Stage Your Own Derren Brown's Apocalypse

25/10/2012 12:18 BST | Updated 02/11/2012 14:48 GMT

Other than lamping a neighbour round the chops with a cricket bat or building a nest in a shopping centre like a Borrower with a pituitary disorder, there is an easier way to experience a zombie invasion.

For the one chap convinced by Derren Brown that the world has ended and is only populated by hungry ghouls (Channel 4, Friday, 9pm), a simple walk down the street is an invitation to become flesh carpaccio.

Those disappointed they were not chosen by the mysteriously bearded Derren shouldn't be too down, as there is an easy way to replicate this one chap's experience. To be surrounded by a mass of shuddering flesh, toothy snarls, and grim wafts of haywire bodily functions.

Commuting; it's disgusting.

Aboard a morning rush hour train you become more acquainted with a neighbour's elbow than its owner, are forced to listen to shrill one-sided perspectives of personal crises, and are forced into positions yogis only achieve after years of spine-worrying atop a mountain.

Such rich experiences - and the teaching of vital survival skills - take place aboard a train which is, of course, late. Or stuck at a red signal. Or still waiting to leave the platform 14 months after it was scheduled to leave the station and be held at a red signal.

Teeth are bared; the thin mask of civilized society quickly slips, especially if there's stinky food in the carriage. The precipice, beckoned over by an unwitting steak and ale pasty, edges nearer. We are never that far from chaos.

In the early stages of a zombie apocalypse, it would initially be hard on a commuter sardine tin to spot the difference between a ravenous undead and those trying to hold themselves together after an ill-advised session at The Dog & Cirrhosis. The screams of those having their necks ventilated would drift across the digital meadow of earbud stalks, and heads would be thrust further into e-books to avoid confronting reality.

Which is fair enough, as those guys are still trying to deal with their own reality of having paid to read books about a swatch of grey carpet fabrics.

Pandemonium would only erupt once this pulseless cannibal - who hasn't even touched in with their Oyster card for a valid journey, the fiend - encounters that one person who insists on holding their newspaper as if stretching an eagle's wingspan. The slightest jostle of that newspaper's mighty breadth by another passenger, one either alive or covered in other train users' gore, would provoke confrontation and subsequent panic.

We've all seen it happen.

And yet even though passengers hold out for the simple fantasy of their carriage of carbonite leaving and arriving on time, this dream would be a catastrophe. This creaking structure may be our one salvation in the almost inevitable zombie apocalypse (look at the stats: there hasn't been one in ages, so we're due).

Now imagine this train wasn't delayed, stuck at a signal, or cancelled, but instead became a moving charnel house capable of radiating death completely on schedule. It's a stretch to contemplate this, but it could happen. Trains might run on schedule.

This is the true terror around the HS2 - it could spread havoc from Birmingham to London in just over an hour. We need the rail network to flounder to prevent this disaster, or at least for the on-board catering to become a viable substitute for human meat.

Commuters may grumble about rail companies, but these delays are imbuing them with a talent for coping in extreme situations, where scavenging for free newspapers or the last, tragic sarnie in the buffet car could save their lives.

When the dead do rise from their earthy beds (and we may as well face it's going to happen), remember that it wasn't Derren that gave you the ability to deal with this situation; it was that wonky red signal outside of Grantham.