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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Riveting finale to Russian roulette stunt
By Darren Waters
BBC News Online reviewers

Leaving aside moral and ethical issues, Channel 4's Russian Roulette was a mix of the intriguing and the genuinely tense.

Derren Brown puts the gun to his head
Derren Brown's gun was loaded by a volunteer

The intriguing element was the bulk of the show, as illusionist Derren Brown played mind games on 100 people who had volunteered to put a bullet into a gun and then let him pull the trigger.

Brown quickly weeded out the shrewd and the pathological using a number of inventive parlour games.

He then settled on five seemingly weak-willed, easily read men who would make up the final participants for the live show.

The selection process took up more than 50 minutes of the hour-long programme, which could easily have been something out of a 1980s Paul Daniels show.

But the final minutes made for riveting, extremely unnerving viewing as the realisation dawned that this man really was to put a gun with a live bullet to his head and fire.

Alarmingly real

The fascination was, of course, whether Brown would actually shoot his own brains out on television.

Putting the gun back down on the table he seemed to ponder on the final three chambers for an agonising length of time.

But Channel 4 had already made clear that it would pull the plug if the unthinkable happened.

With little showmanship, and in the incongruous setting of a barn, Brown selected his man to put the one bullet into one numbered barrel of the six-chamber gun.

The lack of music and bare surroundings gave proceedings an alarmingly real edge.

Real or not, illusion or not, the final moments were, for want of a better word, surreal.

Empty barrel

Starting with the gun set at barrel number three, Brown fired the weapon at his head twice before hesitating at number five.

He put it to his head, changed his mind, before firing at a sack of hay.

But the barrel was empty. Putting the gun back down on the table he seemed to ponder on the final three chambers for an agonising length of time.

His dilemma, if indeed it was a dilemma, was this - there was one bullet and three chambers left.

He pulled the trigger at his temple on chamber six before firing a live round at the hay from chamber one.


And with that the show was over - Brown hugged his volunteer and the titles rolled.

Others will comment on whether he should or should not have done such a thing on television and I'm sure statisticians and psychologists will explain how safe it was really.

But I doubt there will be a more nail-biting few minutes on television this year.

And it certainly overshadows David Blaine's antics in a transparent box.

What did you think of the programme? Was it morally wrong for Channel 4 to show it? Do you think it was all an illusion?

Let us know. Send us your views.

It was just a marvellous magic trick, presented with all the showmanship of a David Nixon, a Paul Daniels or a David Blaine. Do people think Brown would really risk his life for a television programme? Anyone who has watched his other programmes will realise that he uses psychology to get people to think exactly what he wants them to think. In this case, advance publicity and controversy convinced everyone that he would be firing a loaded gun at his head. I have my doubts.
Dave Farmbrough, UK

This is disgusting...it may have been an illusion, but how many people out there now think it's a good game to play!

Channel 4 needs to be fined over this show and banned from ever showing something like this again. If Channel 4 cannot show restraint and good moral sense then they should lose their licence.
Rob, Belgium

This sort of TV is really not my thing at all. However, I find Brown different from any other "illusionist" I have seen before. There appears to be no magic involved and he is merely reading the thoughts of susceptable people. It was certainly one of the more interesting things I have watched on television. I find his methods fascinating.
Allan Smith, UK

Absolutely fantastic - haven't been glued to another programme as I was last night for ages. Whether it was an illusion or not, I'm not sure, but it was great entertainment!!
Nicky Morbey, UK

If these performers continue to try to outdo each other then it will only be a matter of time before one of them kills themself violently on television. If they want to do it then fine, but let's not watch it on live TV. That way someone can edit to inevitable grotesque finale.
James, UK

One of the best TV programmes I have seen this year, he is truly an amazing man. Even the build up to how he eliminated the 100 contestants was compelling TV. The final five minutes were unbearable to watch and I had to hide behind a pillow! Just shows how the Brits can do it so much better than the Americans.
Claire Smith, England

I enjoyed the show, but could not help thinking throughout: Brown is a magician so this must be a trick?
Stuart Clarke, UK

All day I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to watch it, but sure enough I tuned in, and found myself hooked. Maybe it was simply the combination of the lack of a high-budget setup that usually wraps such stunts (Copperfield take a bow), and the genuine likeability of Brown that made it so compelling.

