A TAUNTON magician is dead-set on keeping his day job, despite entering the elite Magic Circle.

Nigel Ford is a funeral director but has been performing magic tricks for the last 40 years.

In a tough interview, Nigel performed before 30 magicians, including Ali Bongo, to secure his qualification in the Magic Circle in London.

Nigel told the County Gazette he thinks it was his professionalism which made him stand out above the other candidates.

He said: "It was very nerve-wracking but I was confident about my subject.

"I think it was my patter and presentation that impressed the judges.

"When you have 30 professional magicians voting for you and watching you intensely, you are not going to baffle them with your magic, so you have to rely on how well you present and perform."

There are only around 1,500 members of the Magic Circle world-wide, and now Nigel can use the letters MMC after his name alongside people like Paul Daniels and David Copperfield.

Nigel said: "It really is an achievement.

"It won't change me. I told them at the interview I would carry on as I am, entertaining in Taunton.

"Being in the MC does offer even more opportunities to go on and perform magic but that won't affect me."

Nigel now has exclusive access to the exclusive Magic Circle HQ in London whenever he wants.

He can read the thousands of magic books in the library, enjoy the museum and start to discover the 10,000 tricks of the trade the building is said to keep.