Tag Archives: BBC

The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode 7

19 Jun

See, cos it's replacing what's hip! Geddit?

The Apprentice is the gift that keeps on giving. The past couple of weeks have been gems, with enough hilarity and stupidity to last My Family (the sitcom, not to be confused with, you know, my actual relatives) a lifetime.

Now, I must admit to perhaps finding this week’s task – creating and pitching a ‘freemium’ magazine to advertisers – so excruciating because I have just come to the end of studying for a Masters degree in Magazine Journalism. Not only have I worked in the trade and studied the business, but also had to (for an assessment earlier in the year) create and pitch a magazine to a panel of professionals in the industry. It was so Apprentice-y, we used to commandeer ‘the boardroom’ in the journalism department and would put our phones on speaker to talk to each other. C’mon, we had to make the most of a potentially terrifying situation.

My point is, this is only the second time I have watched the show with any kind of insider knowledge that would help me on my task (the other was when they had to make skincare products – I used to work at smelly emporium Lush). Armed with this insight, I had even more reason to smirk and guffaw as the doofuses made error after error.

But never mind that. Is Natasha the most irritating woman in Britain? Yeah? Because, you know, yeah, she’s like, yeah, really annoying. Yeah? And the way she talks, yeah, she’s quite bullying, yeah, and a bit of an arse, yeah? It’s a shame her team won because she could do with taking down a peg or two – not least because she was an AWFUL PM who didn’t listen to her team.

Hip Replacement should have won with little effort. Apart from a hideous name and absurd execution, the basic concept was spot on. Brands would be able to target their market, who have lots of lovely disposable income, and help launch what could be a potentially goldmine in brand extensions such as events and book clubs, etc. But no. Creepy Jim got it all oh-so-wrong. There is absolutely no doubt that he should have got the chop – especially after his appalling behaviour in the boardroom. Not that Glenn would have been around much longer, but his firing did stink of unfair dismissal under the circumstances.

Next week is the annual Apprentices Abroad episode, and again I have a personal connection as I lived in Paris for 9 months as part of my (undergraduate) degree in French and English. I can’t WAIT to see how the assembled fools make a right bordel de merde out of the task.



Case Histories – Episodes One and Two

12 Jun

Who knew THAT'S what the blond wig was hiding?

I’ve noticed a lot of previews, reviews and criticism of the new detective drama has focused on the eye-candy of Mr Jason Isaacs (above). So let’s get it out the way.


I’ve been a fan of Kate Atkinson for a logn while now, so treated news of this dramatisation with some trepidation. Could anyone portray Jackson Brodie perfecty? Would the stories be as complex and nuanced as in the books? In short, would it be done right?

So far the answer is both yes and no. Isaacs has managed to be both exactly as I imagined Jackson and nothing like him at the same time – but in a good way. The books are far too complex to adapt for a two hour telly stint, but I think they have done well to condense them so far. The emotional feel of the books and use of humour has not been lost, which greatly pleases me. But I don’t love it. I want to love it, but I’m not there yet.

Perhaps this week’s installment will convince me otherwise. And if not, at least it’s something pretty to look at.

The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode 6

12 Jun

What you gonna do with all that junk?

I had my misgivings about this week’s Apprentice, but it turned into a classic. Susan misunderstanding the task, Melody getting all uppity, Tom and Jim’s (useless) double act and a near-tie in the boardroom…. Excellent. Just a short post this week as I am dissertating for my MA but I will be back!

The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode 5

2 Jun

Image courtesy of Jasminejennyjen via Flickr

Oooh look at that light there. Up there. The light. Ahhhhhh. See the light? They’re light? THERE LIGHT?Yup, it made no sense: CatSIZE: See Their Light. Right you are then.

I knew I was in for a cracking episode when I accidentally stumbled across a headline mentioning the SURPRISE DOUBLE FIRING this morning (I missed the episode last night as I was busy indulging in my newest crush Bradley Cooper at the cinema. And if you don’t see the attraction, watch this. Seriously. Gird your loins and watch it). But I wasn’t to know quite how entertaining it would be. From the trained actor imitating a cat with a Margot complex to top totty Tom baring his chest in the name of advertising, it was full of classic moments.

Even if I hadn’t spoiled things for myself, it was pretty clear that Vincent was on the way out when he flagrantly ignored the vet’s advice and stormed though with the Everydog idea. There was a *bit* of  competition though. The flimsy teamwork on Glenn’s team seemed destined for a boardroom showdown – there but for the grace of ad execs, I say.

