Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 15:04 UK

Brown Lotto trick 'confuses' fans

Derren Brown
Brown said he got the numbers by asking 24 people to guess them

Many fans and critics have been left confused by illusionist Derren Brown's explanation of how he appeared to predict Wednesday's lottery results.

Some 4.6m viewers saw him claim to have asked 24 people to guess the six Lotto balls and use an average of the total for each ball to predict the draw.

But some mathematicians have dismissed his explanation as "complete nonsense".

And on blogging site Twitter one fan said he was "still confused", while another called it a "massive letdown".

Split screen trickery

On Brown's own Twitter account, he said: "Well there you go. I trust all is clear now."

He also added that his blog, which has been set up for people to comment on his tricks, has received 5 million hits.

However, it is currently not working.

Wednesday's show on Channel 4 attracted 2.7 million people - beating the actual National Lottery Live Draw on BBC One, which 2.4 million tuned in for.

Brown successfully produced the correct numbers during the The Live Event programme, at the same time the actual numbers were drawn on the lottery live show.

Mathematically it is complete rubbish. It is a bluff on his part
Roger Heath-Brown, Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Oxford

He then promised viewers they would discover the secret of the trick on Friday's show.

During How To Win The Lottery - which attracted a peak of 4.6 million viewers - he revealed that he had worked out the lottery numbers by asking a group of 24 people to guess them.

Once he had their answers Brown said he added the numbers up for each ball and divided them by 24.

However, Roger Heath-Brown, Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Oxford, has dismissed Brown's explanation.

"Mathematically it is complete rubbish. It is a bluff on his part," he said.

And David Spielgelhalter, professor of public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge added: "There is a difference between guessing between the weight of an ox and guessing lottery balls, which is un-guessable.

"That is just a clear wind-up and complete nonsense. There is absolutely no way he did that."

Other theories, that have been suggested in the newspapers, claim Brown used split screen trickery or a false wall to help him complete the stunt.

Andrew Billen of The Times newspaper rated the show two out of five, saying Brown has turned from "most intriguing man on television to the most irritating".

However, he added: "It was, of course, still one hell of a trick — far too good for him to give away."

Twitter critics of the explanation show include Markpirie, who said: "I'm still confused about what way he did it to be honest."

Awwchristy called the 38-year-old a "massive letdown" and KimGVille said: "Is it just me or was Derren Brown's explanation last night very disappointing?"

But some fans enjoyed Brown's stunt.

Michaelvjjones posted on his Twitter page that the show had been "very interesting & entertaining".

Xolani1990 added: "Derren Brown is pretty cool... I can see why people are so skeptical [sic] about him, but I think he's on to something here."



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