HE may be well past the age when most collect their free bus pass, but veteran magician and funnyman Paul Daniels is about to hit the road.
It's been billed as his "First Final Tour" ... but Daniels has vowed not to hang up his cards any time soon.
Speaking to the Sunday Sun, the 75-year-old said: "People keep asking me to do it, so I keep on going. I guess when people stop asking, I'll stop doing.
"Magic and entertaining has been my life, it's what I do."
The name of the tour is the first hint that Daniels could finally be thinking about life beyond the stage, wand and card tricks.
But, having tested his new material on crowds at a recent RNLI charity gig, Middlesbrough-born Daniels is confident he's still got that sparkle. And for the first time, his long-term leading lady, Debbie McGee, will get a more prominent role in the show.
He said: "Ninety-nine per cent of the new show is new material I've never toured with before and I hope it's both impressive and entertaining. I want people to be amazed by the tricks and for them to be laughing.
"Many magicians nowadays just focus on the magic, but I want the comedy to be there too.
"I tested it out in a large marquee and they were all laughing in the right places, so that was a good sign.
"I think all of the tricks, especially the final one, are great and this time round Debbie has three or four stints on her own.
"In previous shows she's done the odd bit, but this time she's more involved in the show."
When he's not in front of an audience the TV star and magician, who built up a fortune over his years in show business, is using his knowledge helping others wanting to master the craft.
Just last week he was mentoring a Dutch illusionist, refining his stage show with him. And it's possible you might watch a bit of Paul Daniels jiggery-pokery without even realising it.
His expertise is regularly called upon backstage ... by theatre shows and films wanting to create special effects. He's worked on the hit musical Phantom of the Opera, in film Return to Oz and more recently in an outdoor production of The Tempest.
Paul said: "I've recently come back from a string of shows in Portugal and then I was in the studio making DVDs for other magicians.
"The best bit of my job is the variety, from playing village halls to arenas, teaching and mentoring to working backstage, It is all so different.
"When I do finally retire from performing I'm sure I'll continue working on the other things. I won't just stop.
"That is the great nature of my job, it is everything I know."
Asked what's been the highlight of his extensive career, he replied: "I can be very proud of what I have achieved, but I never really look backwards. I'm a tomorrow man."
The 41-date First Final Tour kicks off at Darlington's Civic on September 6, and includes the Whitley Bay Playhouse, North Tyneside, on December 1.
"Ninety-nine per cent of the new show is new material
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