There’s no arguing that Derren Brown has brought the art of mentalism screaming back into public view over the last few years, with a number of hugely successful TV series behind him, The psychological illusionist has amazed, confused, entertained and in some cases shocked the public with his abilities to mix magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship to create something very clever and unique in todays entertainment world.
The System which aired last night on Channel 4, was the latest of the hour long specials, joining previous specials such as Messiah, The Gathering, The Heist, Seance, Russian Roulette, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. In The System Derren plants the seeds that probably everyone wants to believe in, that there is a sure fire, guaranteed way to predict the outcome of horse races, and win every single time.
The show was fairly enjoyable, from a pure ‘magic’ point of view there was very little in there except for one section involving a nice prediction, given most have probably already already seen the show, this involved four people shuffling and taking a large envelope, then freely choosing photos from about 500, they then selected a order in which to stand (each of them having a number stick to their chests). Derren correctly predicted the order they would stand in (ala a chair prediction), then pointed out the initials of the name on each of the polaroid photos matched the initials of the person that selected it, and also matched a photo in that each one of them held in the envelope they were holding (a nice double kicker prediction). Then explaining the odds of this happening, he revealed that the odds (14 billion odd to 1) were also listed on the back of the photo (each photo of the four making up 3 digits of the 12 digit number).
The rest of the show was purely then around the journey of one woman, who, receiving anonymous race tips from Derren, moved from merely confirming that the horses won, through placing small bets, to finally placing £4,000 on the final race.
To be honest, although the show was good, an excellent concept, it left me slightly flat, from the outset it was fairly obvious what The System was, and how it worked. The ability to predict 6 races without failure, from one viewpoint is simple, and Derren explains this at the end of the show.
Given that his ‘system’ is explained, I don’t see a problem talking about it here.. however, if you’ve not see the show, you may want to stop reading now..Betting, Channel4, DerrenBrown, HorseRacing, Magic, Mentalism, Showmanship, TheSystem