Derren Brown: TV Series

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Series Five: Derren Brown: Trick or Treat broadcast on C4 and E4 from April 2007

Programme One: Friday 13 April (C4) and Tuesday 17 April (E4), 2007 TVWatch on 4OD

  • Victim: Richard, 20 year old student from Wolverhampton.
  • DB visits Richard at 3am, gets him to sign a disclaimer and pick a 'Trick' or 'Treat' card (the cards are ambigrams which read 'Trick' one way up and 'Treat' the other). DB shows the card indicating that he selected 'Trick', and DB explains to the viewers that the trick will be for Richard to collapse asleep in London, and awake 1500 miles away in Morocco without any explanation or awareness of the journey.
  • DB welcomes The League of Gentlemen into a room in Bloomsbury and asks each to select one of five chocolate minirolls from a plate with the last Gentleman selecting one and pocketing the other. The Gentlemen are then each asked to pick a seat and sit down. DB then lays four cards each containing a message face down on the table and each Gentleman picks a card and memorises their message. DB then discusses fate with them and brings the conversation back to their choice of chairs and cards. The first Gentleman reveals his message saying that he would pick blue: DB tells him to remove a card from underneath his chair which is shown to be blue. The other Gentlemen's messages are revealed and all are shown to match the cards under their seats. DB tells a story from a childhood about fate and injury, and then asks the Gentleman to open their minirolls and take a bite from them. The final miniroll is then brought to the table and opened by the last Gentleman who is given protective gloves. He breaks the final miniroll into sections and it is shown to contain a razor blade. The Gentlemen are left pondering their choices.
  • Return to Richard and the start of his journey: it is early morning and Richard is heading to a railway station but stops in a photo booth planted by DB for passport photos. When he deposits the money he hears DB's voice and coloured lights flash; he appears to fall asleep. DB describes the complementary lights and sounds as being designed to send Richard into a cata tonic state. Richard and the fake photo booth are then removed and taken to Heathrow Airport. Richard is checked into a flight and a series of photographs show DB pushing Richard in a wheelchair through the airport.
  • Street work in New York: DB approaches a group of students and one is asked to phone a friend of theirs. DB speaks to the friend, Joe, on speakerphone asking various questions. DB tells Joe to be imagining writing a word, saying the word repeatedly in his mind, and doing it all without really thinking about it, and then writes a word on a pad. Joe reveals his word as 'Bicycle', DB turns his pad around and the word 'Tricycle' is written there.
  • DB, Richard, and the fake photo booth are shown to have arrived in Marrakech and Richard is put in the photo booth in a shop in a market in Marrakech. Richard wakes up and is highly confused and bewildered by his surroundings. He wanders around clearly trying to make sense of his experience. DB explains that he has had his return flight ticket for the next day and money put in his pocket. Silent movie-style text screens tell the viewers that Richard was followed during the evening to make sure he was safe, and that he was met at the airport the next day where everything was explained to him.

Programme Two: Friday 20 April (C4) and Tuesday 24 April (E4), 2007 TVWatch on 4OD

