Derren Brown: Apocalypse = Wizard of Oz   21 comments

I’m pretty sure Derren Brown’s ‘Apocalypse’ is a high-concept end of the world Wizard of Oz, here’s why……

In the setup of the first episode Derren has to convince his subject Steve that a meteor shower is getting a little too close for comfort. Steve’s van is rigged so that it won’t start; A mechanic is briefed to tell Steve that the problem with the engine is caused by the meteors. When the mechanic arrives a lingering close up shot of the side of his van shows a logo that reads ‘KANSAS Autos’


In the Wizard of Oz Dorothy lives on a farm in KANSAS until a cyclone arrives, and picks her, her house and her dog up and deposits them in the Land of Oz.

After the Meteor Shower strikes Steve wakes up in hospital rather confused, naturally he wanders over to a T.V. A faux military public information broadcast is being shown, a servicewoman says…….

“Look for and follow the marked and colour coded routes that will lead to your safe zones. The red routes in the North and East of the country lead to Scotland and the YELLOW routes in the south and west lead to wales”


In the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy asks how to get back home, Glinda advises her to seek the help of the mysterious Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City, which she can reach by following the YELLOW Brick Road.

When the broadcast is concluded a strange logo appears on screen and the woman says….

“This is the final broadcast from the British Armed Forces communication relay at EMERALD communication services”


Throughout the first Episode Derren reminds us that what Steve is going to experience will ultimately make him a better person, he says that….

“In this new post-apocalyptic world Steven will meet actors playing characters who’ve been specifically created to bring out the best in him. Through them he’ll learn about bravery, making decisions and compassion. That’s COURAGE, a BRAIN and a HEART”


In the wizard of Oz Dorothy just wanted to go back home to Kansas but in Oz she meets three other characters, the Tinman, who wanted a HEART, the Scarecrow, who wanted a BRAIN and the Cowardly Lion who wanted COURAGE. Derrens subject Steven can be seen as an Amalgamation of all 3 of these characters.

Oh and Leona/Lion….get it

Here she is holding a toy lion…..

In part 2 Derren contacts Steve via walkie-talkie/radio….

He identifies himself as ‘Oscar Zulu’. Take the first letter of each word and you get OZ 🙂

A helicopter is then sent to rescue Steven…..

On the side of the helicopter is a hot air balloon logo. This is taken from the Wizard of Oz Wiki page…

“…Oz is actually none of these things, but rather a kind, ordinary man from Omaha, Nebraska, who has been using a lot of elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful.” Working as a magician for a circus, he wrote OZ (the initials of his first and middle name) on the side of his balloon for promotional purposes. One day his balloon sailed into the Land of Oz, and found himself worshipped as a great sorcerer. As Oz had no leadership at the time, he became Supreme Ruler of the kingdom, and did his best to sustain the myth. He leaves Oz at the end of the novel, again in a hot air balloon”

Is Derren trying to tell us something? 😉


Did Steve Brosnan leak the Wizard of Oz story line on Twitter before it was supposedly filmed, have a look here:

Let me know what you think! 🙂

21 responses to “Derren Brown: Apocalypse = Wizard of Oz

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  1. Wow, this seems like it could be true. I remember noticing the courage, brain and heart thing at the time but not thinking much of it. But his shows are quite often more than meet the eye, aren’t they? Like with The Gameshow, when he pretended the experiment was controlling the guy but really it was testing the audience, maybe he’s doing the same here?
    I’ve seen lots of people suggesting that the programme is actually a test of whether he can convince his audience that he can create a post-apocalyptic world, but this seems more in depth and seems to make sense.
    Please post anything else you find out. I will watch this page with interest.

  2. I think Derren definitely had the audience in mind when he chose Steven, he seems like an average guy and his ‘flaws’ (lack of courage/heart/decisiveness) are universal.

    We all take things for granted sometimes and we can all be a bit lazy, so, I think the idea of the show is that we put ourselves in Stevens position and learn from his experience…

    Fingers crossed for the second part! 🙂

  3. It’s supposed to be obvious that some aspects of the show reflect the story of The Wizard of Oz. This isn’t an exposé, you’ve just highlighted the hints that Derren has put in to allude to a story with a similar message. A major theme of The Wizard of Oz is self-discovery and self-fulfillment, just as the journey that Derren is taking Steve on is supposed to be about. It’s a cultural reference – not a dark hint to a conspiracy. (Also see Derren’s article in the Radio Times (20-26th October 2012) where he admits the ‘terrible truth’: “It’s the Wizard of Oz with zombies” ). How does your noticing this totally obvious reference serve to expose Derren Brown?

