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Dynamo: Famed magician set to make big return to screens after illness

© PA Photo/Sky One/Inner Circle Films. Post Thumbnail

Dynamo felt like a “bit of a performing monkey” when he decided to stop making his last TV show in 2014.

Magician Impossible, which ran for three series on UKTV, was a hit, but the Bradford-born star had lost his passion for telly.

“I was just making magic to fit in to the schedule that was given to us by the TV channel, and I didn’t really enjoy it any more,” elaborates the 37-year-old, whose real name is Steven Frayne. “I missed that live show experience.”

So, the next couple of years were spent doing magic on stage, touring all over the world, and performing in front of 12,000 people at the O2 Arena in London.

But then, in summer 2017, the TV personality – who in his teens was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (a condition in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed) – was taken to hospital due to food poisoning.

He ended up having to take a two-year hiatus, during which he has been brutally honest with his fans about his health battles.

In March 2018, he posted a video on his social media accounts explaining the effects of his medication regime; he had “put on quite a lot of weight” and developed a rash.

He also shared he had developed chronic arthritis, leaving him unable to shuffle cards because of the pain in his hands.

But now, it’s time for a much-welcomed return to our screens – with a new, impressively cinematic Sky One series called Dynamo: Beyond Belief.

Following him around the world, we see him perform a spine-tingling encounter with a geisha in Tokyo, make vodka shots turn to ice in Russia, and embark on a daring adventure in Mexico.

One particularly memorable (and dangerous) moment is when he drives a yellow taxi backwards through central Moscow – while blindfolded.

On the phone ahead of the show’s release, Dynamo – who lives with wife Kelly – confides he’s still “not at full health. I’m like 85%.”

“But in some ways, it’s made the TV show have so much more meaning to me,” he continues.

“I’ve put my heart and my soul into it, in a different way than any other show, because a lot of the ideas came while I was in the hospital.

“I’ve taken positives from a negative time in my life – and I think it will be interesting to see behind the magic.”

He’s referring to how, throughout the three episodes, we learn more about Dynamo’s back story, as we follow him from the start of his illness, through to the height of his hospitalisation.

“In the first episode, I share a lot of personal videos where I’m not looking that great,” he says.

“But I think it’s important for people to see we all have to go through troubles, trials and tribulations, and it’s about what we take from those experiences that shape us that’s important.”

He recognises that’s something which, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, will likely resonate with audiences.

“I’ve gone through something which was horrific, and I’ve come out the other side, and I’m able to share that story with people,” he continues.

“So, hopefully, people will receive it well, and I think in some ways, it’s very timely and very relatable for people with what everyone’s going through right now.”

Having the time off gave Dynamo the chance to reflect on his work and find ways that he could improve it.

Being told he had arthritis – “the worst thing that could ever happen to a magician” – also forced him to re-evaluate.

“I couldn’t even hold cards any more or do any of the difficult things that I was used to doing, so I had to try and find a whole new approach to magic, and I think I’ve found that,” he follows.

“In some ways I’m a better magician than I was before I got sick.”

Dynamo: Beyond Belief launches on Sky One on Thursday April 9 at 9pm.