Paul Zenon

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Paul Zenon
Paul Zenon 2012.JPG
Paul Zenon 2012
Born Paul Collins
(1964-06-29) 29 June 1964 (age 50)
Skipton, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Occupation magician, sceptic, psychic entertainer, comedian

Paul Zenon (born Paul Collins on 29 June 1964) is an English stage and TV magician, presenter, corporate entertainer, commentator, writer and actor. He has appeared in numerous television shows and is an outspoken sceptic with strong views on psychics and the paranormal, having worked as a psychic entertainer in the early part of his career. He is the founder and director of the non-profit charity Wonderbus, that provides outings and entertainment for older people who are socially isolated.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

At the age of 10, Paul worked through school summer holidays at a Blackpool magic and joke shop called 'The House of Secrets' owned and run by his lifelong friend and mentor, Bill Thompson.[2] Thompson passed away in March 2012 and Paul honoured him with a one-time variety show called 'Bill's Magical Mystery Tour' held at the Pavilion Theatre at Blackpool's Winter Gardens in August 2013.[1]

At the age of 19, Paul travelled to Europe to try his hand as a street performer, performing magic, fire-eating and fortune-telling. Paul returned to the UK in 1984 where he performed in summer seasons and comedy clubs and went on to host tours for the British[3] and US Forces in locations including Gibraltar, Benbecula, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Belize, Argentina, the Falkland and Ascension Islands and on board the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.

For many years Paul has been a regular performer at Arts and Fringe Festivals (such as Brighton Fringe)[4] all over the world, at corporate events, a leading expert on the life of Harry Houdini[5] and other historical magicians and entertainers, the author of three books,[6] and has been an active sceptic invited to give commentary on numerous television talk shows in the United Kingdom. Most recently, Paul has ventured back into acting, having made cameo appearances in two short films[7] and in an introductory film to the 2014 QED conference of science and scepticism, which he also hosted.[8]

In addition to his TV work, Paul received rave reviews with his one-man show Paul Zenon – Off the Street, On the Road.[9] He has been the resident in-flight video presenter for Britannia Airways and his TV street magic shows Turning Tricks, Tricky Christmas[10] and Trick or Treat (shot in Prague in 2000) and White Magic with Paul Zenon (shot in Lapland in 2002) have been seen on Channel 4,[11] one of the main TV Channels in the United Kingdom, the others being BBC One, BBC Two, and ITV.[12]


Paul Zenon with Susie Dent on C4's Countdown

Between 1990–1993 Paul appeared on the Children's BBC series 'Tricky Business' (lead actor) and 'Tricks n Tracks' (presenter) for which he also acted as Magic Consultant.[13] Paul wrote, produced and presented 'Magic You Can Do', a 'teach yourself' video,[14] and created, wrote and produced Crazy Cottage, an ITV children's game show. From there, he moved into adult TV and became known as the "UK pioneer of Street Magic," writing and presenting four one-man hour-long specials for Channel 4 and ITV between 1998 and 2003 – 'Paul Zenon Turning Tricks',[10] 'Paul Zenon's Tricky Christmas' 'Paul Zenon's Trick or Treat' (recorded in Prague), and 'White Magic with Paul Zenon' (recorded in Lapland).[11]

In 2005 he wrote and presented a 'prank' and hidden-camera special Paul Zenon's Revenge Squad, broadcast on ITV. He has made hundreds of TV appearances as performer and pundit over the years including more recently The One Show, The Culture Show and The Gadget Show. For the past ten years he's been a regular special guest contributor in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown. One of the most controversial TV appearances Paul made was in 2011 on ITV's This Morning when he spoke strongly about his views on stage psychics.

