This Week in TV: The Apprentice, Keep it in the Family, Bring Back Star Trek and My Life as an Animal

It’s been a rather uninspiring fortnight in TV which is why I haven’t been around and even now the only thing I think I can do is offer my verdict on the remaining Apprentice candidates

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So first to The Apprentice and with only four shows left there are only seven candidates. We’ve had some pretty interesting episodes with highlights being Rocky’s toga themed executive evening meal, Ben’s exercise box, Pantsman and this week’s rebranding of Margate. I have to say that I thought that Deborah and Howard’s idea of trying to ingratiate Margate to the gays was good but poorly executed. That was mainly due to Deborah’s heavy-handedness and not Howard’s persistence. Although it was Mona’s meeting the ladyman in Margate’s top gay bar (looking at the patrons in this place it was a big grim). It was Mona who ultimately got the boot after being against the gay idea even though she sold a lot of crap the week before including the sleeping bag suit. At the start I thought that Mona, Kimberley, Phil, Kate, Ben and Rocky would all do well but with only two of those left I have to re-evaluate what Siralan wants this year. It looks like it will be a female winner as the most promising male contestants (apart from Ben) have been canned. Although Siralan did make some good decisions canning Anita first and getting rid of the terrible Nourel at the first opportunity he also made some mistakes in my opinion Maj should’ve stayed longer ditto Paula and Rocky and Lorraine and Howard should’ve gone by now. But let’s look at the final seven and how far they can get…

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Ben: He got an honorary scholarship to Sandhurst, don’t you know? But Ben does have potential because he has the benefit of being young and cocky. But at the same time he does go on about thinking he can win too much, the one advantage he has is he is definitely the strongest male competitor and if Siralan is going to pick a male winner then its most likely to be the Irish charmer.
Debra: She is the ballsy woman of the show but unlike previous ‘ballsy women’ like Katie Hopkins, Claire Young or ‘The Badger’ she doesn’t have any character or charm to back it up. Instead Deborah is aggressive, stubborn and won’t take anybody’s idea being disgusted if anyone dare challenge her and that’s why she lost the Margate task. However Siralan has kept her in over the more charming Mona why I don’t know but look for her certainly in the final five.
Howard: He was one of the contestants who appeared early, was the first project manager and was very vocal in the exercise task. However in the middle of the programme he laid low certainly during the disastrous cereal task and has missed the boardroom more than anyone else recently. Although Howard has got some potential, for example he was the only shining light in the Margate task, I don’t think he’s got apprentice winner written over him.

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James: I love James, and in telly terms he is definitely the most entertaining. But I can’t see Siralan employing him mainly because of his age and also because he too much of an ordinary guy. He doesn’t have the cheeky charm of Lee, the suaveness of Adrian or the ass-licking style of Simon or Michelle. Instead he reminds me of Simon from last year a nice funny guy who Siralan liked but ultimately wasn’t a business bod.
Kate: My favourite to win and not just because she’s from Staffordshire. She isn’t the most talented or the most likeable but she certainly isn’t the least of either of these categories. Instead she would serve well as a good-yes woman and do as she told from the top without letting those underneath her squash. Yes she does look a bit like Heather Mills but we can’t hold that against her.

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Lorraine: I have to say that I thought Lorraine would’ve gone by now. She’s not the most attractive woman in the world, which wouldn’t be too bad because neither was Ruth Badger. But Lorraine is very difficult, relies on ‘instinct’ and rubs nearly everyone up the wrong way. Just look what happened to Phil. But like with Deborah, Siralan must have some reason for keeping her in this long.
Yasmina: Probably Kate’s biggest competition lies in Yasmina who’s been a dark horse in the show even though she’s successfully project managed two tasks she’s done it without dominance and with vigour. When she’s not P.M. she’s got the right idea of doing what she’s asked and doing correctly so as not to be bought back into the boardroom. The only time she’s been back is during the sandlewood cock-up and maybe she should’ve gone then but I like her as she’s very polite and not like the other people in the competition and realistically she would be my ideal winner.
But only time will tell who will be in the final but I reckon an all female affair between Yasmina and Kate.

