Pilgrimage: Debbie McGee leaves ‘memory’ of Paul Daniels
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Paul Daniels’ widow Debbie McGee has shared an emotional message in tribute of her late husband who died in 2016. Paul and Debbie had been married for almost three decades when the magician passed away.
So that’s kind of my first bit of keeping Paul’s memory alive.
During the latest episode of BBC’s Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago, Debbie along with Ed Byrne, singer Heather Small and actor Neil Morrissey were tasked with writing a message on a stone during their travels across Spain.
The group had just 15 days to tackle an ancient pilgrimage on a 780km journey across Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the shrine of St James.
Debbie and her co-stars shared messages that meant a lot to them, with Heather saying that she would not be leaving pain behind but instead will be optimistic and pick up joy.
In the second instalment of the three-part series, Debbie used the opportunity to reflect on her marriage to the magician.
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Speaking about what she wrote on a stone, she said: “I wrote Paul Daniels Magician UK on it.
“So that’s kind of my first bit of keeping Paul’s memory alive.”
The 62-year-old added: “It made me giggle because I thought of him.
“I thought yeah that’s the sort of thing that you know, just a little memory.”
Later on in the episode, Debbie hit out at “fake Christians” who she described as “horrible people”.
Speaking about those around her, she said: “I know a lot of people that are totally hypocritical that go to church every Sunday and pray and say I’m a really good Christian and they’re really horrible people.”
Priest Kate Bottley responded: “I absolutely agree with you that’s not, for me, what going to church is about.
“And for lots of Christians I know going to church is about saying, ‘I’m a rotter, I’m not a good person, I’ve fallen short of all expectations and I’m trying to be better’.”
Debbie recently confessed that when she first agreed to be Paul Daniels’ assistant in 1979, she had no idea what his career was.
During an appearance on Celebrity Mastermind, she told host John Humphrys: “The funny thing is, when I first got my job with my late husband Paul Daniels on The Paul Daniels Magic Show, I didn’t know who Paul was.
“I lived in Iran and I hated magic. I signed the contract without knowing what he did.”
“I thought he was probably a comedian. Look what happened to me,” she exclaimed.
In October 1991, Debbie became the first female member of The Magic Circle, a society for British professional magicians.
When asked if the members exchanged tips and tricks, she agreed and said magic was what brought Paul out of his shell.
She continued: “What’s wonderful, and what I love about the magic circle is, everyone thinks it’s all the big professionals and it really isn’t, it’s a bit like Hogwarts.
“What’s great is, magic is a fantastic hobby and for shy people, it’s a great hobby.
“Paul was the most painfully shy boy until he learnt a magic trick when he was on holiday in Yorkshire and then [he] would show it to friends at school and he had something they didn’t have.”
Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago continues on Sunday on BBC One at 11am.
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