Derren Victor Brown (born 27 February 1971) is an English magician, mentalist, painter and skeptic. He was born in Croydon, South London, educated at Whitgift School, where his father Bob was head of swimming, and studied Law and German at the University of Bristol. While there, he attended a show by the hypnotist Martin Taylor, which inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career. Whilst an undergraduate, he started working as a conjuror, practicing the traditional skills of close-up magic. In 1992, he started performing stage hypnosis shows at the University of Bristol under the stage name Darren V. Brown.