Derren Brown Investigates Review: Dead End

May 10, 2010 by  
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DERREN BROWN INVESTIGATES: Monday 10th May, Channel 4, 10pm ALERT ME

Derren Brown’s latest show for Channel 4 is a disappointment for a couple of reasons: it’s too long and it’s head thumpingly repetitive. Certain demographics who can broadly be described as ‘sceptical’ about the world of psychics will also have reached the same conclusions as Brown by the end of the first part.

Brown, as a professional illusionist who never claims to have supernatural powers, spends fifty minutes repeating rather obvious observations regarding the differences between entertainment and exploitation.

It doesn’t take a sophisticated psychiatrist to realise that what people are really seeking is comfort or what the Americans call ‘closure’. They simply want to be able to believe that their loved ones are suspended in some spiritual paradise where they occasionally interrupt their daily limbo to make some banal references to the world of the living.

The most illuminating part of the programme comes when actress Claire Cooper – of Hollyoaks and Coronation Street fame – declares that she still thinks Brown has a “psychic ability? even though she is told, in no uncertain terms, that he is NOT a clairvoyant. Despite this her want to believe in the supernatural overwhelms her rationale and leads her to conclude bigger forces must be at work.

The documentary should be commended for trying to dispel the myth that there is any merit in psychic readings but it will, in all likelihood, serve better as a platform for Joe Powers to expand his seedy business that is soley reliant on the bereaved and the vulnerable to fund his ego and empire.

gemma says:

I watch the program, and i belive there are alot of fraudsters playing on peoples minds when they have lost loved ones. however, i do beleive there are real mediums out there.
The reason i say this is because i lost my cat and placed an advert in a local paper, i had a call of a lovely lady who had spotted my cat in her garden. she rang me one friday evening to say he was in her back garden, however when i arrived the Cat had gone she made me a drink to wait if he came back. and we was discussing local pubs as she was a bar maid as i am.
she asked me not to get freaked out but she was a medium not one of these crooks you pay, she said she had a gift what was given to her and she didnt do it for money she did it to give peace of mind.

At no point did i give her any information about my recent loss of my nan in our conversation. she came out with that there was a lady called ann communicating on behalf of my nan as she could come through herself, she said she died peacefully in her sleep and that i need to stop worrying about if she was in any pain, she also advised that my current situation of bad luck would improve. and things would look up. she also advised of a man called john. nether ann or john was names i knew of in our family. the lady asked me for an inital and when i said w she said my nans name straight away WINIFRED.

the time went on and the cat didnt come back to her garden and i left. the next day i was talking to my dad and asked if we had a ann or john in our family and very promptly my dad said yes your grandads sister and husband but they passed away well before you was born.

So my conclusion is that yes there are real mediums out there its a shame some one makes money out of grieving families with there mind questions

stew says:

I don’t understand your conclusion to how will it serve a better platform for Joe. Every aspect of the program exposed him as the charlatan he is and depicted his character to be as trustworthy as a used car salesman. It was necessary to make the exploitations of ‘psychics’ clear, as we saw in the program people are all too ready to believe. It is something that was necessary to be brought to the publics attention; a constant quest for truths and to challenge what you believe by examining the evidence. Unfortunately there will be some who remain deluded and appear insulted that somebody dare question anything scientifically. One only has to look at Joe’s reaction at the mere mention by Derren of any form of logic and reason. It sent Joe into a panic and left him to resort to patronising and insulting Derren. Derren however, the classy man that he is, remained composed and gave the audience the true facts in order for them to examine the evidence and make their own mind up.

“You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.” Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact

Stevie says:

Exactly fatmammycat, there are no “real” psychics, only liars, cheats and frauds. Joe Power is a cold reader and a particularly innefective one at that. He wouldn’t take a fair test and couldn’t give a reading to a person who did not live next door to his sister.

You would think that anyone who could genuinely speak to the dead would jump and grab that James Randi million dollars but no, apparently the spirit world doesn’t work like that. That’s convenient. Another funny coincidence is that “real” psychics use exactly the same techniques as honest cold readers.

Funny one that….

fatmammycat says:

“If indeed at least one out of your lot had taken the time to find a real psychic/medium who is willing to be tested and place her head on the chopping block your comments might be somewhat different today.”
Ahahahaha, yeah, of course THAT”s the problem. Note that a single ‘psychic’ has never claimed the Randi million, or that not one single ‘psychic’ can beat a double blind test. Why is this do you think? Good grief, talk about delusional.

Beatrice says:

Oh Jamie such harsh comments about Joe from a man who also does not have a clue what he is talking about in connection to the psychic worlds. If indeed at least one out of your lot had taken the time to find a real psychic/medium who is willing to be tested and place her head on the chopping block your comments might be somewhat different today. However I fully understand that Derren needs to make his millions in whatever way he sees fit, but he really is not up to a challenge like most debunkers, in actual fact they are the frauds, how sad is that for mankind? Which leaves the question where do you all go from here?
Take care, happy searching hope you find the truth you are looking for.

JMTaylor says:

I agree that the program was a bit long and covered much of the same ground. My view is that dead people are dead, if they do live on in some afterlife, they don’t obviously feel the need to contact the living. I am totally sceptical about the idea of talking to dead people and this documentary only backed up my own ideas about the subject of people who claim to communicate with the dead. Hogwash. Also thought DB was admirable in keeping his temper in the face of the excuses and accusations that Joe was making in the face of any doubt about his, at best, questionable activities.