Search This Blog


June 2015

Magician and illusionist Dynamo performed tricks for hundreds of people in the Old Market Square yesterday. SIMON WILSON had a private audience with the star who’ll be back in December on his debut tour with five shows at the Capital FM Arena

IT was his first time in the city, not just as a performer but ever.
Dynamo came to Nottingham yesterday to show a few of his magic tricks on the steps of the Council House in front of around 500 people,
It was a publicity stunt to promote his five shows at the Capital FM Arena in December, part of his first UK tour.
The 32-year-old, whose Magician Impossible TV series has been sold to over 180 countries, did a 20-minute show for free, including card tricks, predicting Lotto numbers and turning Lotto tickets into cash.
“I can’t do street magic so much these days since the success of the TV shows because it can be chaotic,” he said before the “Dynamo flashmob”, as he called it.
“That can be fun for me but it makes my management nervous.”
Indeed, it was they who asked the Post to remove the time he was due in the Old Market Square for fear there being an unmanageable crowd.

Dynamo, real name Steven Frayne, developed his organic style of magic growing up in Bradford.
“I’m like a Ninja,” he laughed.
“I use the surroundings; I borrow things from people, like mobile phones. I’ve always been like that because when I was a kid I didn’t have the luxury of being able to go to magic shops and getting the props you’d traditionally see a magician use. It was whatever I could find; a teacup or whatever.
“Because of that I feel like I can perform anywhere.”
He added: “The first time I put a phone in a bottle was in a pub. Up until then I was putting a coin in a bottle until this bloke asked ‘Can you do my phone?’ I tried it and it worked. And I thought ‘that’s a keeper’.”
The tour, called Seeing Is Believing, will include illusions on a larger scale, while maintaining his love of close-up magic.

“I am a close-up performer at heart but I’ve been working on making what I do play bigger. Even though I’m in a big arena I don’t want to lose the essence of what people like about what I do; the Dynamo style, for want of a better expression.
“It wouldn’t work me coming out with fancy boxes and putting women inside them.”
He added: “Like any of my TV shows it’s going have moments of drama, there’ll be peaks and troughs. It won’t just be a series of tricks.
“I want to create moments of magic for everyone so interactivity will be a big part of it. The audience will be involved in it to help create the magic.”
Dynamo grew up with a dad in prison and teenage mum, who was just 16 when he was born. It was his late grandad, Ken, who taught him magic, initially as a way to fend off the bullies.
“He would do magic but it was more stuff you’d do down the pub to get a free drink. He was in World War II and after that things were still tough so he’d blag as many free things as possible by doing magic.”
Added Dynamo, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 13: “He managed to blag my grandma’s heart and he did all right there. She put him on the straight and narrow.”
He lost his grandad three years ago, but the skills he passed on have made Dynamo a worldwide star.
He now lives in Hampstead with wife Kelly and a dog called Bessie.
“We go to indie gigs quite a bit and I like stunt driving,” he said of his favourite downtime pursuits.
“I dream of being a stunt driving in films, like James Bond.”
One imagines his management would have something to say about that.
Before we finished up and he made his way to the Old Market Square, he had a thought.
“Actually, I have been to Nottingham. I was at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest at Christmas with my family. As a kid I always dreamed of going there but it was always out of our reach. So I decided to take the whole family. I didn’t see Robin Hood though.”

Dynamo appears at the Capital FM Arena from December 2 to 6. Tickets are £36.40, £44.24 and £110.88 (includes admin fee) from the venue, call 0843 373 3000 or visit

