I’m sure that you have realised that I’ve enjoyed a lot of the work of comedy double-act David Mitchell and Robert Webb. After their profile began to increase following their successful sitcom Peep Show, why not do a film together as well? The first thing to note about Magicians is that it was directed by Andrew O’Connor. Now I enjoyed a lot of the children’s TV and game shows that he hosted throughout the 80s and 90s, I really did think that he was great.
And Andrew was a decent choice to direct as he had been working in magic during his career as well, and used to be in The Magic Circle. In Magicians, Mitchell and Webb starred as Harry and Karl, who were very good at doing a vanishing act. They were so terrible, the studio audience all got up and left. Only kidding. They had been friends since they were 13, and had developed their act over many years.
But after a trick with a guillotine goes horribly wrong, they then go their separate ways, with Harry dropping out of magic altogether. After four years, Harry gets in touch with Karl again, hoping they maybe they could get back together. They decide to enter the International Magic Shield Tournament in Jersey. Harry has to work hard to get back into his rhythm, and works with his new assistant Linda.
Meanwhile, Karl has gone off in a different direction and becomes a mindreader/illusionist. They have to perform in front of the demanding judges, and manage to get through several qualifying rounds to make the final. This is a big occasion, and Karl decides that he is probably better off with Harry, and their performance together earn them the top prizes. Maybe they are better off as a double-act. And someone fell over as well, which was great.
Also featuring in the cast were Jessica Hynes, Darren Boyd, Steve Edge, and Peter Capaldi. Extras include the usual, such as a look behind the scenes, and some deleted scenes. Magicians did receive fairly mixed reviews from critics, but it was an interesting idea, as you don’t really see much magic on the TV nowadays. Mitchell and Webb haven’t made another film together since though, and have preferred to concentrate on their TV and radio work such as laughing on various comedy panel games.