Whatever it was, the final bit in the barn brought back memories of the famous scene in The Deer Hunter, and regardless of how much danger he was really in, it was as riveting a moment as I have seen. Hats off to anyone who takes their art so seriously that they are prepared to take that kind of risk for it.

As a marketing ploy too it beats Blaine hands down, and Channel 4 didn't miss the trick with their plug of his DVD after the titles rolled. Right, I'm off to HMV....
Rob King, UK

If David Blaine's stunt is supposed to be amazing, he REALLY needs to fire his publicist. Derren Brown had me riveted to the seat, cringing and unable to watch the TV! Now that's a true stunt!
Alex, UK

Incredible television if only in the way it obscured the obvious with Mr Brown telling his accomplice, Ralph Little, to "please choose one barrel, just one. I want one barrel". Gripping stuff though.
Tim Stainthorpe, UK

Contrary to popular belief, many of us watched hoping that it wouldn't go wrong. Derren Brown is possibly the most talented showman to grace our screens. Well done to him.
Emma, UK

Very poor taste, one upmanship on David Blaine whose stunt is pointless to say the least, why this was allowed to be shown I don't know. What is happening to B>ritish TV? Will we soon be able to watch live execution broadcasts from the USA?
Anon, England

It was incredibly tense when he seemed to have made a mistake by firing chamber five into the hay and it being empty, bringing home the fact that this was very real... so real, that it seemed wrong to be watching at that point. We were taken to a point that we would not have dreamt of being at had we not been convinced that he could pull it off.

It felt that we would have been almost implicated had it gone wrong and I imagine many people would have had a very hard time dealing with that, if it had. Simply dealing with the message that we as people are so predictable, is in itself rather hard to deal with when so aggressively put!
Gareth Rosser, South Wales

An extremely brave stunt that goes to prove Brown's belief in subconscious suggestion.

Followers of Brown's work will have been aware of Brown suggesting chamber one from the very start of the conversation at the table - 4 to 5 times he mentions and slightly emphasises the word one in his build up.

Fantastic stuff and riveting television...leaving moral and ethical issues aside, that is.
Richard Castle, UK

At once mesmerising, terrifying and awesome. Derren Brown achieved in 10 minutes what David Blaine will still be begging for after 44 days.
Leigh Hall, UK

Whether a mad stunt or just an illusion, it made for a good hour's viewing. It's not morally wrong for Channel 4 to show it as other illusionists and magicians have performed dangerous acts on TV in the past, knife throwing and juggling chainsaws for example isn't an illusion, it's a skill but just as dangerous.

I think Derren Brown is very clever at mind control and getting subliminal signals from people so maybe this is how he did it. I don't want to believe it was all an illusion but feel it can only come down to that or sheer stupidity, although, he wouldn't have really blown his brains out, right?
Lee Cottington, London, England

I think it was right for Channel 4 to show it, there was no way they would have shown it had he not guessed right and ended up hurting himself. I felt sorry for the bloke that put the round in the gun, don't know if I could have done it!
Sals, England

It was a trick. I'm very suspicious of the metal gizmo used to hide the chambers in the revolver. I believe this gizmo indicated in some way where the live round was. Why did he not use a make of revolver in which the loaded chambers are not visible, and not requiring modification? Because it would then have been real Russian roulette.
John, England

I don't believe this was an illusion, his body language and his face showed real fear. This man is quite extrodinary and showed he has an amazing ability to read the human psyche. Morally I think it was questionable, in light especially of some recent well-publicised gun crime. That aside it definitely made David Blaine's "stunt" appear incredibly benign to say the least.
Simon M, Spain

Fantastic TV, really, really tense viewing. Boring Blaine should take note....
Anna Pearce, UK

Firstly and briefly, having had prior experience of Derren Brown, both on TV and in a live setting, I'd like to point out that the possibility of this stunt having been an illusion is nil; he just doesn't work like that. One only has to think back to the start of the hour-long programme to realise that it was simply an extension of the object under six cups test.

