A DAVID Blaine-style endurance stunt by Torridgeside s own escapologist and entertainer Merlin Cadogan will be a highlight of the Bideford Christmas festivities this year. American illusionist Blaine made world headlines when he was incarcerated in a glas

A DAVID Blaine-style endurance stunt by Torridgeside's own escapologist and entertainer Merlin Cadogan will be a highlight of the Bideford Christmas festivities this year.

American illusionist Blaine made world headlines when he was incarcerated in a glass case above London in 2003.

Britain's Got Talent star Merlin, from Northam, plans to spend three days inside a giant see-through Christmas cracker in Bideford's Jubilee Square.

His ordeal will come to an end when the town's festive lights are switched on at 5pm on Saturday, November 28, and members of the town's rugby and rowing clubs pull the cracker, setting off a confetti cannon and releasing him.

Merlin will while away his 72 hours inside the cracker with a book at his side in which members of the public will be invited to write jokes, which he plans to use during his appearances in the forthcoming pantomime Cinderella at the Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple.

Cinderella and her pumpkin coach will also be in Jubilee Square on switch-on day and there will be a family pantomime ticket to win in a competition.

Merlin will also have a collection box to raise funds for the North Devon Children's Holiday Foundation, which provides holidays of a lifetime for children with serious conditions.

The escapologist will be talking about the stunt when he appears live on BBC One's Blue Peter television programme tonight (Wednesday) at 4.35pm.

The thousands of visitors who are expected to pack Bideford for the big switch-on night will also be able to welcome back the annual reindeer visitors from the Cairngorm Centre in Scotland, who will again be pulling Santa and his sleigh on a parade through the streets of the town.

There will be another giant attraction in Titan, the eight-ft robot of international acclaim, who is returning to the town for the second year.