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Derren Brown’s lottery prediction Sep 10

So Derren Brown “predicted” all of the lottery numbers. It was certainly a good bit of TV but will we discover on Friday that it was just split-screen camera trickey? This video expresses my view on the matter…

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29 Responses

  1. 1
    Liberal Neil 

    Genius mate!

    I thought much the same thing about the legal restrictions. The BBc may have the right to stop anyone else announcing the actual numbers but they surely can’t have the right to stop anyone else making predictions!

  2. 2


    Now… the real test…DONT TYPE ‘lottery prediciton’ into the ebay search bar

    This is where you will find my prediction for next wednesdays draw ONE day in advance of the draw.

    Wish you the best of luck, oh and you did think about the black cat right?

  3. 3
    susan boil 


    I SAID DONT think it

  4. 4
    Sam Ryder 

    I think split screen can be ruled out by the consistent shaking of the camera… Its obviously a trick, but I think its a far cleverer trick than you are giving credit for… You seem to be missing the point of magic tricks in general, we know we are being tricked, and as such we know that derren isn’t some sort of wizard. What he does seem to be though is a very clever man, and I’ll bet my next weeks lottery winnings that its not a split screen trick… Oh yeah, and tune your uke…

  5. 5

    I reckon you could shoot as a still image and add camera shake afterwards specifically to appear to rule out that kind of split. However it was done, it was a very good piece of week.

    I think my uke’s in tune – just not when I play it…

  6. 6

    Hate to sound sycophantic, but you’re very gifted. I watched this song loads and laughed every time. Have shared this on my blog and facebook. peace.

  7. 7

    “I reckon you could shoot as a still image and add camera shake afterwards specifically to appear to rule out that kind of split.”

    You certainly can do this afterwards, but this was live, for this to work the camera shakes would have had to be exact! It would be easier for the ball stand to be computer generated and tracked to something on set, but to perform this live would have been VERY risky, one slight miscalculation and the balls disappear or move somewhere else with no time for correction.

  8. 8

    This is an awesome video. I don’t care about the lottery predictions or how it was done but I have plenty of time for an entertaining song that will make me laughs. well done that man!

  9. 9
    Darran Breem 

    Very funny, in a Digance/Carrot fashion. But better. Brown: do the one where you make me think you’re not full of shite with your mind again can you?

  10. 10
    magic kev 

    my money is on the fact that he has recorded all possible outcomes of the lottery. sounds insane but he has done stuff like this before, wait and see……

  11. 11

    One thing that does support that (rather extreme) theory is that he waits until late on to write down the numbers and then tilts the board away with no obvious writing sound (that I could hear).

  12. 12

    Cool song, I think the camera shaking has something to do with it, it’s like they were tring to prove it was live, surely they could have found a cameraman without the shakes for a live programme!

  13. 13

    I initially liked magic Kev’s theory – everything would have to have been live to get the correct number of occurrences – they then switch to a pre-recorded just before he turns the balls round. However on further examination the maths doesn’t add up. He’d have had to do it 14 million times – if it had taken only 10 seconds to film each one that would have been 40000 hours of work or 160 days for 24 hours a day…..To have been sure of 5 would have taken rather less though it’s too late in the day to work that out.

  14. 14
    Sam Ryder 

    @ Helen, cameras shake in 99% of tv broadcast, its just a human thing. The possibility of recording every single combination doesn’t even bear mentioning.
    A very good trick anyway, and we shall all find out tonight. I wouldn’t be suprised if its the setup for something altogether different.

  15. 15

    Your so going to look a douchebag if your theory doesnt stand up. Cmon “2 cameras”? if you cant see DB messing with you like this then making a song about it is going to make you look an even bigger tit later on.

    Camera tricks? hahaha!. As if he would do that! I’ll come back on saturday AFTER you’ve revealed how he did it…. just to call you a prize ass!

  16. To be honest I think this was a fix!! He didn’t even buy a ticket to prove it!

  17. 17

    OK, now I can only think of 2 possibilities:
    1) Camelot collaborated by having a genuine draw in advance, then rigged the live draw to give the same numbers
    2) There was a remotely controlled device which could be made to mark the numbers on the balls from within (far-fetched I know, but when you’ve eliminated the impossible…)

  18. 18

    Oh, and another thought – if Derren really was live why didn’t he could have refer to some latest news item to prove it?

  19. 19
    Sam Ryder 

    @ Lotteryblog…. Of course it was a trick. As I’ve said before, he is a magician. When a magician performs a card trick he does not defy physics, he tricks you. Same with this, its a very very clever trick.
    @ Tim: I agree, I personally thought he could have photographed the balls with a polaroid camera just to show they never changed, keeping the photo in view all the time showing it never changed, but without flipping it round.

  20. 20

    the balls didnt ever move off the platform, its possible that these balls had digital numbers in side them.. it takes 30 seconds from writing on the card board and turning the stand with the balls on.. i think the camera shakes are there on purpose to make you think it was a camera trick…….. if you notice the stan is hollow plastic looking inside but that could be the illusion as he is an illusionist!!!

    Something to go on! maybe!

  21. 21
    Chris F 

    He didn’t predict the result like he claimed. He used delaying tactics after the lottery took place so that there was sufficient time to put the numbers on the balls. One of the delaying tactics was waiting until all of the balls were drawn and then writing down the numbers.

    I suspect that the balls that he displayed his ‘predicted’ numbers on were very small for a reason. It would be much faster to put the numbers on afterwards using scientific trickery.

    Why did he not provide any evidence that the numbers were predicted before the lottery started? Why did he not buy a lottery ticket or get someone to buy one for him?

  22. 22

    Just watched his explanation programme, which sold us a false story. The right one might be something as mundane as the split screen that everyone’s talking about, but there are reasons why the explanation given was a red herring.
    The coin-toss race is very elegant but works very simply. By preceding the first guess – the HHH – with a tail, it means that almost every time there is a run of three heads there would have to be a tail before it to make it a run. So say the coins go, HTHHTHHHTTHTTTHHHTTHTT. Same number of each, with 2 runs of three heads. But because a run of heads needs, paradoxically, to start with a tail, the THH team would get 3 points before the HHH scored once. After each point the count would begin again, meanng there would have to be five heads in a row for HHH to get a point. Pretty difficult. The ‘deep maths’ here is nothing more than transforming a list of H and Ts into a series of runs of threes, which will go in favour of the second set. The purpose of showing this was to suggest to us that a group could encourage a certain result and that order could be sorted out from disorder. Which it can, in a sense. The clue to the irrelevance of this is how Derren didn’t relate the importance of that game to the following one. They were both intended to mislead and convince us rather than explain to us.

    Second point is the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ bit. That phenomenon relies not on people intuiting the weight of a cow and then averaging their intuition. It relies on everyone sizing up the cow and taking a stab. Statistically, the more extreme a guess is, the more unlikely people are to make it. Because I’d be a fool if I looked at a cow and guessed two stones. Similarly, I’d be fool if I guessed 5 tonnes. But the idea is that the extreme guesses cancel each other out, working towards the right weight, which most people will have got about, although not exactly, right. The lottery is different as one can’t stare at the past results and get a rough idea. All guesses are, like the extremes of the cow-guess, ridiculous, and averaging won’t get you any closer. The best one could hope for would be the six most frequent numbers. This means that Derren, clever bunny that he is, conned the group as well as the audience. The advantage of doing this was that it added the credulity of 24 convinced people to the so-called explanation. And they were, of course convinced in just the sort of suggestible condition that Derren showed in the first part of the show.

    All good stuff, mind.

  23. 23

    Just out of interest, did anyone NOT turn over to the BBC to check that Derren’s show was live? Perhaps we were all coerced into changing the channel at exactly the same time?! He was talking about it a lot…

  24. 24
    tom hedger 

    Derren brown is an illusionist. Henceforth, he is giving the impression that he can predict the lottery, not that he can do it.

    If you know the numbers that are going to come out on the lottery, you indefinitely buy a ticket. even with all the money Brown will get paid for televising this stunt, it will not compare with the millions upon millions he will receive for winning the lotto jackpot. Why on earth would channel 4 ban him from buying a ticket? he is using explanations that are initially feasible to trick the audience.

    “Predictability in randomness”. Say this to yourself and it is clear it makes no sense. if something is random it is not predictable. By making the woman scared of the mouse in his first trick, he is making her more suggestible sub-consciously to steer her away from picking the 4.

    The coin game. If you read up on basic mathematics, then you will know that your odds of getting HHH on 3 flips of a coin is 1/2×1/2×1/2=1/8. your odds of getting this combination are exactly the same as that of HTH and of equal likelihood. So why did the red and blue team thing work? because if you look on the “coin page” of this site itself, it mentions that it will “work if you repeat it enough times.”. so this game was obviously played till red team won 9-1, and this section of the game was aired. or just repeated with different groups of people. remember we are dealing with a man who spent 11 hours flipping a coin in “the system” to get 10 heads in a row.

    “Wisdom of the crowds”. just have a look at this and listen to how ridiculous it sounds. so if everybody guesses the weight of a bull, and we get an average, we’ll get its exact weight. not at all. maybe something coincidentally close in 1906 when people generally knew how much a bull would roughly weigh, because FARMING WAS PREDOMINANT, even if that story is true.

    The 24 people. remember what he said at the end of the 9.00pm show? that if he had “rigged the machine”, then THE 24 PEOPLE WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY USELESS. Ever seen the episode where he makes the students guess how many sweets are in the jar using an average? this stunt is but an expansion, and brown knows the results of each draw before the crowd, but gets them to come to similar conclusions, similarily to “the gathering”, where 2 digits of “charlie’s” phone number was “correctly predicted”.

