My haven, Debbie McGee: The former magician’s assistant, 62, in her dressing room at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, where she’s in panto
- Debbie McGee, 62, shares items of significance in her dressing room in Windsor
- She treasures a photograph of her late husband taken at Henley Regatta
- The former magician’s assistant also cherishes three magic wands
Debbie McGee, 62, (pictured) who is a former magician’s assistant, reveals the items of personal significance in her dressing room at the Theatre Royal in Windsor
1. MAGIC MAN
I love this photo of my late husband Paul Daniels and me at Henley Regatta.
We met after I got a job on his summer show at Great Yarmouth in 1979 – I’d been working abroad, didn’t know he was famous and didn’t even like magic! But despite the 20-year age gap we had an instant chemistry and we eventually got married.
I became his assistant on his BBC1 show, which was shown in more than 40 countries.
2. FESTIVE FUN
This Chinese-style dressing gown is what I wear backstage between performances.
It’s one of the items I keep in my ‘panto box’, along with my travelling kettle, that I take out every festive season.
I love my Fairy Twinkletoes outfit hanging up here but it’s tricky to walk up and down steps in. I appeared in my first panto at school in my teens and have done one every Christmas for the past five years.
3. FUNNY BUNNIES
My two pet rabbits Gil [a boy, left] and Hopper Seven [a girl, right] – named because she was born the same week as the Beckhams’ daughter Harper Seven – sadly passed away this year. This photo reminds me of them.
Luckily I’ve still got one rabbit left, Sally, aged four, who sits on my lap and keeps me company when I’m watching telly on the sofa at home.
Debbie (pictured) treasures reminders from her time on Celebrity MasterChef
4. PAUL’S HAT TRICK
These three magic wands are all special to me. One was given to Paul for being Magician of the Year in 1982 by Hollywood’s prestigious Academy of Magical Arts – he was the first non-American to win the award.
A second was a lifetime achievement award given to both of us by the same organisation at a ceremony a few years later.
And the third, made of silver, was given to Paul at a ceremony in Granada, Spain, recognising him as one of the world’s greatest living magicians.
5. COOKING UP A STORM
Taking part in Celebrity MasterChef three years ago was a thrill, and I’m proud that I only just missed out on a semi-final place. This apron is a memento of my time on the show.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking, though I would describe myself as ‘an old-fashioned cook’. I like to make my own ice cream but my signature dish is my pavlova.
6. DANCING QUEEN
I went to dance school and trained at the Royal Ballet School, and my old ballet shoes remind me of that period.
My parents had a corner shop in Tolworth, Surrey, and I helped out there, but my dream was to go on stage.
I’ve been on Strictly twice – I was a runner-up in 2017 with Giovanni Pernice (that’s us in the photo at my feet) and then I won 2019’s Christmas special with Kevin Clifton, and received this Silver Star award.
As told to York Membery. Cinderella is playing at the Theatre Royal, Windsor until 17 January (theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk; 01753 853888)