Derren Brown: Infamous, Channel 4 - TV review: Who knows how he does it

But guessing is half the fun...

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The Independent Culture

For his next trick, illusionist Derren Brown combined cold reading, feats of memory and mass hypnotism into an entertaining 95 minutes of television – Derren Brown: Infamous (Channel 4).

Brown's mission – he says – is always to disillusion through illusion, to debunk through bunkum. During this recorded tour date at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, he performed an updated version of the sawing-a-woman-in-half trick to illustrate his disdain for homeopathy.

He also conducted several rounds of "psychic" demonstrations, all the time insisting that no such thing is possible. "[Your grandmother] isn't telling me anything, you understand?" he said to one audience member mid-reading "I'm making this up, I'm lying to you..." He then went on to correctly guess Granny's name, her grandson's age when she died and a very specific family story about that time she was bitten by a monkey in Gibraltar.

Did Derren Google every audience member before the gig? Was he reading their micro-expressions? Or are monkey attacks on the elderly just more common that you might suppose?

Who knows how he does it, but guessing is half the fun.

At this point in Derren Brown's showman career, if he turned out to have genuine psychic powers it would actually be less impressive.

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