Derren Brown Predicts UK National Lottery

Last Wednesday Derren Brown performed a trick in which he appeared to predict the results of the UK national lottery on live TV. This immediately led to much speculation about how he did it. Of course, he didn't disclose his "prediction" until after the lottery results had been announced, which makes it meaningless as a prediction. But it was still a clever publicity stunt.

On Friday Brown revealed the secret of the trick, or rather he pretended to. He didn't actually reveal anything at all. While coyly refusing to commit to an explanation, he implied that he predicted it by averaging out numbers generated by a group of 24 volunteers who used automatic writing to come up with results. Frankly, it would have been better if he had offered no explanation at all, rather than promoting some kind of mumbo-jumbo, pseudoscience explanation. offers a summary of theories about how the trick was done. The most compelling theory is that he used split-screen technology to allow an assistant to come onstage, unseen, and arrange the balls in the correct order.


Posted on Mon Sep 14, 2009


Derren Brown is an illusionist, he's made a career out of very well crafted tricks, the fact that people are debating and making videos with their explanations shows how well he did carried out his illusion.

How did he do it? To be honest I'm not arsed, he set out to perform a very clever trick, to get people guessing and thinking - he did it - it worked - well done that man.
Posted by Jakw  on  Mon Sep 14, 2009  at  04:55 PM
. . . What is it with the shoe spammers and this site? I thought we had captchas?
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Tue Sep 15, 2009  at  12:57 AM
Derren Brown is very talented, however he really pisses people off when he does that "pseudo-explanation" thing.

I'm not exactly sure why he does that since he's careful to tell his audience that he isn't usi
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Sep 15, 2009  at  02:32 AM
Hmm, I got cut off there for some reason. I was saying that I wasn't sure why Derren Brown does that "fake explanation" thing since he's careful to say that he isn't using psychic or supernatural methods to achieve his effects.

Either explain how you do your tricks or say, "It's an illusion and I'm not going to give away my methods."
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Sep 15, 2009  at  05:06 PM
And again with the shoe spam.. Argh.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Wed Sep 16, 2009  at  01:43 AM
Robin: Shoe spam beats office chair spam anyday.

As for Derren, if he's that dude off "Most Haunted" I'm vastly underwhelmed.
Posted by Joel B1  on  Wed Sep 16, 2009  at  05:00 AM
Ah, what is this article about Derren Brown doing here? We all know he is a master mentalist?! We all like entertainment and find out scientific explanation behind everything unexplainable. And for the theory, there are like 10 ~plus theories out there about how he did it, only 1 you pick out and call it a hoax. How pathetic!
Posted by Elisa  on  Wed Sep 16, 2009  at  05:15 PM
I just looked at the link that Alex gave in the last paragraph. Did anyone else notice that the "lottery" balls are in numeric order? Now, I have no problem with what he wrote down being in numeric order since it is logical to do so unless he was claiming that he was going to provide the numbers in the order drawn. If he did that, well what are the odds that the numbers drawn will come up in numeric order? How many millions to one?
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Wed Sep 16, 2009  at  11:29 PM
Christopher, there's no question about them being the real lottery numbers. Just about the truth of his 'revelation' of his methods.

He's always delied camera trickery etc, but it looks as though that's exactly what this was. So what reason is there to believe he wasn't faking his effects in the past?

I used to be cautiously admiring of Brown as a mentalist. Now I'm forced to the conclusion that nothing he's ever said about his tricks can be believed...
Posted by outeast  on  Tue Sep 22, 2009  at  02:03 AM
outeast you misunderstand, click on the link and look at the first picture shown. Brown stands there holding a card with the handwritten numbers in numeric order, which as I said I don't have a real problem with for the reasons I mentioned, but underneath the card is pictured the "lottery" balls - ALSO in numeric order! If those balls are supposed to be the real draw, then coming up in that order is almost impossible. The odds of those numbers coming up are millions to one and coming up in numeric order is how much harder? That was my observation and perhaps I wasn't completely clear on what I was talking about.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Tue Sep 22, 2009  at  09:15 AM
You can only be as good as Brown if you understand the science behind every-step-along-the-way, to come to something as mind-boggling as he does everytime again. And as i understand, he has a whole team of scientists surrounding him
Posted by JaneBell  on  Thu Sep 24, 2009  at  01:59 PM
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