Derren Brown‘s ‘Apocalypse‘ shows have been causing the usual stir of late. This time the programme has caused an immediate flurry of “FAKE!” claims, after it was spotted on numerous websites that our real-life hero, Steven, was in fact a hired actor.
This torrent of abuse lead Derren, quite rightly, to post this explanatory blog.
The first thing to be cleared up is that Steven, of course, is NOT an actor, nor is any part of the show a stitch up on our account. All the ‘evidence’ pointing to Steven being a hired man…well, actually, look at it for more than 2 seconds and you’ll see that…no. Steven and ‘the actor’ are not the same person at all. What about the damning photo of Steven and Adam Buxton on the set of a new BBC comedy? Well, that was taken 4 years ago.
All perfectly and succinctly explained. But it got me to thinking: what if Steven was an actor? How would that impact the show, really?
As with The Experiments, it would just be another case of us, the viewers, being the stars of the show. Using our wonderful human powers of empathy to project ourselves on to Steven – it would be us learning from the post-apocalyptic experience. Steven would just be the vector by which we were able to do so. Watching him go through the ordeal, it’s impossible to not catch yourself thinking: “If I was in that situation, how the heck would I react?”. For me, that’s what the programme is really about.
However, Steven is real. The stage-managed situation was a real experience to him, so why shouldn’t we just sit back and take something from the ride?
Although, if you think about it, if Steven was an actor, there’s no way the thing would ever get on TV in the first place. Not with channels being run the way they are these days, and especially not after it was explicitly stated that he’s a bona-fide member of the public. Derren, of course, has pushed the boundaries of televised acceptability to extremes in the past, so a little controversy from ‘Apocalypse’ comes as little surprise. The wool has been pulled over our eyes many a time before, but this latest blog acts as an honest confession clearing up some of the misconceptions about his latest project.
Unless…the explanation is actually part of the deception?