Okay, this is coming three years later but this kind of thing really bugs me.
JoshuaD - I'm not trying to be rude, but I really do get the feeling (at the time you posted this anyway) that you do not know much about mentalism or magic. I'm by no means an expert, and some of the techniques used in the performances you mention are a bit more advanced or less well known. However, none of them requires a stooge. You might feel you are 95% certain that he is using stooges, but I can tell you that with 100% certainty that it isn't necessary. When James Randi gives us examples of how to recreate the mystical "powers" of psychics and other frauds, he will often say that this doesn't prove with 100% certainty that these people aren't really psychic, but if they are doing it through psychic powers they are doing it the hard way. Likewise, maybe Derren Brown uses stooges in his effects just to give himself the giggles in private since everyone thinks he actually working as a mentalist and magician. But that just isn't necessary.
Perhaps you have already discovered this in the 3 years since you posted this, but I can tell you with absolute 100% certainty that the effects can be accomplished without stooges. How do I know this? Because the secrets to these effects can be found among the vast library of literature on magic and mentalism. One thing I have learned through experience is that searching through this literature and reading through 1,000s of effects that you may or may not like is a crucial part of the learning process. Once you finally run across how the effects are done, sometimes by pure accident, it is all the more satisfying and makes you treat the effects with the professionalism they deserve.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people brush off beautiful performances as being "fake" simply because they cannot conceive how it is done. More often than not it is simply a hole in your knowledge. And more often than not it seems that the secret is so deceptively simple that people will rarely figure it out on their own.
Watch "The Derren Brown Lecture
". If that girls not prepared I'll eat my shoe.
The girl sits down, thinks of something that happened to her in that past that has to do with "Romance".
Without a single exploratory questions he is able to "divine" that she went to an Italian restaurant with a boy named Peter for her 18th birthday. He also knows that the waiter is short, that there was no music playing in the background at the time (with a clever fail-success reveal), that the napkins were red and green and that Peter was wearing a black shirt.
The woman looked to be 40 years old. I'm 25. I can remember going to a Chinese restaurant on my 20th birthday. I couldn't tell you what color the napkins were, what the girl I was with was wearing, whether our waiter was a boy or a girl, and I certainly couldn't tell you whether music was playing or not, let alone what was playing.
He also does a coin bending trick where a "spectator" holds the coin. At one point the spectator drops the coin and picks it back up. Previous to the drop it's perfectly visible, after the drop he's held hidden in the spec's hand. A few seconds later it's bent.
I can't speak for all of his performances. I can say with 95% certainty that the tricks he didn't reveal in this lecture were stooged.
Throughout the DVD he tries to sell really hard that she's not a stooge. She continuously can't follow the most simple instructions he gives, and he keeps slightly mispronouncing her name.
She's also entirely lacking in surprise when he reads some pretty incredible things from her mind.
I'm not insulted that you would think I'm inexperienced in mentalism, and I don't much care if you give me respect or not based on my post count. But I do ask that you hold yourself to the same standard that you're holding me to. Watch the DVD and if you still think he doesn't use at least two stooges in it I'll hear you out. I'm betting you'll agree with me.