Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Derren Brown: Behind the Mischief

At the risk of sounding like all I ever do is collapse like a beached whale in front of the telly, I thought I'd add another telly related blog. For the record I don't always sit in front of the telly, sometimes I get up for a cuppa.

I'd missed the Derren Brown documentary that aired a few weeks back and although I use the different iplayers on the net it's just not the same on a laptop. So I was very pleased when I saw that they were repeating it last night.
Let me start by saying that I didn't paint the above caricature, indeed I truly wish I had. That incredible piece of work was created by the man himself, a master caricaturist in his own right. You can see more of his work at It should be illegal to be that talented!
Behind the Mischief was a very revealing documentary, following Derren in his daily life in his work and with his family and friends. I've always found that magicians and illusionists carry with them a pretentious air (particularly so in the case of David Blaine) but Derren doesn't seem to have this, being quite frank and humorous in the approach to his illusions. But there were still things I found myself wondering about him.. what was his his house like? How do those that are close to him feel about what he does for a living? This documentary had some of the answers.
Derren's house was much as I expected, taxidermy adorning the walls and shelves, pickled creatures and props a-plenty. It still had a slightly modern look here and there which surprised me, I kind of expected dark gloomy corridors of the like you would see in a Tim Burton film.
We then were treated to excerpts from the shows, following Derren talking about his feelings and thoughts to the risks involved. I did wonder years back how his parents would have felt watching him during the live Russian Roulette routine and this too was revealed. Derren's mum explained how she was unable to eat before it aired, fearful for her son's life.
The show also revealed how one of his writing team was selected from the Seance show, an audience member who had some scares during a curtained trick. Maybe Derren selects his staff by scaring the hell out of them first? I would assume that working with him would be as frightening at times as it would be fun. I had the opportunity last year of seeing Derren Brown's Enigma show when it played in Chatham, and at times I thought I may be called up on stage. Part of me was glad I wasn't, I may have passed out from the fear of what he might do!
All in all Behind the Mischief was a fascinating look at an equally fascinating man's life.
Glad I finally caught it.

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