The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 4: Only Fools and Gift Horses

Ever wished your suitcase looked like something from a David Lynch film? No, us neither.

What have Del Boy and the Apprentice candidates got in common?

Well, nothing, as it happens: because whereas Del Boy could have made a fortune selling broken tat to idiots, his Apprentice counterparts couldn’t sell half price cracked ice and miles and miles of carpet tiles if their lives (or rather careers) depended on it. Read more of this post

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The Undateables

On the surface, this seemed like another thinly veiled Channel 4 point-and-gawp freak show.

But instead of a body horror celebration with a ridiculous title that would make it sound like a lesser known Stieg Larsson book (The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, anyone?), the trailers for this one painted an image of a show that was going to be more about watching a group of telly defined misfits falling flat on their collective faces trying to find love.

As you can no doubt imagine, I had my fingernails sharpened and my typing fingers ready to carve it to shreds. Read more of this post

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 2: Bathtime Blues for Team Sterling

Maria snoozes her way to failure.

Originally written for The Huffington Post

This week, the Apprentice candidates had to design a ‘useful’ household product then pitch it to two well known retailers.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But bear in mind that these are people who couldn’t find their rear ends with both hands, a sat nav and a detailed guide to human anatomy. It was always going to go wrong.

When you think of a household product just waiting to be invented, most people (ie me) would come up with a robotic wine waiter linked by Wi-Fi to an intelligent glass that notified it when your drink was almost empty. Or possibly a small personal helicopter to transport you to the kitchen. Read more of this post

The Voice UK: A Class Act

Picture the scene: it’s the first ever episode of The X Factor.

The lights dim. Spotlights pick out Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. Suddenly, music starts playing and they launch into a pitch perfect and skilfully choreographed rendition of ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas. Sharon does the splits without missing a note, while Louis and Simon build to a rousing crescendo standing back to back.

The audience go wild.

Amused by that image? Well, you should be: it’s quite funny. But shouldn’t people judging potential music acts be able to sing, dance and perform themselves? Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching…The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls?

"You're a lightweight. You're fired"

Monty Halls is a marine biologist. This means he studies conservation and stuff. It’s complicated. It’s also not really important, as he’s jacking it all in for eight months to become a fisherman, to ‘learn the way of the sea’.

Every day starts with Monty peering into a hand-held camera and telling us how early in the morning it is. Ok, you get up really early every day. We get it. We’ve seen The Apprentice.

Nigel Leg, one of five skippers in Cornwall’s Cadgwith cove, has agreed to mentor Monty. Nigel is endlessly tolerant, like a kindly driving instructor in wellies. But to succeed, Monty’s going to need to earn the respect of the other skippers. Read more of this post

Strictly Baby Disco

Baby Gaga

The title of Channel 4’s ‘Strictly Baby Disco’ documentary is pretty misleading.

Firstly: there aren’t actually any babies involved. Yes, the kids involved are all under 10, but anyone expecting a real-life version of that Evian ad with the computer generated cherubic breakdancers will be disappointed.

Secondly, you’d think that the ‘disco’ referred to in the title was self-explanatory, right? There are many strange things about this programme, but the most baffling of all is that the dancing portrayed is definitely not disco dancing as we know it. Believe me, if you tried to impress with any of these moves down your local Jumpin’ Jacks, the best you could hope for (other than public ridicule and humiliation) would be a swift exit in a straightjacket. Read more of this post

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