So, there we were in the New Theatre in Oxford and, having caught a frisbee Derren had whanged out into the audience (no remarks please from my cricketing brethren) I found myself on stage with five other blokes playing 20 Questions. We all saw each other write down an object – I chose a cricket bat – and then Derren guessed what it was with phenomenal speed.
Except he didn’t with me. First I got shuffled from number 4 to number 6 then he came to me and said “I’m not sure I can do this with you. What do you do?”
“I’m a journalist,” I replied.
(Someone in the audience booed – thanks for that)
“No, I can’t use you, hope you don’t mind.”
And off I toddled to sit down again enjoying a brief 30 seconds of notoriety which at least got me a space at the urinals during the interval.
That wasn’t the end of it though. First, we pieced together that I might have been a distraction for something going on on the other side of the stage at the same time (a man in a gorilla suit stealing a banana if you must know), and then there was the finale.
Here, Derren unveiled a banner of his predictions for the show that had been kept in a sealed box in full view suspended from the ceiling. “Then we did 20 questions,” he said as the banner was unfurled, “and I got it wrong as there was a football but I’d written down ‘cricket’. Hang on, I sent that journalist back...”
At which point I shouted out that yes, I had written down cricket bat and Lo!, a little bit more unfurling, and there the exact words were on the banner.
No idea how he did that or indeed any of the other stuff in a fairly spectacular two hours. As Stephen Fry says, the man is indeed a witch. A bloody entertaining one though. Go see if you get the chance.