Derren Brown: TV Specials

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DERREN BROWN: An Evening of Wonders broadcast on C4 on 13 January, 2009

Act I

  • The audience are shown a locked box being hoisted up above the stage where it remains suspended and DB tells them to keep an eye on it as it will be important at the end of the show.
  • DB tells the audience he has two perspex boxes in the wings: one covered with a blue cloth, one with a green. One box contains a fan of ten 50 notes, the other contains 5000. DB will ask for a box to be brought to the save and an audience member will have to guess which it is; if they get it right, they get the money. DB selects a member of the audience and asks him a series of questions as a result of which a box is brought out. DB talks about the logic behind the spec's choice of whether it contains 500 or 5000 thereby confusing him. The spec says 5000 but DB gives him the rest of the show to change his mind.
  • DB puts a banana on a table by the wing and tells the audience that at some point during the show a man in a gorilla costume will come on stage and take it, but that he expects most of the audience not to notice.
  • Another six volunteers are selected with the frisbee and lined up in a row on stage; DB pays particular attention to the order and numbers the six volunteers. Each then writes the name of an object on a sheet of paper and puts the paper in their pocket in anticipation of a game of 'Twenty Questions'. While the volunteers are writing their objects, DB introduces the game of 'hole tempting' to the audience. DB then asks the first volunteer some questions and identifies their object successfully. He then picks the next three volunteers and asks them each the same set of questions and successfully identifies their objects. The sixth volunteer is sent back to their seat and DB tells the fifth and now final volunteer to answer the questions silently in their head and DB will pick up on her signals; he correctly identifies her object after a series of questions. At then end of the effect, DB points out that the gorilla has been and taken the banana.
  • DB gives the box chooser an oportunity to change their mind; they do not.
  • DB uses the frisbee to pick a volunteer who will be able to telephone a male relative to take part in the next effect. DB then explains the volunteer is to telephone the relative and ask some questions, the final of which will be to give a three digit number; DB writes a number on a flip chart as the digits that the relative will give and offers 10 if he gets the digits wrong. The relative is asked to give three numbers and then a further three. The numbers do not match DB's prediction so DB gives the volunteer the 10 for failing to predict the number. DB tells the volunteer to open the folded 10 note and the serial number of the note is revealed to be the six digits provided by the relative over the phone.
  • A volunteer is chosen to keep an eye on the box lifted above the stage during the interval. DB also introduces the idea of the Oracle Act to the audience in which people wrote a question and sealed it inside an envelope on which they wrote their initials and the row on which they were sitting. The enevelopes would be brought onto stage and placed in a bowl. The Oracle would take an envelope and deduce the question, and if the performer got it right they would endeavour to answer the question correctly. Volunteers are then encouraged to complete an envelope and return them to the stage during the interval.
  • The box picking volunteer is given a final chance to make their choice and sticks with the 5000; the box is shown to contain 500. DB picks up the flip chart which now reads 'Why does everyone say 5000' and carries across the stage. As he does, the gorilla comes on stage and takes the banana. The gorilla removes the head of the costume and DB is shown to be inside the costume as he sends the audience to the interval.

Act II

  • DB talks about the difficulty and intensity of the Oracle Act as it was performed in the 1920s and 30s and the fact that it died out of fashion. DB uses the frisbees to pick ten volunteers; as they come on stage they all have to collect a weight on a string. All the volunteers hold the string out at arm's length and DB talks to them about imagining the weight moving from side to side and then around in a circle; most of the volunteers weight move as DB suggests.
  • Four of the volunteers are positioned around a table they have checked to ensure it is a normal table. They all rest their hands on the table and the names of two deceased people are written on slips of paper and put in the name box on the table. DB talks about an energy moving the table and suddenly the table moves and spins around on stage and appears to respond to instructions from volunteers positioned at either side of the stage. DB talks a little about the use of table tipping at seances in the Victorian era, and Arthur Conan Doyle's interest in the subject. One volunteer is asked about the person who had passed away they were thinking of and is asked to write it down and put the paper in their pocket. The single volunteer is then presented with a table which appears to move on its own, even when just held by the corners of its tablecloth, and rises above the stage. The name is then put in the name box and when the deceased's name is spoken the table jerks upwards suddenly.
  • DB reintroduces the Oracle Act and declares the he does not believe he has any psychic ability. DB picks an envelope, gives the writer some personal details and identifies the question successfully and talks about the responsibility of psychics discussion the future. A second envelope is selected which DB claims will contain a personal insult, it is thrown to an audience member who opens it and DB is shown to be correct. DB picks another envelope and successfully reveals more information about the writer. A fourth envelope is picked and again information is correctly and successfully revealed about the writer.
  • Members of the audience are asked to find personal objects and without looking one is picked and DB reveals some information about them and the object they have selected.
  • DB removes his radio mic and blindfolds himself. An audience member is told to write down a three digit number and pass the pad backwards for someone else to write down another three digit number and to repeat this for a few people. While they are doing that, DB tells the audience to think of questions and aim the thoughts at him. DB picks the thoughts of an audience member and correctly reveals information about them and the question they had. The numbers are added up. DB picks the thoughts of another audience member and reveals their question. Two further audience members are then identified and their thoughts are revealed. DB picks another audience member's thoughts and then starts calling for water to be brought to the stage as he appears to be sufferring in some way, but he continues to reveal information successfully; he then collapses and the curtain falls. DB's voice is then heard explaining that is how performers finished the Oracle Act and how he's finishing.


  • DB remembers the box above the stage and stops the applause and music. He writes a number on a card out of the audiene's sight and a volunteer who is closest to his number is chosen to come on stage. The box is lowered and opened and it is shown to contain a rolled up paper. DB explains that before the show he entered a trance-like state and wrote down free associated words that he thinks will happen during the show. The sheet is unrolled and words featuring from throughout the show are revealed including lots of details about the final volunteer selected. The applause is stopped again as DB remembers the numbers that were added up but claims to be unable to work out the total; however, a close up on a badge DB has been wearing all evening shows the four digit totalled number is also the date of the evening's show.

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