Finest food on tour


The culinary highlight of last year’s tour was the Eggs Benedict cooked by chef Dan Savage at St Giles’ House, St Giles St, Norwich. This year we were hugely excited to find that Dan was still there, and he crowned each of our mornings with the perfectly poached twin triumphs of the breakfast menu. (Dan has also been delightful enough to cook for us outside of the regular menu hours: a generous gesture for which we’re all massively grateful. Thank you, Dan, again). Here’s Dan:


The restaurant at the really lovely St Giles House has won two AA rosettes and is, I imagine, the finest place to eat in Norwich. Everything we had was sensational; the perfect crab and melon sorbet with candied chilli, or the crayfish and chili risotto on the lunch menu, which I think is the best I’ve had. Be sure to pay it a visit. Thank you also to Jamie and Daniel, Nick the night porter, and the lovely people at reception for looking after us all so royally. And talk about re-charging when tired on tour: outside is a lovely sun-trap of a terrace that has you feel like you’re deep in the Mediterranean:


Whilst we had the day free yesterday, I found myself in another favourite find of the tour: a glorious, secret Victorian plantation garden, created in the mid 1800s by the owner of a ‘Furnishing Establishment’ called Henry Trevor. The garden, is, quite simply, stunning. These photographs do it no justice: there are leafy walkways, a bridge, and a great, grand, Victorian water-feature. 



It’s a secret find, but I’ll tell you it’s near the cathedral. And there are two cathedrals. But it’s not far from the hotel and they’ll give you directions. On the way back, we stopped at a lovely second-hand bookstore, the likes of which are getting hard to find nowadays, and, on urgent recommendation had late lunch at the Waffle House right next to the hotel on St. Giles St. Please, please, please, while we’re on the subject of spicy fruits, have the spicy fruit waffle with ice cream and maple syrup. The recommendation came from Chris, our erstwhile temporary company manager, and I pass it onto you. 

The shows have been fun, though last night’s second half (second in Norwich), was a little slow, due to matters largely out of my control. Today is a travel day to Newcastle, when it should be a day for lazing in the sun in this lovely eastern city. Oh well. If you could all stay indoors out of respect, we’d appreciate the gesture. 

Speak soon, 


Horrific Article

But please God it will hasten the death knell for this particular organisation, or at least its more revolting aspects. How charming too, that I have to post it under ‘religious matters’…
From The Times
May 29, 2009

An unholy secret that still haunts Ireland 

It’s shame confirmed by an official report, it’s time to pronounce the last rites for the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland

David Sharrock
But even if the will to make amends by seeking genuine forgiveness now exists — and that has yet to be proven — it may be too late. Another report, out next month, will reveal that the activities of hundreds of paedophile priests in the Dublin diocese were covered up. This may deliver the coup de grace.

The Catholic Church and its institutions in Ireland are now so badly damaged as to be devoid of moral authority. Its only possible salvation lies in prostrating itself before the courts of public opinion and natural justice.

Read More

Derren’s thoughts on those five facts

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”. 



Mr. Coops’ Eyebrow extraction

I know, 2009, but I found that and thought it was funny. So last night we had a lovely evening. The last week of shows have been terrific – Simon, our tour manager, is back with us in robust health, and his replacement for the week, Chris, was just lovely. Plymouth was delightful, and we headed to the beautiful Barbican area to take Chris out for a farewell lunch. The shows were great fun, as have been the last few nights in Northampton. Bank Holiday Monday brought us a lively, refreshed audience; last night, after the first day back at work, the auditorium was noticeably more tired. It’s fascinating how such things translate into reliable shifts in audience energy. 

After the show last night we went over the road and were looked after royally by Victor at Cagney’s restaurant, just over the road from stage door. It’s always massively appreciated when a restaurant opens late for us, and it was a hugely welcoming place  in which to to plonk ourselves down, tired and hungry. The steaks, Northamptoners, are rumoured to be the best in town, and I have to say that ours were sensational. Thank you Victor, and nameless lady chef for looking after us so well. Here’s Victor:


and you can see Jennie and Iain inside waving like the fools they are. Please be sure to say hello to Victor if you’re passing, and aside from the steaks, the garlic prawns are definitely worth the journey from wherever you are.  

After our meal, we headed back to the hotel, where a momentous event occurred. For some time, Coops has flaunted an eyebrow hair which has grown to massive proportions. The rest of us have tried any number of ruses to pluck it from his head, including rugby-tackles, hypnosis and pornography, but he has been quick to protect it and rendered all attempts useless. Last night, however, a little softened by Victor’s beers and fine Italian food, he agreed to allow Jennie to pluck it from him. I filmed the event and am posting it here for posterity. Best to ignore the background dialogue, which is a confused late-night stream of show-related in-jokes that will make no sense to you. Also, enjoy how Coops looks when he’s drunk. 

There you all are. I’m going to have to toss a coin on the race/cake issue. Thank you for your thoughts. 


Kindness competition entries

Thank you all for sending us your entries for the rubbish souvenirs from Alton Towers. Aside from those people who completely misunderstood the basic premise, were several who had done some lovely things. A thank you to the lady who has set up the site allowing people to donate to the Parrot Zoo, that’s very good of you.

I have two personal favourites:

i decided to run the race for life this year after finding out my aunty has cancer.since i dont have the cure, i thought this would be the most kindest warmest thing i could do for her and others alike.hopefully completing this will be a small help.i would like you to give me the keyring now and some mind-benders to help me get over running 3 miles.i wouldnt normally run for anything – and I wasn’t going to do this anyway. i really did enter this in order to try and win.




“I made this cake for my grandmother” – it wasn’t her birthday and she wasn’t ill.

Do I win?


One worthy cause, one simple touching gesture (the cake entry had no proof of baking date, which technically could disqualify it – though I’m happy to let it pass because it looks amazing). But I can’t decide between the two. Let me know your thoughts, and then I might toss a coin if I can’t decide.

Meanwhile, I have just taken a genuine spirit photograph. I know I’ve always been sceptical of such things, claiming that we’re just finding patterns in randomness etc, but I just picked up my drink of Diet Pepsi in the bar of this Northampton hotel, which I had no idea was haunted, to find the face of a ghost appearing in the moisture that had formed beneath the glass. I shall show the picture to the staff, as it may be the face of someone who perhaps worked and was murdered here in a previous century. Alternatively, some of you may think that it is the face of Christ himself, and that I have stumbled across something of enormous religious significance. If this is the case, Northampton should brace itself for annual pilgrimages to mark the day of this miracle. Either way, I’d like to hear those closed-minded Western atheist sciencey-types explain this one:


Right, on with the book. I’m paying fifteen pounds to use wi-fi here! Fifteen! This upsets me.

Please continue.


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