James Phelan tells Joanna Davis what to expect from his unique magical prank show which calls into Weymouth Pavilion next month.

A MAGICIAN who promises to combine jaw-dropping feats with old fashioned humour is set to astound a Weymouth audience.

James Phelan, nephew of the late superstar magician Paul Daniels is in a car on the way to Bradford during our interview and fortunately has plenty of time to chat about his love of magic.

Jame's Trickster tour - which has been running since 2017, is still going and calls in at Weymouth Pavilion on Tuesday, April 14.

Watching his much loved uncle and assistant Debbie McGee perform magic at Weymouth Pavilion in 1999 played a large part in James getting the magic bug too.

"I remember my aunt and uncle did a summer season at Weymouth Pavilion, it's actually one of my earliest memories seeing their show."

James taught himself a trick Paul Daniels did with six cards, which he then went on to perform at school and then to fill time at a wedding while waiting for the bridge and groom to enter the room.

Paul Daniels died from a brain tumour in March 2016 aged 77. At the time James was competing in Britain's Got Talent and had reached the semi-finals but withdrew from the contest because of his uncle's death.

He and his aunt Debbie, Daniels' widow, still have the tightest of bonds he tells me.

"I speak to Debbie every day. I used to stay at their house and I would spend more time at their house than at my own.

"Debbie is very maternal towards me and always helps me with ideas for my magic. However it means I don't get much criticism because she's always so supportive - it's questionable how much I get out of it!"

We discuss Debbie's fledgling solo career which has seen her fly the flag for older competitors in Strictly 2018, in which she reached the final, and then went on to take part in a number of TV shows. James tells me his Auntie Debbie is putting together a show of her own but doesn't want to give away too many details.

James's totally unique TV project Celebrity Troublemaking has attracted a whole host of celebrity guests, a slot on London Live and thousands of online views.

He refers to this final round of shows of his Trickster tour as 'the last hurrah'.

"I've had lots of people try to copy it. It's a night of escapism," he says.

"It's full of stuff you won't have seen before - it's aimed at people who want to come out and enjoy a laugh, it's an evening free of politics or talk about Brexit, it's night of magic.

"I hope that it will blow people away, I don't take myself too seriously. I think people miss going out and having a fun night and that's what I can offer."

James is extremely excited about his new show Troublemaker, which will first come to Dorset by way of the Tivoli theatre in Wimborne.

I ask James if his style is reminiscent of his uncle's brand of magic on Saturday night prime time TV or if it's a more modern approach.

"It's somewhere in the middle I think," he says. "It's a mixture of a Bob Hope, Barry Cryer kind of style. It even has shades of someone like Les Dawson, that kind of style. "

James, no stranger to touring, says he enjoys time on the road on his own.

"It gives me a chance to process everything. Sometimes it's easier when you're travelling on your own but unfortunately I don't really get a chance to enjoy all the different locations. It can be pretty exhausting!"

James, who has performed his magic even has his own BBC Radio Magic show.

"I've been doing lots of stuff with different celebrities," he says.

"I had Ardal O'Hanlon on the show from Father Ted and Death in Paradise which was fantastic.

"The radio show is a bit of a road map to television. It's a bit different because on television three or four people might be watching it together but with the radio you're more likely to have people listen to it on their own. It's a much more intimate medium and you really have to build a rapport with the audience."

Believe it or not James is far from the first magician to have a radio show on magic. He draws inspiration from The Piddingtons, an Australian 1950s husband and wife mentalism team who gave one of the most famous stage and radio telepathy acts of modern times.

"They had 20 million listeners a week which is remarkable. They would do some incredible stunts like she would be in an aeroplane flying over a British military base and she'd be able to determine the personal possessions of an audience member chosen at random by the panel of judges in the studio.All this kind of thing has been done before but it hasn't been done for a very long time."

*James Phelan, Trickster, Weymouth Pavilion on Tuesday, April 14, 7.30pm. Call the box office for tickets on 01305 783225.