Derren Brown: TV Specials

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Something Wicked this Way Comes (DVD 2008)

Something Wicked this Way Comes contains material from the live stage show broadcast on C4.

DERREN BROWN: Something Wicked this Way Comes broadcast on C4 on 29 December, 2006 (taken from the 2005-6 stage show of the same name)

Act I

  • DB throws a stuffed toy into the audience to select his first volunteer who is then told to name an animal and come on stage to turn around a board to reveal a comedy drawing of a mixture of animals. The spectator is then given a combination locked briefcase, and told to try guessing the combination in the interval, as the briefcase's contents will be important at the end of the show. When the case is picked up there is a sealed envelope underneath it which, when opened, contains the name of the animal chosen at the start of the show.
  • The entire audience is told to think of the surname of the first person they had a crush on, and five audience members are chosen by the monkey to go up on stage. A bag containing four white balls and one black ball is introduced, and each spectator is instructed to take a ball from the bag and keep it to themselves. Each spectator is then told to write down the name of the first person they had a crush on. DB then asks them each a question: if they have a white ball they have to lie, but the spectator with the black ball has to tell the truth. DB duly discovers the liars and sends them back to their seat leaving the truth teller. DB then hypnotises the truth teller and reveals the spectator's chosen surname.

Act II

  • DB is seen sitting at a table with an empty chair opposite him. Without speaking he walks into the audience and takes a woman by the hand and leads her to the stage. They sit opposite each other and she is given a large nail to verify its authenticity. DB then hammers the nail up his nostril (in a performance of 'Blockhead') after which the audience member helps him to retrieve it. The nail is then hammered into a piece of wood and given to the spectator as a slightly gruesome reminder of the effect.
  • Music Information'Adagio un poco mosso' (second movement)
    from Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat (Op 73)

    Ludwig van Beethoven
    Buy Song
  • Two audience members are selected, and a plastic sheet is put on the stage and buckets of broken glass are poured over it, with empty wine bottles being smashed on stage and added to the layer of glass. DB mentions The Great Prestoni, a performer who could deprive his brain of oxygen in order not to feel pain so that he could walk over broken glass. One spectator takes his pulse and having established his pulse is present, DB puts a plastic bag over his head and apparently stops his own pulse. DB then walks backwards and forwards over the glass. He then lies face down on the glass, and the other spectator is guided to stand on DB's back. DB stands up, and the spectator feels his pulse return to normal to conclude the effect.
  • DB then tells a story about how he distracted himself from the pain of bullying at school by counting objects, and with this another audience member is selected and told to take a handful of buttons out of a bowl and put them on a tray. Both the bowl and tray are covered up, and the spectator is told to slap DB (in keeping with the story) after which the tray is uncovered and DB announces the number on buttons on the tray within a couple of seconds. The effect is then repeated with the spectator shaking the tray during the counting, but DB is still able to count the number of buttons correctly.
  • A selection of the day's newspapers is thrown into the audience, and the briefcase seen at the start is brought back to the stage and it remains locked. The spectator names random numbers which turn out to be the combination and the case is unlocked, but not opened. DB reads some headlines aloud, and the spectator then picks the page, column, and story. A member of the audience with the same page then rips their copy into small pieces and takes them to DB. The spectator is told to pick a number between 1 and 10 (as there are about ten pieces of paper), which turns out to be the word highlighted in a copy of the paper locked in the briefcase during the show.


  • DB shows an edited version of a recording of the evening's show which shows how several subliminal messages were planted in the script which all result in the selection of the paper, page number, and word.

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