  4. Darren brown makes good tv. I dont really care whether it is fake or not. He admits most of his things are based on showmanship anyway. To be honest though he should get back to magic tricks and mind reading. This high concept stuff is wearing thin.

  5. tbh i never even noticed any of that at all while watching, i must be really thick lmao so maybe he is testing his audience….

  6. I love the take on wizard of oz…Leona – Lion, Ian -letters in the word brain lol, whats the bet the final character will be something like Heather so its like Heart 😛 I agree that some of the high concept stuff drags on and he seems to repeat whats happening over and over :/ but still cant wait to watch part two.

  7. If I was in Steve’s position, I want to to survive. A key to survival would be to arm yourself with a rudimentary weapon or weapons that would enable to to ultimately kill the half dead. Also if he is taking responsibility for the girl, ‘protection’ would be key in this. Again he would need to do this effectively with weapons.

    I like the way the show is trying to tap in to the wider audiences with the clever subliminal links to the wizard of Oz and the showman ship that Derren brings to the the piece. A lot of people in this society would do well to find responsibility, courage and bit of heart using their brain to more of its potential.

    I just think that they have missed a crucial factor that ultimately faced with a zombie or the living dead who wouldn’t find a weapon? He hasn’t once attempted to find or make one. A Question, If he did arm himself and become prepared to fight an oncoming zombie, would the show continue or would they stop it?

    • He doesn’t seem to be very physical, and the army broacast just told him he could be infected by bodily fluids, and not to come into contact with the infected. Also you may think that you would pick up a weapon, etc., but until you are presented with a real extreme situation, you don’t actually know what you would do. (Unless you’d had some specific training).

    • You may want to do some more digging into this berofe you get started. I once started looking into learning hypnosis, but found out that to perform hypnosis on someone required a license in my state. I got fairly paranoid about hypnotizing someone, not being able to bring them out of it, then being jailed for performing without a license.References : Was this answer helpful?

  8. It could be quite possible that Steve helped reshoot some of the scenes after the scam was revealed to him….. it is highly unlikely that everything he said and done would be revealed to the public as it would likely offend some people. For example the camera in his bedroom might show him doing something that most men of his age are likely to do (I won’t expand any further case I cause offence). It is quite possible that he was using expletives when the original footage was shot. Maybe the tv producers decided that some of the language would be too xrated even after 9pm. The tv producers would have to be careful what they allowed to be aired and maybe some of his actions might not be deemed tv worthy (a tad boring).

    Having said all that you could be quite right maybe it was setup or maybe the twist is on the audience.

    I for one will definitely be watching part 2 the hype has hooked me in!

  9. Pingback: Steve Brosnan leaked Derren Brown Apocalypse on Twitter « DERRENBROWNEXPOSED.NET

  10. I didn’t think that was a secret especially when he mentioned about showing him how to have ‘courage, a heart and a brain’. Fairytales are always a lot more profound than you realise as a child.

  11. *UPDATE*

    Did Steve Brosnan leak the Wizard of Oz story line on Twitter before it was supposedly filmed? Have a look…

    Let me know what you think!

  12. Absolutely parallels to the wizard of oz, the whole moral of that story is to appreciate what you have.

    To add to the similarities already mentioned, the helicopter represents the balloon that Dorothy almost gets in to go home. Also the girls name is very similar to Dorothy.

    “There’s no place like home”

    Brilliant show!

    Love the “28 days later” catch up (:

  13. Dave, You are amazing. I have no idea where/how you find this stuff. Thanks, nice way to get many vids on a web page with no room!Namaste, Serry

  14. I think your post is brilliant. Well spotted embedded symbology.
    I never watched the programme, nor any of his past few years’ ones, I simply think the spin he puts on his work, to attract attention, brings down any possible brilliance the work might have in it.
    That is just me and no doubt many value his work very much.
    I always wonder how careful him and his teams truly are towards the applicants, hence the distancing from his work.
    By now you know I am an ex-fan that still somehow reads people’s brilliant derivations from his work 🙂 Keep enjoying! A

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