  • Victim: Andy, 31 year old IT Consultant from London.
  • At a special cinema screening DB appears on screen to get Andy to choose his 'Trick' or 'Treat' card. DB shows the chosen card, 'Trick'.
  • DB introduces The Chapman Brothers, Jake and Dinos, who have brought one of their paintings, 'Arachnokitty', valued at 100,000 with them. DB them meets Adrian Searle (Guardian Art Critic) and watches him walk away and back towards him. Three wrapped paintings on easels are then shown, one of which is 'Arachnokitty', although the Brothers do not know which is which. DB then proceeds to swap the wrapped paintings around. AS is brought to face the easels and given a knife. DB stands behind the easels and faces away, Adrian is told to walk to one of the pictures, stab the knife into the parcel and slash it diagonally on DB's instructions. AS choses one to stand in front of, stabs it and slashes. He then opens the package and the canvas is blank. He moves to another picture, stabs and slashes it. The third parcel is opened and it is shown to be 'Arachnokitty'.
  • Return to Andy and DB explains he is going to set up a sense of split personality for him. Andy is shown in confrontations on the street and being asked for money: all of the situations make reference to dummies.
  • Paying with Paper in New York: DB enters a fishmongers a buys three sole fillets and appears to have successfully paid the $18.50 with a blank piece of paper the size of a dollar bill. He then tries this with a hotdog vendor and fails miserably. However his final transaction is in a jewellers and he appears to pay successfully for a $4500 platinum ring with more blank bills.
  • DB meets Richard, dressed in a black suit and tie, in an unused Music Hall. A show is put on for Andy starting with an exotic dancer, Ophelia Bitz, who had appeared in the film in the cinema. A case is brought to the stage and the next act is introduced as Mr Miggs the Mind Reading Doll. DB comes onto stage and takes a ventiloquist's dummy, Mr Miggs, from the case. Andy comes to the stage to help with the act: he thinks of a question to ask Mr Miggs to which no-one will know the answer. Mr Miggs correctly tells Andy his mother's maiden name. Andy then has to think of an object, and Mr Miggs's lips move but the audience does not hear an answer, although Andy has heard him say, correctly, "a vase of flowers". Andy then repeats the answer in Mr Miggs's voice. Andy then thinks of a memory of which he is embarrassed. He is told to come closer to Mr Miggs and put an arm around the dummy's shoulder. As Mr Miggs's lips move, Andy is saying the words to relate his memory in Mr Miggs's voice. DB then concludes the act and puts Mr Miggs back in the case, but as he does Andy, still using Mr Miggs's voice asks "What are you doing?", and wants to be let out of the box as he cannot see anything as DB closes the case on Mr Miggs. Andy is then left alone on stage unable to see anything, and clearly getting increasinly distressed. Silent movie-style screens tell the viewers that there were no negative after effects for Andy and he left feeling exhilarated and pleased to have been involved.
  • Music InformationDead Souls
    The Tiger Lillies
    Buy Song

Programme Three: Friday 27 April (C4) and Tuesday 1 May (E4), 2007 TVWatch on 4OD

  • Victim: Anne, 75 year old woman from London.
  • Anne is on a substitute bus which gets driven to a secluded spot, the other passengers get off leaving Anne alone. DB enters the bus to get Anne to choose her 'Trick' or 'Treat' card. DB shows the chosen card, 'Treat'.
  • DB pretends to be a waxwork of himself at Madame Tussauds: people standing looking at him her a soundtrack of DB talking to them suggesting they will become like one of the waxworks too. Shots are shown of various members of the public standing rooted to the spot, apparently asleep, in front of the fake waxwork. DB then moves away from the stand and the people are left standing and eventually waking up.
  • Return to Anne and DB explains he she is going to learn how to play Poker and play at a professional level in a week's time. DB starts teaching her the rules of Poker, skills to tell which cards people are holding, and giving her the confidence to believe in her skills.
  • Back to Anne showing her practising Poker informally at home, and then DB discusses detecting bluffing with her. To practise this she does an exercise sorting cards into high or low numbers: when another player describes the card they are holding as high or low and she has to detect the bluffs and truths.
  • Colour Blind in Las Vegas: DB works with one of a group of three girls. Firstly she thinks about something she is unsure about, and secondly something that she is sure about. DB appears to use the NLP technique of anchoring to anchor these feelings. DB gives her four coloured cards and she names the colours as the cards are laid on the table (blue, green, yellow, red). DB then discusses the colours and she is persuaded the blue card is "not definately" blue. She then says the yellow card is "not completely" yellow, and then says that the yellow card is in fact read. She then names the same colours again: blue, green, red, black. They then go outside to find her car which is clearly red, while she recognises the car and number plate but does not understand who has painted it black. She then identifies a yellow Hummer as red.
  • DB introduces the game that Anne will be playing in, sponsored by the Poker magazine Bluff Europe promoters of televised tournaments. The other players are told that game is part of a documentary and that Anne has, as a non-Poker player, had a week's training in reading body language to help her win. DB meets Anne before the game and gives her some last minute advice and reintroduces her heightened state of awareness. The match commentators talk about Anne's chances negatively suggesting that, from the six players, she will not come close to the last two prize winning places as the other players are all proven professionals. Anne is shown calling one of the professionals and winning resulting in him leaving the table, and then still playing 30 minutes later by which time two more professionals had left the table. She is then shown knocking another player from the table meaning only her and a final opponent remain, guaranteeing her one of the cash prizes. The game comes to a final hand and Anne goes all in on a stong hand, but a luck of the game meant that she lost the hand finishing in second place with a 1000 prize.

