Derren Brown
English illusionist
Derren Brown
Derren Brown is an English illusionist, mentalist, hypnotist, painter, writer, and sceptic. He is known for his appearances in television specials, stage productions, and British television series such as Trick of the Mind and Trick or Treat. Since the first broadcast of his show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Brown has become increasingly well known for his "mind-reading" act. He has written books for magicians as well as the general public.
Biography
Derren Brown's personal information overview.
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Relationships
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News
News abour Derren Brown from around the web
'Dangerous' Derren Brown suffocation trick should not have aired in daytime
Guardian (UK) - almost 1 year
Stunt on UKTV’s Watch – which also included repeated swearing – was unsuitable for 9am broadcast when children could be watching, says watchdog A show featuring a Derren Brown stunt broke broadcasting rules by showing the illusionist suffocating himself with a plastic bag when children could easily have seen and copied it. Media regulator Ofcom launched an investigation into the programme, which featured a 14-minute segment where Brown suffocated himself and used the word “fuck” on multiple occasions. Continue reading...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
UK's Thorpe Park partners with Derren Brown and HTC for world first VR attraction
Yahoo News - about 1 year
A Derren Brown-designed virtual reality Ghost Train ride is about to open at one of the UK's most popular theme parks. Brown is one of the world's leading mentalists and illusionists and his resume includes crowdsourcing the winning lottery numbers and playing Russian roulette on live television.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
'Day of the Doctor': The 3D Cinema Experience Reviewed
Huffington Post - about 3 years
I first remember watching Doctor Who aged about two, and as cliche demands, I was actually hiding behind the sofa. Family Thompson were tuned in because my dad, god rest his soul, was a huge fan, testament to the fact it was always meant to be a show for the whole family and not just kids' TV. Even before I could talk, I think I knew what a dalek was, as my dad made up various Doctor Who tales in lieu of the usual bedtime stories as I grew up, quaking under my quilt. After every episode, my mum delights in telling me, I'd go to bed and plead: "Please don't turn out the lights mummy and daddy. Daleks! Please keep the lights on!" I remember Jon Pertwee regenerating into Tom Baker, and grew up playing Doctor Who games with my godbrother and godsister - I always wanted to be Leela but invariably ended up as K-9. My godfather and dad even took all three of us Whovian kids to the Doctor Who convention at Longleat in 1983. It was possibly the best thing that ever happened to me as a child. ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Talking TV: Doctor Who, Derren Brown and diversity
Broadcast - over 3 years
Broadcast’s latest Talking TV podcast gets to grips with the Doctor Who 50th anniversary, diversity and Derren Brown.
Article Link:
Broadcast article
The Chilcot Inquiry Sinks Into the Sand
Huffington Post - over 3 years
In the last fortnight a number of media commentators accused Russell Brand of naivete and political ignorance for his criticisms of the democratic system and the limitations of the right to vote. This week however, the British public were presented with further evidence of how hollowed-out the democratic process has become, when the Chilcot Inquiry revealed that it was being denied access to 25 notes sent by Tony Blair to George Bush, and 130 documents relating to conversations between the two architects of the Iraq War, in addition to dozens of records of cabinet meetings. There is no more serious decision that a government can take than a declaration of war, and there is no more serious test of a democracy than the ability to hold its leaders to account over why and how such decisions are taken, especially when a war is declared on false pretenses and results in a tragic and bloody disaster of the magnitude of the Iraq War. The Chilcot Inquiry was established by Gordon Brown wit ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Rebecca Walton: Minds Like Ours: One Giant Leap for Mental Health Awareness (VIDEO)
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Many of you may have been watching programmes from the It's A Mad World Season on BBC3, regardless of some of the poor naming decisions (Mad? Broken?). After Diaries of a Broken Mind was aired I could not believe the amount of positive reception that came from the show. People were actually congratulating me for being involved, as opposed to throwing around the kind of words that myself and the other contributors were expecting. I felt as though we had all done a great thing for mental health awareness, but now I had the itch... After talking with a fellow agoraphobic (James) on Twitter, we came up with an idea that would push this awareness even further. What if everyone could have their stories heard and shared? What if they could all receive that positivity? We wanted to create a Diaries of a Broken Mind style campaign but on a much grander scale. Cheekily pinching the original title of the documentary, Minds Like Ours, we broadcast our idea on Twitter and the response w ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
REVIEW: Derren Brown: Infamous at Hull New Theatre
Birdlington Free Pass - over 3 years
Derren Brown, the master of misdirection and star of many a Channel 4 spectacular, is back with a brand new live show.
