Derren Brown: The System

Derren Brown: The System

Ratings: 6.73/10 from 15 users.

Derren Brown: The SystemThe System, a Channel 4 special in which Brown shared his 100 percent guaranteed method for winning on the horses.

The show was based around the idea that a system could be developed to guarantee a winner of horse races. Cameras followed a member of the public, Khadisha, as Brown anonymously sent her correct predictions of five races in a row, before encouraging her to place as much money as she could on the sixth race.

To demonstrate the system to the viewer, Brown tossed a coin showing ten heads in a row to prove it was not impossible, just highly improbable.

After Brown had placed a bet of £4,000 of Khadisha's money on a horse in the final race, he explained that The System did not really exist.

Brown expressed the opinion that the principle behind The System (essentially confirmation bias or survivorship bias) is what is behind belief in spiritualism or homeopathic and alternative medicine.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Scott Simpson

    ITS OBVIOUS HOW THIS WAS DONE! horse racing scammers use this post code lottery every day, he did say how...then he simply chose a race where it was a 2 runner match to finish and paid her the 15k small odds return and didnt back the last..

  2. Bob Sanders

    I was disappointed with this show. Normally I think his shows are great but not this time. It would have been better if he hadn't shown us how it was done. WHAT A LET DOWN.

  3. Epicurus

    excellent doc. everyone should watch this.

  4. migmigmig

    I'd have liked to see him explain the photos scene like he explained the coin-toss scene. The coin toss scene was easy to figure out.

    Of course, this is a TV show with a substantial budget: it's entirely possible that they simply paid off the racing folk. It seems obvious that they merely put 4000 on each horse in the final -- that's pocket change to a TV producer.

  5. W_Ali

    The point that I got from this doc quite simple. Presistence is the key. A numbers game. Like the coin toss. When u hear 10 heads in a row, it seems unbelievable. Then he tells you it took him 9 hours to accomplish, not so attractive now is it. But the point is, he made it happen. No matter how long it took. Whether or not the things he did in the video are real or just made up, the point is simple. So forget the tricks. Apply the idea. :)

  6. Yeung Xiao

    The neatest trick is the last one. Simple and powerful. Hats off to my fellow magician.

  7. Tipsy

    I'm terribly angry over this doc... I can't believe that he would put the finances of so many people on the line for this - and even if they ended up getting their money back, it's not fair to toy with people's emotions. I felt so bad for her at the end, and I honestly don't think that just "making it all okay" made me feel any less angry over it.

    1. communism_works

      He repaid them back. It's filmed that way so you think that. It worked.

    2. Guest

      Even when she found out, she seemed to take the whole thing pretty easily...Was there a little bonus at the end? May be so!
      Terribly angry?? Ever watch Candid Camera?

    3. Robin_Hood_89

      cry me a river, as if this is the biggest travesty happening in the world today, get a grip and take out your frustration on something more worthwhile

  8. robert elliot

    He couldn't have done too many trials with the photographs. All those people were fairly prominent in the racing business. The number of trials needed, based just on luck, would be astronomical. I'm guessing that people tend to unconsciously choose names matching their initials. Either that or it was fixed.

  9. robert elliot

    What about the people choosing the pictures? He never explained it! I'm guessing that people tend to unconsciously choose names that match their initials? Seems a bit fishy though. And guessing the order they would stand in? Maybe that's based on calculations about who is most dominant or who walks fastest?

  10. Evan Ravitz

    I assume the photograph puzzle has the same answer as the coin toss and the races: they did it over and over until they got the results. (I figured out the coin toss, which is the easiest. You need lots of time -and money- to do the others.) But too bad they use this to diss "alternative medicine." There are lots of alternatives; some work, some don't. As the great poet Rumi said, "Fools gold exists because there is real gold."

    1. Kevin Brown

      So you got the coin toss trick but don't see how it applies to alternative medicine??????? If alternative medicine had any real medicinal properties outside of placebo, it would be mainstream medicine and companies would be making billions from it. Simple as that.

