Derren Brown (born 27 February 1971) is a British magician, psychological illusionist, and skeptic of paranormal phenomena. He was born in Croydon, South London, and studied Law and German at the University of Bristol. While there, he attended a show by the hypnotist Martin Taylor, which inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career. Around 1994, he worked as a conjuror, practising the traditional skills of close-up magic. In 1996, he started performing stage hypnosis shows at the University of Bristol under his then stage name of Derren V. Brown.
Brown has also conducted performances relating to mind-reading. Shortly after, he was commissioned to do a pilot for his Channel 4 television series, Mind Control.
As pointed out by Steve during an Xfm show, Derren himself in no way encourages or adds to the belief that what he does is "magic" or the belief in the supernatural.
During the Xfm shows, Karl Pilkington stated that he thought Derren Brown would not be able to read his mind. When given the opportunity to meet Brown, Karl was reluctant, as he didn't want anyone seeing inside his head. He eventually went with Ricky and Steve to meet him, however, and was indeed manipulated by Brown. Brown correctly knew Karl was thinking of the name "Harris" and the number "42". A few days later, Karl found a letter delivered to his address for someone by the name of Harris, and was compelled to break the law and open the letter, which he did despite Ricky and Steve nervously telling him not to whilst egging him on. Karl was slightly disappointed to find out that it was only a dental appointment reminder, although he made up for this by saying it could be a "faulty tooth" which sounds slightly like forty two.
Steve Merchant was on a TV special with Derren in which Derren performs some card tricks on Steve, all of which Steve loses.
- Steve's meeting with Derren Brown on YouTube