Derren Brown’s Apocalypse faked?

3 November 2012

If you didn’t watch Derren Brown’s Apocalypse, then the following will be meaningless…

I suppose all television is a kind of charlatanism, a usually agreeable deception to which the rest of us more or less willingly sign up. We know, at the back of our minds, that TV is fake. Which is why Derren Brown’s Apocalypse was salutary viewing: clearly, demonstrably, faked – and even beyond that obnoxious in its presumptions. Sort of TV incarnate, in exaggerated microcosm. The audience are mugs, the supposed representative from the audience – the protagonist of Brown’s fifth form horror show – a mug who can be lifted from his humdrum torpor and selfishness only through the redemptive intervention of television. And still Brown insists it was all real, unconfected (and he has called the accusations of faking ‘hurtful’) – despite the seven or eight different camera shots within the bunker in which the protagonist was hiding, all of them showing him in the centre of the shot and perfectly focussed. Which I suppose makes Derren the mug: will anyone ever believe him again?

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  • Carnival

    These comments seem to fall into two categories: people who think everything was real and happened exactly as Derren Brown says, or people who think everything was fake and everyone was a paid actor following a script. There is a third option.

    I think everything up until the “meteor strike” happened as Brown says. Brown planted fake news stories about a meteor threat, got Steven’s family and friends to play along and staged an elaborate explosion/fireworks display. At this point Steven is shocked, frightened and probably believes a meteor has struck England. Then his idol Derren Brown appears next to him on the bus and tells him to sleep, walks him to a bed, puts him in hospital pyjamas and says goodnight. I don’t believe Steven was instantly hypnotised. I don’t believe he experienced amnesia and totally forgot that Brown was there. What I believe is that Steven was confused and scared and he simply did as he was told. He probably wracked his brains all night trying to make sense of Brown’s sudden appearance, but because Steven didn’t have access to all the facts he could not fully explain what happened. He half believes the meteor story and half believes Derren Brown is playing a trick on him. The next morning he wakes up and he’s alone an vulnerable and everyone he meets is playing the role of zombie-apocalypse survivors. So he plays along with them. Not as a paid actor following a script, just as as confused person bowing to social pressure. He knows something is fishy, but just plays along with the scenario because he doesn’t want to disappoint a person he admires, Derren Brown. Maybe he voiced his doubts on multiple occasions – but all that got edited out of the final broadcast.

    There is simply no reason to BOTHER paying an actor to take the role of Steven. Everything else about that scenario was tightly controlled – hundreds of other people were in on the joke, and they forced Steven to take certain actions and follow certain paths. Steven was selected because he was gullible and a fan of Derren Brown.

  • rndtechnologies786

    Good think.

  • sc

    Centering a shot can be done post-production…. not sure if this was real or not, but a centered camera shot is a stupid reason to think it’s fake

  • Scott Ashworth

    I found this article whilst looking for Derren Brown tickets! It all makes interesting reading!

    I made the trip from Cornwall to London for the audition. There were about 400 of us from all over the country there. We had to sign several bits of paper…one was a confidentiality clause…another stating that if selected, we’d be covertly filmed…and another interestingly saying we’d get paid £1 for being apart of the show! Someone I met and befriended from Newcastle still hasn’t received his pound…nor have I.

    Anyway, in the audition we were all tested. First, on the way in, we were handed a sticker with a number and a colour on it. I was “Yellow 007”. The first test was to call out our number and state our colour. Blue 1, Red 2 etc etc, till it got to me “Yellow 7”. Thank god I was number 7, as a few people got muddled up in the hundreds! We were then subjected to a few more tests. The fun started when the hypnotist made his appearance. Oh, at this point, I must mention that Derren wasn’t there, but had made a pre-recorded video appearance. Anyhow, the hypnotist….

    Ever been on a holiday where there is a hypnotist performing. You go along and he asks you to grasp your hands and hold them tight. Well, this must be the foundation for finding someone susceptible to hypnotism, because this is exactly what we were asked to do. To cut a very long and relatively boring process short, the potential participants were reduced gradually. One thing that slightly annoyed me was a request made by the production team towards the last 30 minutes of the audition. I, myself, had been eliminated from proceedings along with 200 other people very early on, so we were basically just an audience. However, one of the last requests made by the production team was for the hypnotist to remove all remaining females from the “very susceptible” and leave just 12 blokes in the final stage of the initial audition. This triggered an alarm bell in my head at the time…..Why finish with just men? At that moment I knew that whoever would make the show would be a guy! So why waste the time of the women who had travelled from all over the country? The request was made by the production team to have 12 guys…so they had in mind that a man would be used for the show!

    The final 12! There were three strong characters that stood out. A guy from Leeds…another guy who got drunk on water…and Steve Brosnan. In fact, when ask to “perform” on the whistle of the hypnotist, Brosnan stood out a mile! They’d all been instructed to protect us (the remaining muppets who hadn’t succeeded in being mind f**ked) from flying penguins with machine guns! Brosnan came a foot away from myself screaming and shouting and getting VERY physical with people, trying to push them on the floor, getting them out of harms way etc. Bearing in mind we were sat in a medium sized hall, with no visual stimulants such as zombies or helicopters landing nearby…just 300 + bored looking people with a few nutters protecting us from invisible killer penguins.

