HE is the master of manipulation, a grand illusionist with the power to read the minds of strangers and make them do outrageous things.

Derren Brown arrives at Bournemouth Pavilion for three nights next week with his show Underground.We caught up with the flamboyant showman to get an insight into what audiences can expect...

“It began as a show to take abroad for people who hadn’t seen me," he explains. "It is made up of all the best bits of the previous tours, put together to form a new show with its own stand-alone integrity.

"The result, everyone felt, was such a strong show that we decided to tour it here. The material has been re-envisioned and reworked - and by its nature is different from night to night anyway. People who come

after having seen those previous shows are telling me they are being caught out and surprised again, which is great to hear,"

Derren who is in town from Monday to Wednesday, June 11-13, says he is very much in his comfort zone with his latest show.

"Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong, every possibility has been explored, and it’s a total delight to go out and enjoy night after night."

In previous interviews, Derren has admitted his root to stardom stemmed from a desire to have power over people. Growing up he was a shy, gay, unsporty pupil at a sporty public school.

"For self-defence, I acted larger than life and showed off with magic tricks. Then when I got to university [he studied law and German at Bristol University], I went to see a hypnotist perform. The people who tend to go up on stage at university gigs like that are the sporty types who really intimidated me back at school."

He then saw a chance to get his own back, by learning hypnosis and making them do something ridiculous in public, like eat an onion thinking it’s an apple.

But that's all behind him now. He appears to have found contentment in life and his book Happy has proved to be been an inspiration to many people. But what truly makes Derren Brown happy?

"Well, writing the book made me very happy. I think I’m at my happiest engaged in a project like that. Reading and writing for hours on my own makes me feel very good. Especially as I tend to do it most when I’m on tour, so I get to then go out and show off on stage for a couple of hours after being tucked away working.

He adds: "A big source of happiness is having meaning, and immersion in a creative project certainly offers that. And being outward- rather than inward-looking: letting your sense of self spread out and connect with others - or at least something outside yourself.

"I feel that strongly when I’ve been reading the right sort of book and then I step out into the street and feel all warm and gooey towards everyone.

"That’s the best feeling. It's important for us to find our own ways of getting lost in something bigger than ourselves."

If you're not able to see Derren's stage show, he revealed he will be back on our TV screens soon on


"They are showing Miracle and The Push - two of my C4 shows - and right now I am making a brand new special for them. That’s been another interesting change - away from terrestrial TV into quite a different world.

"Channel 4 have been wonderful to me over the years and I hope we’ll do more together in the future: at the moment this is very exciting too."