Secondly, I believe that the storm of criticism over this is rather pathetic. For a start, getting hold of a handgun and rounds will not be easy in Britain; anyone who has the determination to do so, or already owns one, is likely pathological anyway.

Thirdly, I think the show in its entirety proved quite irrefutably the difference between a cheap, rather dull, American street magician and someone who has revitalised the notion of magic.
Ben Brown, England

Derren may come under some criticism for "bottling it" at the third chamber, but I doubt if anyone watching the show would have put themselves in his shoes. The moment after this, where he seemed to be attempting to regain his composure was rivetting, nailbiting stuff. I could hardly watch.
Ric Euteneuer, UK

In my opinion, it was an illusion - he was in collusion with at least some of the final 5 contestants (including the guy with the goatee whose cartoon he "guessed" so well) and certainly with the young guy who loaded the gun.

In my opinion, before the gun was loaded, before they entered the room, they both knew which chamber the bullet was going into. I think the "magic" consisted of arranging to select the predetermined five last contestants, while giving the appearance that this was down to some kind of "mind reading" process. By the time he started pulling the trigger, I had come to the conclusion that this was how it was being done.

(Any other possibility would mean he really was not SURE where that bullet was - and he would want to be VERY sure.) So the final moments of the show just looked a silly act to me, with the great mind reader acting a good deal better than his young friend.
Paul Seaton, UK

This is ridiculous - what kind of example are the bosses at Channel 4 trying to set for our young? The show may well have been aired after the watershed, but the trailers were not! Does this country not have enough problems with the youth and with guns in general?
Louise Pedersen, England

Fantastically terrifying.
Richard King, London, UK

What a fantastic piece of television! Way to go Derren!
Lee, UK

Morals don't come into this. It was exactly what people wanted to see and let's face it, deep down we all knew it was a well planned illusion coupled with excellent acting skills.
Nicole, UK

I thought it was paradigm changing, there should be more death sports on TV.
Gavin T, UK

Derren Brown is an extremely charismatic, talented illusionist. The most fascinating part of last night's programme was the way in which he selected the final participants. The Russian Roulette section was in fact a little difficult - but compelling - to watch. I don't have a problem, moral or otherwise, with the content of the show and I can't imagine a justification as to why one would have.

As for copycats, if an individual is stupid enough to attempt the stunt, then they'll get the outcome they deserve. The good sense of the majority shouldn't pander to the stupidity of the (relatively) few. Full marks to Derren Brown for a fascinating show - illusion or otherwise.
Lorraine, UK

It practially blew ME away! Very impressive, very tense TV. The main topic of conversation in the office this morning. Also, as handguns are illegal in the UK and presumably only held with criminal intent, if some idiot blows their own brains out with one, I'd say better them than someone innocent.
Graham Mott, UK

There are enough idiots running around with guns, without a TV programme glamorising them even further. I accidently saw five minutes of the show before switching off and going to bed.
Tracey, UK

I don't know about Derren, but I was physically shaking at the end. I pysched myself up to think it was just a stunt, but at the end I'm not so sure what it was! I believe it was the real deal.

There was something macabre and fascinating, watching, but when he got to the fourth chamber in the gun, I shouted at the TV for him to stop!! Bizarre, eh? Not sure what it says about me, but it's making me think. Should it have been shown?? Yes, because after all it was Derran's choice. If the police are worried about copy cat stunts, then it's an admission that their laws on gun controls have failed - well there have been several drive by shootings lately!!
Tim Bentley, Orpington, England

All credit to channel 4 for showing a gripping, sometimes sickening and ultimately real piece of television.
Matt, England

Is it not that difficult to fathom out that this could have been an illusion? David Copperfield made the empire state building disappear, we've been cutting women in half for years - a simple mind reading trick of this order surely can't be out of the realms of comprehension can it?
David Smith, England

TV can be a bit like love - to get the most from it you have take a few things on faith and accept the risk you might be deceived. Last night's stunt could very easily have been prearranged but I thought it felt pretty authentic. Watching Derren put the gun to his head was genuinly chilling and made fantastic television.
Charlie, UK

When Derren Brown and the contestant were sitting down either side of the table with the gun between them, Derren was asking questions and the contestant quite noticeably nodded twice in response to every question (I'm sure it was subconcious). That's what told Derren the number of the chamber: No. 2.
Andrew Thomas, Wales

I saw it. It wasn't that tense and nail biting. The contestant was duped. Derren simply said to him. "From numbers 1 - 6, pick ONE, keep that ONE number in your hard, don't change it. keep it, really focus......."
Rory O Donnell, Ireland

Absolutely gripping. The long pause after he shot the 5th chamber was incredible - what was going through his mind at that point?

I was begging him not to carry on...how could he think clearly after getting it wrong? He said he would not do it unless he was 100% confident of success, so the viewer is left wondering if he deliberately made a mistake for dramatic effect...as if it wasn't dramatic enough.

Amazing television - the most intense TV moment since September 11th live coverage.
Iain Mackie, UK

Gripping television. If this was merely illusion, it was arranged in such a brilliant way that you were never sure. Morally correct or not, my respect for this man's 'art' has increased. David Blaine? Who?
Stephen Morris, UK

I can't exactly tell from the photo, but one would assume there were dummy rounds in each of the chambers of the cylinder so that he couldn't just look at the revolver to see which trigger pull would kill him?
Phil Ward, Wales

I didn't see the show. Even if I could have I wouldn't. It's totally immoral and sick. I can't understand why people are so weak to let TV companies feed them with such trash. This isn't what I call entertainment. It makes you kind of worry that it may turn Russian Roulette into a fashionable game. Doesn't do to think about it does it, or what they might come up with next? A "live post mortem?", whoops sorry ,that's already been done hasn't it!

Surely there should be some kind of law to stop the degradation of TV emissions to this extent. I find it totally offensive regardless of whether it was an illusion or not.
Lisa, France

Potentially simple to fake, indeed we are left to assume that Derren used his psychological skills to read Jamie's mind.

Whether real, or fake, allowing ourselves to suspend the disbelief made for riveting TV!

Vastly superior to Blaine in a Box.
Matt, UK

I loved the programme. I'm sure the long delay in his act was to build up suspense rather than to enable him to figure out which chamber contained the bullet. I don't know how it was done, and even though I knew beyond all doubt that he was completely safe, I was still on the edge of my seat. Well done, Derren!
Andrew, UK

What a prat. Blaine's antics are those of a desperate publicity-seeking eccentric - Brown's smack of stupidity and insanity. Shame on Channel 4 for showing it.
Barnaby Chesterman, UK

Nice to see Channel 4's programming put it on directly after a show about the death of David Kelly complete with Samaritan's hotline numbers for would-be suicides. And no, I didn't watch Brown's show.
Andy Castle, UK

I got through the first round of application, was invited to submit a video tape for the second round. The realisation of what might happen hit me, and my better judgement told me to walk away.

The last ten minutes of the programme, the "live" part of the trick was one of the most gritting, stomach-churning things I've seen on TV for along time.

I have a lot of respect for Derren as a performer, but even I was left wondering whether the relatively short post-stunt notoriety he has obtained was really worth the risk.
Luke Kirkwall, UK

I watched it with my girlfriend and after he fired the empty chamber into the sandbag I thought he'd obviously mis-read the contestant. We were pleading with the TV for him to stop as he contemplated the last three chambers.. Nail biting stuff, the guy is amazing.
Jonathan McAlroy, UK

It was one of the best pieces of television I have seen all year. I am glad that Channel 4 still has the gall to keep showing these types of programmes.

