BLACKPOOL has hit back after Paul Daniels labelled the resort "rough, tasteless, bawdy and scruffy".
The TV magician – whose last Fylde coast show had to be cancelled because of lack of interest – made the comments on an internet forum after it was announced the World Magic Championships would take place in Blackpool in 2012.
Writing in a post addressed to foreign visitors planning to attend the resort event, Daniels reportedly said: "When I heard it was going to Blackpool, my heart sank.
"Please, please, please, if you go to Blackpool, do not think that this country is like that.
"Blackpool is a sad place for those of us who remember it as it was.
"Now, it's rough, tasteless, bawdy, scruffy and you have to accept that, treat the place as it is, and find your own fun. Like I say, it's sad."
Speaking to The Stage showbiz magazine, Daniels confirmed he had written the post, claiming it had come out worse than he meant.
But the magic man insisted the town could not "compare with the mostly continental venues which have hosted FISM (Federation of International Stage Magicians) over the years"
because it does not have the "cultural level, design or style of the other places FISM has been to".
He added: "They simply do not have the rowdiness and drunkenness which seems to have taken over the Blackpool seafront areas, particularly at the weekends, and talking to people who used to go all the time, nowadays they simply do not feel safe."
Daniels' comments were condemned by Blackpool Council's tourism bosses.
Coun Maxine Callow, cabinet member for regeneration and tourism, said: "Massive investment has been made here in recent times and the town is absolutely on the up.
"This has been reflected in the huge numbers of visitors who have come to take a fresh look at Blackpool this year."
A spokesman for performers' union Equity said Blackpool is "a very
important entertainment centre" where, as home to the Nat-ional Theatre of Variety, a "great number of Equity members work".
Derek Lever, from Blackpool Magicians' Club, said Daniels would not be invited to the FISM Convention in Blackpool in 2012 and does not get invited to the club's own annual convention.
He added: "If only Paul Daniels could fill the Opera House with 3,000 people like Blackpool Magicians' Club do every year."
In May, a charity show – Stairway to the Stars, featuring Daniels and wife Debbie McGee – was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
The Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques runs the World Championship of Magic every three years.
In 2006, the event took place in Stockholm while this year it was held in the Chinese National Convention Centre in Bejing.
Daniels told The Gazette he could not comment because he had a deal with national newspapers.