Vicky McClure

May 2015

The last time we saw Vicky McClure on screen was a brief glimpse during the BBC’s live coverage of the British Academy Television Awards.
The 32-year-old from Wollaton was there to, we all hoped, pick up her second Bafta, after winning Best Leading Actress four years ago for her reprised role as Lol in This Is England ‘88.
The only person confident that she wasn’t going to win was Vicky.
“I didn’t expect the nomination in the first place,” says the actress, who has also been seen in ITV’s Broadchurch alongside David Tennant.
The nod was for her role as DC Kate Fleming in Line Of Duty, the police drama that she is currently filming a third series for in Belfast.
As it turned out, she lost out on a second Bafta, this time for Best Supporting Actress, to Gemma Jones for her role in Marvellous, based on the true story of Stoke City kit-man Neil Baldwin.
“Marvellous was my favourite piece of TV last year so losing to Gemma was more than fine by me,” says Vicky, who was papped on the red carpet wearing a full length white dress by London-based designer Osman Yousefzada.
So busy was she before the ceremony last month, that it wasn’t a dress she had time to pick herself.
“My publisher is a good friend and he knows what I like so he got everything arranged,” she laughs.
Vicky was there with other members of the Line of Duty cast as the show, BBC2’s biggest ratings winner in ten years, was also up for Best Drama, while co-star Keeley Hawes was nominated in the Best Leading Actress category.
“It’s going really well,” she says of the filming that started in April and runs until July.
“The scripts are stronger than ever and there’s a really nice vibe on set. The new additions to the cast are incredible.”
Among them is fellow Nottingham actor Arsher Ali, who starred in The Missing and Arthur and George.
“It’s been great to have a Notts lad on set,” she says, although the pair’s allegiances to football clubs are on opposite sides of the Trent.
Was Forest fan Arsher, who grew up in Sherwood, kind about Notts County’s relegation?
“Nothing was really said,” laughs the Magpies fan.
“I think everyone was kind enough not to mention it.”
Having another Nottinghamian on set has helped ease Vicky’s longings to be back in her city.
“We’ve been chatting a lot about Notts, which has been great. We’ve filmed scenes together and we did try and get an ‘ey up mi duck’ into one of them,” she laughs.
“But that’ll probably be cut.”
There are rare breaks from filming when she has been home. Soon after the Baftas she was at Notts County for Football Rocks, a charity event organised by the club with Jake Bugg. Vicky appeared in the Clifton chart-topper’s video Two Fingers and they have since become friends.
But the main reason she was there was because boyfriend Jonny Owen was playing.
The couple met three years ago during the making of the rock ‘n’ roll comedy film Svengali, written by and starring Jonny.
The Welshman and our Vicky, who appeared in the film as his girlfriend, first settled in London but the draw home was too much for Vicky and the couple now live in Toton.
“I love the city and I love the people – they remind me a lot of those in South Wales,” says Jonny, who has appeared in TV dramas Shameless and Monroe.
“Everyone is very friendly and open. I can’t speak highly enough of people in Nottingham. They have made me feel very welcome.”
Jonny, who produces shows for Notts TV, is currently making a major film about Nottingham Forest’s legendary European Cup wins.
On another swift visit home, Vicky and her man had a meal at La Rock in Sandiacre, a restaurant, which earned the very first five star review from the Nottingham Post’s long-serving restaurant critic, the Food Sleuth.
“It was some of the best service I’ve ever had. And the maître d’ was so lovely. There was nothing pretentious about it and the food was great.”
The former Fernwood Comprehensive School student is a graduate of Nottingham’s Television Workshop, along with Joe Dempsie, Jack O’Connell, Samantha Morton and many others.
It was the two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton who spotted her talent at the Workshop and brought her to the attention of director Ian Smith.
Her early screen roles included a spot in daytime soap Doctors, as well as Filth And Wisdom – the first feature film directed by Madonna.
But her big break came after she was cast as Lol in Shane Meadows’ feature film, This Is England, which won him a Bafta.
The third spin-off TV series, This Is England ‘90, has been shot and is due on Channel 4 in September.
Vicky was reunited with fellow “workshoppers” Joe Dempsie, Andrew Shim, Rosamund Hanson, Michael Socha and Chanel Cresswell.
And once again director Meadows insisted the cast improvise each scene.
Says Vicky: “It’s the most fun I’ve had on a set in a long time.”

Nottingham shot film wins national award

April 2015

A SHORT film shot in Nottingham city centre and starring Wollaton actress Lauren Carse has picked up a major award.
Echo, a 15-minute drama about a schoolgirl who tricks shoppers into giving her cash, won Best Short at the National Film Awards in London, where the likes of Idris Elba and Tulisa Contostavlos were in attendance.
“It was great that we won although we weren’t expecting it because we were sat right at the back,” laughs Lauren.
“And we were on a table with the people who supplied the linen for the tables, so we thought this is not spelling out ‘award-winning’.”
She collected the award with the film’s producer Lawrence Mason.
“It took an age for us to get to the stage,” adds the 23-year-old.
“And it was the last award of the night so I was on my third glass of wine after two glasses of champagne.”
The graduate of the Television Workshop thanked its director Ian Smith during her speech.
“I mentioned the cast and crew who couldn’t be there and thanked Ian for his continued support, much like Jack O’Connell did at the Baftas.”
The fellow Workshopper was up for two awards for the drama Starred Up and the film ‘71 at the National Film Awards at Porchester Hall in Mayfair.
“He couldn’t be there because he was filming in New York,” says Lauren, whose character in Echo is a 17-year-old called Caroline. She is seen taking a call on her mobile, becoming distressed at some apparent bad news about her dad being in a motorbike accident. But it’s a con, to trick passers-by into giving her money for a taxi to the hospital. It’s based on an incident witness by the film’s writer James Walker.
Its director came to the Television Workshop, where Lauren started as an 11-year-old, to cast the film.
It was shot two years ago in King Street, Wheeler Gate and the Old Market Square, where Lauren is seen with her on-screen brother, played by Newark teenager Oliver Woollford.
So convincing was her apparent distress, many people interrupted filming to check if she was OK.
“That was really reassuring, good on you, Nottingham,” says Lauren who has also appeared in Casualty, Doctors and the Nottingham-set BBC drama Truckers.
Echo director Lewis Arnold went on to work on TV dramas Misfits, Human and Russell T Davies’ E4 drama Banana, in which Lauren also appeared.
“He couldn’t come to the awards because he was casting in Manchester,” says the former Fernwood Comprehensive pupil.
“I was at the audition but I got to London in time for the awards.”
She adds: “I’ve been to quite a few auditions lately are quite exciting.”
Others at the awards included Keith Chegwin, Rizzle Kicks, Linda Robson, EastEnders’ Tanya Franks, were in attendance.
The red carpet event, included a goodie bag for nominees that included jewellery.
“There was another one we were given on the way out that included popcorn, water and chutney,” she laughs.
“We were really treated.”