Derren Brown's fake apocalypse: Is the victim an 'actor'?

Vicky Carroll Oct 30, 2012
Derren Brown: Apocalypse

Derren Brown's new show Apocalypse fakes the end of the world - but Channel 4 deny claims that actors are involved

Channel 4 has refuted claims that the ‘survivor’ of Derren Brown’s Apocalypse is an actor, after Twitter users pointed out he was listed as an actor on Casting Call Pro acting agency’s website, and had posted photos of himself on Facebook posing with Adam Buxton, saying “filming on the set of a BBC pilot”.

Steven Brosnan was the ‘victim’ of the TV hoax in which he was made to believe the world had ended and he was one of a very few survivors in a devastated wasteland strewn with zombies.

He was picked from a group of people who wanted to be part of the show and underwent rigorous psychiatric testing ahead of the stunt, which took eight months of preparation and involved many of his friends and family.

The first episode of the two-part show aired last Friday night, in which a meteorite strike left the world devastated. But social media users started to look him up while the show was on air and the Twittersphere was soon awash with claims that he was an actor.

A spokesperson for Channel 4 has responded to the claims, saying: “Steven is currently not and never has been an actor. He was chosen purely because he fitted the characteristics needed for the show.”

Brown himself tweeted: “Conspiracy theory flying around that Steven is an actor, cos he looks like guy in a noodle ad. I NEVER EVER fake stunts with actors. Plus his whole family/friends would have to be actors too. And all REAL family/friends quietly killed…”

Speaking to The Big Issue this week about the stunt, psychologist Dr Nick Baylis described the programme’s concept as “The Truman Show with an even nastier twist,” and an elaborate “pantomime”. But he added that he thought Brown could do better: “He is such an interesting fella, and he does himself no justice in running this sort of show.”

Before the controversy over whether or not Steven was an actor erupted, Professor of Human Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, Sergio Della Sala, said that it’s important to remember that the show is entertainment and nothing more serious than that.

“This is entertainment for people who like these kind of shows, it’s not constructed as a scientific experiment.”

You can read more of Professor Della Sala and Dr Baylis’ comments about Brown’s new show in The Big Issue, on sale now

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