Capturing A Paul Daniels Magic Moment

The news of the death of magician Paul Daniels reminded me of the time I took his photo – and managed to capture the moment he astounded a member of the public.

Paul Daniels astounds a fashion lecturer at Newport University's  May Ball. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Paul Daniels astounds a fashion lecturer at Newport University’s May Ball. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

It was back in 2008 when I was Press Officer at the University of Wales, Newport. I had to cover all sorts of events – including the annual May Ball. The Students Union always tried to attract big name bands and entertainers to the event which was held at the beautiful Caerleon Campus.

That year Paul Daniels was in one of the bars demonstrating close-up magic. As I walked through I saw he was doing a magic trick with playing cards for Tracey, one of the fashion lecturers.

Photography, it is said, is all about “capturing the moment” – and I certainly did that. The look of astonishment on Tracey’s face as Paul Daniels completed the trick is wonderful. This is one of the photos I am really proud to have taken.

The Elvis tribute band rocking in the marquee. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The Elvis tribute band rocking in the marquee. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Sadly, I was so busy that evening that I didn’t really get a chance to talk to the magician who was once a staple of Saturday night television. There was lots to cover – including a funfair, students in fancy dress and an amazing Elvis tribute band in a marquee on the lawn.

I covered the event with my photographer friend Betina Skovbro – who taught me everything I know about taking good press photos. So, thankyou, Betina – and thankyou, Paul Daniels, for providing me with a lovely photo opportunity.

About philmansell

I'm a writer, photographer, illustrator and film-maker with a Masters degree in Multimedia & Information Design from the University of Wales, Newport. I'm also volunteer PR Officer with Newport Playgoers Society who own and run the city's 400-seater Dolman Theatre. I trained at the London Film School where I specialised in script-writing, directing and animation, and had three films screened at the National Film Theatre. After teaching film-making, photography and art, I moved into the world of advertising and PR and was a professional writer. My play 'According to Claudia' was selected by Newport Playgoers Society to launch their 92nd season. It won the Award for Theatre Show of the Year 2014 presented by lifestyle and entertainment magazine Voice. It has since been published by Silvermoon Publications and is available from Amazon. Other plays I have had published include 'Poor Yorick', 'Bunkered' and 'Caddying for Godot'. Previously my one act play 'Poor Yorick' was a winning entry in a competition run as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project and was performed at both the 400-seat Dolman Theatre and Blackwood Little Theatre. Another play, 'Bunkered', was one of the winning entries in a competition judged by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery.
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