Article Link:
Birdlington Free Pass article
Derren Brown, BIC
Daily Echo - over 3 years
If you've ever seen him live, you'll understand when I say that I can't actually tell you about anything that happened at Derren Brown's show at the BIC. But I can say there were gasps, shocks, a lot of laughs and a whacking great dollop of " but.. how... No. What?"
Article Link:
Daily Echo article
Peter Rollins: You May Not Believe in Ghosts, But Are You Scared of Them?
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
The great Illusionist Derren Brown recently asked a group of people to bring the picture of a loved one to a gathering (a cheap copy rather than some original). When people arrived at the venue with their pictures he held up a Satanic Bible and described an 11th century rite contained within it. The rite itself was for people who wished to declare their allegiance to the devil. In exchange they would gain the protection of Satan, however it also meant that he would own their soul in the afterlife, torturing it for all eternity. Part of the rite involved repeatedly stabbing the picture of a loved one while reciting some lines. What was interesting was the huge disparity between those who did not believe in the devil, or the idea that stabbing a picture of a loved one could have any effect whatsoever, and those who were willing to do the simple rite (a phenomenon well known in psychology). There were 160 people in the room but only 11 were willing to undergo the rite. T ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Stage is set for mystery man Derren Brown at the BIC
Daily Echo - almost 4 years
HE’S unnerved and bamboozled fans with his mind-bending trickery and Derren Brown will be impressing audiences when he comes to the BIC Windsor Hall for a series of live shows this summer.
Article Link:
Daily Echo article
Magicians star talks Mastermind, Come Dine With Me and Derren Brown
Bucks Free Press - about 4 years
BEING mates with Derren Brown, having a Saturday night BBC show and winning Mastermind - things are going pretty well for comic/magician Pete Firman.
Article Link:
Bucks Free Press article
Derren Brown insists Bucks man 'not an actor'
Bucks Free Press - over 4 years
DERREN Brown has hit back at claims his latest TV stunt was faked using an actor.
Article Link:
Bucks Free Press article
Derren Brown duped: TV illusionist's cleaner made £33,000 disappear from his account
Daily Mail (UK) - over 4 years
Rocio Pavon-Navarrete (pictured left), 47, today pleaded guilty to stealing two cheques from the home of TV illusionist Derren Brown (right) so that more than £33,000 could be plundered from his account.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Failed to predict theatre problems
The Bucks Herald - over 4 years
Bosses at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre have apologised for moving five customers’ seats just hours before Derren Brown’s opening night.
Article Link:
The Bucks Herald article
Derren Brown: Svengali (review)
Advertiser & Review - over 4 years
CAN you keep a secret? Well the audiences which have been held spellbound by the dazzling brilliance of master illusionist Derren Brown certainly can.
Article Link:
Advertiser & Review article
REVIEW: Derren Brown comes to Aylesbury
The Bucks Herald - over 4 years
Ilusionist Derren Brown brings his Svengali stage show to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre this week.
Article Link:
The Bucks Herald article
It’s ‘Appropriate Adult’ Night At The 2012 BAFTA TV Awards
BBC Blogs- America - over 4 years
Emily Watson and Dominic West in Appropriate Adult OK, possibly that headline overstates the case a smidge, but tonight’s BAFTA TV awards did see Appropriate Adult, the dramatisation of the lives of serial killers Fred and Rosemary West score three of the most notable trophies, and against some phenomenal competition. Dominic West (no relation) took the Leading Actor award, which would be impressive enough, had Emily Watson not taken Leading Actress, AND Monica Dolan walked off with Supporting Actress. Dominic and Monica both made serious points about the wider implications of depicting these truly awful crimes, with Monica ended her tearful acceptance speech by pointing out that “some of the girls that went missing had been unreported for 25 years. I’d like to live in world where everyone is missed.” Oh and because he was up against a certain beanpole detective from Baker Street, Dominic’s speech began with a humble thought: “even my sister was rooting for Benedict. She’s wa ...
Article Link:
BBC Blogs- America article
Hulu snaps up Derren Brown series
Broadcast - over 4 years
A unique mix of Derren Brown content featuring stunts, performances and magic from different shows is being made available to American VoD viewers through Hulu.
