This is someone who had an unusual double career in TV, and he went on to succeed in two rather different genres. Paul Daniels originally found fame as a magician, performing various tricks, and always encouraging audience participation. By the late-70s he had his own magic show on TV, were he performed, along with showcasing many other talents from around the world (I might do a piece about that show soon too).
It’s no wonder people were soon calling him “the man who excels”. It was in the early-80s when he started to host game shows. One of the earliest was BBC Radio 2’s Dealing With Daniels, which featured a playing card-scoring system, and celebrities as the panellists. Around the same time he launched his trilogy of TV game shows.
The first of these was Odd One Out, which had a fairly straightforward idea, but was much enhanced by his handling of the show (there was a marvellous opening sequence too). He then moved on to Every Second Counts, and he caused something of a stir, as it was around this time that he ditched his syrup. He seemed to like to get a little more out of contestants than most hosts, so for example he’d make them use props to answer, or say something different to the usual “yes” or “no”.
There were also some fancy prizes on offer, well they were rather fancy for the time at least, but who could turn down the offer of a new dishwasher back then? Also around this time, his magic show continued with some increasingly spectacular stunts, and he also contributed to the rather bizarre CBBC show Wizbit. His son Martin proved that wanting to be on TV ran in the family when he hosted a game show in the late-80s too.
By the time that Every Second Counts ended In the mid-90s though, his magic show was also coming to an end, although it had ran for about 15 years with several variations on the idea, so maybe it was time to try something new. His third and final TV game show was Wipeout, which again had some quirky questions. And you’d win a paperweight just for turning up. However, the final editions weren’t shown in a primetime slot, and he had no other shows on the go at this point, so by the late-90s, he had practically left the screen.
He did continue to tour his magic show across the country with his family also taking part, but most of his TV appearances after this were mildly embarrassing himself and being booted off first on The X Factor and the like, and being a figure “people love to hate”, although he also took part in an interesting documentary where he tried to find fame with his act in America. But he does deserve credit for his pioneering TV work.