Derren Brown: Messiah, Channel 4

by | Jan 7, 2005 | All, Reviews

What was it all about?

Derren poses as five different “messiahs” in order to convince various organisa-tions and religions that he has phenomenal Christ-like powers.

What to say if you liked it

A profound exposé of the duplicity of organised religion and bodies who claim to be in possession of paranormal abilities.

What to say if you didn’t like it

The fraudulent fop stomps across the beliefs of others “exposing” their beliefs as “false” through one singular and highly nebulous experiment all of which served no other purpose than to polish his glowing ego.

What was good about it?

• Derren’s remarkable skill at using his non-magical powers of suggestion and illusion to dupe all of his targets into believing he was blessed with the insight of a messiah.

• Derren “converting” a room full of atheists into a belief in God through a simple touch, and also making them all fall over in unison.

• Derren conning a woman that through a pathetic little contraption that he claimed to her would trap her dreams.

What was bad about it?

• While it was billed as Derren dispelling the counterfeit cons on the other side of the Atlantic, it seemed almost as much as him trying to prove his own authenticity after doubts over his Russian Roulette trick. The huge emphasis on using people that would be hostile of his methods had they known his true identity and also the way he continued to emphasize he would admit his true intent had he been asked if it was a trick by any of his targets were prime examples of his insecurity. However, he needs prove nothing to us as we think he’s brilliant.

• Even though Derren admitted great discomfort, the scene where he claimed to be able to speak to the dead relatives of three women was quite disturbing, even though they all consented to the broadcast once they had been informed it was a trick.

• Because the whole show was angled subjectively from Derren’s perspective it was difficult to authenticate the veracity of any of his experiments, which was crucial as the whole exercise was essentially a hatchet job. As it was meant to illustrate how easily some people were swayed by dubious dogma, it would be foolish to unquestioningly sanction Derren’s conclusions as truth because they were emitted from a familiar source, as this is the same deception used by many of those whose principles he was debunking.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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