1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 7 (UK)
50 x 50 minute episodes
Chrome-headed mellow-voiced conjurer David Nixon was a small screen personality from the 1950s when he was a regular panellist on What’s My Line? until his death in 1978.
The first British illusionist to become a television star, he hosted a raft of magic-cum-variety shows for both ITV and BBC, of which The David Nixon Show was the longest-running, becoming a stalwart of ITV’s early-evening output in the mid-to-late 1970s.
Nixon achieved an audience figure topping 11 million and was also the man responsible for making a celebrity of the aristocratic fox puppet who went on to solo fame with The Basil Brush Show.
He was assisted by Freddie “Parrot Face” Davies in Series 1 and Series 2 and Anita Harris and “Alistair” in Series 3. His magical advisor was Ali Bongo.
Guests during the five-year run included Penny Meredith, Lovelace Watkins, Matt Monro, Cleo Laine, Bob Monkhouse, Peters and Lee, Charlie Drake, Deryck Guyler, Acker Bilk, Lynsey De Paul, Rod Hull and Emu, Terry Wogan, The Bachelors, Little & Large, Guys and Dolls, Ron Moody and Diana Dors.
Nixon was elected to the position of King Rat in the charitable organisation The Grand Order of Water Rats in 1976, but by the middle of the decade, Nixon was in failing health.
A routine X-ray in 1973 had revealed the presence of lung cancer, and after a brief period of remission, he fell ill again in 1978.
His last television appearance saw a reversal of roles when Basil Brush invited his former mentor on as a guest on his own Christmas show. Sadly, Nixon died just days after the appearance was recorded, on 1 December 1978.