Geoffrey Durham

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Geoffrey Durham
Born (1949-07-22) 22 July 1949 (age 65)
East Molesey, Surrey, England
Occupation Actor, magician
Years active 1976–2006
Spouse(s) Victoria Wood (m. 19802002) (Separated)

Geoffrey Durham (born 22 July 1949) is a British comedy magician and actor who was known for many years as 'the Great Soprendo'.[1]

Early life[edit]

Durham was born in West Molesey, Surrey, England. At the age of ten he developed an interest in magic and performed occasional shows for friends and relatives. By the age of 13, however, that interest had waned. He later studied Spanish at Leeds University and then took a job as a stage-hand at the Leeds City Varieties Theatre. He worked there for 18 months, ending up as head flyman, and then left to become an actor. After working in various stage shows for several years his interest in magic was rekindled while preparing for a show in Liverpool, in which his character performed some tricks. He dug out some of his old props and found he enjoyed learning and performing magic so much that he decided to make it his new career.[1]

Magic career[edit]

He presented a magic act as an outrageous Spanish magician for at least 15 years before performing as himself. His catchphrase was "Piff Paff Poof!".[2] As 'The Great Soprendo', Durham appeared in many children's TV shows, including Crackerjack, and appeared in theatres all over the country.

After ditching his disguise as Soprendo, Durham has had continued success in his own right. He was a regular contributor to the Channel 4 game show Countdown, and his Newspaper Tear featured on the Fifty Greatest Magic Tricks on the same channel. He occasionally appeared as one of the Puzzle Panel on BBC Radio 4.

Durham is a member of the Inner Magic Circle, and was presented with the Maskelyne Award in 2002. Durham had previously refused to join the Magic Circle because membership was only open to men, and was instead a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Screen acting[edit]

Durham has done some screen acting, most notably in the 1987 film Wish You Were Here, which starred Emily Lloyd and Tom Bell.


In 1994 Durham went to a Quaker meeting and became a member of the Society of Friends two years later. He has described his life with Quakers as "the single most inspiring, moving and rewarding thread running through the whole of my adult life". He is currently heavily involved with the Quaker outreach programme "Quaker Quest",[3] of which he has authored the book "Being a Quaker: A Guide for Newcomers".[4]

Personal life[edit]

Durham married writer and comedienne Victoria Wood in March 1980, but they separated in October 2002. The couple have a daughter called Grace and a son called Henry.[5] They have since divorced.


  1. ^ a b "Magic profile: Geoffrey Durham". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  2. ^ BBC Cult: Crackerjack trivia
  3. ^ "Quaker Quest". 
  4. ^ Durham, Geoffrey (2011). Being a Quaker : a guide for newcomers. London: Quaker Quest. p. 134. ISBN 978-0955898327. 
  5. ^ "Comic Wood splits from husband". BBC News. 25 October 2002. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 

External links[edit]