Leading article: Just like that

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The Independent Online

So the BBC is to bring back magic shows on Saturday night. And being the Corporation of today, they plan to do it in full, interactive style. There will be three of the world's leading magicians competing against each other with ever more elaborate tricks before a studio audience, who will give them the thumbs up or down each week. And to give it an educational twist, viewers will be able to press the red button to learn how to do their own tricks at home. "A truly spectacular Spectacular," says the head of Shine TV, the glossily named company producing the show.

Oh dear, oh dear. The magic of magic, as anyone who has ever been a child knows, lies in its amateurishness: the sense of impending collapse as the four-year-old wanders on stage to peer behind the curtain; the rabbit that chooses the wrong moment to play dead; the hope that, this time, the wizard will actually and accidentally saw his assistant in the box in half.

Bring back Tommy Cooper, is what we say. And if magic can't bring the great man back to life, then let's see his old programmes again. They'll still give twice the entertainment that "three of the world's most currently successful practioners" performing "with a different celebrity each week" will ever manage.