Derren’s number is up

Monday, September 7, 2009 by

Derren Brown is to predict Wednesday’s National Lottery numbers… live.

The precursor to his Events series airs this Wednesday (September 9) on Channel 4 at 10.35pm, the same time the National Lottery Draw transmits on BBC1. Brown’s stunt will then be followed up on Friday at 9pm with an hour-long show revealing how the illusion was achieved.

As ever, C4 has provided us with a corresponding trailer…


23 Responses to “Derren’s number is up”

  1. Rohan on September 7th, 2009 2:02 pm

    Wasn’t this a trick that formed part of an early Jonathan Creek episode?

    Presumably this would rely on shaving time somewhere. Assuming the lottery numbers are drawn live would the digital delay allow something like this to be done? I’ve got vague thoughts of the bookies that get super fast feeds of races to allow such shaving of time (or delays) to result in betfair winnings.

  2. Andy Elms on September 8th, 2009 7:59 am

    So, if he’s making his prediction live at 10.35pm, and the lottery numbers draw is broadcast at 10.35pm, my first question would be whether the draw broadcast goes out live…

    Although given that it’s described as an act of “misdirection”, I’m slightly worried the TV show is all a bluff and Paul Zennon’s going to nick my car or something.

  3. Jack Kibble-White on September 8th, 2009 12:51 pm

    Like Andy, I’ve got a suspicion that whatever the stunt actually is, it may well not be what is being advertised. I envisage some kind of entertaining “pulling the rug” reveal on the Friday show.

  4. David Bodycombe on September 9th, 2009 2:18 am

    Yes, it was in Jonathan Creek:

  5. Rohan on September 9th, 2009 2:32 pm

    “The BBC also insists that its midweek draw is shown without a time delay. The only sleight of hand involved is the use of recorded applause.

    A spokesman said: ‘The draw is independently verified, it is 100 per cent random and it goes out live.’ ”

    Mmmm. Well if it is as advertised its going to rely on some technology cheat…………or it will be as predicted above it will be something rather different than advertised.

    And why am I speculating about such matters?! Apart from the fact that Channel 4 has (successfully) spent most of the month’s advertising budget on this series………

  6. Chris Hughes on September 9th, 2009 3:23 pm

    I just want to point out that S4C are showing this at 11.40pm tonight, so there are going to be a lot of unimpressed people in Wales.

  7. Ian Jones on September 9th, 2009 11:07 pm

    Well, for a start he didn’t predict them. We didn’t see them until after the draw! And honestly, all those emotional histrionics – the ‘feeling sick’, the clutching his hand to his mouth, the stumbling over his lines… I know that’s part of his act, but the whole carry-on has more flair much when he’s playing Cool Derren instead of Hyper Derren.

  8. Mike Daniels on September 9th, 2009 11:19 pm

    How did he do it then, genius?

  9. Jill on September 10th, 2009 12:34 am

    Misdirection is the theme of the Events, isn’t it? If pushed, I’d guess that what we were shown on the left-hand side of the screen (the untouched ‘prediction’) was faked while Derren was overexcitedly bouncing around on the right-hand side being distracting. That left part of the image stayed still with camera trickery, while people were secretly faffing about with the numbers, and then returned to live-ness when Derren walked across. Surely that’s a possible camera trick these days, innit?

    And yeah, Derren said there was just him and two cameramen – but the other cameraman wasn’t doing anything during that bit, so he was probably the one sticking the right numbers in the stand.

    But obviously, I could be deeply wrong.

  10. Rohan on September 10th, 2009 9:39 am

    That was such a disappointment.

    What the explanation going to be? I got a new piece of kit. Or whenever you see a mentalist do a trick when he writes a prediction down/put sin an envelope etc it’s not “so we can check it later”, or so “I can’t change it” – it’s precisely so it can be changed/altered/mirrored through magical technique once the event has happened.

    I’m not trying to be cynical. I love Derren Brown’s stage shows and the vast majority of his TV work. But this felt to me like the biggest there’s no santa moment. Without any of the usual flow of tricks to misdirect and engage you Derren was left to try and create an atmosphere to make it believable and make it work in no time at all (“Can’t reveal the numbers before the BBC because of legal reasons”) – and it didn’t work.

