Derren Brown: The System

“Fairy tales of yesterday grow and never die.”


Delving deep into the archives of 4OD for something to review tonight, I came across The System, one of the wonderful Derren Brown’s Specials and, incidentally, the first Derren Brown programme I ever saw. It was in a GCSE Maths lesson. Take from that what you will.

In The System (first broadcast 2008, so not exactly recent), serial conman and mind magician Derren Brown takes on the world of horse-racing, claiming that he has a miraculous System that can predict the winner of a horse race, every time. Cue much quibbling from professional race people, and much delighted (and annoying) screeching from Kadisha, the lucky member of the public chosen to bet on the horses that the System predicts will win.

The System is classic Derren Brown in that you spend an entire hour trying to work out what he is doing, only to find that you were looking in the wrong place all the time. It’s still just as astonishing and strange as it was the first time I watched it – possibly even more so, given that this time around I knew what he was doing. Although it must have cost Channel 4 an awful lot of money.

I really think Derren Brown would make an excellent 12th Doctor, too. You read it here first.

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