Man to play russian roulette live on TV

Nope. He was sat on the front row. Bad choice.

He saw an advert for it, and thought it would be something really interesting to do. Plus he loves Darren Brown. No behind the scenes goss unfortunatly. As I mentioned in my previous post, he was sat on the front row, and they all got asked to leave.

I liked Browns dismissal of you Da and the rest of the front row. “You’re a little too enthusiastic about shooting me in the head” :smiley:

Moving this to Cafe Society.

I saw the last half of this show. It was certainly quite a piece of TV, however it was done.

But I can’t help but think that his thought processes as he sat down in front of the gun must’ve been a lot like Vizzini’s discourse on the position of the Iocaine powder in The Princess Bride.

Shock horror: Was Derren shooting blanks?

According to Irish radio this morning, the chief of Jersey police (where he did the stunt) has said that it wouldn’t have been allowed to go ahead if there had been a live round in the gun.

More on this story as it develops.


Russian roulette TV stunt may have misled viewers

Jersey the Channel Island BTW. Just in case somebody starts coming in and takling about US gun laws :wink:

I’m not the only one who saw what happened when they fired a blank at that bottle, right? Wouldn’t a blank at that close range have killed him anyway?

A blank at that range would do serious damage but with a fake gun all bets are off.

The shot from the gun before the game of roulette could have been SFX squibs etc.

I really hope that it wasn’t bullshit. If it was I’m afraid Derren has lost all credibility, as he does not claim to be an illusionist.

Hopefully this is just bad blood or something similar between individuals or warring media groups :frowning:

A blank to the temple would certainly have caused serious injury if not death… but yojimbo’s article suggests it might not even have been a real gun.

If this is true, a) I’m ever-so-slightly disappointed, but b) it was still great telly.

Here’s the BBC’s take. Spoilsport copper!

I’m booking tickets to see him in Oxford next March anyway.

As others have said, the question of whether a ‘blank’ round was involved is beside the point. If the gun was real, but the bullet a blank, and all other conditions were as stated by Brown, the stunt would still be very dangerous. Blank bullets at point blank range would still cause considerable damage and could easily kill. Derren Brown, being a rich and successful illusionist, is (a) not going to put himself at risk, and (b) well-versed in the techniques needed to make this stunt safe.

Derren Brown’s speciality is an apparent ability to ‘read minds’, in the limited sense of being able to tell when somebody is lying, or which cup of six they’ve placed a bracelet underneath. His magic specials on TV are entertaining viewing and I recommend them if they ever appear on TV in your part of the world.

Brown uses a variety of techniques, some honest, some dishonest, to achieve his illusions. Cleverly, he occasionally ‘reveals’ the secret behind a trick, but these ‘revelations’ are no more to be trusted than any other part of his act.

For example, he once performed a trick in a car dealership where he asked people to make five statements, one of which was false. He identified the false statement. He ‘revealed’ his secret at the end of the trick, explaining that each person had certain physical tics (or ‘tells’, as poker players might call them) that indicate when they are lying- for example, looking up and to the left before answering, touching the nose, and so on. While there is something to this idea, it is far from being 100% reliable. It is not the whole story of how the trick works. More likely, it was a case of filming the stunt with 100 different people, and showing the 20 that worked best.

In another illusion, he asked two advertising creatives to come up with a campaign for a taxidermist. The idea that they came up with (‘Animal Heaven’) closely matched an idea that Brown had sealed in an envelope before the trick started. Again, after the trick, Brown ‘revealed’ the solution- the two creatives had been brought by taxi to the location where the trick was filmed, and en route had been unwittingly exposed to various visual representations of the ‘Animal Heaven’ idea- on T-shirts of passers-by, on posters, at the entrance to the zoo, and many others. Brown explained that the subconscious ‘planting’ of the idea had led the creatives to reproduce the idea. Sounds plausible, but subliminal cues of this kind are not nearly reliable enough to make the trick workable. I think in this case the explanation was more simple. The ad creatives were stooges.

This is not to say that all Brown’s tricks are fake. I’m perfectly happy to accept that he does have an unusual ability to read people. But he is an illusionist, and he is perfectly free to mix the honest and dishonest as he sees fit to produce entertaining TV.

So, back to the russian roulette. I was interested to note that when he asked the volunteer to choose one of the six numbered chambers of the revolver, his words were similar to the following.

“I want you to choose ONE of the numbers. Look at the numbers and choose ONE. When you have thought of the number, say that ONE again and again in your head. Choose any ONE of the numbers…”

… and so forth. The bullet was eventually found to have been loaded into chamber number 1. Brown will probably claim that he suggested the number 1 to the volunteer through his choice of words. This explanation will probably convince a lot of people. But again, it’s not sufficient. There is no way that Brown would stake his life on a parlour game suggestion technique like this.

Again, the most likely explanation is that the volunteer was a stooge. Another possible explanation is that some kind of fake gun was used (as some media sources are suggesting). Alternatively, the stunt could be edited to allow a substitution of the gun to take place, and then broadcast as ‘live’. Or some combination of the above, or any number of alternatives.

Please don’t misunderstand me- I enjoyed the show, and I admire Brown’s abilities and showmanship. But there is no way that he pointed a loaded gun at his head and pulled the trigger, based solely on psychological reading of the man who loaded the bullet. He’s an illusionist. It’s a trick.

Please tell me it ain’t so. :frowning:

Well, for what it’s worth, the police have confirmed no live ammunition was involved.

I’m wondering if there’s not another explanation: could the gun have had sensors in the different chambers that would detect which one had a bullet in it? Something as simple as a tiny electrical circuit that the bullet would complete. The gun could “communicate” this knowledge to Derren in any number of ways.

I don’t believe any magician is going to stake his life of the power of suggestion.

Of course, the “blanks” issue is pretty persuasive. But I think he could’ve done the trick even with live bullets, as long as it was a trick gun.


I think Derren’s management had better pre-empt tomorrow’s tabloid headlines* with a statement ASAP.

*Which will no doubt be something like FAKER or DERREN CLOWN or something.

This doesn’t mean, however, that it was a blank that was loaded into the gun. Others who have watched the show have made interesting observations:

  • when Brown fired the gun at chamber no. 1, we did not see the sandbag target. We did not see a second hole as ‘confirmation’ that a live round had just been fired. (Strange, this, and a bit of an oversight on Brown’s part- it would have been easy enough to arrange a second hole to be produced as the gun was fired)
  • we did not see the used round removed from the gun, as confirmation that a live (or blank) round had been fired. Again, a strange ‘omission’ on Brown’s part. This could suggest that the final gunshot was a pyrotechnic effect, rather than a round of ammunition.

BBC Radio 1 are now reporting that “the Jersey Police confirmed that Brown fired a blank round into his brain”. I guess nobody at Radio 1 watched the show.:wink: