The Happenings: Magical mischief on UKTV
Created by Objective Productions (the team behind Derren Brown’s BAFTA award-winning TV specials) and Crook Productions, and aired exclusively on UKTV’s leading entertainment channel Watch, The Happenings is a four part series based around the idea that a large-scale illusion can lead unsuspecting townsfolk to believe in the unbelievable: cue an alien invasion, an angry spirit, and an army of vampires.
Part one sees a live act from magicians Barry and Stuart, where Stuart miraculously barfs up a Rubik Cube and Barry provides the voiceover: “The trick was so impressive that no-one could clap.” Instantly likeable, the Scottish duo set the tone for what comes next.
The episode begins with Barry and Stuart standing on the stage in suits, alerting the audience as to what they are about to witness. Through a series of large-scale magic tricks, a guest appearance from TV personality Stacey Solomon, the use of social media and reliance upon small town gossip, the pair plan to convince the good people of Stamford that aliens are trying to make contact – and that one unfortunate townsperson has actually been abducted. Blair Witch-esque images of what is to come flash on the screen, eerie music sounds, and just when you start to feel the cool chill of fear there comes the line (perfectly timed and brilliantly edited): “But why would aliens come to Stamford?!’’ The first of many jokes.
The whole premise of the show centres on the fact that Barry and Stuart are letting the audience in on their secret, but keeping the townspeople out. However, it is precisely this false sense of revelation that makes the pair (and indeed their tricks) so spellbinding. How does the fork end up embedded in a shop window? How does Barry melt Stacey Solomon’s £2 coin? How do they produce a crop circle in the blink of an eye? How does Stuart use tinfoil to put his hand through a closed car window and unlock the door without breaking the glass?
With there being no big reveal by the end of the episode the viewers are left just as amazed as the people of Stamford, on whom the tricks are actually played. Wildly imaginative, totally bewildering and exceptionally funny, The Happenings is a must see.
The editorial unit
The Happenings will air on UKTV’s leading entertainment channel Watch in December 2013. For further information visit here.