Belfast Telegraph

Mentalist David Meade talks about beating the Las Vegas casinos, what if it had all gone wrong and working in America

By Ricky Thompson

Northern Ireland’s very own million dollar mentalist is ‘dying’ to break into the lucrative American market.

David Meade’s Million Dollar Bet aired last week and saw the showman use his well-honed skills to take on a Las Vegas casino.

He beat the odds, becoming the first mentalist to win $1 million on the roulette tables, only to hand it all back.

Since the show went out, David has received a lot of local attention but what the 32-year-old is really hoping for is to take his mentalist skills to the states.

“The reaction to this one has been bigger than anything we’ve ever done before,” he said.

“The truth of the matter is, it needed to be because this is the biggest project we’ve ever done. The reaction has been amazing. It trended on Twitter and we were number one in the slot - it was the most watched show by a three or four percent margin.”

David described his adoration for the ‘land of opportunity’ and has already begun laying the ground work.

He said: “Roughly about a third of my work is in the states. It’s a fun market, they love the accent over there and I love the country.

“A big part of this was to look and see if we can use it as a bridge to get either other projects in the states or to get this one across there.  There’s nothing set in stone yet but absolutely, our goal is to try and get our profile raised there as much as humanly possible.

“When you make a show it would actually be very easy to get it broadcast in the states but what would be much better is to use this to whet the appetite of a channel in the states and then get them to commission something of their own which would have a local feel for them.

“I’m dying for that, that’s absolutely part of the plan. I love the country, I would move there in the morning.

When explaining why he has a fondness for the USA, David said there is a fundamental difference between audiences there and those here in Northern Ireland.

“What I love about audiences in Northern Ireland is you have to win them over. You’ve got five minutes at the start of the show and if they don’t like you within five minutes you’re gone and I love that about them – you have to prove yourself.”

“In the states, however, the audience starts off thinking ‘well, we want you to be fantastic, we think you’re going to be the best in the world’ so all you have to do is, don’t drop the ball. They start off with you and they’re yours to lose.”

David’s audience was very much won over during last week’s show but he was terrified that it could go horribly wrong.

“If this didn’t work I don’t know how I could really knock on the door of the BBC next year and say ‘here’s a programme I want to make’.

“A lot of people have been saying ‘this has got to be a fix’ or ‘this has got to be a set up’ but the wonderful thing about working for the BBC is we’re not allowed to do that. This was a real casino, no actors, no stooges. I love being able to say that and stand by it.”

“I was mostly nervous because we originally had this idea between 18 months and two years ago and I sold the BBC on it. I said this is a fantastic idea, this is going to be the biggest things we’ve ever done.

“After a big of conversation they put their trust in me and I’m very grateful for that but the minute we had signed the contract to make the show I was just filled with this instant fear – ‘oh my God, now I have to actually do it’.

“Building up to the final game, I just felt a huge amount of pressure to make sure, first of all, that the experiment worked, second of all to make sure the TV show worked and third of all, to make sure we did it within the rules, with what’s fair, legal and right.

“When I look back at the footage I can see and remember  what I felt in my stomach when I was preparing for it because all I knew was ‘two days from now I’m going to be doing this stunt, one day from now’ and then all of a sudden the day was upon us, it was terrifying. I would never do it again, I would never repeat this show, I would never try it again. It was stressful.”

On the back of his television success, David is bringing his new live Million Dollar Mindreader tour to locations across the province in 2015, with many performances already having limited seating.

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