Debbie McGee tells Chris Evans about Paul Daniel’s magic collection: 'I think it’s very important I pass on his legacy'

Virgin Radio

21 Oct 2022, 10:37

Chris Evans and Debbie McGee

Debbie McGee joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky this morning to talk about her late husband, Paul Daniels, and why she has decided to auction off his archive of magic things.

The magician first met McGee in 1979 when she performed onstage with him at the Britannia Pier Theatre in Greater Yarmouth. Following that, she became his permanent assistant and appeared on The Paul Daniels Magic Show on BBC One with him from 1979 to 1994.

Nearly ten years into their career together, Paul and Debbie got married and in 1991, she became the first female member of infamous The Magic Circle.

The pair became household names as a result of their magic show, and now, McGee is auctioning off some of Paul’s most treasured items.

Speaking about letting go of the incredible archive, Debbie had a very special reason for doing so and hopes that it will inspire the next generation of magicians.

She told Chris: “I think it's very important that I pass on Paul's legacy. So, I have lots of things that belong to him, including an amazing collection of books, and that’s the knowledge that the young magicians can't find on the internet, which is where they get most of their information these days.

“It's where all his ideas grew from, and I haven't got room for it all now. I think it's unfair that I don't look at it, a lot of the books were just boxed up from before he died.”

The archive is one of the greatest in magic history and features the largest collection of magic posters ever to be sold in the UK and a letter from the great escapologist Harry Houdini.

Paul’s collection of vintage posters, dating back to the 1800s, is expected to fetch £60,000 and an illusion box, which would be filled with swords with Debbie inside, is expected to get £12,000.

Debbie added: “In the magic world, they love owning something that belonged to a magician of the past, and he has now passed on, and it's been nearly seven years. So, it's how long do I just keep them because when somebody dies, when you give something away of theirs or sell it, you feel like you're giving them away again? For a long time, there's no way I could have done that.”

Despite finding it difficult to let go of the things, she realised it was something Paul would have wanted.

She explained: “Paul always had this thing of when he bought things, that there's a time for you to own it and then there's a time for somebody else to enjoy it. So that's my feeling with this, he would want me to pass it on.”

The items will be auctioned by Special Auction Services on 23rd and 24th November with the whole collection expected to raise £200,000.

The former assistant has performed thousands of tricks with Paul over the years, but when Chris asked her which one was her favourite, she did hesitate.

She recalled: “My favourite illusion we ever did was an illusion called geometrics, which was all to do with geometric shapes. It was actually a stock illusion that Paul originally bought from America and when we got it, it didn't look like it was in the photograph, and it was quite obvious where the goal would be. So, Paul's dad rebuilt it around me, and our version is unique. It is the only one, and even the magicians don't know how it works.”

For more information on The Paul Daniels Magic & Entertainment Auction, head to

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.