  11. wald0

    My take on that last winner- they simply bet on the favorite and then held the other tickets in thier pocket so they could pop out with them if he lost. Anyway, I am not sure this is equal to the effects of alternative medicines or spiritualism. These phenomenon do not rely on odds as much as they rely on the conspiracy theory mentality that is so prevalent today. If I want to sell you a cure for cancer now days my best bet is to spend the vast majority of my time cultivating your disgust for traditional medicines and the medical field in general. I would point out all the underhanded and crooked ways they rip people off and how they fail to cure so many people, how corrupted the field of medicine has become by big phrama and so forth, etc. All of which is true but, I haven't really told you a thing about my cure have I. At this point all I have to do is throw in the testimonial of a few people that were cured, not necessarily by my medicine but simple because odds are that a few people will get better for reasons unknown, and viola- I got you.

    Of course it is a little more complicated than that, for instance they always relate their product to something that is natural because we instinctively have more trust for naturally occurring compounds. In the end it isn't just playing the odds alone that they use, they couple that with things like our distrust of the establishment, our instinctive trust of nature, our desperosity to hear someone say it will all be o.k., etc. The truth is that the current system isn't perfect but, it has much better results than the old snake oil salesman ever dreamed of. If you want to get the best odds of survival you should go to a real doctor and use real medicines. Will it cure you for sure, no. But, it has much more success than all these crazy cures that tell you if you eat the right things your cancer will just go away.

    1. communism_works

      "All of which is true but..."
      lol. You burned yourself. The conspiracy movement only exists because of the lack of credible sources of information. There are so many obvious lies and misleading presentations in the information provided by media, that it just makes sense that people will counter that. Where do you think most of the 9/11 conspiracy information originates from? The media.
      It's the media that feeds the conspiracies. Just like how the way this program was filmed had more to do with the system than the system itself.

    2. wald0

      Your attempt at a counter arguement completely fails to address anything I said, in fact I can't even make sense of it really. O.K. the media causes the conspiracy theory mentality I was referring to, so what. I think your only half right, but I can agree with that much of it anyway. My point was that the mentality we are talking about gets used against us, not where it originates. Con men realize that the world in is in a state of distrust right now, we don't trust government, education, science, religion, etc. These guys know that if they can make us feel like they are on our side, that they are offering an alternative to the currently broken institutions that we are all so disenchanted with, they have won the battle- now they can sell us just about anything. We want to believe what they are telling us, which makes it so easy for them.

    3. Liam MacSuibhne

      "..a few people will get better for reasons unknown, and viola - I got you."

      I fail to understand what violas or any musical instrument have to do with this. Surely you mean 'voil√°'...???

  12. Jack Seahorse

    he probably sent the same message to ,( no. of horse per race) raised to the power of (the no. of races), that number of people will definitely give you all the possible out come. well i havent finished it yet this is very interesting though.

  13. Kat Inthehat Hutz

    so you're saying he placed 4000 on ALL the horses?
    Doesn't make sense...

  14. Kat Inthehat Hutz

    i am confused!

  15. yusof yusof

    so, how did he guess the last one?

    1. leewebster

      he didnt guess anything. He showed us the process....

    2. Guest

      i agree? Although he did explain the other bets, i suppose the last one was just a lucky guess...and how come she never looked at the ticket before the end of the race? Wouldn't you look at the ticket at least once if you thought, hoped even knew... it would make you win that much money?
      And how does he explain the way people picked the photographs?
      This doc was right on after the doc on magic!
      Ho by the way, i did sleep well.

    3. Gary V

      He just bet on the favourite & it was only a 5 horse race. I'm sure that the odds on the any of the other horses winning was very slim. He chose every race, so he picked the last race with a certain winner & then deliberately told her to bet on the wrong one to make a more dramatic ending. For me the result was not the amazing part of the doc, it was the setting up & delivery of the whole trick. Very entertaining, as always from Derren Brown.

  16. Guest

    great doc to watch just before i am off to dreaming...i bet i'll have a good night!

    1. misterwong

      It's the stuff dreams are made of isn't it?