Both Ellie and Vincent deserved the chop: she, for the lack of chutzpah and, well, anything; he, for being a lily-livered PM. It seems Jim’s card is marked – too much of a smartarse for Lord Sugar. Tom and Melody are still two of my tips for the top at this point. Everyone else is showing their weaknesses – or nothing much at all.

Who do you reckon has made an impression? And who should get the finger next?

UPDATE: I just remembered the genius of the Boleg Bros, who upload Lego-type animations of The Apprentice. Check them out here.

The Apprentice – Series 7, Episodes Three and Four

26 May


A joint recap this week – I could claim I was too busy last week, but we all know that would be an exaggeration so let’s just get on with it, eh?

Last week’s sourcing task is always a goodie and this year was no exception. Cloches, physalises (physali?) and rich tea were all on the shopping list for teams Logic and Venture and provided some of the funniest moments of the series yet. That being said, Gavin’s Top Hat Cleaner’s clanger – and Karren’s reaction to it – will surely go down in Apprentice history as what not to do.

Despite the moments of doltish hilarity and memorable mistakes, it was a slightly flat episode. Partly because it came after the double-whammy the week before and partly because it was obvious who was heading for a finger-pointing from the get-go.

Last night’s episode was a little better. It wasn’t quite so obvious which team would lose, and even less so who would be fired. I would have bet on Tom being given the push, although I was glad he wasn’t – I’m fostering quite the crush on the gorgeous geek (it might be because I know he’d make sure I keep my finances in check; I have a crippling – sometimes quite literally- shoe addiction).

ANYWAY, moving on. I was surprised the hair ‘treatments’ didn’t earn more money. Anything that doesn’t involve stripping off in front of a stranger on what is meant to be a relaxing shopping trip would float my boat, although that being said, anything that doesn’t involve heated plastic shells being rubbed on me would float my boat if given those options.

There are still some quiet Quentins and silent Susans (thanks for inspiring me Lord Sugar) floating about, but we are getting to know some people a bit better. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Edna ‘The Gloves’ Agbarha and, after the boardroom last night, Ellie  seems like she’s a force to be reckoned with. Jim continues to stealthily sway me as well, but I have a feeling he is too solid and dependable – there’s a nasty person inside who’ll surely break out before long.

What did you think of this (and last) week’s Apprentice? Do you have any favourites yet?

The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode Two

12 May

Image courtesy of domanske (click for Flickr link)

Who knew elephants sounded like dogs barking, eh?

The Beeb has well and truly treated us this week, with not one but TWO episodes of The Apprentice, ensuring that we all get nicely suckered in. It’ll make the wait until next week excruciating, but what a way to grab our attention.

In the second of this week’s episodes, teams Logic and Venture (names as reminiscent of Lynx as ever) had to create, develop and market an app that would set the world’s smartphones on fire. Or, you know, be incredibly offensive or mind-numbingly boring. I was just as surprised as you at which turned out to be more popular.

Of course, it was the global appeal of a distressed baby that swung it for the girls, although app-solutely everybody thought the girls were headed for a showdown with the Lord. Yet despite their lack of marketing (unless you count those exquisite gloves Edna sported) and passion for the idea, The Apprentice delivered one of those 180s that we still seemingly haven’t got used to.

I must admit – I’m having trouble with the ladies. There’s Melody, Edna, Susan and….erm… the blonde northern one? The young blonde? Someone called Helen…and er….some others…. Perhaps it’s just because the focus has been on the losing team thus far, but the men in the competition have left a greater impression on me so far. I’m sure this will swap around by next week – from the preview it looked like the teams were mixed up a bit next week. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the candidates better and having a favourite.

Was Alex the right man for the chop? I think so – with this series’ prize of investment from Alan, the qualities he’s looking for have shifted slightly. Whereas before it was often the quietest voices who went on to win, this year’s winner needs to show gumption and chutzpah. Alex didn’t. He also seemed devoid of a sense of humour on You’re Fired, unlike gracious – if misguided – Edward.

Oh – I’ve spotted another lookalike. Loving your suggestions – keep them coming!

Jim Eastwood


The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode One

11 May

Image courtesy of Howzey (click for Flickr link)

It’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. Hum along with me. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Etc.

Yup, The Apprentice has blundered back onto our screens after a short winter break and it looks set to be as full of meaningless mumbo-gumbo and shattered dreams as ever. HURRAH.

