In 2012, hypnotist and magician Derren Brown abducted an unsuspecting member of the public and placed him in a former military enclosure for two days, with only some actors and hidden cameras for company. Most of the actors were playing zombies, the idea being to convince the victim... er, subject... that he'd lived through a Zombie Apocalypse. The results were broadcast on Channel 4 in October/November, in the form of two hour-long specials.
Apocalypse contains examples of:
- After the End: Or so Steven thinks.
- An Aesop: It's repeatedly stressed that Steven, who takes his life for granted, will learn valuable lessons from the apparent loss of everything he loves.
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: The show seeks to prove this, using Steven as its guinea pig.
- Brave Scot: Iain, another so-called survivor.
- Candid Camera Prank: One of the grandest in TV history.
- Character Development: Steven undergoes a great deal of this in a short space of time, which was kind of the point.
- Cowardly Sidekick: Danny, one of the 'survivors' played by actors.
- Creator Cameo: Iain Sharkey, Derren's co-writer who helped develop the concept for the show, appears as the very first zombie: screaming and covered in blood in a trashed hospital ward, naked except for a hospital gown. Nice.
- Cruel to Be Kind: This is one of Derren Brown's favourite tropes, and Apocalypse is probably the most elaborate example to date.
- The Everyman: Steven was targeted precisely for being one of these.
- The Leader: Iain is a type II. When he withdraws from the role, Steven takes his place.
- Not Using the Z Word: The zombies are referred to as 'the infected.'
- Off to See the Wizard: Steven survives a natural disaster, finds himself transported to a bizarre world, meets Leona - a bad pun on 'lion' - and, with the help of two other flawed sidekicks, comes to realise that certain lacking qualities were actually within him all along. Failing the Yellow Brecon Road, the mysterious 'Oscar Zulu' (Oz, obviously) offers to fly him home but he goes back for Leona and misses out on the ride, so it falls to a Deus ex Machina in the form of a phone call to reawaken him back at home... as if it were all a dream. We do have Word of God on this.
- Plague Zombie
- Shout-Out / Freeze-Frame Bonus: The first episode features a close-up shot of a discarded prescription slip for 'Rumyodin.'
- Technically Living Zombie
- This Loser Is You: Steven.
- You Wake Up in a Room: After a snap induction and a short period of trance, Steven wakes up in an empty hospital with no memory of how he got there.
- Zombie Apocalypse
- Zombie Infectee: Iain's wife Sarah averts the deception element of this trope by coming out as infected almost immediately.