Just think. if everything on TV was governed by a small minority view on a certain issue, programmes like Derren Brown would not be aired.

Just imagine a TV world full of boring Sunday night costume dramas and documentaries. Once in a while you always need something a bit risky and controversial to keep you interested.

As for the show being an illusion, this is not possible. How can you create a trick. It's simple. A loaded gun, 1 bullet, 6 bullet holders.

Let's face it. The BBC or ITV would never show this sort of thing live on a Sunday night.
Ewan Mannington, UK

I could hardly watch when he was pulling the trigger, especially on the last bullet. I think he was mad, though. Wasn't it amazing when he looked at the contestants faces and could guess which word was in their head? Brilliant TV. I don't know why the police got so uppity about it - it's just a magic act.
Andrew Thomas, Wales

It wasn't an illusion - I've met this guy when he did a show at Bristol University, and the stuff he can do is incredible. Russian Roulette is probably the easiest thing he's done in years.
Chris Pople, UK

The very fact it was on live TV meant you knew it was going to end safely, but nevertheless a fascinating and compelling hour of TV to eclipse anything Blaine et al have offered recently. Clever stuff.
Matt, UK

I think the timing of the show, so shortly after the shootings in Berkshire and Hertfordshire and the consequential concern of the glamorising of guns in the media, is distasteful, especially as the show revolved around a man using a loaded pistol against himself.

However, the show itself was entertaining and I do agree with the BBC reviewer in that the most interesting part of the show was the process of elimination Derren Brown used to reduce the numbers down to the one who would load the weapon, and these psycholoigical tricks carried the show better than the climax itself.
Stephen Watson, UK

Throughout the programme I believed that the outcome was inevitible, and was sure that C4 would not risk broadcasting a fatal shooting of this man, and subjecting a volunteer to the certain psychological torture of being a contributor to the man's death. I therefore found the final act no more convincing than a movie. The games, however, were entertaining.
Simon Brown, UK

I dare Tony Blair to do that.
Sam Selleck, UK

I don't think it was an illusion, but I wouldn't rate it as a complete success. The bullet was in barrel 1, yet Brown fired number 5 at the wall. He evidently wasn't 100% sure where the bullet was. In order for him to have 'read' the final contestant fully he would have started at position 2 and fired 2,3,4,5 & 6 at himself before discharging barrel 1 at the hay. During the very long pause after the first three firings (3,4 & 5) he probably thought, "If it's not the next one, there's 50% chance it's the one after that, so I'll fire that one at the wall". Whilst being a brave/stupid thing to do I think it's inaccurate to describe it as a success. He survived - just leave it at that.....
Rob Oag, UK

Thrilling yes, but in a week in which so many people have had their lives ruined by gun crime, this show was tasteless and sent out all the wrong messages.
Tom, UK

I have always been a fan of Derren Brown with his psychological tricks and manipulation always holding my attention more than any magician but last night's show really topped it.

Whether it was showmanship or not, when he fired the empty chamber at the sack my heart really leapt. The thought that he had guessed (or read) wrongly the chamber with the bullet really set the mind racing. The thought that if he could shoot an empty chamber wrongly the very real possibility of shooting a live one into his skull incorrectly was there!
Joel Davison, UK

An excellent piece of television. Calculated to the very last detail (thankfully) by a professional act but utterly riveting nonetheless. This guy had a gun to his head - how much more exciting can you get.
Mark, England

I find it hard to understand why this programme was screened in light of all the violence around us and to glamorise the use of guns as exciting is just outrageous.
Joanne Fowler, England

Fascinating, nail-biting and, in my view, responsibly presented. Russian Roulette may not be to everyone's taste, but I don't think it's correct to link it with the problems of gun crime.

