UNTIL singer Adele gave a one-fingered salute to “the suits” at the Brit Awards, he had the most famous finger in Britain.
But world-renowned magician Paul Daniels – who hit the headlines earlier this year when he chopped off the tip of his ring finger in a freak sawing accident at home – isn’t too bitter about it.
Speaking to The Guide before his Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow tour hits Leeds’ City Varieties next month, he revealed how he confronted Blur’s Alex James over the incident when he spotted him at the front row of his show in Reading.
He said: “He was sitting in audience with his daughter, so I congratulated him on his band’s lifetime achievement award.
“I told him he was a good lad but I’d gone off him a bit. He asked why and I said ‘thanks to your band’s long acceptance speech I now have the second most famous finger in Britain’.
“That’s the perfect example of how the show works. We just go with the flow, see who’s in the audience and what’s happening in the news. There’s a lot of improvisation.”
Paul and his wife “the lovely” Debbie McGee are returning to the area where he cut his teeth, performing in working men’s clubs across Yorkshire.
The occasional reality TV star promises audience of all ages a “damn good laugh” as they perform mind-boggling tricks and share stories – with a special segment by guest musician and comedian Kev Orkian.
Paul, who used to live on Wakefield Road in Barnsley, said: “We get a wide-range of people in the audience – from super posh people, children, young people and families who’ve looked at clips on YouTube.
“People love magic. It’s been around for thousands of years. The oddity is that people believe that television is the best place to see it – well it isn’t.
“I’d rather see a bad play at the theatre than a good play on television, it’s a different atmosphere.
“When you’re in the theatre you don’t have the cat crawling across your legs or any distractions – in a live show, there’s a far better quality of entertainment.
“Some of the magic you see on television is pre-stooged – my rule has always been if I can’t do it on stage I don’t do it.”
The cult star – who bills himself as an “international sex symbol” on his Twitter page – said he was looking forward to arriving in Leeds on April Fool’s Day.
He added: “I hear City Varieties has been done up recently – I assume in preparation for my arrival!
“It’s the perfect venue because it feels like you’re in the show. You’re a part of things”.
Paul Daniels’ Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow tour is at City Varieties on Sunday April 1 at 7.30pm.
To book tickets – which cost £17.50-£19.50 – visit www.cityvarieties.co.uk or call the box office on 0113 243 0808.