It’s that time of year again when lot’s of people tell me I should audition for Britains Got Talent. Just last week I received a message from someone via my Facebook page asking if I had seen that evenings episode and that should I get the chance, to watch it on catch up.
A couple days later on the way to Nottingham a friend mentioned the same episode. I like BGT as much as the next person, it’s a brilliant platform to springboard certain acts in to the public eye but many magicians avoid the show, and with good reason.
Last year I received a call from the Britains Got Talent team asking if I would audition as they wanted more close-up magic on the show (yes, they approach and request acts to be on the show). It’s not really something that suits me and I’m not looking for 15 minutes of fame but I did speak to them about auditioning. So, historically magicians have been targeted on talent shows to be made fun of because, frankly, there are not many good magicians out there and the entertainment value of watching awkward, poorly rehearsed acts is part of the appeal of Britains Got Talent. I myself am guilty of this enjoyment of the initial audition phase.
There has been (and continues to be) much debate amongst experienced magicians about how magic translates on television and it’s the opinion of a lot of respected magicians that TV flattens magic, removing the emotion and experience of viewing a performance. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some brilliant magic broadcast in the past but I can tell you that one of the most common comments when I’m performing at events is that watching magic in real life is a completely different experience than watching it on TV. All of this with the addition of editing and the selection of particular moments that are completely out of control of the performer on TV shows like Britains Got Talent make it a very risky “opportunity”.
Do not allow yourselves as viewers to have the wool pulled over your eyes and walked in to the lions den. Shows like Britains Got Talent can be damaging to the art of magic as what is seen on such shows will be the extent of most viewers experience of it. If you are interested at all in magic buy a ticket to a reputable live show at a theatre or even better, hire a magician.