Derren Brown: My new show reveals how much we ignore old people in the UK

The illusionist and mind-reader speaks to ahead of his latest C4 special in which he recruits a group of pensioners to perform an art robbery


Illusionist and mind reader Derren Brown says his latest Channel 4 special will demonstrate how the public ignore the needs and role of older people.


The special, called The Great Art Robbery sees him recruit a group of pensioners to steal a £100,000 Jake and Dinos Chapman painting from trendy London art dealer Ivan Massow.

Massow is given the name of the painting, the date and time of the theft and even a picture of the man who will steal it in advance.

Brown says that the tone of the special is deliberately lighter after his last programme Apocalypse in 2012 managed to convince a man hat he was one of the few survivors of the end of the world.

“After you have ended the world for somebody what are you going to do from there?” said the illusionist.

However, he said that The Great Art Robbery also made him reflect on his own mortality as well as his attitudes to the elderly.

“A few years ago in Bristol I knew an elderly couple who lived on my street,” he said. “She was very chatty and he was always sort of in the background but I remember talking to him after she died and he was telling me these stories and they were fascinating, how they met during the War, stories that none of us could tell.

“[The Great Art Robbery] made me think about what I should do now that means that when I am that age I am not lonely or regretful or bitter.” will not disclose whether the heist succeeds or fails but Brown is certain that either way it could still make good TV.

“If they do fail it sort of doesn’t matter. It’s a safety net for us because that wasn’t what the show was about.”

Brown said that with his packed schedule he would now much rather make one TV special every 365 days.

“It ranges form year to year but I would prefer to do one or two a year,” he said.