WHEN early Channel 4 reality show Faking It made nerdy Edinburgh physicist Kevin McMahon pretend to be a magician 13 years ago it was only supposed to be temporary.

And yet, instead of going back to his research when the cameras turned off, the scientist-turned-wannabe-conjurer persisted.

Last week that persistence paid off when he walked away with the gong for Best Magic Award at the Adelaide Fringe, one of the biggest prizes in trickery.

In that original TV show, McMahon had to overcome crippling bouts of stage fright, an inability to lie, and to go from, what one paper at the time, described as “a woolly jumper-wearing academic” to a “razor-suited card shark”.

Now known as Kevin Quantum, his show Anti-Gravity has marked him out as one of the best magicians in the world. It beat more than 30 others at the Aussie festival to pick up the prize.

Quantum, who became the first Scot to win the trophy, said: “I’m surprised and delighted to receive this award on the other side of the world at one of the largest and most prestigious festivals in the world.

“It’s a real honour to win Best Magic and see the art of magic given such prominence.”

Adelaide Fringe, which lasts five weeks, is second only in size to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The magician is also the artistic director of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which celebrates it’s ninth birthday next month.