April 26, 1980
Pete Firman (born 26 April 1980) is an English magician and television presenter.
He has appeared in magic shows on Channel 4, Five, and Sky1. He was also the presenter of two game shows on CBBC: Stake Out and Wait for It..!, and one of the regular magicians on series 2 of the BBC One show The Magicians.
Born in Middlesbrough, Firman began his interest in magic as a child. When he was eight, his mother bought him a magic book. He was educated at Acklam Grange Secondary School, where he twice won the school talent show. He then studied at Middlesbrough College then at the School of Arts & New Media unit of the University of Hull Scarborough Campus in Scarborough where he gained a Bachelor of Arts in theatre.
Firman performed his magic in pubs and as he later explained: "anywhere I could get paid for doing tricks, basically. I figured I wanted somewhere a bit more regular to work, and I saw the comedy circuit as something I could explore. Because I'd always tried to make the magic I was doing funny and lighthearted, and I never took myself too seriously."
Firman's first big break came in 2002 when he responded to an advert from Objective Productions, who were searching for new magicians for a new television show, Monkey Magic. Together with writer Paul Outhwaite and musician Andy Elvin, the three friends formed a short lived comedy team, "Threefellas" and made a short film of Pete doing tricks in the local area. He sent in a tape of himself in his underpants performing magic in Outhwaite's back garden and was chosen almost instantly. "Threefellas" made a few more short films before disbanding.
In April 2003 the cast of Monkey Magic had their first meeting and Firman met fellow magician Ali Cook with whom he later shared a flat for two and a half years. During this time they wrote routines for The Greatest Magic Tricks in the Universe... Ever, the second series of Monkey Magic and The Secret World of Magic.
The first seven-part series of Monkey Magic was broadcast on Five in 2003 as well as a Christmas special. The show featured a team of four magicians each with their own unique style and personality. It was short listed for a British Comedy Award and nominated for a Rose d'Or. A second series of Monkey Magic aired in 2004, which saw his first Mr Ball routine.
Firman co-hosted The Greatest Magic Tricks in the Universe... Ever series on Five which saw a countdown of the classic magic tricks.
In The Secret World of Magic, which aired on Sky1 in 2005, Firman travelled the world with Ali Cook, interviewing the world's greatest magicians, including Mac King, Juan Tamariz and Max Maven, whilst also performing their own brand of sleight of hand on the streets of Paris, Madrid, New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Buenos Aires.
Dirty Tricks was a six part series in 2005 on Channel 4, hosted by Firman along with Barry and Stuart. It was described as "like magic meets Natural Born Killers" by critic Sam Wollaston of The Guardian. The show had regular spots from Ali Cook and Jonathan Goodwin as well as guest appearances from international variety acts and celebrities including Penn & Teller, Stephen Fry, Mylene Klass and Kevin James. The show was nominated for a Rose d'Or.
Firman was a special guest on Don't Miss a Trick, a one-off family show version of The Real Hustle, which first aired on 25 August 2008 on BBC One.
In 2008, Firman hosted the children's television show, Stake Out on CBBC and in 2009, Wait For It..!, also on CBBC.
In 2007 Firman performed his debut solo show, Hokum at the Underbelly as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2008 he performed his second solo show, Flim-Flam at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and also toured the UK with the show.
In July 2008 he performed his act at Club Soda in Montreal, Canada, as part of the Just for Laughs comedy festival. He performed his third solo show, The Pete Firman Magic Show at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Firman performs his Mr Ball routine in his live shows. "I perform that routine in my live shows, it's always well received. The fact I move my lips when he talks is of course deliberate. I see it as a post-modern evaluation of ventriloquism in popular culture."
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