Another Derren Brown item here, known as the Russian Scam. This is from his Tricks of the Mind series on BBC (season 2, episode 2). I tried to get all the dialog he uses and catch the major body movements that he incorporates into his routine. Here’s the video.

Here’s my breakdown of the dialog and body movements in the three segments of the video (DB refers to Derren Brown, S refers to the subject of his ploy).


Blackpool, the Las Vegas of Britain apparently.  There’s an epidemic of street crime reported in Russian where people have been mused into handing over their wallets to scam artists. I though Blackpool holiday makers would be perfect to try it on. Now this worked on about two-thirds of the people I approached.

First segment:

DB: Excuse me a minute, sorry. You don’t know where the ummm pleasure beach is, do you? (light touch on shoulder)

S: Pleasure beach? (points in the direction of the beach)

DB: (points in the same direction) Is this whole area the pleasure beach?

S: No, just that new piece.

DB: Just straight down there is it?

S: Ya.

DB: OK, straight down there?

S: Straight down there. (and something inaudible)

DB: You don’t mind me asking do you?

S: No.

DB: No, Ok. You’re happy to give that to me.

S: (says something I don’t understand)

DB: Absolutely, I don’t know the area that well. You haven’t got the time have you?

S: No.

DB: Can I just give you that? (DB hands S his water bottle).

Can I grab your wallet off you? Can I just grab that from you? (S hands DB his wallet)

Thanks ever so much. I’ll just take that. (DB takes back the water bottle from S)

It’s just such a hot day isn’t it? Alright, so straight down there? (DB pointing in the direction of the beach) Down to the end and to the right?

S: Ya, that’s right.

DB: Alright, thank you very much.

S: Just walk out there.

DB: Alright, lovely. Thanks, cheers.

Second segment:

DB: Excuse me, (touches S on the arm) do you know which way the actual pleasure beach is? The fun fair?

S: The pleasure beach? I’m not really from around here. I think…for the main one. (DB points in the direction just before S does, then DB brings his hand down. S is still pointing) If you just go down this road, keep going and it’s on your left hand side. (S is still pointing, DB points again)

DB: So it is down there? (drops his pointing hand just after S does)

Cause that’s the tower isn’t it? (points briefly in the other direction)

You don’t mind me asking do you? (DB is facing S, reaches out his hand, but no contact)

S: No.

DB: No, you’re happy to give that to me. Ok, so it’s down there. Right, alright. Sorry about that. (DB reaches out to shake hands with S)

Cheers, thanks. (Shakes S’s hand with both of his hands, has a water bottle in his left hand)

Thanks ever so much. Ah, ya. Right, so it’s just down that way? (Releases his right hand from S’s)

Could you grab that? (Hands S the water bottle)

Could I just grab your watch? And if you’ve got a phone on you as well, that’d be terrific. (S starts removing his watch)

DB: Can I just grab your ah…I’ll just take that off you. (Starts removing the watch from S’s wrist)

Thanks, lovely. Cheers. Now just grab your ah phone as well (DB takes the water bottle back from S as S reaches into his pockets) and your house keys. (S reaches into his pant’s pockets and hands DB his phone and keys)

DB: Thank you. Thank you very much. Alright, so it’s just literally down there. (DB points in the direction again) Lovely, I’ll grab that. (Lowers his hand from the pointing position and takes the phone from S’s hand)

So straight down there and …(They both point in the direction of the beach)

S: And keep going on your left hand side as you go further down the road there.

DB: Alright, lovely. Thanks ever so much. Cheers mate. (DB shakes S’s hand)

Thank you, you’re fine. Thank you. (DB walks away at this point)

After S Realizes what’s happened, he approaches DB to get his stuff back.

DB: Can you just hold that a second? (DB hands S the water bottle, phone and keys)

Cheers. (DB shuffles his hands around his pockets)

Could I just grab the others back off you so I can…(DB takes the keys and phone from S’s hands)

DB: Cheers. Thanks ever so much. (DB takes the water bottle back from S)

Cheers. I think you’re heading that way. (DB points in the other direction)

Thanks ever so much. Cheers.

Third segment:

DB: (Approaches a group of three people)

Do you know which way the pleasure beach is? Is that, is it down that end? (DB points in the direction)

S:  (Responds and points in the same direction) It’s down that way.

DB: It’s right down that way?

S: Oh ya.

DB: So is it…sorry, can you grab that for me? (DB hands S his water bottle)

Can I grab your wallet or something off you? You got a wallet on you? (DB looks at s whilst rummaging through his pockets)

Keys? Nothing? OK.

So literally, just down that end and…the big Ferris wheel  just down there?

S: You’ll see it.

DB: Alright, cheers. Thank you.

It’s interesting to note that in the last segment where he fails to gain compliance, the situation is significantly different from the other two. In the first two he approaches someone who’s by themselves in a crowd of people. In the third he approaches a group of three people who see to be together and there aren’t many (or any) people around. He also takes less time setting up the routine, there’s less dialog before he asks for the wallet. It’s almost like he expects this one to fail.