Posted in Derren's Posts

Posted by Derren Brown May 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

1. The man you have to initially blame/thank for the unstoppable rise of Derren Brown is Jerry Sadowitz. They first met in a magic shop in London and after swapping tricks soon became pals, with Sadowitz helping Brown get his first lecture gig for magicians and recommending him to production companies.

Very true – Jerry helped Pure Effect get published, hugely supported my early work and then gave my name to Objective (just the one production company) when they were looking for some sort of mind-reader fellow to do a telly show. If it wasn’t for Jerry, I wouldn’t be bothering you at all. 

2. Brown claims to be flattered that Kenny Craig, the magic act in Little Britain (you know, ‘look into the eyes, not around the eyes’) might be based on him, considering Kenny to be better looking than himself.

I could never quite understand the link that some others presumed to exist, not being a stage hypnotist myself. I asked Matt Lucas about it and he confirmed it wasn’t based on me. But prior to this I was asked in an interview if I was the inspiration, and I replied,  ‘I don’t think so,  but I’d be flattered if I was’. Or something. Don’t remember saying anything about either of us being better looking. 

3. He studied law and German at Bristol University, where he first took to the stage as ‘Darren V Brown’. V is for Victor.

This is true, but do not be concerned, I was born DERREN, not DARREN. I grew up being called Darren by everyone, even though this was not my born name; hence these early shows were advertised under this admittedly drearier variant. Once I started performing a lot, I reverted to my original Christian name. 

4. Fellow magician Andy Nyman has been his working partner for several years, having co-created the likes of Russian Roulette and Seance. You may have seen Nyman being disembowelled and decapitated during Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set, while playing the outspoken telly producer Patrick.

Yup, and as an actor first-and-foremost, recent years have also seen him most memorably in Dead Babies, Severance, and Frank Oz’s brilliant Death at a Funeral. And anyone who caught his extraordinary performance in ‘Moonlight and Magnolias’ at the Tricycle Theatre will never forget his relentless energy. He’s a great alter-ego for me: emotive, impulsive and earthy where I’m cerebral, considered and indecisive. We do well together. 

5. Although there’s never any question that his helpers on the TV shows are not plants, he often becomes friends with those he has tortured. The guy who loaded the gun in Russian Roulette once accompanied Brown to a screening of Team America to the suspicion of many onlookers.

Some of you found that first sentence ambiguous. Looks like it’s been cleared up. I have never used stooges, never had people just ‘playing along’. It’s an artistic travesty and plain lazy. As for making friends, get this: Iain, the supposedly ‘handsome’ one with us on tour, I met while filming Seance. He’s the guy who goes into the Spirit Cabinet at the end and freaks out. He has longer hair now but that’s him. He was so bowled over by the experience that he started studying magic and suggestion, and what with him being a staggeringly lovely chap, we quickly became very good friends. Now he writes with Andy and me on the TV show, has met the love of his life through filming with us, and is a treasured tour companion. 

Some other facts for your delectation:

6. Derren lives with two giraffes. One is a six-foot baby, stuffed in his hallway (it was stillborn, please don’t be upset: all taxidermy owned is humanely secured), and the other is a skeleton of the neck and head of an adult, which spans the wall in his office at home. 

7. Derren set fire to a neighbour’s boat when he was nine. His most devastating, gut-wrenching childhood memory. He was playing with matches, along with the neighbour’s son, and managed to set a tarpaulin on fire that was covering a boat that the father was building. Probably the father’s life’s work. The whole lot went up. Christ. He went home, hid himself, and prayed to God to make-it-didn’t-happen. 

8. Derren hates mushrooms, parsnips (unless honey-roasted, in which case they’re bearable), mushy peas, and has to sleep in a cold room. If you’d have asked him at age ten what he would grow up to be, he’d have said, ‘A poet, or a vet”. 



May 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm
Fraser says:

Bless the child version of Derren, innocent and young.

So much has changed.
: )

May 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

He’s out-facted us, you guys. We were doing so well! Maybe we can just add his last 3 to our list? I like the giraffe one.

May 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm
Hannah says:

Its great to hear Derrens side of the story! and how cool that Iain was involved in the Seance, to then become friends after, then work with Derren.
When you see so many peoples reactions its clear they are not stooges! plus that would be too easy and would have been sussed ages ago. x

May 29, 2009 at 1:12 pm

LOL – you should be on stage Derren! …oh wait…

May 29, 2009 at 1:13 pm
nick says:

Did Derren just use the word ‘Earthy’?

