back to article Ofcom okays Derren Brown psychic-baiting

Ofcom has ruled that the psychic at the centre of an episode of Derren Brown Investigates was treated fairly. The show, which was broadcast by Channel 4 in May, centred on Joe Power, a Liverpool psychic who claimed he could talk to the dead. Power claimed that he didn't know the show, which featured Derren Brown following him …


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  1. Martin 37
    Thumb Down

    Where's the IT angle?

    Yes, we al love Derren ...

    1. Mike Shepherd

      IT angle

      Sometime, somewhere (apparently), a pixel from the show went through an MPEG encoder, so it counts as bullseye Register material.

    2. DirkGently

      RE: Where's the IT angle?

      It mentions Ofcom?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IT angle

      Didn't you read, she owns a Mini, there's a fair bunch of gadgets in this thing.

      Back to the topic, how about gullible people getting ripped off, as they treated fairly?

    4. Wkd
      IT Angle

      ICT Angle

      ICT angle covered under psychic communications. It's like wifi for dead people.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: ICT Angle


        1. The Indomitable Gall


          Oooh... cheap horror flick alert.

          [mock American accent]

          On spring break, 5 schoolkids find an unsecured hotspot. As they start downloading movies, strange things start to happen.

          Will anyone survive?

          Die-fi: Connection... terminated.

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Die-fi

            Cut, print, $$$$.

            1. The Indomitable Gall

              Oi, Bee

              Less of that. It's now a matter of public knowledge that it's a collaborative work. Get your people to call my people and we'll pitch it to them Holly-would types.

        2. bluesxman

          Re: ICT Angle


      2. Dave 62

        shirley this has been said before...

        they don't call it ether-net for no reason.

    5. BorkedAgain
      Paris Hilton

      Clue's in the Section Title

      Music & Media.

      Me, I love it when these con artists get exposed. Just a shame the credible never see it quite the same...

      Paris 'cos psychics give her the willies, allegedly...

  2. Richard Wharram


    He didn't know it would be a sceptical investigation ? He doesn't even have common-sense then, never mind any extra-sense :)

    Perhaps Derren could investigate the equally bizzare claims of vicars and priests next ?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One question remains

    Didn't Mr. Power's spirit guide tell him what Ofcom was going to say?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: One question remains

      Several possibilites:

      1) Even the dead are unable to fathom the processes of Ofcom.

      2) Being dead doesn't make you any more all-seeing and prescient than you were when you were alive, but it does make you much better at bullshitting the living.

      3) It's all cobblers and being dead means you can't talk to anyone, psychic or not.

      I *really* like (2) here, as an eternity of winding people up sounds like oodles of fun to me, but I suspect that I am to be disappointed and that (3) is actually correct.

      I'd also like to point out that genuine psychics are very easy to spot. They're the ones who have used the proceeds of their several double-rollover Euromillions wins to retire to a private island in the Caribbean and not the ones scrounging an appearance fee off Channel 4 to make ends meet. I believe that the number of such thus qualifying remains, as it always has been, at sod-all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: double-rollover Euromillions wins

        Why would the dead have any more idea what was going to happen next Friday evening than the living do? A psychic might make a good blackmailer, but I sense you'd be less likely to hear about that.

  4. Ciaran McHale


    So, "Ofcom has not upheld Mr Power’s complaint of unfair treatment in the programme as broadcast."

    It is surprising that Mr Power was not able to predict that outcome.

  5. Sekundra
    Dead Vulture

    But surely..

    ... He also knew that he would lose this case against Derren Brown? The better idea would have been for him to threaten to complain, but not actually do soon the grounds that he could see he would lose! (Yes, inevitable joke here)

    Tombstone for obvious reasons.

  6. Ray0x6


    That he didn't see it coming doesn't really help his case, does it?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Surely ...

    ... he must have forseen this. (I get my coat)

  8. ArmanX

    Psychic, eh...

    And yet he didn't see that coming... (though I bet he foresaw this tired, overused joke)

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Psychic, eh...

