Derren Brown Apocalypse, Fact or Fraud?
What this all leads to, of course, is picking the right person. Its all good knowing the tricks, but they cant be used on everyone. Different people have a different susceptibility than others for various reasons, so some people simply wouldnt buy it. By sending a tweet out to his followers to meet for auditions, Derren has immediately narrowed the field down to people that are at least open to the idea of what he does. From the years of experience hes had, hell quickly have a good idea on the perfect person and start setting things up there and then during the auditions. Steve is a great example of a suggestible person. From the clips of him at home you can see hes a typical 21 year old. Loves wrestling, zombie movies, football and beer, doesnt have a great deal of life experience, doesnt exactly seem to be the smartest of people (sorry to all the oven cleaners out there!) and definitely open to the idea of a zombie apocalypse (something a huge percentage of people believe these days, myself included!) From that point on, everything is fairly simple. Getting hidden cameras into his house is standard hidden camera show magic, and with his family on board hed have no reason to be suspicious. The biggest thing some people should be worried about is the ease with which his phone was hacked (simply for your own security), but once hes reading the articles on his phone/radio and TV about a meteor then why wouldnt he think it was real? Huge production budgets go a long way to making things believable, and this was one of the best Ive seen for a while (recently saw a terrible US hidden camera show where a woman screamed at a kid dressed in sticky coco pops for at least 5 minutes before realising the joke). All the hard work (in terms of convincing him) was done once he woke up in the bed, all they needed to do from then on is put on a good show, the actors were decent, and any faults from the actors or the set (for example stopping to listen to talkback) would easily have been ignored for the perceptional reasons I gave earlier, particularly in the intense situation. The final criticism Ive seen for the show is that of ethics. I saw it put quite succinctly on one of the forums Every A-level psychology student worth his salt would know that this wouldnt be allowed, it must be fake! Now, while Im glad theyre still teaching ethics in schools, and acknowledge that no psychological board would allow this because of the deceit involved (the Milgram experiment I mentioned earlier is expressly banned these days), this is not a psychological experiment, its an entertainment show on TV. And, as we know TV has no morals. In a world where The X-Factor regularly ruins peoples lives, Discovery channel is recreating the banned experiments of the 50s (including the Milgram experiment) and Channel4 has people popping pills live on air, I think were far beyond the moral boundary that would prevent Derren from doing this. He does try to justify the experience by giving the impression that his life will be improved. This is still to be seen, I'm sure it may have a short term positive effect but this is a red herring. Apocalypse is the modern day version of what Paul McKenna making you bark like a dog was 20 years ago, and let's love it for that. Itll hardly take a super sleuth to realise that Im a fan of Derrens work; personally I believe Apocalypse was run as they say it was (but maybe with a reveal at the end how he tempted Steve down certain routes) but ultimately the answer of whether its real or fake is down to you. Do you believe someone could be influenced in a way to accept this scenario? Would someone really act in that way during an apocalypse? Can Channel 4 risk the ethical consequences of this and the possibility of harming Steve? Can they risk the representational damage that would happen if evidence came out proving it a hoax? Or, and I think most importantly, why would Channel4 commission a show about convincing someone of the Apocalypse, only to go through all the expense and effort to put an actor through it and con the viewers?? Well, theres my opinion but theres a comments box below for a reason, so make sure you let us know what you think about Derren Browns Apocalypse. Dont miss part two on Friday at 9pm (Channel 4).