A Quick Chat With: Paul Daniels

"If things get worrisome I just throw myself into work"
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The Independent Online

Paul Daniels, 72, shot to national fame with the launch of The Paul Daniels Magic Show in 1979 which ran until 1994. He also starred in his own stage show, 'It's Magic', at the Prince of Wales Theatre and has hosted a number of other television series during the 1980s and 1990s, including three BBC1 quiz shows: Odd One Out, Every Second Counts and Wipeout, as well as the children's television programme Wizbit.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be... in the middle of blowing up an inflatable canoe! I don’t have a real routine but like to keep active. Everyone, except the government of course, seems to think that just because you’re older you have to retire. My mum keeps active and she’s well into her 90s.

A phrase I use far too often is... I don’t actually think I have one. Years ago, when I was in Great Yarmouth, I got to the end of a trick and realised I couldn’t actually remember anything about it. I was working totally automatically. Ever since, I’ve chopped and changed the words I use in order to stay alert.

I wish people would take more notice of... the fact the government doesn’t put any money into research for major diseases. Instead of sending money abroad, we should be investing in ourselves.

A common misperception of me is... that I’m short, when in fact I’m average height.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was... Debbie saying yes when I proposed! I’d said: “I’m not very tall, I’m not good looking and I think I’m going bald but the one thing I can promise is that it’ll never be boring.”

I'm not a politician but... if I were I’d get rid of the party whip system and allow the people we’ve actually elected to make their own minds up. I’d also change the name of credit cards to ‘debt cards’ and benefits would be renamed ‘handouts’.

I'm good at... quite a lot of things! I was brought up to believe anyone can do anything as well as anybody else. I’ve always approached challenges with the mentality that there’s no reason why I couldn’t overcome them.

But I'm very bad at... keeping things tidy. It’s always easier to find things if you just leave them where they are.

The ideal night out is... watching live entertainment. I particularly enjoy plays and musicals, although seeing somebody just whacking away on a guitar doesn’t really appeal.

In moments of weakness I... keep busy. If things get worrisome I just throw myself into work. Work harder, walk faster.

In a truer life I'd have been... a journalist. I was offered a job as a journalist but I turned it down because I wanted to be a magician.

The best age to be is... the age you are now - in order to take advantage of your experience.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is...‘just do it’. There’s no point worrying about things you can’t change and if you can change them, just go ahead. The fear of failure holds so many people back from achieving their dreams.

Paul Daniels supports Japanese Teriyaki Chicken flavour crisps in The Walkers Flavour Cup. Support your favourite flavour at www.walkers.co.uk. Watch the making of The Walkers Flavour Cup advert at: http://ind.pn/bBG0aw