Derren Brown: TV Specials

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DERREN BROWN: Miracles for Sale broadcast on C4 on 25 April, 2011

  • DB introduces the programme's purpose as revealing the true nature of the faith healing industry by taking a normal individual and turning them into a faith healer who will perform in Texas in six months' time.
  • DB shows the selection process for picking the member of the public he will train to be the faith healing preacher. Nathan, a scuba diving instructor is ultimately selected.
  • Nathan become Pastor James Collins (DB notes his initials are therefore JC) and a full background is provided for him, including his own Gifts of The Spirit Minstry. JC works with a variety of trainers who teach him basic Swahili, biblical texts and persentation skills. Some of the experts have previously been involved in faith healing and comment on some of the aspects of the system.
  • DB 'heals' a deaf woman and a blind man and then shows how he was able to 'heal' them. He then demonstrates a trick - apparently lots of examples can be found on YouTube - whereby a person's leg is apparently lengthened; again the workings of the trick are shown.
  • A clip shows how James Randi exposed Peter Popoff using an earpiece to receive information about people from prayer cards they filled in before the show; however, despite being declared bankrupt, Popoff is now back in business.
  • DB, JC and the crew arrive in the USA and begin promoting the healing event in a week's time.
  • They meet members of an organisation called "Trinity Foundation" who expose fraud in evangelical ministries; they explain the effects of TV evangelists on vulnerable people and support the process.
  • DB and JC meet Pastor Shaun who is leading a healing service; the service includes many of the tricks DB has referred to and the congregation duly donate money.
  • The team go the home of Kenneth Copeland to show the financial benefits that faith healers have; however, they are stopped by the local sheriff and given a criminal trespass warning.
  • They interview John Edwads, a former faith healer, who confirms how victims are selected and how adrenelin is a main factor in temporary pain relief.
  • They film a service carried out by Pastor V W Grant, who broadcasts his services online, secretly. Before the service, Grant asks his audience to complete contact cards which ask for personal details subsequently pretending to have supernatural knowledge about people in the audience.
  • JC practises his healing on the streets and is successful with every person he approaches, all of whom claim he has healed them; all of the people are later informed that JC is not a healer.
  • Pastor Shaun Pinder does the warm up for JC's healing show and it goes well: he uses all the techniques demonstrated throughout the programme and convinces his audience. However, at the point at which the faith healer would usually ask for donations, JC delivers a sermon about the deception of faith healing for money.
  • DB the programmes message and then as a postscript they revisit Paster V W Grant. This time Grant selects Derren to be healed and his slip on shoes allow for his leg to be lengthened by four inches: Praise God!

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