Hidden camera shows are becoming more popular on TV at the moment, with programmes like Fool Britannia and The Revolution Will Be Televised doing well. However, while these shows are mainly comedic, in the case of Tricked it uses this technology for conjuring purposes.
The series is hosted by Ben Hanlin, a specialist in close-up magic who hails from Birmingham. As you might expect the series features him performing his tricks on the street, but he also films all of the tricks in secret to show people’s actual reactions.
Thus not only is there the usual slight-of-hand tricks, but you also have a prank element. For example Hanlin will often pretend to be someone else, such as a cashier in a supermarket or a security guard in a clothes shop, and make the clients unknowing victims his suspicious goings-on.
In terms of the technical aspect, Hanlin is very good. When it comes to magic you usually get three reactions. You either already know how the trick was done, you are trying to figure out how the trick was done, or you are just impressed as to how the magician did it and are completely flummoxed. In Hanlin’s case it is mostly the latter, which is the better of the three reactions. It should be warned that many of his tricks are not for the faint-hearted. But if you do not mind such things, you should find the tricks enjoyable and often amusing.
If there is a problem it’s the channel. The show is on ITV2, which is usually never a good sign for quality. This is evidenced by the fact that not only does Hanlin have to do tricks with the public, but also with celebrities. The problem here is that the ITV2 idea of a celebrity does not match that with most people’s idea of a celebrity. For example one trick, the “Lift Lock-Down”, sees an X Factor star whose name I do not care to remember get stuck in a lift. You get the feeling that the ITV2 executives just wanted Hanlin to do the tricks with these people because they thought that no-one would watch a show which did not feature celebs.
Despite this, the tricks are still impressive and Tricked makes for an entertaining hour.