The recent Derren Brown special on Faith Healers was an interesting dip into the murky world of those who exploit people who have religious faith. Anyone who was interested in the program can follow it up by reading James Randi’s book The Faith Healers, published by Prometheus Books. The book gives a history of the subject and an analytical survey of faith healing in modern America.
Something to watch for in the near future is a Channel 5 program called Impossible hosted by Philip Escoffey. The show will be in a reality TV/game show format apparently. This continues the trend that has been present for some time now. BBC’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, BBC’s The Magicians and ITV’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us have all had a reality TV/rise to the challenge aspect to the them. The Derren Brown special on Faith Healers was just that, pushing Nathan, sometimes unwillingly, through his paces to meet the aim set by Brown. The last Derren Brown series, in which people were trained/mentored to tackle challenges, from escapology to being a quiz whiz, is another example.
I, for one, hope this trend fades. It detracts from the real point of interest which is magic and mentalism. I believe that the choice to do that, unfortunately, lies in the hands of those that hold the purse strings to make any of these programs and not with the performers.