Article Link:
Broadcast article
Objective magics up first order from Discovery
Broadcast - almost 5 years
Objective Productions, known for producing illusionist Derren Brown’s shows, has won its first order from Discovery Networks International to make a global series which combines magic with science.
Article Link:
Broadcast article
Lots to see and do for those with time on their hands (or kids!)
The Bucks Herald - almost 5 years
ILLUSIONIST Derren Brown, musical South Pacific, live music and an open air cinema – just some of the highlights on offer in the Vale over the next seven days.
Article Link:
The Bucks Herald article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Derren Brown
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    Age 44
    Brown created a new dark ride at the Thorpe Park amusement park, which opened on 8 July 2016. "Derren Brown's Ghost Train" is set aboard an old train carriage in an abandoned warehouse.
    More Details Hide Details It is expected that the experience will last around 13 minutes and is Thorpe Park's most expensive ride experience.
  • 2013
    Age 41
    In January 2013, Brown was featured in a Channel 4 Deal or No Deal special, where he appeared to have predicted all the correct boxes, to win the big jackpot of £250,000.
    More Details Hide Details This was filmed as part of the Channel 4 Mashup. Brown uses a variety of methods to achieve his illusions including traditional magic/conjuring techniques, memory techniques, hypnosis, body language reading, cognitive psychology, cold reading and psychological, subliminal (specifically the use of PWA – "perception without awareness") and ideomotor suggestion.
    In 2013, Brown said "Controversy has never interested me for its own sake.
    More Details Hide Details It's always been about doing stuff that feels dramatic." Public complaints that Russian Roullette was distasteful, made light of suicide and promoted gun culture were ultimately rejected by the regulator the Broadcast Standards Commission, on the basis that the context (a post-watershed magic show) and warnings given were sufficient, plus the use of a 15-minute delay would have ensured no viewer would have seen the result of any mistake. The police had also warned that the show might inspire copycat acts. Seance received 487 complaints to Channel 4 and 208 to OFCOM, making it the third most complained about show in history. Most were from church groups and came before transmission, i.e. before it was revealed that the attempt to contact the dead was a hoax. The show was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. The GMB union criticised Heist on behalf of security workers, arguing it was "irresponsible and insensitive" in light of increased attacks on staff. Channel 4 responded by arguing that it was made "very clear that attempting any form of robbery was criminal behaviour."
  • THIRTIES
  • 2011
    Age 39
    In January 2011, to celebrate ten years since his first television appearance, Channel 4 held a special Derren Brown Night.
    More Details Hide Details As well as re-showing The Heist (which won a recent poll of favourite specials) and one of his Enigma Live shows the channel screened a special documentary; Derren Brown: Behind The Mischief, a personal and candid film about Brown. The documentary included the story of how he met his co-writer (who was featured in Seance), his mother's feelings about his involvement in Russian Roulette, and an emotional visit back to his old school, university and the Bristol bars where he first began his close-up magic. Celebrities contributors included Matt Lucas, Jo Whiley, Stephen Merchant, and Simon Pegg.
  • 2010
    Age 38
    In 2010, Brown appeared in a special Comedy Gala for Channel four and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
    More Details Hide Details He appeared with Kevin Bishop, who played his jealous annoying twin 'Darren'.
  • 2009
    Age 37
    In 2009, a book, Portraits, was released containing a selection of Brown's paintings and bizarre caricatures of celebrities.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2008
    Age 36
    In 2008, Brown provided caricatures for "The QI "F" annual".
    More Details Hide Details
    In 2008, Brown made a guest acting appearance in BBC Four's Crooked House as Sir Roger Widdowson.
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  • 2007
    Age 35
    Brown came out as gay in 2007, and is in a long term relationship with a designer.
    More Details Hide Details He came out late in life—his parents were not practicising Christians, but they sent him to Bible classes from age 5, believing it was the right thing to do. In an effort to deal with issues of self-esteem and sexuality, Brown became a committed Evangelical Christian in his teens in order to present a confident, asexual, character. After he came to the conclusion that his belief in Christianity had no basis, by his twenties he had become a committed atheist, and he instead turned to the character of the eccentric, caped magician to fulfill the role. Since 2004, Brown has been the patron of the registered charity the Parrot Zoo Trust in Friskney, Lincolnshire. In an interview with LeftLion magazine, he said, "I'm a big fan of parrots – I think they're fascinating creatures. Many of them live for longer than us humans and it's interesting to me the way they learn to mimic human voices even though they don't really comprehend what they're saying."
