Derren Brown’s Russian roulette stunt backfired on him today when police confirmed that the bullet loaded into his gun was a blank.
Three million viewers saw Brown fire a gun, said to contain a live bullet, at his temple.
But police in Jersey, where the stunt took place, said the stunt was a fake.
“There was no live ammunition involved and at no time was anyone at risk,” said Lenny Harper, Detective Chief Officer for the States of Jersey police.
“A prop company brought a number of props to the island and they included a quantity of blank ammunition.
“There is absolutely no way that the States of Jersey police would allow anybody to put themselves at risk and shoot themselves dead.”
He added: “This programme was made by a TV company very experienced in pyrotechnics, in making smoke and bullet holes appear. It was no different to film which uses special effects.
“This was just an illusion – the question of whether it was in dubious taste is another matter.”
Brown had claimed the stunt needed to be filmed at a secret foreign location to bypass Britain’s strict gun laws – but the laws in Jersey are just as strict.
Channel 4 would only say: “In making and broadcasting this programme, Channel 4 was very mindful of its responsibility to ensure the safety of all involved, and liaised with the Jersey police in advance of filming there to ensure that no offences were committed.”
A spokesman for Brown declined to comment but said if the illusionist had fired a blank round into his head “he would have died anyway”.
During Sunday night’s show, a hand-picked volunteer apparently loaded a live bullet into the Smith and Wesson gun.
Brown, 32, claimed he could predict which chamber held the bullet.
He fired the fifth towards a sandbag and it apparently went off. The cameras then showed a hole appearing in the bag.