I spent the Christmas of 2006 at the Lowestoft Theatre performing a version of A Christmas Carol The Musical. We were a small band in the pit but the music was great and we had great accommodation on the beach.
Paul Daniels played the part of Scrooge. He was excellent and an absolute pleasure to work with – always on form and a genuinely nice guy. The lovely Debbie McGee was ever present by his side promoting the show whenever possible.
Paul told me one evening about his time on television and how he often dreaded the day when his show would be axed. The show carried on for a number of years and he often wondered what the feeling would be like when it came to an end. When the news finally came he said the overriding feeling was one of relief. It was very stressful, he said, having to come up with new tricks every week and keep the show fresh. The longer the show ran, the harder it got. He also spoke about the pressures of television and said that he started wearing a wig as he was so conscious that television personalties have such short life spans and that there is always a younger “next big thing” just waiting to jump in your shoes. He then recounted being asked by a female journalist, rather condescendingly, why he had chosen to start wearing a wig. He said he couldn’t believe that a woman sitting in front of him with false nails, false eyelashes, mascara, foundation and dyed hair could be so judgmental about his decision to wear a wig!
On the last day Paul invited the whole cast for lunch at a waffle restaurant. It was a very pleasant lunch with Paul recounting some of his early experiences on the road. The waffle became a standing joke and a number of lines in that evening’s show were given the waffle treatment, such as “stop waffling on woman”, “waffle load of rubbish” and “that was one waffle nightmare I had last night”…
I found Paul very modest, humble and pleasant person with many an interesting story to tell about his many years in show business. I hope I have the chance to work with him again sometime.