'It was rather misjudged'

Since Derren Brown has made it big in telly, one of the key themes that he’s dealt with is the nonsense that are faith healers, spiritual guides, and other whackos claiming to get you closer to God, or the spirit world. You’d think that people would have stopped believing in all that cobblers by now, but no.

Part of the reason that Brown goes after these people so aggressively is that he himself was once part of such a group; an gang of evangelical Christians who would claim they could cure people of homosexuality. It was of course a complete scam, and Brown, who came out himself in 2008, has now produced a programme for Channel 4 on the multi-millionaire miracle healers, called Miracles For Sale (which goes out at 9pm on 25 April). In it he turns a member of the public into a fake pastor and sends him into the Bible belt to expose what he calls tricks, tricks that are ‘genuinely dangerous.’

‘First of all, people don't get better,’ he said. ‘Not only do they not get better, they're told to throw their medicine away. Of course, it doesn't work, so the blame is put on the victim for not believing enough. The authorities are reluctant to do anything as it's about religion.

‘I did go through an area of the church that was trying to 'cure' gay people. It was rather misjudged. I was aware of that and kind of flirted a bit with that. Friends of mine were in it so I was kind of aware of it. I just felt it was misguided.

‘It was a convenient way of getting around not quite embracing the whole gay thing. It was more interesting than, 'Read your Bible and all your problems will go away.' It had a bit of depth and psychology to it, but it was just based on a false premise. When I got to my early 30s I realised that it wasn't going to go away.’

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