Programme Four: Friday 4 May (C4) and Tuesday 8 May (E4), 2007 TVWatch on 4OD

  • Victim: Yshani, 21 year old student from London.
  • Yshani is taken to a restaurant with a friend, and then the lights dim and all the other guest leave suddenly. DB enters sits at Yshani's table for her to choose her 'Trick' or 'Treat' card. The chosen card is not shown to the audience.
  • DB meets Simon Callow at Compton Verney, an art gallery, in Warwickshire. DB shows SC an exhibition of his own work, which includes a picture of SC, and discusses the importance of eyes in a portrait. SC then has to look into DB's eyes and DB tries to transmit a word to him. SC names the first letter correctly, then fails on the second letter, but gets it right on his second attempt. At DB's prompt SC then gives the whole word: road. They then return to SC's portrait, and under the eye of the portrait the word 'road' is shown to have been painted.
  • Return to Yshani, and DB describes her as lacking confidence, and becoming disillusioned with her college work. DB describes how he has to make her forget her current state, and create a new one in which she believes anything is possible. She then claims that she has basic pianistic skills, and she attempts to play 'Chopsticks' on the piano. DB then tells her she is going to be giving a concert recital in a week's time at the Wigmore Hall. She then listens to the piece she will be playing, with DB using techniques working on several "levels".
  • Back to Yshani and DB is showing her how notes on manuscript relate to the piano keyboard, using "subliminal technqiues" throughout the session.
  • Gallagher's Steak House in New York - Psychic Waiter: DB approaches a dining couple and tells them the starters, main courses, and pudding they were planning to order, including how the steak should be cooked. DB is then shown with another couple telling them details about their lives that he should not be able to know.
  • Return to Yshani, and she is shown discussing whether she picked a trick or treat with a friend; she concludes she picked a treat. DB then meets her at the Wigmore Hall where she is seen to be nervous about her performance and unwilling to perform. She is called to the stage and sits down at the piano. She starts playing, but stops after a few notes. She pauses, and then starts playing again this time giving a full concert performance of the piece. A series of soundbites are then shown with members of the public amazed at the fact she had not played before the performance. DB and Yshani are then shown chatting, and DB tells her that she has been a pianist all her life, and his training was to make her forget she could play to remove the feelings of disillusionment she was currently experiencing. He explains it was a treat to help her, and comments on her bravery in getting up and performing as "in her head she had never played the piano before".

Programme Five: Friday 11 May (C4) and Tuesday 15 May (E4), 2007 TVWatch on 4OD

  • Victim: Stephen, "something of a conformist who lives an ordered life and is used to doing what he is told".
  • Stephen is introduced and it is explained that he will be treading the "fine line between sanity and madness". He is shown in the back of a black cab which should be taking him to a tube station, but the driver ignores him taking him to a dark ally. Stephen phones the Police and becomes increasingly panicked. DB enters the cab and speaks to the Police on the phone, and Stephen signs his contract. DB then shows the two cards to the camera and reveals the ambigram and the fact that Stephen will be choosing 'Trick'.
  • DB meets Martin Freeman and discusses crystal energy; DB explains what he sees as the elements of truth in crystal theories. MF picks up a mug using two fingers on the rim, and the tries to do this again with a crystal on the back of his hand. As DB talks to him he tries to pick the mug up but finds difficult and describes the mug as being stupidly heavy. MF then holds the crystal in his left hand, and is unable to pick a pencil up from DB's hand with his right hand. DB then takes MF's mobile phone, and holds it on the back of MF's neck as someone calls the number. MF then tries to pick up a plate of sandwiches from the table but fails until DB moves the phone away from him. DB then explains that everything he said about crystals and mobile phones was nonsense, but MF had to believe it for the duration of the effect.
  • Return to Stephen, and he is shown wandering around Trafalgar Square where a woman is handing out maps to DB's location to people. Stephen is given a map, and DB expects him to follow it, but wants to make sure he is alert on arrival so makes the journey unnerving for Stephen. When he arrives at the room he finds instructions telling him to sit down and put on a pair of headphones. DB describes the series of sounds and lights as a "reprocessing technique" to send Stephen insane.
  • Emmigrant (sic) Saving Bank in Lower Manhattan - Wisdom of Crowds: DB introduces the game of guessing how many sweets in are in a jar to a crowd of workers from the bank. A volunteer is selected and she has to write down everyone's guess and writes her guess down; all of the other guesses are then written down. DB reveals that there were 136 sweets in the jar, and one person is shown to have guessed 136. She opens the jar and finds a scroll inside: she opens this and it is a prediction describing the one person who will have guessed correctly - the description matches the girl completely. DB returns to the list of numbers and calculates the mean of the numbers written down which is shown to equal 136. The sweets are then counted and there are shown to be 136.
  • Return to Stephen and a synopsis of his experience in which DB claims his normal social barriers were temporarily removed. The room also contains theatrical props, and Stephen dresses himself in a raincoat, puts on a long haired wig and false facial hair before going out to Trafalgar Square where the general public experience his "temporary lunacy". Stephen moves around gesticulating and shouting, and splashing in the fountain. The audience is told that after the effects wore off, DB ensured that Stephen had returned to his normal state and was absolutely fine.

