JAMIE Raven and his bag of tricks burst onto our screens in the 2015 series of Britain’s Got Talent, famously converting a sceptic Simon Cowell to his unique brand of magic and mystifying illusions. Simon even went as far as telling him: “I now finally believe in magic!”

His performance not only amazed judges, but his charm also captured the hearts of the public. Not bad for someone who as a child turned his nose up at magicians at friends’ parties– until a trip to India and a shrewd illusionist convinced him he may have dismissed the profession hastily. He may have eventually lost the BGT crown to a dog that may or may not have technically cheated but he’s done pretty well for himself since.

Now Swindon bound with his tour, he answers a few questions for the Adver.

We hear you didn’t have much time for magicians as a child. What changed your mind?

We were in a restaurant on holiday in India and a magician came to our table. He did his trick and after a while took us away and taught us three tricks. He did a card trick based on maths, he had a piece of rope that stayed up right and the other one was trick with a silver coin. It was great to find out how it was done, how it worked.

If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.

When did you get into magic seriously?

I went to university in Bath. I studied economics but didn’t really have any interest in it.

Along the way I met this guy who was an event planner. He called me and asked if I could do parties as a magicians. I was a black tie dinner. I told him I didn’t have a tuxedo so he paid me £50 and gave me a suit. I used it a lot. When I left uni I worked for a temping agency. Then I got a residency doing magic in a bar. I thought the residency was a better use of my time and stuck with the magic. I was 21. And 11 years alter I was on Britain’s Got Talent and here we are.

What prompted you to apply to BGT?

I had performed professionally for 11 years and I was doing five or six events a week. It was all corporate stuff but what I really wanted was to go to the West End and go into theatre. And to do that you need a profile.

But the thing is if it hadn’t gone well on the show, it could have ruined my career. I was a little concerned.

You won over Simon Cowell and he was a bit of a sceptic to say the least when it comes to magic.

When he said at the end that I made him believe in magic it was incredible. I really wanted to use the show as a springboard so I tried to show different sides of myself and in the semi-final I thought, ‘What can I do that’s bigger?’ So I brought out the helicopter.

I remember for the audition, I prepared for six months. Every day I practiced over and over again. When I went into the semi-final, I practiced for four months. I’m quite obsessive. If you’ve got a chance to make it happen you have to do it right. You need to be able to say: ‘There’s nothing more I could have done to make this any better.’

With the internet, special effects and CGI is it harder to impress the public as a live magician?

Magic is best seen live. On TV you might think it’s just a camera trick but it’s a completely different experience live. Almost everything I do on stage involves someone from the audience coming up and helping and that adds to it. You don’t just sit and watch, there are things where everyone is involved. I’m incredibly biased of course. But I love it.

You do tricks, but you also read thoughts and make predictions; so what’s the trick then?

With magic there are a lot of skills involved. Sometimes you need to be clever with your words, be quick with your hands. I’ve learnt that I could use words to weave a story which is a great distraction technique.

If people draw a picture and I have to work out what they’ve drawn I need to talk that person into giving away what they’ve drawn without them realising. You have to plant ideas. There’s lots of different ways to do it. And reading their thoughts it all based around the fact that people communicate non-verbally. It’s about learning what to look for. Fundamentally we’re all the same, we all react to certain situations the same. As a magician that’s really handy.

Jamie will be at the Wyvern on June 28 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £19.50.

To book call 01793 524481 or visit swindontheatres.co.uk.