What a charming and gently bemusing way to end Derren Brown’s generally excellent series ‘The Experiments’. It put the Yorkshire town of Todmorden on the map, with the creation of a lucky dog statue, graced with the touch of staged good chance, and was almost something out of a Paulo Coehlo novel, as the whole town started to talk about it. All the staged elements of luck, although proving that personality and belief are vital to events and interactions in the real world, ended with the doubting Thomas, actually doubting Wayne the Butcher betting his life savings on the roll of a dice, when we were already told the dog itself had no paranormal power, and winning on the third throw.
A supposed psychic weighing in in the middle, among the minor local media frenzy, was especially amusing on vortices of positive energy, but was gently handled too. So to an explosion of fireworks in a town already touched by Brown and Jason Manford. Derren Brown is charming, and essentially a humanist too, but now the irritation is of not knowing if an illusion was involved in the dice roll, and leaves the power and mystery suitably in his court. How would it have ended if Wayne had lost, and what other positive outcome had the producers up their sleeves? It proved too the hypnotic power of celebrity, and Brown was a bit disingenuous to call himself a minor one. We need and want to believe though, as something vital to all our lives, operative in both positive and negative ways, but now we believe Brown will and should be given another series. Will he do something even more ambitious, but with greater elements of seriousness in some of the experiments he enacts? Even a deeper look at some of the more possible roots of coincidence, or the fact so much of it is also about language and concept.