May 29, 2009 at 1:13 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

No wait, I’ve thought about it and I realised that Derren Brown has a big advantage and probably knows way more Derren Brown facts than the rest of us, and now with Flapjack we have ten total facts that are real plus some fake ones, so we’ve made it to ten. Mission accomplished – I’m proud of all of you.

May 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm
Jon says:

1) The notion that Derren uses stooges is probably the commonest complaint I’ve heard from friends & acquaintances. I’ve always found it curious that although I don’t think he depends on stooges, and a great business is made of choosing randomly in the stage shows, friends watching the TV series don’t accept the assurance about no stooges nearly so well. It’s either something intrinsic to the nature of the TV show, or the “guarantee” at the start of the show isn’t clear enough in itself.

2) Parsnips really are horrible vegetables.

May 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm
Rob Perkins says:

That is a lovely fact about making such a good friend whilst filming Seance. True serendipity. It would be so cool to have just a smidgen of the touring buzz with you and your crew and I am so jealous. Such a shame I never got to say hello in person when you were at Oxford. My fiancée and I still are buzzing from that show and your wonderful words you wrote to us. 🙂

May 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm
DerrensStooge says:

About stooges… Remember the staring contest? The bald guy who rubs his face?

I never really liked this “trick” as it wasn’t clear at all what was going on – just people freaking out…

Anyway… if you youtube the above vid, you’ll find the guy with his own video and declares himself to be an actor. Interesting watch, really.

…oh, and I use this name for the sarcastic element. 😉

May 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Mishka says:

Poet? Sir, if you hadn’t already secured a place in my heart, then that would have done it.

It would be lovely to read or hear some of your poetry, come to think of it…

May 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm
Hannah says:

Oh look, the horse is now looking at Derren. They have obviously made friends! :o) x

May 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm
ReliegiousMarie says:

So nice!…such a lovely story about what happened to Lain makes me happy to read indeed…

But what does ´being humanely secured´ mean, lol…huh? haha tss…
Anyways,…i would love to read some poems, bet you have a bookwork ready of them already, somewhere tucked away private and safely…

May 29, 2009 at 2:49 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Yeah and he’s looking out of the computerbox at us. We’re screwed, guys.
Somebody hold me. I’m scared.

May 29, 2009 at 2:54 pm
ReliegiousMarie says:

haha…the horse changed his mind and place where derren is stubborn and only agreed to change place, doh 😀

May 29, 2009 at 2:58 pm
ReliegiousMarie says:

oohh, i think i´ve got it wrong… @SGC, don´t make me scared 2 now!…#shivers#

May 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Does he look any bigger to you guys? Like he’s closer to the screen?
Oh god I think our fake facts angered him. We didn’t mean it about your middle name!

May 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm
ReliegiousMarie says:

Btw,…A Huge thanx to Jerry sadowitz…would be nice to read some jerry facts too…

May 29, 2009 at 3:17 pm
faye says:

I am so with you on the cold room thing, the colder the better as far as I am concerned.

May 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

well thanks for that insight, i feel so much more interesting now lol 😀

May 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm
tash says:

oh phew, just love you more and more derren. So glad that was your born with name. It’s so amazing. If i ever have a boy i will name him after you. Don’t panic i don’t think my partner would approve. Lol. And yay for iain that’s a lovely story. X

May 29, 2009 at 3:39 pm
I fear sadowitz so this is anon says:

Sadowitz facts

1. Sadowitz may well have a joke about Mr Derren Brown in his latest show

2. His middle name is also Fucking. Often reffered to as Jerry Fucking Sadowitz

3. He fancies my Mum

4. He is the best stand up and the best close up magician I have ever ever seen

5. He is doing a one off show in Edinburgh at the Fringe this year 29th August

there you go my little bog chums. devour!

May 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Flapjack says:

Dang – my Derren facts appear to have been erased!
I’m assuming either A – they weren’t true after all (well, everyone knew knew the gorilla one was bogus!) , B- they were frankly a bit rubbish or C- there’s a lot of editorial rules here I wasn’t previously aware of.
I hope it’s not D – I’m not welcome here anymore! Was it something I said? 🙁

May 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Flapjack says:

D’oh – My mistake, I should have known with Derren it’s always option E – Misdirection and showmanship… I assumed I was reading that near-identical other thread with edits, then I scrolled down and found the missing posts.
Apologies for my paranoid outburst, I wasn’t paying proper attention. I’m totally embarrassed now…

May 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Flapjack: thanks for making me collapse on my desk with a giggling fit. You had me worried for a second there, I thought we were going to get sued or something.

