2016.
Ryan Tricks auditioned for BGT but has done incredibly well recently on America’s Got Talent. He had his own TV series on British TV and is certainly a name to watch out for in future.
Across The Pond Now – American Magicians:
Appearing on British TV with his unbelievable street magic, David Blane inspired many to become close up magicians. David Blaine is an American magician, illusionist and endurance artist. I remember his TV special – David Blaine: Street Magic – where he performed some jaw-dropping close up magic tricks right in front of people on the street.
Another famous American magician, Criss Angel is known for his street magic, large illusions and his television show Mindfreak.
Penn & Teller
American magicians and entertainers who have been working together since the 1970s. They are probably most well known for their show Penn & Teller: Fool Us!
One of the most famous illusionists in the world, David Copperfield is an American magician who has starred in many TV specials and stage shows.
An American magician and performer, known for starring in the TV series Lance Burton: Master Magician. One of the most popular performers in Las Vegas. His Dove magic is well worth checking out.
More About Magic Entertainment
Read about the World’s Most Famous Magicians Here
If you are interested in becoming a professional magician, the Magic Circle is a great place to start for help and advice. They have a Young Magicians Club which aims to teach and inspire new generations of perfromers. The Magic Circle also has a competition, The Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year, which I won back in 1997!
Magicians can achieve different levels of membership from M.M.C., A.I.M.C. – Associate Member through to M.I.M.C. – Member of the Inner MC. Performers with exceptional ability can be awarded this level with “Gold Star”.
Use The Magic Word – Magician Secrets!
Magic words magicians use to make the magic happen! Popular magic words (especially at children’s parties rather than at corporate events!) include:
– Hey Presto
– Open Sesame
– Hocus Pocus
– Ta Da
– Presto Change-o !
There are many more, but these are some of the most well known and popular. Magicians use these words to help them focus and create the correct atmosphere for their magic to happen!
Magic Tricks – How they’ve changed over time
What kinds of magic tricks do magicians perform? Although still popular, card tricks using playing cards were one of the most popular types of magic tricks performed by magicians in years gone by. More recently though, with the boom of Dynamo style street magic entertainment and Derren Brown’s mind-boggling stunts, routines have moved on with the times. Magic tricks using phones, headphones, borrowed items, mind-reading PIN numbers etc are all mainstream with skilled working magicians.
Close up Magic Entertainment
Close up magic is very popular and is often used as an ice breaker or to entertain guests at weddings, private parties and corporate events. Many of the routines you will see performed on TV can be performed live at parties and events. Some routines however are created and performed only for TV and cannot be performed exactly as you see on screen, but they can be adapted for a live audience.
So, there you have it – a quick intro to some of the most famous magicians in the UK! If you’re interested in learning more, or want to see some of their amazing tricks and routines, then I’d highly recommend checking out some of these top names on their site or on YouTube! You won’t be disappointed!
Close up Magic Hire – best close up magicians
Nick Rushton – Magician For Hire
Who is the best magician in the UK?
Without a doubt – Nick Rushton is the best magician in the UK. If you like what you see and would like to hire a UK based Magician for a wedding, party or corporate event, please get in touch for a free no-obligation quote. Alternatively, you can read more about my performances and the latest news on this website.