Review: Extraordinary People: The Million Dollar Mind Reader

September 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

derek-ogilvie.jpgChannel Five, Thursday 25th September, 9pm  Alert Me

Remember that odd little Scottish bloke from a few years ago who claimed he could psychically communicate with babies– “The Baby Whisperer? he was labelled?  Well, lucky us, he hasn’t gone away.  Nope, this Thursday night sees him back on our screens raving about how all children are psychic and then crying over how he’s not lying when he says they speak to him telepathically.

The Million Dollar Mind Reader is part of Channel Five’s Extraordinary People series and promises to put Derek Ogilvie’s self-proclaimed powers to the test.  Is he extraordinary or in fact, just conning his ordinary self and others and bagging a tidy fee and celeb-like status in the process?

Ogilvie agrees to undergo three scientific experiments to prove his psychic abilities.  After a bit of a breakdown in the first one, he takes on the challenge of the scoffing Prof. James Randy, who confidently offers $1 million to anyone who can prove they have psychic abilities.  I’ll let you hazard a guess at whether he succeeds or not.

Let’s just say that he sees the whole affair as a “journey? and seeks solace in a friendly scientist who offers to electronically read his brain and prove he’s not fibbing.  His reading of the findings is set against a soundtrack of spooky music that I’m sure is meant to be redemptive and make you believe he is in fact psychic as he learns he does use the part of the brain he thought he did but actually it just serves to make him seem a bit desperate.  Ultimately, Ogilvie comes across as an earnest, yet somewhat self-deluded individual, who truly believes he saw ghosts when he was younger, is definitely psychic and that all tests are set up to make him fail.

If nothing else, the show offers an interesting if brief taster of the opposing powers of scepticism and belief.  Is it better to be happy in the probably false belief that you’re exceptional or less happy but almost certainly more right in the doubtful position of ordinariness?  Watch it and see what you think…

By Susan Allen