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The premise of the new BBC show ‘Keep it in the Family’ is that a lot of family-owned businesses are being sold to people outside the family because our generation is too self-centred to care about what our parents have spent a life-time slaving away doing. The episode I watched centred around Nick and Dominic Chapman and their decision whether or not to keep running their family hotel ‘The Castle’ in Taunton. As dad paced about the place looking worried eldest son Nick came in first to test the waters. As a chef himself his main port of call was the kitchen but he felt more out of his depth front-of-house greeting customers and the like. Then younger brother and city slicker Dominic came in and for some reason had to learn how to turn down beds and do hospital corners. He was more interested in the business side of things and how to make more turnover in terms of a lunch trade. Obviously the biggest test was if the brothers could run it together, but when they were together it seemed that Dominic wanted to do a lot less work and kept running off to get a sandwich during the busiest period in the day. What this proved was that the brothers were competent at running parts of the hotel but still seemed to be quite clinical and didn’t ever demonstrate the kind of passion that their father did when talking about it during his talking heads segments. But at the end of the day i’ts not called I don’t want my sons to run my hotel, and it’s all about whether the Chapman brothers wanted to ‘Keep it in the Family’. It first went to Dominic who was very much out of his depth in a place where he had to calmly greet guests when he knew there was a crowded uncontrolled kitchen that needed his help, so he turned his father down. But ever the financial expert, Nick saw a big business opportunity and agreed to take daddy up on his offer. Dad won’t be too happy though when he comes back to ‘The castle at Taunton Internet Café and Lapdancing club’, sometimes you may not want to Keep it in the Family (just to clarify he didn’t actually do this in the show).

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Justin Lee Collins, who for his sins is still toiling away on ITV2 but was back on Channel 4 for another of his classic bring backs. It is getting a bit tired his act of ‘surprising’ the stars it was fun when he did it with Grange Hill, A-Team or Dallas but now we’re on the umpteenth, Bring Back… which at least had a point to it as he was bringing back Star Trek just as the JJ Abrams version was bursting out onto cinema screens. He did manage to get some insight from George Takei about his feelings about Shatner, one of the women who was canned after the first series talked about why she was let go and in a very revealing interview Nichelle Nichols discussed Uhuru’s role on the show, Walter ‘Chekov’ Koenik also appeared and was able to get JLC an interview with Leonard Nimoy who showed him the famous ears. The show ended with Koenick, Nichols and Takei all appearing in JLC’s fake enterprise. As I said JLC is quite entertaining but he needs someone like a guest or an Alan Carr to back him up. He can’t sustain interest in him running around L.A. getting chased by William Shatner’s Guard Dogs. Also he had time to interview the stuntman who played the Gorn, the only red shirt that didn’t die and the guy who invented the Kling-On language. Overall some revealing insights in an overlong and plodding investigation.

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And finally this week an odd BBC3 show which proves that times are a bit miserable and it is time to start cutting costs where programmes are concerned, but I’d rather lose one of the BBC channels completely than have to watch another episode of My Life as an Animal. Each week two completely low rent faces (for example the original Lara Croft model or someone who was in Shipwrecked two seasons ago) turn up and pretend to be animals for three days. In the episode I watched, the Lara Croft model and some extreme sports guy pretended to be dogs, the girl went to be a sheepdog while the guy spent some time with some foxhounds. While he got into the task she never really felt comfortable sleeping with dogs, that’s mainly because she’s human and sane. She didn’t even want to sleep with the dogs, shock horror! And left to join the real world probably with only half the paycheck she had been promised by her agent to take part in this farce. The guy had no problem learning how to yelp like a foxhound which was apparently his final test and even hung out with the sheepdogs for a day before becoming human again. I REALLY don’t see the point in this programme, a lot of these ‘social experiments’ are very loosely based in reality anyway but this doesn’t seem to even give a reason why these people are wanting to behave like dogs (or horses, dolphins and the other episodes of the show). It is almost like a horror movie where the creepy presenter woman strides over the people who even dare to challenge the show’s concept. While Terry Nutkins (of Really Wild Show fame) gives them instructions and tries to turn them into animals like some BBC version of Dr. Moreau. This is possibly a contender for worst programme of the year. Just terrible.

Next Time: The Eurovision Song Contest, The Unloved and Pulling

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