Programme Six: Friday 18 May (C4) and Tuesday 22 May (E4), 2007 TVWatch on 4OD

  • Victim: Jules, 29 Psychologist from Surrey.
  • While Jules is having a drink with a friend, DB's team get into her car, prevent it from starting and install a hidden camera. When she returns to the car and tries to start it she is unable to, and a fleet of cars surround her in the car park. DB gets into her car and gives her the choice of the two cards. She chooses 'Trick'.
  • In Covent Garden DB is performing for a crowd: he shows them a hessian bag hanging from the roof which contains ten scrolls of paper with a word written on each. DB explains that the crowd, as a group, will spell out a word letter by letter, and the word will be one of the ones in the bag, but he is aiming for one in particular. One audience member, Liz, is selected and told the word to project to the group. As a group they then vote on numbers between one and ten: the chosen number is number seven. Liz's eyes are then shown on a large screen behind her. DB throws a ball into the crowd and the person who catches it gives the first letter, the ball is thrown again and another letter is given. This continues until the word 'salted' is spelt out. The bag is then lowered and ten people come forward to take a scroll out. Everyone apart from number seven open their scrolls and they are blank. Scroll seven is then opened and shown to read 'salted'.
  • Return to Jules, and she is shown driving and displaying bad driving habits. DB explains her trick will be to have an out of body experience and witness her own death in a car crash. To make the trick work the team need a double for her, and under the pretence of a spa treatment a special effects make up artist, Tom Lauten, casts a mask of her face.
  • A car sales lot in Queens, New York: DB meets three car salesmen and discusses the archetypal dishonest image of a car salesman. Each salesman is two give DB four facts about a different car but one has to be a lie. The first salesman's lie is picked correctly out of the four, and the second salesman's lie is identified before he has given all four. The final salesman is told just to think of the facts rather than say them aloud: DB identifies the first thought as the lie and then correctly describes elements of the thought.
  • Return to Jules and the scene for the car crash is set: actors are introduced as policeman, Jules's double is shown and they have all been told to ignore Jules. Jules is then shown driving along wearing a set of clothes sent to her by DB. She receives a phone call from DB who tells her to pull over, she does and appears to fall asleep at the wheel of the car. She is then taken to the crash location and will wake up looking at the scene, but stuck to the spot. A double of her car with her double sitting motionless in the driving seat is seen. The driver of the other car gets out and tries to speak to the double who does not react. Jules tries to speak to the driver but he appears not to be able to see or hear her. Jules watches as the scene unfolds with Police and an Ambulance attending, she is unable to communicate with anyone and can only watch with increasing distress as her double is removed from her car. The scene is cleared and Jules is left alone. A phone rings and she is able to move to her car. She gets into her car and answers the phone to hear DB. She apparently falls asleep again, and then the viewers see her waking up back in her car where she had stopped earlier. A slide tells viewers that everything was explained to Jules and that she was relieved to be alive, and that she has subsequently taken more care over her driving.

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