So far two lookalikes have sprung to mind:

Denholm Reynholm

Vincent Disneur

David Tennant

Tom Pellereau

But I’m ever on the look-out for more. Any suggestions?

Last night was a classic opener – the ‘boys’ are made out to be inept fools, the ‘girls’ bitch and snipe at each other’s leadership skills and the losing PM is a shoo-in to walk from the get-go. So far, so entertaining. My only gripe is that we lost Edward so soon. Obviously he was the weakest candidate in the episode, but his philosophical mantras

It’s all there


I don’t fit the mould

were genius! Of course, The Apprentice is never in short supply of quotables so I shan’t sleep too uneasily.

It’s going to be another great summer.

Spooks – Episode 7

2 Nov

Crikey, that was a bit of a whirlwind of an episode wasn’t it? We had revelations about John/Lucas coming at us thick and fast, Vaughn slowly dying and Ruth killing a man. And we still have next week’s episode before the end of the series. Blimey.

I chose the above picture for a reason. The tense two-hander scenes between Harry and J/L (I should refer to him as John I suppose, but I can’t, it doesn’t seem right. He’s just not a John) were the highlight of the episode, and going by the trailer, there will be more of that to savour next week. Yay.

The dodgy nineties flashbacks overegged the pudding a bit, although I did appreciate that John’s floppy hair was the sole signifier of the time period. At least it’s wasn’t curtains.

John’s sudden stabbing of Vaughn was genuinely shocking – it takes a lot for a TV programme to provoke a vocal response from me (I tend to J.D. a lot) but I literally gasped as he dug the knife into his thigh. It would have been even more shocking if we hadn’t already seen the playground shoot-out in the trailer from last week (I have conflicting opinions about these:  they excite me, but also tend to give the whole story away).

Meanwhile, Ruth was investigating the spurious claims of a MI5 reject, driven mad by grief. I, like Vicky Frost on the Guardian, thought this was a bit of a waste of time and served only to show how service has changed Ruth – and not for the better (thus contrasting and comparing with John/Lucas – see, that degree in English Lit has served me well). Still, it was superbly acted by Nicola Walker and leads us nicely into her being taken hostage next week (don’t blame me, blame the trailer).

Poor old Dimitri (who is growing on me by the week, although my heart belongs to Richard Armitage) was left to dangle this week, only tagged onto the Ruth sub-plot. Bless him and his excitement at meeting his first Mafia boss. Must be like arriving to your first lecture still drunk from the night before at Uni – a rite of passage.

There are still some loose ends to be tied up – what is Albany? Why is it so important? Is John really bad to the bone? Will Beth ever become interesting? Most importantly: Will Ruth and Harry ever be happy?!

So many questions, I’ll doubt they’ll all be answered next week. Still, a girl can hope.

Mad Men – S4, Episode 8

28 Oct

The Summer Man, as this episode was titled, was all about changes. Changes in the season, changes in Don and the lack of change everywhere else – Betty’s relationships, the SCDP office and sexual politics.

After the tumultuous events of  last week, this episode was bound to feel a bit flat. Of course, compared to any other episode of any other show, it’s still superb, but the voiceover probably didn’t help. It just didn’t fit with the tone – although it was nice to hear some of Don’s inner workings as he struggles to turn the page and become the new and improved Don Draper.

The Rolling Stones’ ‘Satisfaction‘ sets the theme nicely: Betty isn’t satisfied with her new life, Peggy isn’t satisfied with her power at work, Don isn’t giving any one any of that kind of satisfaction and of course, Joan is wholly unsatisfied with the awful Joey.

“What do you do around here beside walking around like you’re trying to get raped?”

As shocking as this outburst was, it just proved how little has really changed since the 1960s and now. Female victims of rape are still accused of dressing or behaving provocatively – how often have you heard someone say ‘she was asking for it’? Joan’s damning portrayal of herself and Peggy also hit a nerve:

“All you’ve done is prove to them that I’m a meaningless secretary and you’re another humourless bitch.”

Unfortunately, those caricatures are still widely used by men and women to strip an individual of respect and power. I thought Joan was needlessly harsh to Peggy here – although I can see her side of the argument too. It seems a shame that these two can’t get along. I don’t expect – or want – them to be friends, but it would be nice to see a bit of girl power at SCDP.

