Derek Francis Jason Johnson (27 January 1950 – 3 January 2020), known professionally as Derek Acorah, was an English self-styled spiritual medium. He was best known for his television work on Most Haunted, broadcast on Living TV (2002–2010). His career as a medium was punctuated by allegations of fakery and he also attracted controversy over a number of seances during which he, reportedly, made contact with high-profile figures.
2 Personal life
6 External links
Acorah's first television appearance was on the satellite TV channel Granada Breeze in 1996. During his five years with the channel, he began with Livetime before later appearing weekly on Psychic Livetime. He also appeared on Predictions which started out as a showcase for various studio guests but later became a vehicle for Acorah alone and renamed Predictions with Derek Acorah.
In July 2001, Acorah joined a new British television programme called Haunting Truths. It was subsequently sold to Living and renamed Most Haunted. He worked on the show for six series.
In 2002, Acorah also featured in the television series Antiques Ghost Show, and in 2004 he was presented with the Variety Club of Great Britain's Multichannel TV Personality of the Year Award.
Yvette Fielding, a presenter and executive producer of Most Haunted, initially stated "there is no acting on this programme, none whatsoever. Everything you see and you hear is real." However, significant media attention was directed at the show in 2005, after Acorah claimed to channel spirits with names that had allegedly been suggested to him in advance, such as "Rik Eedles" and "Kreed Kafer", which are anagrams of "Derek Lies" and "Derek Faker" respectively. Speaking in 2006, Fielding said of Acorah "We tell people everything is real, then it turns out he was a fake, so he had to go."
After his 2005 departure from Most Haunted, Acorah filmed a one-off special for LivingTV, Derek Acorah's Quest for Guy Fawkes followed by Derek Acorah's Ghost Towns with Ruggie Media. This programme ran for three series. In 2008, Acorah took part in two series for Sky Real Lives titled Derek Acorah. In July 2006, he made a cameo appearance in the Doctor Who episode "Army of Ghosts".
In November 2009, Acorah featured in Michael Jackson: The Live Seance, in which he was shown on live television attempting to contact the singer's spirit. The programme was named the worst TV programme of 2009 in a poll of more than 9,000 Yahoo! users.
Acorah's other television work includes Celebrity Five Go to..., Harry Hill's TV Burp, Celebrity Quitters and Paranormal Egypt. He also made appearances on Celebrity Juice, Loose Lips, Richard and Judy, Bo' Selecta!, Brainiac: Science Abuse, The Paul O'Grady Show, The Weakest Link and Loose Women as well as a cameo in the 2011 film Big Fat Gypsy Gangster. In 2017, Derek played a small role in the UK horror comedy Crispy's Curse, although the film failed to achieve a general release.
In May 2012, Acorah claimed to have received a psychic message from Madeleine McCann via a 'spirit guide', stating that the child had died some time ago but would soon be reincarnated. After widespread media outrage, Acorah used the same newspaper to publish an apology to McCann's parents.
In December 2015, Derek Acorah, alongside Sean Reynolds and Rebecca Palmer launched their new 12-part television show entitled The Past Hunters.
Derek competed in the twentieth series of Celebrity Big Brother. Derek left the house on the final night in fourth place.
Born Derek Johnson in Bootle, he was known professionally as Derek Acorah. He lived in Scarisbrick near Southport, in North West England. As a young man, Acorah was on the books of Liverpool during the Bill Shankly era but was released by the club without playing a first team game. He carried on playing at other clubs and finished his football career in Australia.
Acorah together with his wife Gwen was a patron for the charity Pathfinder Guide Dog Programme, a registered charity which provides guide dogs for the blind.
In March 2014, he was convicted of driving without due care and attention and failing to provide a breath sample following a car crash. Acorah had failed a roadside breath test but refused to give the required sample at a police station. He was banned from driving for 28 months and fined £1,000.
Acorah died on 3 January 2020, aged 69, following a short illness. His wife later confirmed that Acorah had been hospitalised with pneumonia and later contracted sepsis.
Shirley Ghostman was a parody, drawing on elements of Derek Acorah and Colin Fry and he invaded one of Acorah's shows.
The Psychic World of Derek Acorah: Discover How to Develop Your Hidden Powers – Derek Acorah with John G. Sutton, Piatkus Books, 2003
The Psychic Adventures of Derek Acorah: Star of TV's "Most Haunted", Element Books 2004
Ghost Hunting with Derek Acorah – Derek Acorah, Element Books, 2005
Most Haunted: The Official Behind-the-Scenes Guide – Yvette Fielding, Derek Acorah, 2005
Haunted Britain – Derek Acorah, Harper Element, 2006
Haunted Britain and Ireland – by Derek Acorah
Ghost Towns – Derek Acorah, Harper Element, 2006
Derek Acorah's Haunted!
Derek Acorah – Amazing Psychic Stories
Derek Acorah – Extreme Psychic
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