Derren Brown still steals the TV magic show

Inside Television

TV magic has come a long way. Today's big names are more likely to wear a hoodie than a tux. It's not just an update on the cheesy Seventies style, however: "stage illusion" is out and "close-up magic"is in.

If such an intimate form of illusion is to work on TV, magicians need a big reactions from their live audience. It's all about the look on the stooge's faces and if that face happens to be famous, so much the better. Tricked on ITV2 and the upcoming TV specials of both Dynamo and David Blaine are all stuffed with celebs.

Personally, I prefer to be awed by the magician's illusion, not his contact book, which is why my pick for the most magical time of the year is none of the above; it's Derren Brown: the Great Art Robbery, (12 Dec, Channel 4).

In it, Brown attempts to pull off a heist with a crew of OAP accomplices. Any two-bit hack can stage a disappearance, but by making society's overlooked the stars of the show, Brown goes one better: he makes the invisible appear once more.

Secret mission for man of the people

It's a long time since David Icke had a full-time job in TV, but now he's back – albeit on an internet station funded by £300,000 of crowd-sourced donations.

The People's Voice promises to "explore as many [views] as possible", but when I switched on this week the only view being explored was Icke's. He was wearing a jumper in an interesting shade of lizard-green, while explaining how "the Government is using your telly to secretly film you".

This is certainly one of the more compelling arguments for switching to internet-only broadcast.

Catch Up, 450

Legacy, BBC iPlayer

His injuries at the end of the last series did look rather fatal, but it’s still a disappointment to learn that Moriarty (Andrew Scott) won’t be returning for series three of Sherlock. The good news is Scott is also brilliant as Russian embassy official and possible KGB agent Victor Koslov in this 70s-set, spy drama.


The Real Walter White,

The coincidence of a real life ‘meth chef’ who shares the name of Breaking Bad’s anti-hero is nice hook for this 17-minute VICE documentary on how meth amphetamine has impacted one American family. Presenter Gianna Toboni visits the working class town of Bessemer, Alabama, where one Walter White is in recovery for his addiction and waiting trial for his crimes. The real Walt is less given to self-aggrandisement than “Remember my name” Heisenberg, but he still gets a little twinkle in his eye when he compares his erstwhile trade with the TV show: “I’ve seen it blue, pink and purple. When it’s white that’s when it’s perfect”


Family Guy: ‘Brian in Love’,

RIP Brian, a dog, but so much more, who was killed off in last week’s episode of Family Guy. He’ll be remembered for his love of dry martinis, great literature and Lois. This last passion transcended the usual fidelity of pet for owner and would cause poor Brian some heart-ache over the years. It’s in the fourth episode of the second series that Brian first starts to come to terms with his feelings: “Me and Lois? Come on, that’s sick! I mean, she’s my best friend’s wife!”


New Girl, DVD

Tis’ the season when we suspend our usual blanket ban on any and all Zooey Deschanel screen projects in anticipation of the annual TV showing of Elf, the much-beloved Christmas movie in which she co-stars with Will Ferrell. Consider the recently released DVD box set of New Girl season 2 as an Elf warm up.


The Choir: Sing While You Work, BBC iPlayer

Calling all Bruce Springsteen fans, blubbers and British firefighting enthusiasts: even if you’re not a fan of The Choir, you’ll want to catch this particular episode. The formula is the same as every other - choir master Gareth Malone starts a workplace choir from scratch - but this choir at Cheshire Fire Service have a passion for the job like no other, and it really comes through in their music. When they start singing ‘The Rising’, a song written to honour the firefighters involved in 9/11, you’ll be in floods. It’s definitely the weepiest episode of the series so far.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment


film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most