May 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm
Josh says:

Talking about the image, if you look carefully, you’ll see that Derren has a little glow around him, a sort of Halo. Draw your own conclusions.

May 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

I Fear Sadowitz: Jerry Sadowitz and Derren Brown can’t possibly have the same middle name, that’s just silly.

May 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm
ReliegiousMarie says:

hihi haha hoho…to many comments to write down for me now…funny bunch! tata 😀

May 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Siobhan says:

Ah, I feel sorry for Derren getting called ‘Darren’ all the time growing up…
I constantly get ‘Sinead’ instead of ‘Siobhán’ (or I get a phonetic pronunciation which is just funny)…

There is nothing worse then someone constantly getting your name wrong, so frustrating.

(Okay… on second thought there are probably worse things… but its still annoying!)

May 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm
Gill says:

oh behave yourself, mushrooms are great…theyre one of your five a day!

May 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm
Lady Claire says:

I totally agree Gill, I love mushrooms! My friend won’t touch them, eat them or do anything else with them, she says they remind her of snails…..nice.

Very interesting stuff. Thanks for posting & sharing.

Btw, I have a cousin called Darren and my brother (Damian) was also nearly called Darren.
Just a few of my own useless ‘Darren’ facts I thought I’d throw in.

Claire x (often spelt wrongly but never said wrongly.)

May 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm
Statchie says:

I’m with Derren regarding mushrooms. I read that shiitake and maiitake mushrooms were stupidly good for the body so sometimes I finely chop (yes, I’ve even pureed the nasty little things) and added them to a spaghetti sause or stir fry. For me it’s a texture thing not so much a taste thing. Gross.


May 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm
Flapjack says:

SGC – glad it wasn’t just me then!
I know I may occasionally draw comparisons between Derren and Guy Fawkes (mainly based on his fashion choices), but I do like Derren and I wouldn’t want to insult him!

May 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

No, it was just you up until the point you posted that comment, sorry. It took me a minute to figure out that you didn’t know it was two seperate threads. You are still the uber king of puns though!
I still reckon he’s going to crawl out of the screen and get us like that kid in The Ring, though. I should really stop watching these movies.

May 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm
Jacqueline says:

Has to sleep in a cold room…and takes 30 minutes to defrost in the morning before fully functional. Cool room may have been more apt.

May 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm
veronica says:

1) i want a baby giraffe, where can i get one of those (and a house big enough to fit one in)?

2) thank crap its Derren and not Darren.

May 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm
Barry says:

It’s refreshing to read comments made by someone on an article that was written about them, just in case the journo was lazy and made it all up.

May 29, 2009 at 5:33 pm
Cheryl says:

‘Oh look, the horse is now looking at Derren. They have obviously made friends! :o) x’ – Haha that genuinely made me lol! xD I’m intrigued as to what the next picture will be…!

It’s nice to see Derren’s response to these 🙂 That part about Iain is so lovely! ^^ What an incredibly lucky guy he is!

And a poet? Wow! Got any you’d like to share with us? 🙂 I second what Mishka said!

May 29, 2009 at 5:34 pm
Flapjack says:

SGC – So that’s what those subliminal images on the ‘Inside your mind’ DVD were all about. And the mysterious anonymous phonecall I got immediately after watching it?
I guess I’m just going to have to make another copy of it and lend it to someone then! (either that or surround my computer screen with a garland of parsnips!)

May 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Flapjack: you can pass it on to me, I can’t get it here so I will risk it. I’ll pass it on to some other sucker and so on and so forth. Thanks to the fear of the TV Ghost, it’ll take Canada by storm! Good marketing ploy.

May 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm
Paul B says:

1) Derren definately doesn’t use stooges in any of his shows – anyone who’s been to any of his live shows can concur with this – and I personally know people who have been chosen to go on stage.

There is quite an interesting point though when people say how he selects people “at random” – Although the process appears completely random at face value, there is an element of selection about it. If you think about how the frizbee’s are used to select participants, they actually fly reletively slowly then many other thrown item and will likely pass past or near to a number of people. When doing effects that require suggestibility or ‘hypnosis’ related chicanery, there is a better type of person to get up on stage, and that person is certainly someone who would *want* to be up there, so anyone of this ilk that a frizbee comes near, they are likely to make a grab for it. As a result, anyone who doesn’t really fancy the idea of going up on stage is unlikely to be selected (as the eager aquantance sat next to them will grab the frizbee first). When you bear this in mind, it means that it is not a truely ‘random’ selection of people, but more a randon selection of the ‘right kind’ of person.

