Derren Brown returns to our screens with "The Experiments", a brand new four part series for Channel 4. Each stand-alone episode asks and answers a single question featuring the usual inventive and jaw dropping Derren Brown mixture of stunts, suggestion and thought-provoking entertainment combined with tried and tested psychological experiments to illustrate how easily our behaviour can be manipulated.
Runtime: 50 minutes
Derren Brown: The Experiments - Derren Brown - Netflix
Derren Brown (born 27 February 1971) is an English mentalist and illusionist. Since his television debut with Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, he has produced several other shows for the stage and television in both series and specials. He has also written books for magicians as well as the general public. Brown does not claim to possess any supernatural powers and his acts are often designed to expose the methods of those who do, such as faith healers and mediums. In his performances he often expresses that his effects are achieved through “magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship”.
Derren Brown: The Experiments - Controversy - Netflix
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”. In 2013, Brown said “Controversy has never interested me for its own sake. It's always been about doing stuff that feels dramatic.” Public complaints that Russian Roulette was distasteful, made light of suicide and promoted gun culture were ultimately rejected by the regulatory authority, Ofcom (successor to the Broadcast Standards Commission), on the basis that the context (a post-watershed magic show) and warnings given were sufficient; additionally, 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.” An episode of Trick or Treat caused charity Cats Protection to complain and news reports to label Brown a “cat killer”, after he appeared to convince someone to press a button even though they thought it would electrocute a kitten inside a metal box. Brown responded by arguing they had misunderstood the trick (the box wasn't wired up), and he “wasn’t glorifying cruelty to cats. People would have been hard-pressed to recreate the electrocution device at home even if they wanted to.” Another episode which saw someone hypnotised into thinking they had been killed in a car crash after not wearing a seatbelt was criticised by a road safety charity, who alleged it trivialised the issue. Ofcom received 11 complaints and began an investigation relating to the safety of a scene in Hero at 30,000 Feet, in which the subject was shown chained to a railway line in order to escape from an oncoming train. Psychic Joe Power, the subject of episode 1 of Derren Brown Investigates (“The Man Who Contacts the Dead”), complained to Ofcom about being misled and treated unfairly, and that the programme “presented, disregarded or omitted material facts”. He also alleged he had received threats from sceptics and had to move home because of it. Ofcom rejected his complaint on the basis that Power had been fully apprised of the sceptical nature of the programme, and his actions had been presented fairly. Several viewers complained that the subject of Apocalypse was an actor, with reports pointing to evidence that he had a link to a professional actors’ website on his Twitter page and that he looked like another actor in a noodle advert, which Brown initially dismissed as conspiracy theories and then debunked by identifying the actor in question.
Derren Brown: The Experiments - References - Netflix