The Experiments was broadcast in 2011, which Derren described in his blog as an “ambitious sociological experiment, in which the unwitting subject is a single person, a crowd, or even an entire town”.
The first episode, entitled “The Assassin”, aired on 21 October at 9 pm and consisted of Brown successfully hypnotising an unwitting member of the public to ‘assassinate’ a celebrity revealed to be Stephen Fry.
In the second episode, aired on 28 October at 9 pm and called “Gameshow”, Brown hosted a game show purportedly called “Remote Control,” asking a masked audience to vote for the escalating outcome of the fate of one contestant in an attempt to demonstrate the effect of deindividuation. The audience were given two choices, positive and negative, that would affect the life of a man named Kris. As the show went on, the choices grew darker but the audience did not seem to notice. Towards the end of the show, the audience reach the point where they are happy to see Kris’ television destroyed and Kris kidnapped by masked thugs. The theory is that taking away people’s individuality and encouraging them to regard themselves as just part of a crowd makes them act in a way that will sometimes conflict with their personal morality.
In the third episode, “The Guilt Trip” aired on 5 November, Brown attempted to find out if he could convince someone through association to admit to a crime he or she had not committed. He worked through tricking a participant into distrusting his own memory and having excessive feelings of guilt, to the extent that he confessed to the murder of an actor with whom he had interacted and was later reported murdered.
In the fourth episode, “The Secret of Luck” which aired on 11 November, Brown spread a rumour of a lucky-dog statue throughout the entire population of a town and documented the consequences.
Watch on All 4
The Experimentsis available on Channel 4’s All 4 On Demand service.