Many acts who take to the ­Britain’s Got Talent stage get starstruck by Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges.

But that was hardly likely to happen to a man who has worked with The Rock, Harrison Ford and Johnny Depp, and is friends with the Greatest Showman himself, Hugh Jackman.

In fact, it was stuntman and magician Matt Stirling, 46, who left the judges speechless when he won through to tonight’s live semi-final.

He recreated movie titles they had picked from a pack of cards using stunts including falling from a balcony and walking across the stage in flames.

For a man used to being in the background of big movies, he now feels firmly centre stage.

Matt says: “It started off as a bit of a madcap idea. So many people have said to me that I am the only stuntman in the UK who does magic. So to try to combine the two seemed like a perfect idea.”

Matt started doing magic as a child and at 16 he went to the Italia Conti Academy of Theatres Arts in London, which has produced stars including Russell Brand and Pixie Lott.

Then he decided to add a new string to his bow and became a stuntman.

“I’m the only stuntman who has to ring his mum after he has done a job,” he jokes. “I wanted to be an actor and then I told my parents I was going to train to be a stuntman.

“They have always backed me 100%. “I wouldn’t be doing this job without them – they keep my feet on the ground.”

Matt has been in Hollywood blockbusters alongside A-listers including Daniel Craig and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

But Matt claims his life is not always as glamorous as it might sound.

“It is a fantastic job,” he explains.

“But there are times when you are stood in a field in the rain covered in horse poo waiting for the horse to hit you – then it isn’t quite as glamorous as people think.”

Work can also take him away from home for six months at a time, leaving little time for romance.

“I’m a single man,” he says. “I’ve got a dog and a cat, which is enough for me at the minute.” Here Matt talks us through some of his most famous stunts – and the stars he has wowed with his magic.

The Rock

When I did Fast and Furious 6 I was playing a character called Oakes.

I had a fight with Dwayne Johnson in a prison holding cell and he basically threw me all around the room. It was a great sequence.

I was originally brought in to be a stunt double for Vin Diesel and they wanted to do this scene where you think Vin Diesel has been arrested, but the camera pans around and it is me.

He threw me against a wall, through a table, then he throws me on to the ceiling and eventually through a window.

Most dangerous stunt

I played the Stoker in Zorro so I was jumping off a moving train. I started off stood on a truck at 5mph and jumped off, then you take it up to 10mph, and so on until you get to the speed the train would go at.

We dug a big trench in the dirt track at the side which we filled with crash mats and we had two marker points so I knew when I had to jump from the train to get into that area.

It was moving at quite a pace when I hit the ground.

Of course, I ended up doing card tricks for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas on Zorro.

Rogue One

I played a character called Lieutenant Calfor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It was brilliant running around with ray guns shooting Stormtroopers.

Stuntmen and women, we never grow up. We are like Peter Pan – we run around in silly costumes, playing cops and robbers and shooting people.

I always end up doing magic tricks on set. I hypnotised one of the guys into thinking he had won the lottery every time he shook Harrison Ford’s hand.

Hugh Jackman

I’ve known Hugh Jackman for quite a while – his brother-in-law Richard Bradshaw, who is married to Sonia Jackman, is the one who talked me into becoming a stuntman.

Whenever see Hugh and [wife] Debs I end up doing magic and having a laugh with them.

Most films I get on to, I have a pack of cards to play with between takes and people become interested and I end up doing tricks for them.

Pirates of the Caribbean

I was the British fight guy and had to teach them all the fight routines. I had one little scene where Johnny Depp had to stand on my head.

They fitted a bar behind my neck in my costume and I wore a hat. So he sort of used my head as a stepping stone.


I doubled for Dave Bautista who played Bond baddie Mr Hinx – he is a lovely man. We filmed a driving sequence in Austria.

James Bond was in a plane chasing our car. Then the wings get knocked off Bond’s plane and the fuselage comes down a ski slope, my car hits it and I go through the windscreen.

Harry Potter

I did a lot of the wand training and I played a Death Eater. I doubled for Hagrid on the motorbike. My boss was doing it and he got injured so I stepped in.

I wore the costume and we did a sequence where we came crashing into a lake.

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