Perhaps the most famous magician in the world, Paul Daniels explains that trigger finger could have had a disastrous effect on his career. Published in January 2016
Without doubt, Paul Daniels is one of the most gifted magicians in the world, and aged 77 years old, he shows no sign of slowing down. With tours dates scheduled throughout the UK, together with Debbie McGee, he is on the road every few days.“The work itself doesn’t tire me out – I love it – but the travel can be a little exhausting,” he says. “We live in the south in Henley-on-Thames and always go home after a show if we’re within an hour and a quarter. But I don’t like not working and feeling idle. Years ago I had a manager who wanted to retire and suggested that I should too. I soon got bored of golf and went back to work. I haven’t hit a golf ball since.”
Paul was born in Yorkshire and fell for magic when he was 11 years old. After completing his national service in Hong Kong, he trained as an accountant in local government and then started helping his parents in their grocery business by day and working his magic in clubs by night.
In 1970 he made his TV debut on talent show, Opportunity Knocks, and from there his career rocketed. The Paul Daniels Magic Show was a household institution from 1979 to 1994, during when Paul was involved in theatre, TV series and privately entertaining royalty and celebrities in addition to homes around the UK and further afield. He’s written books, toured the world, appeared on reality TV shows, and somehow fitted in having three sons along the way.
Paul’s hands are imperative to his sleight of hand, however, so when the forefinger in his left hand started to lock into a bent position, he was extremely concerned.
“I was worried it would interfere with my magic tricks but had met an excellent surgeon a few years previously who sewed the tip back on another finger when I accidentally cut it off,” he explains. “So I had real faith in him, was in and out of the operation in 30 minutes and was awake throughout. Recovery was quick and after a couple of weeks I was back to normal, but I am a practical fellow and tend to get on with things. The surgeon couldn’t tell me if it will recur or if it happened because of over-use.
“Today I have a little arthritis in my right hand but I don’t focus on it, and my brother who is a keyboard player experiences the same.”
As well as touring the UK, Paul has a popular online magic shop that his eldest son runs, is involved in various social media sites and designs effects for shows such as Phantom of the Opera and Don’t Dribble on the Dragon.
“Am I healthy? Well I’m still breathing! My wonderful wife keeps an eye on me and we do eat a balanced diet,” he says. “I tried smoking when I was 15 years old but had a sudden awareness I was setting fire to money so I stopped. Neither of my parents were drinkers so I’ve never been one for much alcohol.
“My youngest son, Gary, trains personal trainers and even he hasn’t got me running, but as my middle son, Martin, pointed out, I do spend two hours a day walking around on stage so I’m pretty fit.
“When I turned 70 years old I said to Debbie, ‘it’s the strangest thing, I just don’t feel like I’m 70’. She replied, ‘that’s because you don’t walk like you’re 70’. So my advice to anyone getting on in years is: when you walk through the door, walk two inches taller.”
Paul Daniels sadly passed away on 17th March 2016,
More on trigger finger…
Trigger finger is a condition that affects one or more of the hand’s tendons, making it difficult to bend the finger(s).
If the tendon becomes inflamed it can “catch” in the tunnel it runs through (the tendon sheath), making it difficult to move the affected finger or thumb and resulting in a clicking sensation.
Symptoms can include pain at the base of the affected finger or thumb when you move it or press on it, and stiffness or clicking, especially first thing in the morning.
If the condition gets worse, the finger may get stuck in a bent position and then suddenly pop straight. Eventually, it may not fully bend or straighten.
Who gets it?
More women are affected than men, and usually people over 40 years old. Long-term conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are sometimes associated with trigger finger.
How is it treated?
Trigger finger may get better without treatment but if it isn’t treated, there’s a chance the affected finger or thumb can become permanently bent. Options include:
- Avoiding certain activities;
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain;
- Splinting the finger to reduce movement;
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling;
- Surgery to release the tendon sheath to allow the tendon to move freely again. This tends to be used when other treatments have failed and can be up to 100% effective, although people may take two to four weeks to fully recover.
Source: NHS Choices
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