COUCH POTATO: A right pig’s ear on The Apprentice

(left to right) Bianca Miller, Sanjay Sood-Smith and Jemma Bird in the boardroom.
(left to right) Bianca Miller, Sanjay Sood-Smith and Jemma Bird in the boardroom.

Oxford. World-famous seat of learning, inspiration for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and home to Roger Bannister’s sub-four-minute mile.

Want more golden nuggets of trivia? Let me hand you over to our resident guide Felipe...

“There are more pigs living in Oxfordshire than people. It’s renowned for the amount of pigs.”

That’s right, renowned for them.

You can’t mention Oxford without thinking instantly about all the pigs.

Much like The Apprentice series 10 may be forever etched in the memory for a classic “coach tours” episode that reinforced the show’s status at the top of the TV pile.

In the blue corner, Team Tenacity who made Daniel project manager on the basis: “The events industry is what I do every day.” (He runs pub quizzes.)

And while they packed off to the varsity city’s porcine paradise, all the entertainment (certifiable lunacy) was on the other coach to Kent, the Garden of England as Team Summit leader Sanjay explained to his pilgrims:

“Back in the olden times, that’s kind of what Kent looked like. It’s sort of most, erm, most similar as we have today as what it was back then.”

Which clears up that one.

That proved to be the most informative part of the entire tour, which began with Bianca promising: “We’re going to provide entertainment on the coach with that historical learning element to it.”

Or a sing-song to One Man Went To Mow and Wheels On The sodding Bus, if you want to split hairs.

Solomon also sold it big: “Hever Castle is insane. It’s got a maze.”


By the time the fools signed up, it was too late to avoid Sanjay leading them, “like the Pied Piper”, to Poundland in Canterbury.

There’s only room for one alpha-chump, though – Wheels On The Bus chorister and customer hassle menace James, the monster who thinks he’s a gift to comedy, possesses the self-awareness of a kumquat and performs upper-body twist exercises in the boardroom.

In other words, he’s indispensible to this series, along with Daniel who claims: “There’s nothing you can throw at me that I can’t be brilliant at.”

In which case, someone lob him a grenade.

I’m hopeful His Sugarness will maintain his long record of retaining the biggest bozos (this pair) until the latter stages.

We’re already at the halfway stage next week, justifying the decision to have so many candidates – it guaranteed the fist-gnawingly stupid would be represented deep into the game.

Including Felipe who, last I looked, was still peppering the Oxford tourists with info: “Does anybody have any questions? Any facts you would like me to go through again?”

Yes. What was the one about the pigs again?


Nat Geo Channel’s (David) Hasselhoff Versus The Berlin Wall.

One’s an infamous symbol of the Cold War era that after the 1989 uprisings became a defunct, crumbling relic.

The other divided Berlin for 29 years.


One scarier, much-improved series later and Peter Capaldi is behind only Tom Baker as the best Doctor Who.

That’s despite last night’s showdown against the Cybermen plagiarising Air Force One, Nightmare At 20,000 Feet from Twilight Zone: The Movie, Ghost, Mary Poppins, Silence of the Lambs and Return of the Living Dead.

And they were laying it on a bit too thick for a possible future female lead role, with The Master now The Mistress and Clara given the big opening line: “I’m The Doctor.”

For now, though, let’s celebrate Capaldi and the finest line of the series: “Even my incredibly long life is too short for Les Miserables.”


This week’s Tour Guide of the Week award goes to...

The Apprentice’s Jemma at Hever Castle: “There is a photo of Henry VIII over there. And there’s also one of Anne Boleyn.”


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

The Missing (get on board before it’s too late).

Peaky Blinders’ scintillating climax.

Human Universe’s beautiful handprints-in-space final scene.

Five unexpected helpings of ex-Apprentice hero Stuart Baggs “The Brand” on the civilian Come Dine With Me.

BBC4’s love letter to James Randi, Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds.

Stevi Ritchie declaring after another X Factor-saving performance: “There are a lot of doubters out there saying I can’t sing. I hope that’s proved it.” Oh, it’s proved it all right, Stevi.

And Dr Dawn Harper on This Morning’s winter colds advice slot: “A study showed that actually men do seem to have worse symptoms. So Man Flu does exist.” Ladies, (cough) we’ve been telling you (splutter) for years (ATCHOO!).


The X Factor’s Simon Cowell to Jay James: “Let me just remind everybody of your career path. You had a record deal, it didn’t turn out well.”

We are, I’m sure, grateful for you reminding us all, Simon.

At least we would be, had this not been the first time anyone on the show has breathed a word about Jay’s record deal, let alone supporting Rebecca Ferguson on tour where he said of X Factor’s instant fame: “It saddens me.”



Soap’s most anonymous character Abi Branning on EastEnders: “It feels sometimes that no one notices me.”

Anyone hear something just then?

No, me neither.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Department store Christmas TV ads at the start of November.

The Great Fire extinguishing before it could reach ITN political editor Tom Bradby’s ham-fisted script.

EastEnders’ Max Branning letting Charlie Cotton run the car lot single-handed on his second day, and failing to blurt out on meeting girlfriend Emma’s parents: “Blimey! You’re Keira Knightley’s dad!”

And the BBC jetting Prof Brian Cox to Spain, Alabama, Svalbard, Florida and California on Human Universe’s finale. Because apparently it wasn’t enough to send him to the Bahamas, Easter Island, Utah, Japan, Djibouti, Puerto Rico, Jordan, Ethiopia, Ohio, Kazakhstan, New Mexico, Kenya, Peru, Russia, Morocco, Venice, Washington, Poland, a grand tour of India...

And Oldham.


Harry Styles was a no-show during One Direction’s interview on Loose Women.

Don’t blame you, Harry.

They’re too young for you anyway.


TV ad voiceover man: “It’s Duracell versus leading zinc batteries in the ultimate Furby challenge. Look at all the leading zinc batteries Mum’s used. That’s why they’re not recommended in Furbys.

“Just one pack of Duracell could keep Furby happy for up to 10 times longer.”

So, to any parent whose kids have ever had a Furby, the message is clear.

Buy leading zinc batteries. The bloody thing will conk out 10 times sooner.