Charity Work[edit]


Wonderbus Outing 10/11/13Template:Bdf

He is the founder of The Wonderbus,[1] a Registered Charity[15] which takes older people on days out to see live entertainment. The idea was inspired by a friend of his late grandmother who used to organise coach trips for local kids, including Zenon, to see pantos in Bradford and Manchester. In her later years, he noticed she was living in sheltered accommodation, spending her days looking out a window. This prompted Paul to raise some money and organise a mini-bus to take her and some other seniors to a panto. The idea took off from there.[1]

In the summer of 2008 he toured British theatres with comedians Harry Hill and Lee Mack to raise funds for the organisation. In 2009 he put together and hosted a highly successful benefit show at the London Palladium featuring comedians Dara O'Briain, Sean Lock, Lee Mack and Dave Spikey.[16]


In 2011, Zenon wrote an article in the Daily Mail[17] suggesting that 'psychic' Sally Morgan could be using an earpiece to obtain information about members of her audience. He stated that stage psychics often use cold-reading techniques and various Internet tools to gather information with the intention of fooling their audiences into believing that they were communicating with the deceased. He writes "if... performers like Sally Morgan aren't actually talking to the dead, then I think the public has a right to know".

Citing "substantial damage to her reputation, as well as hurt, distress and embarrassment" Morgan filed a complaint to Associated Newspapers and for damages of £150,000 over Zenon's 22 September 2011 article. In June 2013, The Daily Mail apologised and agreed to pay £125,000 in libel damages.[18]

Paul continues to be an outspoken critic of those who purport to be psychic mediums, and has contributed to many sceptic events including those hosted by Edinburgh Skeptics and Center for Inquiry (London). He most recently served as a host of the QED Conference in Manchester, England.[19]

Corporate Events[edit]

For over fifteen years, Paul has specialised in corporate entertainment. He performs his magic and a unique blend of humour and illusion at conferences and events worldwide. His client list includes companies such as HP, Sony, Volvo, PepsiCo, DHL, British Airways, Volkswagen and many more.


Year Film Role Notes
2012 "Countdown" himself – Episode #66.1 TV series
2011 "Dr. Mzuza" Dan Lemon Short
"The Gadget Show" himself – Episode 16.12 TV series
"Breakfast" himself TV series – Dated 25 September 2011
"Surviving D-Day" himself TV movie
2010 "Countdown" himself
Episode #63.118
Episode #63.117
Episode #63.116
Episode #63.115
TV series
"The Gadget Show" himself – Episode 13.5 TV series
2008 "Countdown: One Last Consonant Please, Carol" himself TV documentary
2006 "The Story of Light Entertainment" himself
TV mini-series documentary
2004 "Magic" himself –
"Close-up Magic"
TV mini-series documentary
"The World Stands Up" himself TV series
2003 "Loose Women" himself –
Episode #5.27
TV series
2002 "50 Greatest Magic Tricks" himself TV series – also archive footage
2001 "An Audience with Des O'Connor" Audience Member (uncredited) TV special
2000 "Heroes of Magic" himself TV documentary
1999 "Late Lounge" himself – Special Guest
dated 12 March 1999
TV series
1998 "Comedy Lab" himself –
"Turning Tricks"
TV series
1997 "Live at Jongleurs" himself TV series
1996 "Crazy Cottage" Writer TV series
1995 "Talking Telephone Numbers" himself –
Episode #2.8
TV series
1994 "Talking Telephone Numbers" himself –
Episode #1.6
TV series
1990 "Casino" himself –
Episode #1.2
TV series


He has also written ten books:

  • Magic You Can Do (1994)[20]
  • 100 Ways to Win a Tenner: Scams, Cons, Games You Can't Lose! (2003).[21]
  • Paul Zenon's Dirty Tricks: Pranks, Wind-Ups and Practical Jokes – A Guide to Getting Your Own Back! (2004).[22]
  • Street Magic: Great Tricks and Close-up Secrets Revealed (2005).[23]
  • Magic Tricks: Great Tricks and Close-up Secrets Revealed (2005)[24]
  • Simple Sleight-of-Hand: Card and Coin Tricks for the Beginning Magician (Amazing Magic Series) (2007).[25]
  • Magic of the Mind: Tricks for the Master Magician (Amazing Magic Series) (2007).[26]
  • Gimmicks and Card Tricks: Illusions for the Intermediate Magician (Amazing Magic Series) (2008).[27]
  • Cool Card Tricks: Techniques for the Advanced Magician (Amazing Magic Series) (2008).[28]
  • Card Tricks: and Other Ways to Amaze and Amuse Your Friends – No Skill Required! (2008)[29]

Street Magic was re-published in 2008 in a smaller format, with illustrations rather than photographs, and 100 Ways to Win a Tenner was released in the States under the title 100 Ways to Win a Ten-Spot and in Australia as Bar Bets.