      The mad thing is that I had this very strong sense that loads of commentards would all make that joke. I really do believe I can see the future. I can't speak to dead people yet, but I can apparently speak to dead predictable people. It's my gift.

      1. BossHog

        Dead people

        Do people end up dead shortly after you speak to them?

      2. AlgernonFlowers4

        Talking to the dead is easy

        Talking to the dead is easy, the hard part is hearing what they have to say.

        That's not to say it's impossible just very difficult as sometimes the same thing happens with the living as well.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    At last.

    Score one for sanity, common sense and fair play.

  10. Jerome 0


    Surely he could have seen that coming.

  11. kode
    Thumb Up

    Psychics are conmen

    I haven't seen this particular episode but I applaud the outcome. Fake psychics who prey on the people's grief to make money are despicable. I've sometimes wondered why do they do it. I mean is it the money and the appraisal of being something better than the others? These cold readers seem to completely disregard the feelings of another person when they talk their lies. Maybe they are sociopaths who just simply don't give a damn about other people, who they just use to get money and possibly fame.

    I have no idea whether there are real psychics. At the moment I don't believe in them. In a way I'd like to believe that some people have special powers, but when you scratch the surface of the current batch of celebrity psychics you pretty easily find that they are just bullshitters. It was hilarious when Allison DuBois (tv-show Medium's Patricia Arquette character is "based" on her) lost her cool in the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (yeah, I don't watch it but that's why there's Youtube for clips). Her real colours came out and showed what a heartless person she really seems to be.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    "IT Angle?" Can't it be because we're Brookmyre fans too?!

    Between finance and Woo clans I'm thinking the we in the UK need to take an in-depth rethink as to the framing and scope of our fraud laws.

    If a flim-flam man abused the memories and the love of any of my relatives by claiming they speak for the deceased in order to profit... well ...sometimes I can't shit fast enough before the skittery bastards are out of range and undercover.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Well Done Derren...

    Calling out these pretend psychic frauds who play on people's sadness and vulnerability is important, there are far too many people who fall for their rubbish and part with their (maybe limited) cash to someone who is outright conning them.

    It amazes me how being paid for "psychic services" is not treated as fraud by society at large and in particular the police, I haven't seen a shred of credible evidence any of these people can really talk to the 'dead spirits', thus they are misrepresenting the truth in order to make financial gain - virtually a dictionary definition of fraud.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On the other hand

      some people apparently get a lot of comfort from being told that their loved ones are OK "on the other side", that they understand or forgive or whatever - as long as the "psychic" isn't fleecing them isn't this as valid as providing a bereavement counselling service?

  14. dave 81

    How to deal with non-IT storys.


    To the people who seem to read this site just for the IT angle, here is a way to deal with stories that may not have an IT angle...

    Once you realise that it is a non-IT story, STOP READING IT, and stop posting the same old lame comments about "Where's the IT angle?"


    1. ArmanX

      But... but...

      There's an icon for it an' everything! Oh, sure, it's easy to use the joke icon, or the beer icon, or the coat icon (and everyone enjoys using Paris), but when do you ever get to use the "IT?" icon?

      Oh, hey, I can use the troll icon! [marks it off the list]

  15. Candy

    Commentard Fail

    Medium != Seer. Though I'll grant that both are frauds, they're differently dishonest.

    Gentlemen, the coat rack is over yonder...

  16. Rich 30


    I dont like Derren Brown either, i think he's really gone down hill in the last few years, but this show was interesting, and really showed up this "psychic" as a scam artist, ripping off the emotionally vulnerable.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Showed up?

      "really showed up this "psychic" as a scam artist"

      I'm not sure I'd put it like that. I'd say it wasn't the show that showed him up, but the guy himself. That was part of the beauty of the whole series.

      Consider this: he made similar observations with both the medium and the taped voices guy, and every difference in the two episodes was instigated by the comportment of the subject of the episode. The medium tried to get one up on Brown at every turn, and was smug about it. He initiated all confrontation up until the final revelation on the neighbour. Meanwhile the tapes guy was genuinely cooperative and enthusiastic about trying to demonstrate his craft to a willing sceptic. There was no confrontation.