In no way did this programme glamorise guns, far from it. The emphasis was on the danger they represent and the need for responsible handling at all times.

I've also seen Derren Brown live and have never thought what he does involves illusion - more an ability to manipulate people and situations exactly as he would like them. Clever stuff.
Chris Thorpe, UK

The way in which he chose the final five was was extremely interesting and amazing. I was on the edge of my seat once the roulette actually started. One of the best programmes I have watched in a very long time.
Chloe, UK

First, let us not forget that this person is an illusionist and therefore we have to take everything that we saw with a large pinch of salt. No man in his right mind would put a loaded gun to his head on the premise that he could mind-read the number of the loaded chamber from the volunteer. I think it was telling that 50 minutes of the programme were dedicated to the selection process - trying a little too hard to convince us that this volunteer was genuine and not a stooge.

If they could not convince us that the volunteer was genuine, the whole show is a bit of a damp squib. Yes, of course the "volunteer" was a stooge, but it was good showmanship and a lot easier than sitting in a plastic box for 44 days.
Martin Randall, Wakefield, UK

I'm sure the stunt went wrong. All our minds work in a similar way and I picked barrel 5 before they loaded the gun. Did anyone else notice the volunteer's voice waver on number 5? I think Derren Brown also thought number 5 was the one. That pause was just way too long to be for showman effect.
Stuart Irving, UK

Watched it the whole way through, absolutely amazed at his ability to either perceive or control what his volunteers would do. He fired chamber three at his temple. Only then did I realise he was going to go for the five blank chambers and not settle for one. Horror! No longer a 1 in 6 change in my mind, now it's a 5 in 6 chance. Couldn't watch any longer, and turned over. Checked the teletext this morning to see if he was still alive........
Keith, N.I.

The trick itself isn't the best part.....we have to wait months to find out how he did it in a "reveal all" documentary.
Frazer Gunson, UK

Taking a party of public health students, who are studying in England to find ways of combatting hunger in the third world, past a man who chooses to go without food for a publicity stunt brought home the immorality of Blaine's so-called stunt.

Brown's stunt however was nail-biting and if people were not interested, they could switch off. Blaine hangs there whether we want him or not! Who should be pilloried in the press? Obvious I thought.
Christian Murley, UK

I thought it was a fantastic show! The fact that it took place in a barn and not on a glamourous set with flash lights and music made it all the more real. The tension before he fired the final two bullets was electric - you really did begin to wonder if he would pull it off. I wonder what David Blaine would have rather watched? A man with a loaded gun pointed to his head or a man in a box!!! I know which one most people would choose!!!
Carole Hunter, UK

I don't think it was an illusion. Derren showed at the start of the show (and has done on other shows) that he can detect in peoples' voices when they say "the magic number". Be that the cup with a gold braclet underneath, or the chamber of a gun with a loaded bullet in it. He is however, a fantastic showman, and I very much doubt that he was ever unsure as to which chamber the bullet was in, but he gave that impression, thereby creating those last few nailbiting seconds. Regardless, it takes a brave man to test his skill with a live round!
Andrew Edwards, UK

I thought it was an amazing show. I've seen him perform live and he truly is a brilliant showman. I do agree the "stunt" was dangerous, and may have copycats but it has got to be one of the most amazing events I have ever seen on television. Congratulations to him for pulling it off.
Darren Price, UK

Having watched Derren's shows in recent years, I found the programme on Sunday to be riveting. I sat with my heart pounding in the final moments, and I think your reviewer summed it up perfectly - there cannot have been a more gripping piece of TV in years. Whatever Derren's future intentions, I hope he continues to amaze. In the meantime, I lok forward to reading the debate about the show.
Steve Greenall, UK

I have been a big fan of Derren's for some years now and he is the best illusionist out there, in or out of a box. Derren would not put himself in a situation he wasn't 100% sure he could get out off. It was no illusion, it was pure mind-reading. Well done Derren, glad you're still around so I can go see you in your next show!!
Oliver Curran, England

I think the elimination process was quite entertaining itself. The last five minutes were surprisingly tense. Even though we all knew he'd guess the right chamber, we were all watching and hoping the screen would go black and a Channel 4 announcement would pop up saying they regretted that the trick had gone horribly wrong. I guess that is just our sick British sense of humour showing through though yet again. Want another Hamburger plane David?

