The Journal


Maximilan Somerset was born in 1974 to the Contessa Pia Dei Tolomei and his father Ed Somerset who was a cousin of the Duke of Beaufort and a director of the Fired Earth tile company. Maximilian was brought up by a mixture of his Grandmother Molly Somerset (née Kennard and a 1st cousin to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon the queen mother) Grandfather and two wonderful adopted parents Mervyn and Shirley Priddle, he rarely saw his blood father who was supported and tirelessly nursed by Diana his wife due to his lingering illness and final death in 1982 caused by a brain Tumour. After his adopted parents died of Cancer in 1993 and 2000 respectively, he felt it appropriate to revert back to the birth name of Somerset.

Early life

Max became interested in sleight of hand from the age of 5 when he saw a TV magician push 4 coins through a table. He believes it was partly an important focus for him during the fractured childhood and partly a legitimate escape route. His adopted mother bought him a magic set and being slightly eccentric and a loner, would find it to be a very useful way to placate those who would have otherwise bullied him at school. In his teenage years he set to turn negatives into positives. Studying the piano and Digital Orchestral multi-keyboard alongside a keen involvement in musical theatre he was offered a scholarship to study at Trinity College of Music in London where he undertook a Bachelors and Masters in Performance and related studies. Gaining a distinction in his performance he went on to explore theatrical and spatial aspects in Digital Music and wrote the Digital Keyboard internal and external syllabi occasionally giving lectures in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and in the Music Masters association. Whilst at Trinity College he also wrote the syllabus for Digital Keyboard, grades 6-8. After leaving university Max embarked on a career teaching music whilst also pursuing his magical interests. He has performed twice at the Royal Albert Hall with the Kensington Temple Gospel Choir on the Digital Orchestral Multi-Keyboard. He plays the Hammond Organ and is Musical Director of the 500 member Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in North London.


His studies in aesthetics and musical theatre affected his relationship with sleight of hand and illusion resulting in a unique quirky theatrical performance style. He believes that magic must have an internal logic that supersedes both magician and spectator. In 2003 his talents were spotted by a young producer named Ray Addison who produced a four part series starring Max titled Max Somerset which was broadcast on Game In TV. His unusual style of musical mind reading and shoe licking experiments featured in this first series gained him interest with Carlton television who alongside Sky Television commissioned him a six-part prime time series for Sky One entitled Max Magic. This was an Alice in Wonderland style magic show where Max played various hidden camera comedy characters performing magic on unsuspecting members of the public. The show soon became a hit and still repeats regularly today; it resulted in commissions from Objective Productions and most recently for Twenty Twenty television starring as the Sorcerer in his most recent BBC1 21-part series The Sorcerers Apprentice. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (CBBC) The programme gave 14 children the chance to attend magic school and learn some of magic’s finest secrets, performing competitively to win the prestigious title of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. Three seasons have been filmed so far as of January 2010.

He appeared in the Darlington pantomime Aladdin in 2009–2010.

Max Somerset