  17. The Original Ash

    He spent a whole episode on it?

    This guy proved a "clairvoyant" was a fraud in 11 seconds

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. b-a-r-k-i-n-g-m-a-d

    Found it..

    Found it...

  20. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Derren Brown

    If Psychics don't exist, and the dead don't talk to the living, how did Derren Brown know what the lottery numbers were going to be?

    Maybe the program was a sham, and Joe Power could get his own back on Derren by doing an investigation.

    On the subject of Derren Brown investigates, please could he do Homeopaths and Astrologers next? (appologies if he already has, don't watch it)

  21. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Presumably the psychics amongst us

    knew about the lack of IT content before they (didn't) read it? Or... could they perhaps have deduced it from the title?

  22. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    @ Well done Derren...

    Because if that were to happen then the whole tenuous deck of cards supporting organised religion would have to fall as well. And there are far to many vested interests to allow that to happen.

    Just for the record though - in this case, what would you deem as "credible evidence?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Evidence = Scientific Trials

      You'd at least have to sit the psychic with a string of proven total strangers (ideally from the other side of the world), a screen between them, have some of the people lie to the psychic and agree when they are wrong - a real psychic should of course know who the bullcrappers were, a fake psychic would just keep "reading" them - or something along those lines.

      I'm not a scientist, but I can understand what people with better knowledge than me tell me, and time and time again people like Derren Brown convincingly demonstrate these "psychics" are frauds, and show how the con is done.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Don't be daft.

      Brown provided evidence that this guy lied to him.

      Even if the idea of a god/gods was demonstrably false (rather than simply not being supported by current evidence*) then you would still have to prove that the hierarchy of organised religions don't actually believe in their particular deity. I think you'll find that most do. As most ministers of religion in this part of the world are significantly worse-off financially than myself, I don't think they're in it for the money.

      * Which is to say that I claim no authority to say it is either true or false. I, like everyone else, do not have that data.

  23. Andy J

    If the past is another country, what is the future?

    Look, you guys who want to criticise this psychic, you have to realise that making predictions is not easy, especially where the future is concerned.

  24. DT

    You're ashamed, you're in pain, but you're not to blame...

    Oi, Powers ...go take yer spirit dog for a good long walk.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anybody can talk to the dead

    It's when they talk back that you need to worry.

  26. Valerion


    "Genuine Medium".

    Emphasis on the "moron", obviously.

  27. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Actually, you don't need to be Derren to do this..

    The technique used by such people (and by Derren on stage) is called "cold reading", and there are various books on the topic. The best one (IMHO) is by Ian Rowland, who also teaches this in a course called "Applied Cold Reading" which I had the pleasure to attend - the best way to arm you against such people is to study the tools they use.

    Best fun I ever had on a weekend course. From what I heard he's going to do smaller ones this year (one day versions) - I'm sure you'll find details on the web.

    Yes, you do need a brain, but no, you don't need to be such a complete and brilliant master as Derren Brown. Take the course, and then keep practicing.

    Another technique worth knowing about is micro expressions, something you can study online at Human Intelligence. It has not yet managed to get the tag "science" as more study is needed - I would thus suggest you take the series "Lie to me" which is written around that concept with a large dose of salt. But it's fun nevertheless (yes, done that one too).

  28. Tigra 07
    Thumb Down


    Brings back memories of when Derek Acorah got possessed by a spirit that was made up to expose him in an old pub.


  29. bertino

    Reminds me of a line from Phoenix Nights

    'The piskick* is on the phone, wants to know what time he is on tonight?'

    * spelling on banner on roundabout.

  30. King Jack

    The Dead

    When you die you leave your brain and body behind, it either gets buried or burned. So what are the dead meant to think with? If people survived after death, the afterlife would be exactly like this life. Society (ghost world) would be built by the same people who built this one. No body/spirit would have the time to chat to 'mediums'. they'd be too busy with their own lives. And if they could be bothered, I'm sure they would like to pass on more important things than 'they don't like the picture hanging in the hall'.

    Well done Mr Brown.

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