Also lacking in power was Betty. Deciding to get drunk after seeing Don with Bethany might not have been the most sensible idea, but it was the most realistic. Her sullen behaviour in the car with Henry made her come off pretty badly though. January Jones was particularly wide-eyed here; an intentional mirroring of Sally (who I want to see more of desperately) or a more general hint towards her immaturity, enforced by her assertion that she had only even ‘been’ with Don before?

Don, on the other hand, is becoming more mature as he decides not to sleep with two blonde beauties in a row. One (Bethany), because he already knew how the story would end. The other (Faye), because he didn’t want to ruin what they had like he has done so many times before. This, and the fact he’s trying to quit drinking and in general, be a better man, shows the effect last week had on him. Plus, he’s now funny. Calling Mrs Blankenship Ray Charles made me literally laugh out loud, and I don’t think Mad Men has ever had that effect on me before.

The episode ended with Betty reminding herself that she and Henry “have everything”, opposed to Don who has nothing (well done Francine). By my judgement, that looks set to change. But then MM has never played by the rules. It would be nice to let Don be happy for just a while though.

The Apprentice – Week Four

28 Oct

It was the classic ‘sell crap to real shops’ task this week – always a good ‘un.  This week was one of the best though, thanks to the blinding manoeuvrements of Melissa Cohen.

Like all reality tv shows, The Apprentice is great for creating villains the audience love to hate. Stuart Baggs – The Brand – was the obvious contender for this crown at the beginning of the series (and looks set to continue after his dead baby questions this week) but Melissa will forever be remembered for her graceless behaviour after the boardroom.

Even when the candidates have been at each other’s throats in front of Lord Sugar, they act with decorum and give the newly-unemployed a consoling handshake at the very least. Melissa’s petulant sulking – “I’ve got nothing to say to either of you. Save your own skin and get out of my face” – and accusations of bullying fairly ensured that The Boss was comfortable with his decision. Let’s look at how he reached it.

Despite her haranguing, Melissa was overlooked for the PM post (unsurprisingly as she was a disaster last week) and Jamie was put in charge for Synergy. The ‘charisma vacuum‘ (Copyright Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham, a brilliant blog) Chris elected himself for Apollo. To be fair to him, he delegated well and came down, quite rightly, on the sub-group after their ‘Battle for Old Compton Street’.

That particular episode was the only real problem for Apollo. Yet again it was bickering women that caused the kerfuffle – a theme that is beginning to grate. This lot really need to buck their ideas up and try being professional. The ever imperious Paloma is quickly losing her authority as she shouts loudest to assert herself, rather than actually being able to prove she is in the right. Sappy Sandeesh and Loopy Laura (I still hold that poloneck against her) are sure to get fired soon, as they rarely do anything productive or positive for their team.

The Lovely Liz Locke was the star of the show thanks to selling a whopping £99k+ of  Babyglows to Kiddicare. Her pitching style is the complete opposite to Melissa’s. She listens, doesn’t feel the need to repeat herself ad nauseum and – most importantly – is affable and eager, rather than bullish and arrogant.

Back to Synergy. Joanna has managed to redeem herself somewhat after bully-gate and this week scored an impressive meeting with a plumbing company, perfect for pitching their eco shower-head. They should have walked away from that with a decent order, but Melissa’s abrasive pitching and Stuart’s inept demonstration ensured they left with nothing. Jamie should have come down harder on them after that, because they could have got a big enough order to win the task.

They didn’t though, and despite raking in over £75k worth of orders, it was not enough to defeat the mighty Apollo. The right three were left in the boardroom – if he could have excluded himself, no doubt Jamie would have shoved Stella in there. Like Paloma, she seems pretty on the ball, but let the disallowed deal on the shower heads pass when she DID know that wasn’t what the manufacturer had stated.

Lord Sugar’s line to Melissa about being  “like knock-off DVDS. At first glance you’re quite convincing, but then you’re impossible to follow” and Karren’s revelation that she is “quite annoying” were perfectly apt – and seemed to hit home if the transformation on You’re Fired is anything to go by. The woman was completely lacking in self-awareness and was an expert in chatting rubbish. She failed to play to her supposed strengths and was useless at managing herself and others. I don’t mean to assassinate her character, as there are still candidates there who I believe are pretty awful, but she really showed herself up this week and if Lord Sugar hadn’t fired her, it would have been a huge mistake.

Next week the teams head to my old home of Manchester to sell ‘high fashion’ to unsuspecting shoppers. It looks promising.

The Boleg Bros’ vision of how they saw last week’s show is here: