Apocalypse Brown | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Apocalypse Brown

Joanna Chumbley reviews Derren Brown’s eagerly anticipated Apocalypse

Joanna Chumbley reviews Derren Brown's eagerly anticipated Apocalypse.

Derren Brown has become famous for his incredible televised illusions. However last Friday saw his most ambitious project to date in his two part feature: Apocalypse. The idea was to take an individual and stop them from taking life for granted by making them believe that the world had ended. The aim was to see if going through this experience would change this individual and make them live a more fulfilling life.

The opening half an hour was dedicated to laying out how Brown spent several weeks manipulating 21 year old Steven to bring him to a place where he could credibly believe that the world had ended. Steven was selected for multiple reasons surrounding his lifestyle but also, as was stressed continuously throughout the programme, because he had been assessed as mentally and emotionally strong enough by psychologists to cope with the ordeal awaiting him.

Steven Brosnan (centre) pictured with family and Brown

Although this gentle introduction to the programme was interesting, as a viewer I was eagerly waiting for the apocalypse to begin. And it was worth the wait. With dramatic filming techniques and amazing stunt works and effects the apocalypse that was created rivalled any films that have been produced. Explosions, zombies, and abandoned wildernesses, the vast scope of this project was impressive.However the most fascinating thing was to watch Steven’s reactions as he was thrown into this world. He did appear to be genuinely terrified and as an anthropological study it was interesting to see how via actors and set up situations Brown was beginning to transform Steven’s character.

The end of the first episode left me wanting more. Faced with the decisions such as pursuing his family and protecting the little girl he has befriended  will Steven live up to the challenge and how will he respond when he finds out the truth? Next Friday’s episode is a must see.


Joanna Chumbley


5th November 2012 at 7:51 pm

Last Updated

5th November 2012 at 7:52 pm