Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

TV magician Ali Bongo dies at 79

Ali Bongo
The creator of Jonathan Creek said Bongo had inspired the character

Magician Ali Bongo, who made numerous appearances on television, has died aged 79 after suffering a stroke.

Bongo - whose real name was William Wallace - also acted as a consultant on programmes including The Paul Daniels Magic Show and Jonathan Creek.

The BBC drama's creator David Renwick once said that Bongo's work had inspired its lead character.

He became president of The Magic Circle in September and had been giving a lecture in Paris when he fell ill.

Bongo's other screen appearances included 1970s children's shows Pauline's Quirkes and The Tomorrow People.

'Great entertainment'

He also fronted Ali Bongo's Cartoon Carnival, which ran for nine episodes on the BBC in 1971.

His ability to devise and demonstrate tricks led to work with TV magicians including as assistant to David Nixon, and later with Paul Daniels as his chief consultant.

Bongo also worked with actors, teaching them how to replicate illusions on film, including the BBC's 1999 production of Oliver Twist.

Bongo, who was born in India, also produced a number of books in which he illustrated how to perform magic tricks.

The magician said he was against exposing tricks on television, saying it ruined the fun for budding young illusionists.

"It's rather silly," he said. "That spoils it for a great many kids. If their tricks are exposed on TV, they can't show them to their friends.

"Magic is a great entertainment, if done professionally and with style," he added.

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