    Camera tricks and the rest of it. WHY ELSE WOULD HE BE HOLDING A SNOWFLAKE!!!????

    The End point. What is the point in having a 3rd option, where he explains how he “riggs the machine”. where he mentions a possibility of the 24 people being COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS and how the whole thing would have been a trick? he certainly does tell us how he did it in the program. but not directly.

    bring on the next event.

  25. 25


    I believe this was done to discredit the obvious solution: that he disregarded the numbers the group came up with on the night and instead was prepared to switch in whatever came up.
    In detailing the third solution he mentioned he would have had to do the group-will probability thing but then ignore their prediction. This is exactly what he did (I believe) but by wrapping it up with the illegal fiasco of substituting heavier balls etc., the aim is to get you to think it all was -all- highly unlikely (including filming a bunch of people attempting to predict the lottery draw just for the hell of it).

    I’m pretty sure this trick is just a reworking of the prediction tricks he’s done in his various stage shows. It was a little disappointing, and certainly didn’t feel like new ground at all.

  26. 26
    R McD 

    To tom hedger,
    The coin game does work. In the way he did it, it should be obvious. In a string of heads and tails, it is more likely to have equal numbers of both, so a string of three heads will occur less than HTT or THH. See

  27. 27
    The Walster 

    Before the airing of Derren’s so called explanation on Friday evening I confidently said to my friends that it would not be done with camera trickery, that Mr Brown was better than that and would not resort to such a low act of skullduggery. However it seems more and more likely that this was the case. There is one quite suggestive piece of evidence that has not yet been mentioned here…
    If, as he claimed, the numbers had genuinely been predicted before hand, and knowing his propensity for showmanship, why did he not perform this trick in front of a live studio audience, as it would have increased the credibility of this stunt tenfold. If the balls in the rack had been genuinely preselected then there would be no harm in having an audience sat in the studio, all of whom could afterwards attest to the fact that the balls never moved or were tampered with in any way.
    Even if he used some kind of sleight of hand as some people have suggested, I’m sure he is skillful enough to be able to pass off to a studio audience what he can pass off on camera, which after all is closer to him than the audience would be. No.. there are only two reasons for not having a live studio audience;

    One – as some people have suggested he recorded every possible outcome. I know from watching some of his other stunts that this is not beyond the realms of possibility, but I think it’s highly unlikely.
    Two – There was some thing else going on in the studio that he didn’t want us to see.

    It is this second reason that convinces me of the split screen theory. David Copperfield managed to make an entire train carriage disappear in front of a live audience, so why does Derren have to do this trick in an empty studio with only two camera men present? As for all the stuff about the camera wobble proving there couldn’t have been a split screen, this is nonsense, even without using a still camera and adding the wobble afterwards there was more than enough detail on the back wall of the studio to accurately pin a still image, even for a live feed, in fact I rather think this is why they used the bare studio rather than a set or even a curtain, with today’s software the pattern of light and dark bricks on the back wall would provide enough good quality pinning points to match an image to even the wobbliest live camera shot.
    The second reason also supports the laser printed balls theory but if you’re going to resort to electronic trickery then you may as well use the easiest option, and in this case a split screen would be much easier to pull off.
    I watched Friday’s show expecting to be yet again astounded at Derren Brown’s skills but was left like most of us feeling that I’d been witness to a cheap trick. Unless he comes up with something more convincing than the bunk and filler he tried to con us with in this show I will remain utterly disappointed. Like any magician Derren always does his best to make his tricks seem as plausible as possible, but in this case there are too many holes, and if his claim that he managed to get 24 people to accurately predict the lottery was true then why did he not have those 24 folks look over his calculations after “the event” and verify that the averages he calculated from their data were the numbers he used? I very much suspect that this group of people will probably stay in touch and start their own lottery syndicate and I will be interested to see if they ever win the jackpot. Somehow I doubt it.
    No…. I am unconvinced. For a man who has tried his best to debunk the myths of psychic abilities, and other such fallacies to now try and sell us this rubbish leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Like other people I hope this is simply one act in a grander performance, because when an illusionist has to resort to camera trickery then he is truly selling his soul!

  28. 28

    “For a man who has tried his best to debunk the myths of
    psychic abilities, and other such fallacies to now try and sell us this rubbish
    leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

    Yes, I feel the same way. Where normally he manages to preserve a sense of wonder whilst denying any recourse to supernatural explanations, here he’s very much encouraging it by talking about nonsense like group will, and presenting probability theory in a very skewed way. The whole of Friday’s show just made me cringe.

  29. 29

    I enjoyed the song!
    Derren’s stunts are just that- they are great profile raisers 9like he needs it!), but I think getting all the lorry numbers right is too perfect, generally, with this sort of magic it’s better to make minor mistakes than a 100 % hit rate because it adds believability to the magic.