He was born in Purley in the London Borough of Croydon. While studying at the University of Bristol, he attended a hypnosis show, which inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career. He started working as a conjuror, performing the traditional skills of close-up magic in bars and restaurants. In 1992, he started performing stage shows at the University of Bristol under the stage name Darren V Brown. Since 2004 he has appeared in his own television shows demonstrating his powers of suggestion.
In an interview with the Independent in 2007 Brown stated that he is gay. In an interview with the Radio Times in 2011 Brown talked more about his sexuality, stating that he is blissfully happy in a relationship. He said, "I spent a lot of time thinking about me and working on what I wanted to be before I came into a relationship. In some ways, it’s bad because you come into relationship quite late without a lot of experience and you have a lot to learn. But that can also be exciting. Certainly, it’s lovely to have somebody love you and it’s lovely to love someone else."
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7461782.stm Fiona Pryor BBC News "Inside the mind of Derren Brown" 24 June 2008