“It feels like a hangover from the last decade, like MasterChef or The X Factor – still strangely watchable, but not much talked about any more”

The Apprentice

The Apprentice, BBC1

“Astonishing, isn’t it, that The Apprentice, the annual search for Britain’s most ghastly, deluded, avoid-at-all-costs people, is on its 14th series? This is but a small country; we are mostly a modest people. You’d think by now we’d have run out of bullshitters and borderline personality disorders. It’s the same formula, same rows, same myopic egos, but it usually delivers.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“The Apprentice has become a curious beast – past its peak, but still pulling in enough viewers to justify its annual return. It feels like a hangover from the last decade, like MasterChef or The X Factor – still strangely watchable, but not much talked about any more.”
Michael Hogan, The Telegraph

“It didn’t seem too clever to give the most air-time to Sarah, a loud-mouthed Mancunian with an inferiority complex and a chip like a breezeblock on her shoulder — and then kick her off the show. Surely after 14 series Baron Clip-Clop knows the most irritating characters make the best viewing. That’s the basis of his whole telly career.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

Upstart Crow, BBC2

“The first 20 minutes were the usual mix of ribaldry, overwrought similes, knowing historical nods and ye olde knockabout farce. Then came that sucker punch of a twist. It was reminiscent of the climax of Elton’s Blackadder Goes Forth. Not quite as poignant, admittedly, but bold and affecting nonetheless. The Bard himself wrote tragedy rather better than he did comedy. Ben Elton, for a bittersweet moment, did the same.”
Michael Hogan, The Telegraph

“Yes, it had been slick and clever as always, with modern digs at the egos at award ceremonies and at tax avoidance. Yet the quick-fire olde-worlde verbiage gets a bit samey after a while. Here the writer Ben Elton executed a signature change of tack that felt quite profound.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

Sorry for Your Loss, Facebook Watch

“For those of you who like good telly, I have good news. Facebook Watch’s lead initial offering is an endeavour fit to stand with the best of it. Sorry for Your Loss is a programme that understands the messiness of grief, is acutely aware of its psychology and writes it with nuance, grace, raw-skinned delicacy and humour in every line.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian