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 (2002–2010). He has received a lot of criticism casting doubts over his legitimacy as a medium.
Born Derek Johnson in Bootle, he is known professionally as Derek Acorah. He lives in Scarisbrick near Southport, in North West England.
Acorah together with his wife Gwen is a patron for the charity Pathfinder Guide Dog Programme, a registered charity which provides seeing dogs for blind people.
Acorah has also raised many thousands of pounds for The Anthony Nolan Trust.
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 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.
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.” Significant media attention was directed at Acorah in 2005, as he claimed to channel spirits with names allegedly suggested to him in advance, such as “Rick Eedles” and “Kreed Kafer”, anagrams of “Derek Lies” and “Derek Faker” respectively.
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
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,000 Yahoo! users.
Acorah also made a cameo appearance in the Doctor Who episode Army of Ghosts.
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
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, Loose Lips (TV series), Richard and Judy, Bo’ Selecta!, Brainiac: Science Abuse
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, 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.
On 9 March 2011 Acorah took part in a live online seance hosted by the Sun
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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. Later in May 2012 Acorah apologised to the parents of Madelaine McCann for an article which appeared in that newspaper and denied the accusations made from The Sun’s earlier article in May 2012.
In December 2015 Derek Acorah launched his new 12 part television Show The Past Hunters and the show rated No. 1 during the week December 21 to December 27 2015 on the network YourTV’s viewing figures