Debbie McGee talks being ‘set on fire’ after ‘things went awry’ with husband Paul Daniels

Debbie McGee reveals she had a 'secret code' with husband Paul

Debbie McGee spoke candidly about life behind the scenes with her late husband Paul Daniels. The former Strictly Come Dancing star revealed there were times “things went wrong”, despite her other half never wanting to place her in danger.

The 62-year-old has since confessed to a shocking moment her spouse was unaware that he had accidentally set fire to a wooden box she was inside of, as he performed a magic trick to an audience.

Debbie performed alongside him for 15 years on the Paul Daniels Magic Show, which first debuted on BBC One in 1979.

It was not uncommon for the former magician’s assistant to be sliced, diced, or sawn in half on stage for various magic tricks.

However, the Strictly finalist recalled a moment which left her “spluttering from fumes”, after Paul lit a box she was inside of.

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Speaking in a new column, Debbie revealed there was only one occasion she had to use an emergency code after “things went awry”.

“We had an emergency code-phrase – ‘Mrs Robinson’,” Debbie explained. “Heaven knows how he came up with that.”

She went on: “But I had to use it on only one occasion, when a lit torch he thrust through a wooden box I was held in set fire to the interior.

“It took some time for Paul to hear me above the studio audience and live band — and as a curtain was brought down, I emerged spluttering from the fumes.”

Fortunately, Debbie emerged from the box unscathed but admitted things can go wrong when performing magic tricks.

She continued to MailOnline: “Thankfully, there were never any problems like that with the saw trick.

“But there is the potential for things to go wrong when you are in such a confined space.”

Debbie tied the knot with Paul in 1988, almost a decade after their first meeting at his Great Yarmouth show.


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Following his stint on Strictly, the couple decided to renew their wedding vows in 2010.

Paul was previously married to Jacqueline Skipworth between 1960 and 1975.

With Jacqueline, he shares three sons, Paul Jr, Martin, and Gary.

Beloved performer Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2016 and died just under five weeks later.

Speaking about her “devastation”, Debbie previously opened up about his final moments.

She told The Sun: “From diagnosis, he died four weeks and five days later, so there wasn’t time to think about what was happening.

“We just had to get on with the situation and look after him. It wasn’t until after he died, that the huge realisation kind of washed over me. I am out here, on this earth, on my own.”

She has since revealed that Paul spent his final days eating Magnum ice creams in the garden and watching ITV quiz The Chase.

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