9/10/09 – The UK media are trying to work out how illusionist Derren Brown managed to fulfil his promise Wednesday night to predict the winning National Lottery numbers. But the media, and the public it serves, will not know until Friday when Brown has promised to explain what must surely be a monumental sleight-of-hand.
Channel 4 live television screened Brown's attempt to call the draw across its five channels – the first time the broadcaster has given over its entire network to a single event.
After indulging in some theatrics to heighten the suspense, Brown said "I can't believe it" when he turned over the numbers he said he had selected in advance to reveal they matched all six in the official draw.
Brown's publicists looking for a big start for his new series of television tricks hit the jackpot with this one, which has achieved massive coverage in the British press both pre and post event, and garnered a large television audience.
Brown set up the Lottery event in a secret studio location, telling viewers only he and two cameramen were present. After explaining that the line of balls on display contained the numbers he had predicted earlier in the day, he said he would not be able to show them to the public until after the BBC had screened the draw.
To prove his show was live he switched on a television in the studio showing the BBC1 National Lottery draw programme.
"We are absolutely live and in synch with the BBC," he said.
As he waited for the draw machine to be launched, a nervous-looking Brown apologised to viewers in case he got the numbers wrong.
"I should say this is the culmination of a year's obsession over this," he said. "I have had Lottery numbers all up over the walls of my house.
"If it goes wrong…I'm really sorry."
Brown watched silently as the draw, with this week's jackpot of GBP2.4 million, delivered the numbers 2, 11, 23, 28, 35, 39.
Holding a card up with the numbers written on it, Brown then turned over his row of balls which were exact matches for the six.
He said: "Those are the numbers.
"That's a year of my life right there."
National Lottery spokesmen said that 70 percent of Britain's adult population were ticket buyers hoping to win big with their predictive choice of numbers, and stressed that it was not possible to influence the actual draw. Brown's objective as an illusionist was to create the illusion that he had accurately predicted the winning numbers prior to the draw, they emphasised.
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