  1. ^ a b c d Morley, Jacqui. "illusionist and tV personality Paul Zenon returns to his 'spiritual' home". 08/06/13. Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Under no illusion why magician is back in town". The Gazette. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Pollard, Su. "Su set to entertain the troops". Su Online. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Brighton Fringe 2010 Paul Zenon's Cabinet of Curiosities". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Hunt for Houdini's Airplane". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Books by Paul Zenon". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Films by Paul Zenon". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "QED Conference 2014". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Paul Zenon – Off the street, on the road". 08/05/02. The Scotsman. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Paul Zenon's Tricky Christmas, Channel 4, retrieved 2 May 2013 
  11. ^ a b "Biography: Paul Zenon". Speakers' Corner (UK). Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Channel 4: Zenon". Channel 4 (Britain). Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "Tricks n Tracks". Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Zenon, Paul (1994), Magic You Can Do, Ramsey, Isle of Man: Beckmann, OCLC 650151619 
  15. ^ "Charity Overview – 1126557 – The Wonderbus", The Register of Charities (United Kingdom: The Charity Commission), retrieved 2 May 2013 
  16. ^ "Theatre Review: The Wonderbus – Wycombe Swan", Maidenhead Advertiser (Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK: Baylis Media Ltd), 19 June 2008, retrieved 2 May 2013 
  17. ^ Zenon, Paul. "Contact with the spirit world ... or a load of crystal balls?". 09/26/11. Wales Online. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Halliday, Josh. "Daily Mail to pay £125,000 libel damages over TV psychic 'scam' claim". 06/20/13. The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "QED Conference Speakers". QED. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Zenon, Paul (1994), Magic You Can Do, Ramsey, Isle of Man: Beckmann, OCLC 650151619 
  21. ^ Zenon, Paul (2003), 100 Ways to Win a Tenner., London: Carlton, ISBN 9781842229231, OCLC 52232080 
  22. ^ Zenon, Paul (2004), Paul Zenon's Dirty Tricks., London: Carlton, ISBN 9781844428571, OCLC 56457346 
  23. ^ Zenon, Paul (2005), Street Magic., London: Carlton, ISBN 9781844425327, OCLC 60320756 
  24. ^ Zenon, Paul (2005), Magic Tricks: Great Tricks and Close-up Secrets Revealed., London: Seven Oaks, ISBN 9781862004344, OCLC 152586543 
  25. ^ Zenon, Paul (2007), Simple Sleight-of-Hand: Card And Coin Tricks for the Beginning Magician, New York: Rosen Pub., ISBN 1404210709, OCLC 245094439 
  26. ^ Zenon, Paul (2007), Magic of the Mind: Tricks for the Master Magician., New York: Rosen Pub., ISBN 9781404217591, OCLC 731286058 
  27. ^ Zenon, Paul (2008), Gimmicks and Card Tricks: Illusions for the Intermediate Magician, New York: Rosen Pub., ISBN 9781404210714, OCLC 778982787 
  28. ^ Zenon, Paul (2008), Cool Card Tricks: Techniques for the Advanced Magician, New York: Rosen Pub., ISBN 9781404210851, OCLC 778982778 
  29. ^ Zenon, Paul (2008), Card Tricks: and Other Ways to Amaze and Amuse Your Friends – No Skill Required., Scoresby, VIC, Australia: Five Mile Press, ISBN 9781742114057, OCLC 278453230 

External links[edit]