||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (May 2012)|
Derek Acorah doing a photoshoot in 2013
|Born||Derek Francis Johnson
27 January 1950
|Occupation||spirit medium, author, TV celebrity|
|Known for||Most Haunted, Derek Acorah's Ghost Towns, Granada Breeze, Antiques Ghost Show|
Gwen Acorah (1995 - Present)
Derek Acorah (born Derek Francis Johnson on 27 January 1950) describes himself as a spirit medium. He is best known for his television work on Most Haunted, broadcast on Living TV (2002–2015). He has received a lot of criticism casting doubts over his legitimacy as a medium.
Derek was on the books of Liverpool FC 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's television career commenced in 1996 with the satellite TV channel Granada Breeze. He appeared on Granada Breeze for five years starting off initially on 'Livetime' then 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 Derek alone and renamed 'Predictions With Derek Acorah'.
In July 2001, Acorah was asked to feature in a new British television programme called Haunting Truths, which was subsequently sold to Living and renamed Most Haunted. He worked on the show for six series.
In 2002 Acorah featured in a series of programmes made by IPM Productions named Antiques Ghost Show and in 2004 Acorah was presented with the Variety Club of Great Britain's Multichannel TV Personality of the Year Award, as chosen by its members.
In 2005, Ciarán O'Keeffe, who plays the sceptic on Most Haunted told the Mirror that he had been feeding Acorah misinformation to which Acorah later responded during the filmings, such as presenting himself as being possessed by the spirit of the fictional character Kreed Kafer he had made up whose name was an anagram of "Derek faker".
Yvette Fielding the show's presenter and executive producer initially stated "There is no acting on this programme, none whatsoever. Everything you see and you hear is real. It's not made up, it's not acted." However, in a later interview, she said:
Unbeknown to us, Ciaran O’Keeffe had suspicions about Derek and decided to plant some information to see if it would be repeated. He left a piece of paper around with the name "Kreed Kafer" on it and said, within earshot of Derek, that he was a nasty South African jailer. When we started filming, Derek decided to get possessed by this fake person. The name is actually an anagram of Derek Faker. We tell people everything is real, then it turns out he was a fake, so he had to go ... I was more angry than anything. I was upset that someone we considered to be close could do that.
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 and in November 2009 Acorah featured in a programme where he said he was attempting contact with the spirit of Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson: The Search For His Spirit. The show 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 has also made appearances on Celebrity Juice, Loose Lips (TV series), Richard and Judy, Bo' Selecta!, Brainiac: Science Abuse, The Paul O'Grady Show, The Weakest Link (UK game show) and Loose Women as well as a cameo in the 2011 film Big Fat Gypsy Gangster.
In May 2012, following media criticism, Acorah apologised to the parents of Madeleine McCann after he claimed to have received a message from a 'spirit guide' stating that the child had died some time ago, but would soon be reincarnated.
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.
In November 2014 when asked about the controversy surrounding his departure from Most Haunted he said there would be "a warts and all explanation" into what he claims are the real reasons behind him leaving the show when his autobiography is released next year.