Derren Brown’s Apocalypse

18 Nov


Similar to I’m sure, many of our readers, I have personally gone through the process of meticulously formulating my escape plan should we be faced with an end of the world, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ style emergency, (out the window, shimmy up the drain pipe and wait on the roof for helicopter rescue… Obviously.) So you can only imagine my elation upon hearing of Derren Brown’s latest Channel 4 experiment. The 2 part special saw 20-something layabout Steven Brosnan chosen as the victim of an elaborate stunt, all with the aim of shocking this ungrateful slob into a drastic life change.

After months of planning, phone hacking and the work of over 200 actors, Steven awoke on the day of his birthday with no cake or prezzies, but instead on the ward of a deserted military hospital, facing the distinct possibility of unsavoury death by zombie. Now assuming that contrary to rumour, Steven was in fact totally oblivious to his role in this elaborate stunt, questions really need to be asked about the ethical implications of testing someone’s mental stability in this way; all for the sake of providing some gripping entertainment for the general public to watch with their take-away on a Friday night.

Based on his poor gaping expression in the face of lethal danger, if he is an actor then it’s safe to say his Oscar nomination is some way off! So essentially, Derren left this poor guy in an undeniably traumatising situation without giving any form of legal consent! Yes, you could argue that he put himself forward for selection, but that was with no explanation of the concept or, more seriously, the choice of opting out at any stage, it’s hardly informed by any stretch!

It has been suggested that the programme adopts a utilitarian perspective in the sense that hopefully “the end will justify the means”. They want to transform the attitude of this ambition-less young man, so it’s OK to subject him to this form of extreme, but controlled, peril? Although Brown claimed throughout the show that Steven’s mental state was being constantly monitored, how could he possibly predict entirely how he would react? It’s a hell of a risk for 2 hours of good TV…

Steven Brosnan is now allegedly working as a teacher’s assistant, so looks like it all worked out well in the end! Personally, it’s taught me that if you wake up in a zombie apocalypse in the near future, immediately suspect that Derren is back up to his old tricks again and go call that Zombie’s bluff.

Comment below with your thoughts/ apocalypse plans…


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