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Born in Croydon in 1971, Derren traces his interest in psychological techniques to childhood. "I was a very good liar and a revoltingly charming child", he says. Like a lot of solitary children he developed an interest in magic but it was only later at Bristol University, where he studied Law and German that he started to take it seriously. "I found myself developing an analytical mind-set, able to spot the loopholes in anyone's argument very quickly".
After graduating, Derren abandoned a career in Law and concentrated on developing his skills at psychological magic. He was able to pay the bills by combining performing in cafes and bars with a sideline in portraiture.
His big break came in 1999 when he was asked by Channel 4 to put a TV show together. The result, DERREN BROWN: MIND CONTROL, was shown in December 2000, proving an immediate success. The repeat showing rated in Channel 4's top ten. This was followed in August 2001 by another special DERREN BROWN: MIND CONTROL 2, further establishing him as a hit with viewers and critics alike.
Derren returned to Channel 4 on New Year's Day 2002 with DERREN BROWN: MIND CONTROL 3 - a one-hour special that pushed the boundaries of psychological magic to new heights, prompting the Daily Star to say: "This guy's powers could seriously freak you out" and the Guardian to speculate: "Clearly the greatest dinner party guest in history…or the scariest man in Britain". Bizarre Magazine said: "A hundred years ago they would have burnt him at the stake".
Derren returned to our TV screens in Nov 2002 with a Derren Brown night on E4, which premiered his new series. This series went on to become one of Channel 4’s most watched entertainment shows when it was shown on C4 on Friday nights from March 2003. He followed this with a sell-out nationwide tour.
Derren, always one to push back the boundaries of showmanship and magic entertainment, caused an international furore when he played Russian roulette on National TV. DERREN BROWN PLAYS RUSSIAN ROULETTE LIVE was watched by over 3.3 million people when it went out on Channel 4 on Sun 5 October 2003. Ten million people watched him perform on the National TV Awards the following month. Oct 2003 also saw the release of DERREN BROWN: INSIDE YOUR MIND - his first video/DVD through Channel 4. There are plans to release a second DVD in April 2005.
In March 2004, by popular demand, Derren took his original stage show back on a national tour and into the West End in June 2004 for a critically acclaimed sell out run.
He returned on Channel 4 in April 2004 with a brand new series, DERREN BROWN: TRICK OF THE MIND and in May 2004 with DERREN BROWN: SÉANCE, which, yet again, proved controversial as well as highly entertaining when Derren, using Victorian techniques, conducted a séance with surprising results.
In January 2005 he once again bemused and amused the nation with yet another daring special – DERREN BROWN: MESSIAH, a darker, more personal documentary that questioned the way we buy into certain belief-systems. In April 2005 he returned with another series of TRICK OF THE MIND, which included appearances by Jonathan Ross and Simon Pegg.
Areas of Expertise
Derren offers a 45-minute stage act for larger audiences, full of energy, sharp humour and audience-participation. It is elegant and unique, and he never fails to bring the house down with each show.
For smaller events and dinner parties, Derren can perform in such a way that the guests are able to experience his skills at close-quarters. Sat or stood at the table, he can offer a more relaxed, intimate and informal style of entertainment that is as profoundly fascinating as it is indulgently exclusive.
“The closest our galaxy can boast to a Jedi Master”
“This guy’s powers could seriously freak you out”
“It’s impossible not to be impressed by Brown’s brilliance and baffling shtick.
(London Evening Standard)
“Clearly the greatest dinner party guest in history… or the scariest man in Britain”
“I just want to burn him at the stake and watch his witch’s heart babble”
“One of the most proficient illusionists on the planet….any planet”
“He ought to be locked up with some sort of day-release scheme to allow him to film this ridiculously addictive show”
“He’s at the height of his considerable powers”
“We know that really he’s a warlock”
“Love him or hate him Derren Brown is the king of illusionists and the prince of psychological persuaders”
(Night & Day Mag)
“…part James Bond, part