The Magic of Houdini with Alan Davies

The Magic of Houdini with Alan Davies

Series 4

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Review

“I grew up at a time when you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing a magician sawing a lady in half,” says Alan Davies as a way of explaining his fascination with escapologist and magician Harry Houdini. At no point does he mention Jonathan Creek, though.

Davies takes us on an entertaining-enough saunter through the life of Hungarian émigré Erik Weisz, who reinvented himself as the “Handcuff King” and pursued a career of matchless self-promotion and showmanship.

Along the way Davies talks to Houdini fans such as David Copperfield and, to give him credit, he attempts some of Houdini’s stunts, although not the life-threatening ones such as the “Chinese Water Torture Cell”. Holding his breath in a bath of ice-cold water is the closest he gets to that.

Summary

Comedian and Jonathan Creek star Alan Davies explores the extraordinary life of escapologist Harry Houdini who, against the odds, became one of the world's most successful entertainers. To understand why the master magician felt compelled to perform his death-defying acts, Alan volunteers to hold his breath under ice-cold water, lie on a bed of nails and be hung upside down in a straitjacket. The QI regular also has a look at David Copperfield's priceless collection of Houdini artefacts in Las Vegas.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Alan Davies
Director Louise Hooper
Executive Producer Claire Whalley
Producer Louise Hooper
Arts