I TALK TELLY

i talk to: dynamo

Dynamo

The other night I was invited to the press launch for the fourth series of Dynamo’s Magician Impossible. When I got there I was told that this was to be the fourth and final series of the hit Watch show. From a selfish point of view I was gutted because I love the show and no matter how many times I watch him, Dynamo never fails to amaze me. But I can see why the decision was made to end it now, no television show would ever want to outstay its welcome and by leaving now, Dynamo definitely isn’t doing that, and Magician Impossible is going out on a high.Magician Impossible is a massive success for UKTV and Watch which is a relatively small digital channel. Don’t believe me? Here are the stats; the show has been seen in over 200 territories by millions around the world and earlier this year BBC One premiered a version of the series with almost 4 million viewers alone. So there’s a definite appetite out there for the magician from Bradford.The day after the press launch I caught up with Dynamo to talk about what to expect from the new series, what’s next from him after Magician Impossible and what he thinks of copycat shows. Plus I also put some fan questions to him from his Dynamites (that’s what his fans are called) on Twitter. Here’s what Dynamo had to say…

Q Let’s start right back at the beginning… How did you get into magic and how did the TV show come about?

My grandpa got me into magic, he used to do stuff when I was young. He didn’t teach me to perform, he taught me to stop kids from picking on me. It would get them off my back. But then over the years I started to develop this passion for magic and decided that I wanted to become a magician for the rest of my life.

And then YouTube came around and I started uploading videos on there and they started getting from hundreds of thousands to millions of views! I’ve never been fussed about fame, I wasn’t overly looking for it. I just wanted as many people as possible to see my magic. I wasn’t really focussed on television, but then the TV companies came knocking, but none of them really wanted to make the show that I wanted to make, they had cliche magic shows that they wanted me to do.

I decided that if I did want to do a show, I knew exactly what I wanted it to be, which is how Magician Impossible came about. Watch came along and although they were an unknown channel at the time, they loved my idea and they really believed in my vision. Without them backing me, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.
Q And have you been surprised by the success of the show? It’s been seen in over 200 territories, BBC One repackaged series one and almost 4m people saw it….
It’s amazing! I still can’t believe it. It’s far exceeded my expectations. I just wanted to magic, now I’m doing it and doing it on a level that’s just phenomenal. The first series of Magician Impossible has been seen to death to be fair, because, you know Watch… they love a repeat!

So to still get that many viewers on a 5:30pm timeslot on BBC One, I was very excited about that. And also, I think that’s the first time that a main terrestrial channel has ever bought in from a digital channel. Usually it’s the other way around. Usually the digital channels will buy from a terrestrial channel. So I think in a way, that was a real affirmation of the success of the show.
Q So after all of that success – Why decide to end it after this series?
My grandpa always said that when I’m performing my magic, me as a performer should always be the first one to leave the audience and leave them wanting more. I think some TV shows over the years have got a bit repetitive towards the end, and they lose that element of surprise. And with me, magic is all about the element of surprise.
I think I’ve pushed the envelope and the production team have worked to the bone to deliver four incredible series and I think right now we need a break and I want time to reevaluate what I want to do next. It’s the last Magician Impossible, but it’s definitely not the last you’ll hear of me. I think magic has such potential for where you could take it next, this is just the beginning.
Q Last night you mentioned that you were quite keen to do a live show, tell us a bit more about that… 

I love performing live, that’s where I first honed my skill. Because of my TV shows, the thing everybody wants to see is that they want to see a show, they want to come and see it live, right in front of their faces.
So I think it’s a great opportunity to do that, and also, there haven’t been that many magic shows in theatres in say, Europe. You think of magic shows, you think of vegas. The show I want to create is going to be nothing like Vegas. Yes it’s going to be a show in a theatre, but that’s where the similarities will end.
We live in a completely different world now to when Vegas shows were invented so I think I really do have artistic license to re-invent what a magic show is. It’s great that I’ve got this opportunity to do something new and bring magic to new audiences.
Q What can we expect from this fourth and final series then?

There are definitely a few surprises in there. I do believe this is the greatest series I’ve ever made. I’ve learnt so much from making series one, two and three that now I feel that we’ve arrived at series four and it’s fully how I think a magic show on TV should be.

