THE illusionist Derren Brown apparently correctly predicted the National Lottery numbers live on TV.
Channel 4 screened Brown’s attempt to call Wednesday night’s draw across its five channels – the first time the broadcaster has given over its entire network to a single event.
He promised to explain to viewers how he achieved the feat in a show tonight.
A smiling Brown said “I can’t believe it” when he turned over the numbers he said he had selected in advance to reveal they matched all six in the official draw.
Ahead of the attempt, Brown was besieged on social networking sites by people desperate to know the winning numbers and how he planned to pull off the stunt, receiving nearly 100,000 messages over the course of the day.
The stunt marked the start of a new series of television tricks from Brown, whose past shows have seen him perform Russian Roulette live, apparently contact the dead in an interactive seance and convince members of the public to take part in the robbery of an armoured security van.
He set up the Lottery event in a secret studio location, telling viewers only he and two cameramen were present.
After explaining the line of balls on display contained the numbers he had predicted earlier in the day, he said he would not be able to show them to the public until after the BBC had screened the draw. To prove his show was live he switched on a television in the studio showing the BBC1 National Lottery draw programme.
“We are absolutely live and in synch with the BBC,” he said. As he waited for the draw machine to be launched, a nervous-looking Brown apologised to viewers in case he got the numbers wrong.
“I should say this is the culmination of a year’s obsession over this,” he said. “I have had Lottery numbers all up over the walls of my house.
“I am feeling a little bit sick.. Please wish me luck. If it goes wrong... I’m really sorry.”
Brown kept his hand firmly to his mouth as he watched the draw – for a jackpot of £2.4m (€2.7m) – on the television screen.
He was silent as the six winning numbers appeared – 2, 11, 23, 28, 35, 39.
Holding a card up with the numbers written on it, Brown then turned over his row of balls which were exact matches for the six.
He said: “Those are the numbers.
“That’s a year of my life right there.
“I can’t believe it.”
He told viewers to tune in tonight when he promised to explain how he did it.
Before Brown’s stunt, a spokesman for the Lottery said that 70% of the adult population of Britain would be trying to emulate Brown’s trick and guess the numbers. “It is impossible to affect the outcome of the draw and Derren Brown is not suggesting he is doing this,” the spokesman said.
“Derren Brown is an illusionist creating an illusion that he can predict the numbers.”
Brown’s new four-part series, entitled The Events, continues on September 18 with How To Control The Nation, in which Brown investigates subliminal messages. The following episode, How To Be A Psychic Spy, on September 25, will examine the psychic arms race that grew up between the US and Russia during the Cold War.
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