Despite heavy criticism and allegations of fakery, hypnotist Derren Brown’s latest TV show Apocalypse has helped Channel 4 achieve their best viewing figures for almost 2 years. The first programme of the two part project, which aired on Friday 26th October, pulled in an estimated 2.3m viewers. However, questions over whether the star of the show, Steve Brosnan, is actually an actor may mean that the concluding show does not attract quite as many viewers when it airs this Friday. Apocalypse sees Brown attempting to convince Brosnan that the world has been devastated by a meteorite shower, supposedly carrying an infectious bacteria that has resulted in a highly contagious zombie like virus. He does this through the use of hypnosis and also by feeding information to his victim via TV and radio news reports and internet sites, which have been specially tailored for his victim. Steve’s friends and family are also in on the ruse, partaking in several discussions with him regarding the impending meteor shower in weeks leading up to the event. The build-up comes to fruition when Steve is sat on a coach, which he believes is taking him to a music gig. A series of explosions around the coach serve to act as the supposed meteorites hitting the earth. Brown then makes his way from the back of the coach and places Steve in a state of hypnosis, before he has time to react to what is going on. Having been taken from the coach to another location whilst still hypnotised, Steve then wakes up in a deserted hospital where he meets a young girl named Leona. The incidents that ensue are designed to test Steve’s resolve and see how he responds under pressure, as he tries to protect himself and Leona from the marauding zombies. But not everyone has been convinced by the programme, with many saying that the supposed ‘victim’ is actually an actor who is in on the plot. It has even been claimed that Steve has appeared in a noodle advert, which has prompted Derren Brown to respond with a YouTube video denying the fact.
Viewers have also pointed out that in one scene, were Steve and Leona are riding in an ambulance, some water bottlers on the floor suddenly disappear when the picture switches from one camera to another and then back again.
In addition to commenting on whether Steve is an actor and pointing out continuity problems, many viewers have also raised concerns over whether the stunt is ethical. One does have to question what kind of long-term psychological impact it could have on Steve, if he has genuinely been fooled into believing that a zombie apocalypse has taken place. Or what the consequences would be had he physically harmed one of the actors. Would Channel 4 really sanction such a risky project? So did you watch part 1 of Apocalypse? If so, let us know what you thought of it and whether you will be watching the conclusion on Friday 2nd November. If you didn’t catch the first part and want to see what all the fuss is about, it is still available through Channel 4s On Demand service.
Image source: www.channel4.com