    Re-watching a bit of the gathering afterwards confirmed to me the jarring impact – instead of getting lost in the magic my immeadiate reaction to the first half was – he gets everyone to write the answer down for him!

  11. Chris Hughes on September 10th, 2009 12:54 pm

    It felt a bit of an anti-climax to me, too. I knew he was never going to reveal the numbers before they actually came out, but the whole programme felt a bit rushed and lacking in atmosphere.

    It really needed an audience. But presumably there’s a good reason why there couldn’t be an audience. I think Jill is right – there’s some good detective work going on various forums regarding the split screen theory.

    I did enjoy Derren’s suggestion that the BBC’s contract with Camelot specifies that nobody else can broadcast the lottery numbers before they’ve come out of the machine, though.

  12. Jon Haw on September 10th, 2009 8:07 pm

    I’m sure it can’t be anything as obvious as a camera trick – that would just be a total cop out and make a nonsense of his claim that “you can learn how to do this too”.

    So, if you accept that it’s not a camera trick – how on earth could he have done it? The show did indeed feel a bit rushed and disorganised – but that’s surely part of the whole trick. Nothing Derron Brown does is by accident – you can bet every word and every gesture meant something. For example, I noticed some of the black staging in the background in the opening shot had red bits painted on – is that part of it? The whole red and black thing?

    Personally, I have a sneaking suspicion that the whole lottery numbers thing was actually a massive misdirection….

  13. Jack Kibble-White on September 14th, 2009 9:20 am

    Well the Friday show was a crushing disappointment, wasn’t it?

  14. Chris Hughes on September 14th, 2009 10:11 am

    Yes. There’s really not a lot I can add to that.

    The one disappointing thing about this whole ‘Event’ is the amount of gaping holes it’s had in it, from “I’m not allowed to show you my prediction by law” to not revealing the final set of predictions to the 24.

    As for the “ha ha, really I fixed the machine. No I didn’t! Or did I?” finale, that was rubbish: the entertainment equivalent of “and then I woke up and it was all a dream”.

  15. Applemask on September 14th, 2009 5:24 pm

    What on earth do you want instead?

  16. Jack Kibble-White on September 14th, 2009 6:02 pm

    Well I wanted to know how Derren had actually done the trick, with a solution preferably not involving electronic trickery (such as the much analysed supposed “split screen”).

    Funnily enough, the David Blaine special that followed featured pretty much exactly the same trick. In it he asked members of the public to give him lottery numbers and then he produced their numbers on a pre-printed lottery ticket.

  17. Jack Kibble-White on September 14th, 2009 6:04 pm

    I still think Derren Brown is a great TV entertainer though – just thought the denouement of this was rubbish (or is it the denouement? Can I cling to the shaky belief that there is a big reveal yet to be played upon us at the end of all four events)?

  18. Chris Hughes on September 14th, 2009 8:57 pm

    I wanted something as absorbing, entertaining, dramatic, educational and well-produced as The System.

  19. Rohan on September 15th, 2009 12:53 pm

    I wanted something more engaging than a mentalist standard dressed up by 45 minutes of false explanations. As a long term fan I also think he crossed the line on false explanations given the context and the presentation.

  20. Rohan on September 19th, 2009 12:12 pm

    Unbelievable. After the mess of last week’s show this weeks was strong from start to finish I thought? Shame he’s probably lost a lot of the potential audience

    An interesting post elsewhere ( about something that wasn’t shown in the lottery show last week – sounds like a very impressive reveal that would have strengthened the presentation no end – why wasn’t it shown?

  21. Jack Kibble-White on October 5th, 2009 11:03 pm

    So was that how the roulette wheel show was meant to end then?

  22. Andy Elms on October 6th, 2009 9:57 am

    It all left me feeling a bit empty, really. Lacking in spectacle and emotion.

  23. Rohan on October 9th, 2009 2:38 pm

    Yep that was how it was supposed to end, I thought it was hilarious. Especially given Mr Brown would seem to have appeared in the final shot smirking holding an oversized cheque as the camera drew away from the truck.

    I enjoyed the last three shows. Lots of strong, freshly presented magic tricks which I enjoyed. As for an underlying theme – don’t trust anyone’s hocus pocus explanations for getting rich/controlling people especially Derren Brown’s? The first show was counterproductive in my view in terms of pissing off viewers with a bait and switch!