As a kid I was fascinated with magic tricks. I had several books on card tricks and simple magical illusions, and also my prized Paul Daniel’s Magic Tricks. Paul Daniels was on the TV quite a lot when I was growing up so he became one of my childhood heroes, which is the main reason why I used to watch Wizbit.
Wizbit appeared in 1985 and was really aimed at younger children than I was at that time, yet so great was the draw of Mr. Daniels that I still tuned in to watch the adventures of the titular large yellow conical creature and a gigantic white rabbit called Wooly. The show was intended to get kids thinking, as it was more about solving puzzles than magic tricks, although given that Wizbit was actually an alien magician from the planet Wow (short for World of Wizards) there was the odd trick too.
The idea was that Wizbit was visiting Earth for a year and a day, although he ended up in a place called Puzzleopolis which is like no town I’ve ever been too. Puzzleopolis was inhabited by a number of strange folk, most of whom were related to the world of light entertainment. Some of the more obvious choices here included clowns and mime artists, although there were walking dice and playing cards, and a big round red thing with massive lips which I assume was meant to be one of those sponge balls magicians use in tricks.
Paul Daniels and his assistant (wife), the lovely Debbie McGee (as Paul always referred to her), also lived there apparently, as did the aforementioned Wooly, who whilst a bit dim witted quickly became Wizbit’s friend and guide to Puzzleopolis. I also remember a big purple lump of slime who sounded like a blues singer who went by the name of Squidgy Bog, but I don’t quite remember what he did other than sound laid back and cool.
Of course, every hero needs a nemesis and in Wizbit’s case it was Professor Doom, who lived in a castle perched atop a giant flying fist. Professor Doom had a cat named Jinx, who generally just sat there laughing at Prof. Doom when all his plans to conquer Puzzleopolis kept failing.
The show had a theme song which was sort of rapped through by Paul Daniels himself, and yes, if that sounds cringe worthy now it was back then too. Somehow though when you hear it you get the lines “Ha ha this a way, ha ha that a way, ha ha this a way my oh my!” lodged firmly in your brain. I’ve embedded the title sequence below, so be warned before you watch it!
Fast forward to today and you may be surprised to learn that Wizbit may even be returning to our screens, this time as a CGI animated show rather than live action. For more on this check out the official Wizbit website, but a further warning! If you thought Paul Daniels rapping was bad, this site has the new theme song for the show playing on it which might actually make you wish for the original!
In the new version Paul is set to provide voices, as is Todd Carty from Grange Hill and EastEnders fame, and the giggling TV-am cook Rustie Lee – and I thought Game For A Laugh was the last time I’d hear her out of control laugh.