Below we have a lovely Q&A by that young layabout from Derren Brown: Apocalypse (YEAH, DERREN BROWN: APOCALYPSE NOT STEVEN BROSNAN:APOCALYPSE THOUGH YOU’D NEVER GUESS IT WOULD YOU?). Steven asked his now roughly 15,000 followers on Twitter to send in any questions they wanted to about his experience and he has answered the most common ones below. I’m posting it here for him exactly as he wrote it, as he doesn’t have a blog.
Meanwhile, part 2 of Fear and Faith – and the final instalment of this year’s television from your occasional blogger – happens this Friday at 9.
I sent out a tweet asking if there was anything you felt that was unanswered, I’ve answered a few of the most popular questions to try and help ease your understanding.
Why didn’t you attack the ‘infected’?
I get asked this the most. You have to remember that this is not a Hollywood movie, I’m not Bruce Willis. This was real and I’m not a violent person. When watching the news report, they said the infection could be passed by any form of contact. I wanted to avoid any possible interaction with the ‘infected’ and stay as far away from them as possible and fortunately there was no situation in which I had to defend myself or anyone else from them.
At any point did you think it was fake?
No, everything I went through I was fully immersed in what I was doing. I was in the middle of an apocalypse and I was trying to get back to my family in Wales before the border shut.
Are there any negative effects?
There are no negative effects what so ever. No nightmares or flashbacks. Everything I have gained from this event in my life has been positive and I’m glad I went through it all to change me into the person I am now.
Were you angry at the reveal?
No not at all, relief and happiness were the main emotions going on when everything was revealed. Looking back on my experience I have no regrets or bad feelings towards anyone involved.
Did you ever think of giving up?
No, not at all. The biggest thought in my mind was getting to Brecon.
What did Derren say to you on the phone to make you fall asleep?
I don’t know, simply put. Last thing I remember is picking up the phone off the table.
What was your scariest moment?
Definitely encountering my first ‘infected’ in hospital.
What did I think of the infected?
I was ruddy scared of them, but when they weren’t scaring me I did feel kind of sorry for them, not knowing fully what they were and thinking I wouldn’t want to be one of them.
What was it like watching myself?
It was a little weird, as I watched I could feel the same emotions from when I was there. But overall I was quite comfortable with it.
Did you find anything embarrassing?
Yeah of course, think it’s embarrassing when one person catches you picking your nose? Try a whole nation, I laughed it off though.
What did I eat and drink?
There was tons of canned food in the bunker, and plenty bottles of water.
Where did I go to the toilet?
Surprisingly popular question. In the program you can see a row of portable loos to the right of the bunker entrance, that’s where I went.
Was there anything they didn’t show?
Yeah I made a few hilarious jokes which never made the cut. But as you could imagine with almost 2 days of filming me there was a lot of footage and with only 2 hours to show it, they can’t have everything in there, really though there was nothing extra I wish they could have put in, the editing team did a great job.
Is my bedroom tidy now?
My bedroom is incredibly tidy now; it’s hard to have a clear mind with a dirty room.
Did you ever get to see The Killers?
Yes! I did! They were amazing! Derren and the team were very kind and managed to get some tickets for me. I was very wary of getting on any busses this time though.
Steven Brosnan talks to Carlotta Eden about his night-terrors, sexual dysfunction and zombie-flashbacks in his first published interview since Apocalypse. Interview here.
Friday 9th Nov (9pm Ch4)
We all survived. Steven is a finer Steven than before: despite a week of negative Twitter speculation reported disingenuously in the Sun, he really did do it and he really is a better man for it. For those wondering what has happened to him since, Steven now works as a teaching assistant in a special-needs school, a job he finds much more rewarding than the series of positions he held before. And I think in time he’ll make an excellent teacher. For now he’s keeping his Twitter and FaceBook set to private, but I’m sure before too long he’ll open them up and you’ll be able to ask him about his experience.
The show was, as many of you spotted, The Wizard of Oz with zombies. Our Dorothy (you’ll have noted the Kansas Autos sign on our mechanic’s van who visits Steven’s house) did not seek a place over the rainbow, but nonetheless had to learn that there is no place like home. With some extra motivation and carpe diem thrown in: L. Frank Baum’s message that you don’t need to go looking anywhere further than your own back yard always struck me as a little limiting. After the tornado/apocalypse, our Dorothy encounters Leona – of course a cheap play on ‘lion’ – to discover courage and responsibility, a scarecrow (Iain) who becomes indecisive and necessitates a new alpha-male in the group, and a tin-man (Danny) who, having no heart, makes it necessary for Steven to find his own. The Yellow Brecon Road awaits to take Steven to salvation, but it is Oscar Zulu from Emerald Communications – the wizard (ahem) behind the curtain – who provides the noisy, army equivalent of his hot air balloon to take them away. You’ll have spotted the graphic on the side of the helicopter. Like Dorothy, Steven is left behind: before he can return home he has to say what he has learnt from his experience, and what he has known all along. Which he does, movingly, in the video tape he makes for his family. To encourage this moment, we had him see the others do the same and held the camera held back from him until he was ready. That done, and his lesson learnt, cue the deus ex machina of the phone call (I know now I should have floated down in Glinda’s bubble for absolute authenticity) and he’s magically transported back home to a life now dramatically reassessed.
Writing a show with an unscripted, unwitting central character is a strange and demanding task. My co-creators Iain Sharkey (himself a freaked-out participant in my Séance programme many years ago where we first met) and Stephen Long worked on the idea with me in the first instance, before Mark Gatiss got involved to help find possibilities for narrative. The massive bulk of the extraordinary writing task was then shared by Iain and a gifted, lovely writer called Ben Teasdale, both of whom gave heart and soul to the project. Sharkey can be seen starring as the first we see of the ‘infected’, behind the window in the red tag building. His condition of butt-nakedness-save-for-a-backless-hospital-gown was sadly lost in the gloomy lighting of the sequence, but I’m sure it added to Steven’s growing sense of deathly horror.
For my production team to make it all happen took a level of dedication and love almost unheard of in the industry. Working 30 days without a break, spending nights awake in Steven’s shed waiting to pull a plug to his television, they were stretched beyond anything one would expect anyone to put into making a television show. Samuel Palmer and Dave Struthers in particular – both brilliant and talented core members of our little family – deserve special mention here. Dave’s Twitter feed over the last week was a tirade of fury at the glib, uninformed assurances of fraud after the endless work he and Sam put into the hugely demanding job of secretly filming Steven over such a long period of time. I bow to the extraordinary level of commitment and resolve shown by the whole team, who were bonded above all by a desire to do right by Steven. It was a formidable show to make.
And it’s not over yet. Next week brings two more shows under the banner Derren Brown: Fear and Faith. In part one, airing this Friday at 9, we follow the first members of the public to take a wonder-drug, developed for the military, that completely eradicates the experience of fear. It was another astonishing journey. I hope you enjoy it.