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Magicians star talks Mastermind, Come Dine With Me and Derren Brown
BEING mates with Derren Brown, having a Saturday night BBC show and winning Mastermind- things are going pretty well for comic/ magician Pete Firman.
The star of BBC1's The Magicians is bringing his blend of magic and comedy to Maidenhead this month hoping to baffle audience with his magic, yet make them laugh too. He talks to Rebecca Cain about his respect for Derren Brown, his new show and how he developed his own magic.
Pete Firman said himself he has been pretty lucky. The 32-year-old has so far had a career in magic, only having to do a short stint selling cars for his dad.
But he said something just clicked for him where magic was concerned.
He said: "Everyone had a magic set as a kid- everyone goes through that stage. For me it just sort of stuck."
But amazingly it is slightly different to what he wanted to do. He did a theatre degree and aimed to be an actor.
However, he seems pretty content. And you can see why. He rose to stardom when he starred on BBC1's The Magicians.
Pete said: "It is weird- something like The Magicians. I had done bits and bobs on TV.
"This was Saturday night BBC1. It is a big difference. You sort of get people recognising you.
"I wouldn't say I am like one of those people who can't go any where. To get a sliver of that is very weird."
And funnily enough it was starring on Mastermind which gained him the most recognition. He came first in Celebrity Mastermind at the start of January with his topic, The Life of Tommy Cooper.
He said: "I was only on it for five minutes. It is weird how a show like that- lots of people watch.
"I almost get recognised more for that than The Magicians. "
He said it was s surprise to win as he almost didn't go on the show, because he was so nervous. He said he almost bottled going on a comedian’s special of Come Dine With Me as part of Channel 4’s Mash Up season.
The narrator, Dave Lamb, is notorious for talking sarcastically about the diners.
He said: "The weird thing is you are cooking as they are talking to you. You say something and you can imagine Dave Lamb saying something cutting. It was going through my head all the time."
At the moment he is touring with his new show, Hoodwinker. And unlike other comedians he has a lot of props.
He said: "In many ways a lot of my mates are stand up comics. When they go on tour they don't take anything- they just jump on the train with a little suitcase.
"I need a long transit full of props and all sorts of bits and bobs."
His show is part magic show, part stand up.
Pete said: "I spent a lot of years working on the comedy club circuit. When you are going to a comedy club no-one goes expecting a magic show.
"My style evolved from that. "It is not like a kids show. You have got to be 14 plus- there is an age restriction in the show."
He takes his show to Edinburgh Fringe Festival each year and develops it from that. He lives in London and drops into comedy clubs and tries it out.
Pete laughed: "When I was a kid I asked my whole family to sit down and watch it.
"I think if I asked my mates to sit down now whilst I did a little magic show I think that would be a bit naff."
And he said the funniest moment of the show is when he gets the audience to participate.
He said: "I am pretty good at judging if someone is appropriate for something. "If I pick the wrong person you soon kill the routine. "Pick the right person and it will make it.
"In the first five to ten minutes I am looking at the people who are laughing the most- people I think are going to be good fun. "If they look as if they are terrified I have got it wrong. ."
The magician has also written his own magic book called Tricks to Freak Out Your Friends, which has a foreword from Derren Brown, who he is friends with.
He said: "For a short time we shared a flat- I am going back nine to ten years. "We both moved to London to do a thing for some TV production.
"He is great. I admire him immensely. He is a great guy and a fantastic performer."
Pete Firman's Hoodwinker is at Norden Farm in Maidenhead on February 22 at 8pm. Tickets are £15 from 01628 788997 or go to www.nordenfarm.org
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