COUCH POTATO: James exit was an Apprentice classic

James from The Apprentice
James from The Apprentice

OOH-AAH! Get a lungful of that country air and head on down to the Royal Bath & West Show.

There’s all manner of attractions – motorcycle display teams, funfair, livestock contests...

And James, from The Apprentice, going down in one of the biggest blazes of glory this show has seen.

Every year throws up a classic episode, and Wednesday’s rural sales task is up there in the greatest-ever bracket with the Marrakesh kosher chicken hunt and Pants Man.

On the very night ITV’s meddling defeated the whole object of I’m A Celebrity, BBC1 left it all to Team Summit’s project manager going completely off the rails, down the embankment and coming to a halt in the fast lane of the dual carriageway.

He not only hanged himself, he weaved the rope, built the gallows and tested the trapdoor beforehand.

I’m not entirely convinced the bloke was fully aware any of it was being filmed, such was his monstrousness, bullying, sulking, arrogance and terrifying disregard for human beings.

Consider the other team were flogging handbags made from flat caps but still won and you’ll see the scale of his calamitous mistakes.

The turning point came in an unforgettable chat with a hot-tubs supplier who held the key to victory...

James: “Hello, what’s your name?”


“Nice to meet you, Anthony.”

“I hope you like our product.”

“I do, Derek.”

Who? Anthony didn’t know, that’s for sure, and awarded Tenacity the rights to sell his spa pools on the basis that James “would wing it when it came to details”.

Not that the headcase could understand those reasons. What’s in a name anyway?

Well, over £30,000 of hot-tub sales for Mark “I’m not here for Mark Wright” Wright, that’s what.

So to keep his teammates “in good spirits”, James didn’t bother telling them he’d lost out on the deal and lied that he’d simply changed his mind to lawnmowers.

And we’ll hear no more on the subject. At least not until the boardroom, by which time he’d even started believing it himself.

You might assume James’s inevitable and merciful firing effectively spells the end for the series.

But the mutual resentment between Mark and Daniel, who claimed he was “infected with a passion to sell barbecues” and should probably get that checked out at the clinic, erupted and now everyone’s involved.

And the show is immaculately edited, to the point of leaving the most extraordinary footnote on James getting Hot Tub Anthony’s name wrong to BBC2’s spin-off with the most perfect exchange that requires nothing extra...

Dara O’Briain: “It’s an easy mistake to make. Anthony is a name people forget easily. I mean, it’s not particularly special, Anthony. What’s your full name again?”

James: “Anthony James.”


WEDNESDAY night in the jungle and finally the camp is in turmoil.

The bitching and rowing has begun. Edwina and Kendra had a huge bust-up. Melanie and Vicky are sniping at each other. And they have just one meal to feed all 10.

So what does ITV do? It shoves its interfering tentacles where they’re not needed and helicopters four of them out for an elaborate treasure hunt (Queensland Tourist Board advertorial) with the rest playing Wincey Willis and Kenneth Kendall at Snake Rock.

The result? It gets rained off but they win 10 meals anyway.

The end. As far as I’m concerned.


JUST one thought flashed through my mind as Dermot O’Leary announced on Sunday night: “Andrea and Stevi are in the sing-off...”

It’s a pity we have to lose that Italian guy from X Factor.

Alas, Louis Walsh changed the habit of a lifetime and didn’t take it to deadlock, dooming heroic Stevi Ritchie.

Still, I’ll long remember his final Egypt-themed performance involving a knock knees, bum shuffle, fire jump, commando roll and being covered in honey and feathers, ending up looking like he’d lost a fight in a gay chicken factory.

I salute you.


THIS week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

* EastEnders showing Masood on Walford Common but not the magical doorway to Narnia he would’ve had needed to get there.

* C5’s Missing Evidence taking an hour to fail to answer the question: “Does the Loch Ness Monster exist?” (“Dunno.”)

* Woeful comedy sketches by jobbing comics like Joe Lycett creeping into The Apprentice: You’re Fired like a poor man’s Shooting Stars.

* I’m A Celebrity giving Jake Quickenden a photo of his dead dad and brother (leave that kind of cynical stunt to The X Factor.)

* Claudia Winkleman lying: “Bruno Tonioli stood up, which is always a good sign.”

* And Strictly’s Mark Wright claiming he has a “day job”. Any ideas?


I’M A Celeb immune campmate Edwina Currie faking fear of having to do a Bushtucker trial for her CIA secret mission: “I had to look worried and resigned.”

Something she hadn’t done since the 1988 eggs salmonella scandal.


THIS week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

* The Missing’s shocking handbrake-turn.

* Brody’s fleeting Homeland resurrection.

* Dara’s opening line to James on The Apprentice: You’re Fired: “So, Derek, where did it go wrong?”

* Claudia Winkleman leading the “Jake Wood’s hips” Mexican Hat Dance party on Strictly.

* Chris Kamara’s answer to “The extinct volcano Shira forms part of what Tanzanian mountain?” on The Chase Celebrity Special: “Newcastle United,” because he’d misheard it as “Alan Shearer”.

* I’m A Celebrity’s Foggy/Jimmy Bullard show.

* And Dec’s reaction to Kendra being nominated for yet another Bushtucker trial and announcing: “Oh my God. I have my period. It’s not going to work.” Dec: “Okaaay I’m outta here.” Hold the door for me, Dec.


SIXTEEN-legged X Factor beast Stereo Kicks have awarded themselves Spice Girls-esque nicknames.

There’s Sporty Kick, Charming, