Steve from Derren Brown's ApocalypseThis is Steve. He’s lost his loved ones, his job and his home and is staring his future in the face. The look of devastation is real: this is a man who has been yanked from the safety of his cosy suburban existence to face the end of the world. It’s nothing to do with the Mayan Calendar (and it’s failure to account for leap years – armageddon is seven months late) or the rise in forced redundancies.

Steve has been hypnotised to believe that Earth is to be hit by meteorites bearing deadly contagion, which will wipe out civilisation overnight. Placed in a vast film set, Steve battles through predetermined encounters to survive, all of which he believes to be real. It’s all the work of Derren Brown, the Great British trickster and mind-bending illusionist. His premise is to teach someone the value of life by losing the things that they value the most. Each situation will test Steve’s capacity for compassion and initiative, changing his character as he spends a weekend in post-apocalyptic Britain.

Watching the first episode makes for uncomfortable viewing as we see Steve’s bus drive through exploding meteorites and we witness his distress and fear up close. Although the whole show is a set up, the real fear comes from watching something that could really happen, and seeing the genuine reactions of someone just like us. This is possibly one of the most audacious and arresting television programmes ever made.

Episode one of Derren Brown’s Apocalypse is repeated on Channel Four on Sunday (28th Oct) night and can be seen on 4oD with Part Two next Friday (2nd Nov.)

Derren Brown's Apocalypse Meteorite strikePictures copyright Channel Four.

Categories: Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Apocalypse

  1. Watched the show yesterday evening, I don’t know what is more scary – the Apocalypse or how easy it is for Derren Brown to get all Steve’s friends, family and work colleagues to play along with his scheme. Fun to watch though.

    • Hi Mark, there does seem to be a big question hanging over the authenticity of it all, but like you say – does he really influence people that easily? The man is a genius, and I can’t wait for part 2. I hope the Vigil was a success 🙂

  2. I rarely watch television so this is news to me. It sounds truely awful. So why do I want to watch it? (Sad but true!)

    • Kathryn, the makers of the programme insist that Steve was profiled and monitored by psychologists throughout. It was genuinely unsettling but exhilarating at the same time. I suppose we can all learn something from it, no matter how sadistic it appears to be.

  3. Just watched it on 4oD. After wondering how anyone could put someone they love through something like that, I started to change my mind after ‘meeting’ him. Even so it does seem incredibly cruel yet the pyschology behind it is fascinating and it is wonderful to see how it is bringing out the best in him. Lets hope that continues in part 2 and remains with him afterwards. I spent most of the time holding my breath and getting extremely annoyed at the adverts and buffering!!

  4. We recorded both parts and watched them in one go. Having seen him do something similar with a guy who believed he had to step in to land a plane, I wasn’t surprised by it, though when I read about it my first thought was “What if he panics and tries to kill himself?” But they had done all the psychological profiling and knew he’d cope. Very impressive – though probably takes the budget of a small country to set up. This weekend we watched the second two-parter, Fear and Faith – did you see that? What did you think?

    • I did wonder if he’d go crazy and start killing zombies (if that’s technically possible) but the Fear and Faith episodes told me what I’d known all along – that organised religion is a construct to control people and faith is important, especially what you believe in… the power of the mind is incredible.

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