Talent is no illusion... Yorkshire teen wins Magic Circle accolade

FEW Yorkshire residents would dispute that the county has been touched by a little magic. Now it appears one young illusionist has enough of that elusive quality to help him win membership of an exclusive "club" for top performers.

Huddersfield's Michael Jordan has a stage act heavily influenced by his home county, from the Yorkshire worsted wool suit he wears, to the Yorkshire Post he uses in his winning act and the stunts have been enough to secure him an accolade from the Magic Circle

The 18-year-old is the organisation's Young Magician of the Year, an award issued only biennially and one which virtually guarantees him a successful professional career.

Since the award was instigated in 1961, all but two winners have gone on to make a living in showbusiness. The two who didn't became a lawyer and doctor.

But his early experience as a magician was no more remarkable than that of thousands of other nine-year-olds.

He started performing with the aid of a Paul Daniels magic set, bought by his grandparents.

But while many other boys moved on to different interests, he perfected his illusions and developed his skills.

By 2004 he had recruited his older sister Siobhan to form a double act called High Jinx.

However, it was his own skills which impressed Magic Circle judges and secured him membership.

Now he hopes to use those credentials to win a contract entertaining guests on ocean cruise liners, with a more challenging ambition of gaining his own show in Las Vegas.

He was inspired to enter the competition through admiration for his mentor, television magician and Magic Circle member Ali Bongo who passed on some of his skills before his death earlier this year.

"I was really nervous about performing for the award and I was surprised that I won it, but I was really pleased," said the young magician, of Old Lane, Scapegoat Hill, Huddersfield.

"When I was nine years old, my grandma and granddad brought me tricks back from shops in Blackpool and mail order catalogues. It started from there."

Mr Jordan said he had injected the Yorkshire elements into his act because he was so proud of his roots.

His father, Mark, said: "I am really proud of him. He deserves everything he gets because he has worked so hard for it."

A Magic Circle spokesman said the contest had produced 25 winners since 1961, including joint winners on two occasions.

He said: "Those winners who have gone on to make very successful careers in show business, include the first winner, Johnny Hart, who in 1961 appeared at the London Palladium, subsequently presented his magic in Las Vegas for many years and now lives in Denmark where he advises on magic in films and television."

The brother and sister are still appearing as a duo and their performances involve fire-eating and escapology.

While some of his skills may have been self-taught, his fire-eating abilities were learned at the hands of fellow professionals because the art is so potentially dangerous.

Top tricksters

Famous Magic Circle members have included:

n Paul Daniels

n David Copperfield

n Ali Bongo

n Tommy Cooper, right

n Derren Brown

n David Nixon