Written by TV

Derren Brown & Russian Roulette

Well last night Derren Brown’s Russian Roulette programme aired “live” on Channel 4. He survived of course.
Mark Lawson writes a slightly more informed piece about it than you get from the average Daily Mail article just now. The main point of contention seems to be that there were a lot of gun incidents last week in the news, and some people might copy him. Frankly, Darwinian selection probably comes into play here.
I happily accept that the timing after a programme about the suicide of David Kelly makes it insensitive.
But was there a chance that Brown might have died? Nope. It certainly looked like he was in trouble there for a short time, but that’s part of his acting skills. Magicians need to make it look like the trick’s dangerous, otherwise you wouldn’t empathise as much. And he is a magician. Bad taste then? Possibly. But never in peril.
And even the bad taste aspect is interesting. I still have vivid memories of a trick that Paul Daniels carried out one Halloween involving an Iron Maiden. It was carried out live on location somewhere in England with a small audience. He carefully explained that in the event of the trick going wrong, the lights would come on and people would be asked to leave in an orderly fashion. Well of course, he got trapped by it, and the lights did indeed come on. We heard an off-camera voice ask for the room to be emptied, and the programme faded out. The next programme was something like Casualty (it was a Saturday night), and no mention was made. At least it wasn’t until later in the evening after the BBC had been bombarded with calls, after which it was announced that Daniels was OK. Bad taste? Probably. Killing yourself with an Iron Maiden or a gun makes no difference.
And indeed, look at the other perilous escapes down the years; burning ropes, and submerged chests. This is just another escape for the 21st century.