I think you’ll see from watching it yourself that the reactions are raw and genuine, unlike some of the TV magic shows these days who advertise for extras and it’s very fake. Whereas our show we really try and keep that artistic integrity, keep it as real as possible and just honest. I know that might sound weird, to say it’s the most honest magic show there is, but that’s what I try and do. That’s what I try and achieve. And that’s why, when I go and do the live show, that’s really going to back up you know. Not only would you have witnessed my TV shows, but you’ll also be able to witness it in person for yourself.
Q Where does the inspiration come from for the tricks in your show?
Over the last four years, making the show, I guess everyone, all my camera crew and everything, we all love it, and we’re all passionate about it so sometimes my director would say – “It’d be cool if you could do this…” Everyone who works with me on the show is creative so we have similar minds. The ideas can come from anyone in the crew, I’m not against ideas from anyone! I also have some great magician friends who are like my sounding board, we bounce ideas around, and some of it comes from the fans!
I get so many tweets like – “Dynamo, you could do this…” – Some of these are brilliant ideas and it’s great to be able to take inspiration from the fans and give them what they want to a certain extent. That’s the great thing about living in this day and age, with social media, we have a direct line to our audience, so we know what they want. I see my fans more as my family.  They’re the people who put me in the position I’m in today. Right now, I’m living my dream and it’s thanks to them guys. It’s only right that I give them a bit of what they want as well.
Q You end this series back in the North of England. How important was it for you to go back to the place where it all started? Full circle if you will…

Well to be honest, if I didn’t go back home my nana would’ve killed me!She’s the boss. I had to get back up there. I think it is really nice, because it’s the final series that we started in Bradford in series one and we finish back in Bradford. I love being able to go back, in the position that I’m in, and give back to that community.

Hopefully I can inspire other kids from my community and different cultures around the world, to believe in themselves, follow their dreams and their passions.
Magic can be anything you want it to be. Magic really is the ability to turn something that doesn’t exist, and create it. You writing this article, this conversation, it’s magic. You’re creating something from nothing. Take the World Cup, sometimes they’re doing things with a football that looks like magic. You can achieve anything. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Q What’s been your favourite moment or trick from the past four series?
Ooh. That’s a tough one actually. There’s been 16 hours worth of magic. OK, so I think my favourite episode ever is probably when I end up being in India (in the new series), but then I think my favourite bit of magic will always be the Tinie Tempah trick with the album cover. That was a YouTube clip before it was in the episodes.
That was my first clip to get to a million episodes. My favourite trick from the new series is the one with the police, the LAPD. They didn’t want to lose their cool, they had to keep professional, but their reaction was so raw and organic, it was brilliant. For me it’s one of my favourite ever pieces.

Now for something a little bit different, the other day we put out a call out on Twitter to see what your fans, or Dynamites as they’re known, wanted to ask you. I haven’t asked the several “How do you do it?” questions which I was tweeted because I knew you wouldn’t answer them, so here we go…
 

I was backstage at Tinie Tempah’s concert at KOKO in Camden about five years ago, and I just see this bunch of lads running up to me – “Yo Dynamo! We’ve seen you on Soccer AM. Show us some magic.” So I did a bit of magic for them, I didn’t really know who they were, to me they were just five lads and then one of them is like – “Oh I’m from Bradford”, Zayn, so we ended up having a conversation and ended up chilling with them for a bit. And then the next day you just couldn’t get away from them. They’re just everywhere!

I haven’t watched many of the shows, but I guess imitation is the biggest form of flattery right? The thing is as well, is that I’ve grown so much in what I do that I’m not really bothered about the other guys. I think it’s great for magic that there’s more of it on television. I feel like I’ve achieved what I wanted in television. Because there’s a bit of magic out there now I think it’s time to disappear for a bit and come back with something new. Something fresh.

Yeah, so we’ve got a few. We actually filmed with a lot of people, but we’re still in the edit so I can tell you who I were with but bear in mind they may end up as YouTube clips or DVD extras. In the first episode we’ve got Sid from Slipknot – in fact I think that one’s going to go viral definitely, and Coldplay are in the series, and then we’ve got One Direction. If you think of the juxtaposition of that, Coldplay, Slipknot and One Direction, we’ve covered everything.

We also filmed with Sam Smith, he was such a nice guy, we filmed with London Grammar, we also filmed with Bastille, Foxes – we did quite a lot of festivals so there’s quite a lot of names in there. Also whilst we were in India we filmed with  Hollywood and Bollywood star Irrfan Khan from Life Of Pi, from The Amazing Spiderman, from Slumdog Millionaire, that was really cool. The bollywood stars are like gods out there. The question I had for him though was “Where’s Richard Parker?” – I couldn’t help it! I had like tourettes of Life Of Pi quotes! He was such a nice guy, I met all his family and his children.


Dynamo: Magician Impossible returns Thursday 4th September at 9pm on Watch.