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Ofcom okays Derren Brown psychic-baiting

Opinion of regulator's dead relatives pending

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Ofcom has ruled that the psychic at the centre of an episode of Derren Brown Investigates was treated fairly.

The show, which was broadcast by Channel 4 in May, centred on Joe Power, a Liverpool psychic who claimed he could talk to the dead.

Power claimed that he didn't know the show, which featured Derren Brown following him around and pointing out how easy it would be to fake psychic communications, would be a sceptical presentation, apparently unaware of his own (recorded) statements saying how much he was looking forward to exactly that.

Brown has never made any secret of his disdain for those who reckon they can speak to the dead, demonstrating time and again how the same results can be achieved through careful observation and good guesses: if you're as bright as Derren Brown, at least. Nor did Power seem unaware of these options, in recorded interviews which went against him during the investigation.

"He's a well-known sceptic," Power had concluded in an interview with programme-makers made before he signed up for the show. "Why can't a sceptic meet a genuine medium?"

Ofcom stated that "Mr Power clearly understood that Mr Brown was a sceptic". But that didn't stop Power claiming to be under the impression that the programme was called Derren Brown Unexplained, and wouldn't question his abilities.

Complaints about specific elements, such as a crew member's testimony that Power was in the car park when Hollyoaks actress Claire Cooper pulled up in her Mini (he later astounded her by psychically deducing that she indeed owned a Mini), were also rejected on the grounds that Channel 4 included Power's denial of the events - leaving it to viewers to decide whose word they trusted more.

As the regulator puts it, "Accordingly, Ofcom has not upheld Mr Power’s complaint of unfair treatment in the programme as broadcast." ®

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