Dynamo: Hero or Villain?


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The Independent Online

He predicts football competitions, he walks on water, he leaps over entire audiences, and he levitates … other people. But perhaps most impressively, his series has become Thursday's most-watched multichannel show for two weeks running, despite airing on a channel, Watch, that most of the nation has barely heard of – now that's magic!

Dynamo is Britain's answer to David Blaine, in the same way that Bradford, Dynamo's hometown, is Britain's answer to Blaine's Brooklyn. He is a slight man, who wears his 29 years so lightly that it comes as a surprise that he is not in his teens, and who seems to be genuinely likeable (rather than genuinely slappable, Mr Blaine).

He is a modern-day street Houdini who first showed his greatness by getting people to stop calling him by his real name, Steven Frayne, and start referring to him by a sobriquet that smacks of the the X-Men.

Of late, he has predicted not just that the Spanish football team would win Euro 2012, but also who they would beat in the semi-final and final, and by how many goals; while, last year, he took a stroll across the Thames without getting wet or contracting Weil's disease – and that really is magic.

He has also made friends (and fools) of such celebrities as Rio Ferdinand, Tinie Tempah, Noel Fielding and David Haye – all of whom have appeared on his show.

Not impressed by that little lot? How about the X Factor-esque backstory, then? [Cue violins.] Dynamo grew up on one of Bradford's most deprived estates, largely without his father, who was in and out of prison. He was born with the chronic digestive condition Crohn's disease, which made him small for his age. Which in turn meant he was a target for bullies; learning magic was a way to make them focus on something other than throwing him in bins.

After all that, swallowing necklaces and pulling them out of his stomach is child's play. Not to mention inspirational – and highly watchable.