    Anyway, proceedings came to an end, and many of us were left scratching our heads and wondering what had just happened. I shared a taxi back to my hotel with a few people and we discussed and tried to figure out just what had taken place! Immediately, I suggested we’d all been used as part of the validation for whoever gets chosen was totally at random and not an actor. 8,000 people applied, 400 were chosen, a few people didn’t show…what if those “3” who stood out in the final 12 hadn’t have been there. These were questions I was trying to figure out. I guess it comes down to the law of averages!

    Anyway, some months later, unknown to me, I received a call from the production team. They were calling people back to ask them to be zombies. I only found this out off the guy I met from Newcastle. He actually answered his “hidden caller” where as I just wanted to avoid more silly sales calls. How I wish I’d answered the call now! They tried ringing a few times too!

    Anyway, I thought I’d break the confidentiality clause seeing as the programme has aired and all. Hope this has been an interesting read for people wondering about how the application process worked. One thing for sure…I’ll definitely think twice before applying again!

    Still a fan of Derren…but feel very used by the production company!

    Note: I apologise for poor use of English and any spelling mistakes…3am, and it’s my 29th birthday, not yet had a drink!

  • Mike

    of course it is fake!

    here is the “disappearing bottles” scene (continuity error?) that people
    are talking about. Some people claim that the bottles rolled out of
    shot due to the ambulance moving. You will notice that the ambulance was
    not moving.

    at 00:15 there are two bottles on the floor, at 00:19 they have both been moved and Steven is in a different position

    also see this page:

    and this one:

  • lee

    i find it amuseing that pepole slate that his work is “fake” if u see all of his work not just this one he shows alot and exsplanes how it is done. if u dont belive dont watch or evan slate it rod you are a fool. yea maybe he was allways in the middle of the shot something called body langwich the way pepole are place makes u sit in other places u wouldent go into a cinama and sit watching the projecter or evan stand at the screen when there are seats and if ur going thro that faze of apoclips happaning u would want to see all the pepole who u are with and who u can trust! or evan exits and i havent evan watched it yet but im going to. just a few words… ur a gernalist but yet you blind to commen sence.

    • Sy

      Trying to read that hurt my eyes, and my brain.

  • JoshO

    I think Steven was completely unaware he was being “had” right up until the moment where he met Leona in the hospital for the first time. Her acting was absolutely dreadful, I mean REALLY bad. No proper tears, sheer terror or absolute panic from supposedly a 15 year old girl who’s lost her mum in an zombie-infested apocalyptic world?! Not to mention her mono-syllabic tone throughout the whole experience. Attrocious performance which ruined it for me. Every time after the first meeting between the pair of them, i couldn’t help but notice Steven’s expressions (looking at the “wonderwall” for example) and feel that they were just a bit too exaggerated.
    Derren spent so much time resourcing the perfect candidate in Steven, it seems he lost focus on his actors. Having said that, the Scottish bloke was pretty good.

    Would love to know people’s thoughts on this…

  • Otee
    • Sy

      I looked at the page, what has this got to do with any of this?

  • Ben

    They were obviously manually controlled from the control room where Derren was.
    and would have been moveable.

  • jamiebrown6

    You can ‘prove’ anything if you want to. Or I guess Rod Liddle simply knows how to create controversy quite well?

  • Drinnan

    Why does everything on the net have to turn into an argument? Fake or not…….did it entertain you?

  • zommydeadfinger

    although i am sceptical about anything on tv,the look on the guys face as he was taking in the faked tv broadcast in the hospital was enough to convince me (enough to enjoy the show) that he was totally immersed.,if not he was a pretty good actor and has totally put any career opportunity he may have had in the bin by signing up to pretend to be just a bloke off’ the street in amongst what would inevitably be the contention of a few million people who after being conned would be unlikey to ever embrace him as a proper actor ever ever again the words of the pop group Imagination “it’s just an illusion” and a shiddy biddo wknd thrill tv

  • Harry

    Rod Liddle, I don’t know you, but you’re clearly special.

  • Producer

    Do you know what? it wasn’t faked. I spent the last six months working on it, probably a complete waste of time in your eyes, but while it may be many things you don’t approve of, faked wasn’t one of them. Honestly.

  • Shakassoc

    Did anyone ever believe him?

  • laura

    I have a question if anyone remembers, did the girl ever actually tell ian her age? I cant remember… if she hadnt, then its quite bizarre when Ian is calling out on the radio, he says her age. Anyone know?

    • Sy

      Most of what happened wouldn’t have been shown – there wasn’t time.

  • Gemzy

    As much as I want to believe this isn’t fake, I have to say that when Steve and Leona left the base for the last time, Steve turned all the lights off and walked out leaving it pitch black. Then, in the next shot (take) there is a light on….how does that work?

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