    Many of Brown's shows have generated controversy. In 2007, BBC News listed two of Brown's shows (Russian Roulette and Seance) in a list of examples of Channel 4's "legacy of controversy".
    More Details Hide Details
    In 2007, Brown performed in the short film Medium Rare.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2005
    Age 33
    In an interview in New Scientist in 2005, when asked how he "acquired his psychological skills", Brown says that he learnt skills as a hypnotist, which he was not sure how to apply until he started performing close-up magic.
    More Details Hide Details When asked whether he is able to detect lies, Brown claimed to be able to read subtle cues such as a micro-muscle movements that indicate to him if someone is lying. Concerning his apparent success at hypnotizing people, he stated that he can normally spot a suggestible type of person and chooses that person to be his participant. He believes that the presence of a television camera also increases suggestibility. Several authors have claimed that Brown uses neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in his act which "consists of a range of magical 'tricks', misdirection and, most intriguing, setting up audiences to provide the response that he wishes them to provide by using subtle subliminal cues in his conversation with them." In response to the accusation that he unfairly claims to be using NLP whenever he performs, Brown writes "The truth is I have never mentioned it outside of my book". Brown does have an off-stage curiosity about the system, and discusses it in the larger context of hypnotism and suggestion. In his book Tricks of the Mind, Brown mentions that he attended an NLP course with Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP and mentor of Paul McKenna. He also describes the NLP concept of eye accessing cues as a technique of "limited use" in his book Pure Effect. The language patterns which he uses to suggest behaviours are very similar in style to those used by Richard Bandler and by the hypnotist from whom Bandler learnt his skill, Milton H. Erickson.
  • TWENTIES
  • 2000
    Age 28
    This gave him his breakthrough show, Mind Control, in 2000, and Brown went on to become their first award-winning product.
    More Details Hide Details After several further shows with Objective, Brown set up his own company Vaudeville Productions with former Objective executives Michael Vine, Andrew O’Connor and Paul Sandler, in order to produce his own shows as well as other projects with other performers, both new and established. Its first show was Brown's TV special, Pushed to the Edge. Brown has written four books on magic: Absolute Magic, Pure Effect, Tricks of the Mind, and Confessions of a Conjuror. The first two books he penned are intended solely for practitioners of magic and mentalism, whilst his books Tricks of the Mind and Confessions of a Conjuror are aimed at the general public. Absolute Magic, subtitled A Model for Powerful Close-Up Performance, is not so much about magical methodology as about how magicians can make their performances magical; it is written in a variety of styles: sometimes humorous, sometimes serious. He warns against an act that conveys the feeling of "Here are some tricks I've bought" and urges magicians to make their performances experiential and memorable by involving the audience. In some respects a lot of what he says is evocative of the content of Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic but his book expresses it in the context of his experiences, performance style and theories of how performance should be. (Out of print)
    Since his television debut with Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, he has produced several other shows both for the stage, and for television in both series and specials.
    More Details Hide Details He has also written books for magicians as well as the general public. Brown does not claim to possess any super-natural powers, indeed his acts are often designed to expose the methods of those who do, such as faith healers and mediums. He makes clear in his performances that all of his apparent abilities, which manifest on stage/screen as feats of memory, intuition, mind-reading and control of other objects/people, are achieved through a variety of psychological means, such as hypnosis, suggestion, cold reading, misdirection, and showmanship, and in many cases he will often give detailed explanations of his specific methods during or after the performance. In some performances he also uses his techniques to explore issues of personality such as fears and motivation. Brown was born in Croydon, Surrey to Chris and Bob and has a brother nine years his junior. Brown was privately educated at Whitgift School in South Croydon (where his father coached swimming), and studied Law and German at the University of Bristol. While there, he attended a hypnotist show by Martin S Taylor, which inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career. Whilst an undergraduate, he started working as a conjuror, performing the traditional skills of close-up magic in bars and restaurants.
  • 1992
    Age 20
    In 1992, he started performing stage shows at the University of Bristol under the stage name Darren V. Brown.
    More Details Hide Details Brown cites magician and comedian Jerry Sadowitz, whom he met at the International Magic shop in Clerkenwell, London, as being instrumental in his rise to stardom. Sadowitz put him in touch with H&R publishers and Objective Productions, a production company founded by the television magician Andrew O'Connor.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1971
    Born
    Born on February 27, 1971.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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