It’s wonderfull in it’s execution though in that unless you really stop and think about it, it appears as what can only be a completely random selection of an audience member.

As you were,
Paul B xx

May 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm
KatM says:

None of my fabulous mushroom stroganof for you then.

May 29, 2009 at 5:56 pm
Liz says:

So come on then, spill! Who is the love of Iain’s life? Anyone we know? Curious – Leicester x

May 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm
Josh says:

The love of Iain’s life is Derren!

May 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm
Rachel says:

You can’t not like mushrooms – they’re the food of the gods!

May 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm
BellaFiga says:

I’ll have the stronganoff, thank you. And any parsnips that are going.

May 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm
Mrs.whorboys says:


The love of iains life is Jennifer.;)

May 29, 2009 at 7:48 pm
Nicosia says:

That hippie neighbor of mine always has really good mushrooms…. It looked like shiny Christmas lights in my head 😉

May 29, 2009 at 7:58 pm
gary says:

Derren, trick yourself into liking mushrooms. Please don’t use stooges to do it.

May 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm
Tammy X says:

Did I see Iain (not Lain), on the end of the TV recoerding of ‘something wicked this way comes’, Not suggesting he was a stooge, just interested>

See Derren’s blog entry ‘Last night, Oxford’ for videos of Iain & Jennie dancing drunk in the hotel.

They were both very nice when I met them in Grimsby, they posed for a photo (with king Coops) which is now on the ‘fan pics’ on the Derren Brown facebook page.


May 29, 2009 at 8:13 pm
Tammy X says:

Much agreement about the parsnips thing btw, they smell & taste like talcum powder!! (Not that i’ve ever eaten talcum powder)


May 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm
Michael says:

Totally agree with the muhrooms (yeeuukkk), and the cold bedroom, the colder the better and all the covers kicked off which means wifey ends up wit twice the covers, which she loves because the room is so cold, sorry wifey.
Stooges or plants, what would be the point, we could all do that, the guy is a total genius, no question, saw the show in Sheffield, blown away by finale, brilliant, thanks Derren!!!!!!!!!!!11

May 29, 2009 at 8:45 pm
Judith says:

I know what its like to be called something different all your life, my name is Judith not Julie or Judy or Edith!! Annoying! ps I am not keen on mushrooms or parsnips either yuk :O

May 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm
Ms G says:

A poet … you do seem to be poetic on the outside … the poets from way back I mean .. the image I have from those.

Ah, a vet .. me too, but I ended up living with alive creatures around me. It would have been a good choice, but someone gave me the wrong information, that you would have to perform disgusting experiments on/with animals to be come one .. so I did not choose to become one … which is a shame. It’s more than ever my passion.

A final comment … mushrooms? Then you may have a problem ..

May 29, 2009 at 8:54 pm
Flapjack says:

It suddenly struck me, Derren Brown and Salvador Dali have something in common… (and I’m not refering to the talent for painting) they’re both proud owners of a stuffed giraffe!
(Though strictly speaking, Salvador Dali barbequed his in front of a documentary crew!)

May 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm
Ms G says:

Praying to God that it did not happen … the nightmare-feeling … I never pray to God .. just send that message to whatever .. HELP! It’s normally my other brain half that needs to come to my rescue .. prevend me from going on in that type of cells ..

May 30, 2009 at 5:01 am
Diana says:

“I’m cerebral, considered and indecisive.”

Shit! That sounds like me. Apart from the cerebral bit. LOL! I’m more emotion lead…….over emotional at times which makes decision making absolute hell!

May 31, 2009 at 1:17 am
Julie says:

Knowing that Derren has always been Derren and not Darren, pleases me but not sure why.

I likes parsnips. A lot. 🙂


May 31, 2009 at 1:11 pm
Liz says:

‘Although there’s never any question that his helpers on the TV shows are not plants’

Glad that’s been cleared up… No, wait, it’s still ambiguous because of the difference in meaning caused by intonation. Try reading it aloud in a monotone, then raising the pitch of your voice on ‘never’ and ‘not’ to emphasise the negative. The hidden meaning becomes clear – there’s no question they’re not plants! To read it for the true meaning contract ‘are not’ to ‘aren’t’, dropping the pitch of your voice as you reach the ‘n’t’.
‘Although Derren does not use plants in either the stage show or on TV, …’


January 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm
zoe says:

bahaaaaaaahaaahaaa!!!!! oh! set fire to a boat!!! good one derren! i can see ur acidental/ devilish side was in you from the start!(and that beard).

p,s: u must know derren soooo well!… oh wait…