Lenny Henry to front Saturday night Spectacular for BBC One

Lenny Henry, in Birmingham with ATVFormer Tiswas personality Lenny Henry is to host a new Saturday night entertainment show The Magicians for BBC One.

“Lenny will be joined by three internationally renowned magic practitioners, US sleight of hand artist Chris Korn, master illusionist Luis de Matos, and talented UK magicians Barry and Stuart, whose brand of dark and exciting vaudeville will keep audiences enthralled.” The BBC say.

West Midlands born Lenny, who shot to fame aged 16 after winning ATV’s New Faces talent show, became a popular favourtite on the 1970s Saturday morning children’s live magazine series Tiswas and starred in LWT’s all-black sitcom The Fosters, before becoming the main driving force behind Comic Relief in the mid-1980s.

“I’ve always been a fan of magic on the TV,from David Nixon to David Blaine, Penn and Teller to Paul Daniels, and the far too glamorous Debbie McGee,” he said.

“l love magic and the thing about me is that I don’t want to know how it’s done – I can’t wait to host this show! You know the bloke with his jaw on the floor throughout most of the show? That will be me!” he added.

The Magicians sees three of the magic world’s most successful practitioners do battle for five weeks in early 2011, in the magic world’s first competitive competition on UK screens.

“Against the stunning backdrop of a specially created set on Pinewood Studios, each magician will perform with a different celebrity partner each week, with the three pairs performing illusions from the classic to the never-attempted-before.” The BBC state.

Celebrities appearing in the show include TV presenter and former Tiswas co-star Chris Tarrant, presenter and artist Rolf Harris, hip-hop group N-Dubz and Ashley Banjo from the street dance troupe Diversity.

BBC Controller of Entertainment Commissioning, Mark Linsey, said: “I’m delighted to be bringing something astonishing and different to BBC One audiences on Saturday nights through winter. Everyone needs a bit of magic in January.”

The Magicians will be produced by Shine TV. Henry has previously been the star of sketch shows for the BBC and was also the main lead in their sitcom Chef.