I don't think it was an illusion. He's just got a gift that not many people may have but not necessarily know how to use. It was an entertaining show, much more interesting than Big Brother and such shows. I think most people who watched it would probably be adults who know that it would be dangerous to copy Brown. There are obviously going to be the odd few who will, but let's not blame that on the TV.
Sabina Jabry, UK

Wow. Compelling viewing like nothing before. I was glued to my seat and even found myself to be squirming a little when he took the first "shot". How the volunteer remained so calm and still is beyond me.

Derren made it clear from the outset that it was his decision. I don't think, personally, Channel 4 was morally wrong to show it, considering the autopsy and other shows that have been broadcast recently. I don't believe it was totaly "live". I imagine there was a slight delay if the worst did happen, but being an illusion, I'm sure Derren had "programmed" any one of the final 5 people to pick chamber 1.

He's done similar before with advertising execs. He left clues all over London that made them think in the same line as him. My guess is he did the same this time as well. It's still a dangerous stunt, but this man is at the top of his game. I for one am pleased he survived so we can have more of his mind games in future!

And I'd rather sit through an hour of Derren Brown than suffer another series of Big Brother! Channel 4 should continue to push the envelope.
Jon Cole, London, England

Illusion or not I thought it was extremely tense viewing. Derren Brown is the man.
Jeff, UK

I watched this on Dutch TV and yes, it certainly was good TV. It gave the impression that Derren Brown was a very good show man, which is what it is all about. If David Blaine claims to be an entertainer, then try entertaining us please!
Martin Bryant, UK/Netherlands

If David Blaine can stay in a box and try to starve himself on TV (and in public), then why should we not have Russian Roulette, where Derren had at least shown us earlier in the programme that he was capable of reading the volunteer's mind. More exciting than soaps and reruns!
Jan Sleet, England

Thanks for explaining what happened - I watched the programme right up until he first pulled the trigger and then had to turn over as it was too tense! Nail-biting stuff - although he doesn't seem like a mad man or a scam artist, just someone who can really predict these things... He looked REALLY scared though.
Cath, UK

Never forget people have a choice. If they felt un-nerved by this fascinating television programme, all they had to do was switch channels. Pure class.
Marc Allen, Ireland

The show was great in as far as entertainment goes. Morally, there should be no problem with it, if kids imitate it then we should be more concerned where they get the weapons from rather than the Russian Roulette itself (It's been around for many years). It's about time illusionists etc. pulled their fingers out and actually started making shows that are genuinely fascinating such as this one instead of the run of the mill card tricks of a certain, rather boring, Mr. Blaine.
Ollie, UK

Unlike David Blaine who is reknowned for his "illusions", Derren Brown is the real thing. He combines amazing skills and a strong degree of intuition about the human psyche with great showman ship. The Russian Roulette programme was fascinating, both in his use of mind games to whittle down the 100 people to 1 and in the suspense he created whilst doing this. The final few minutes were indeed nerve wracking and unmissable. What an incredible talent this enigmatic man has.
Clare, UK

Awesome, the ending had me on the edge of my seat, like no other programme has for a while!! BRILLIANT!!!
Daz, Cardiff, Wales

An excellent build-up and a well planned climax. It's obviously a trick, illusion, stunt, call it what you will. Many "dangerous" tricks have been shown on TV before - I'm sure this was no more risky than any other.
R.Hedges, UK

This was obviously a controlled experiment. How could it be wrong to show it when we can all watch the Deer Hunter and see someone blow their brains out playing Russian Roulette. Yes, it's not real, but the moral argument here centres around the nature of the game.
Jamie Marshall, England

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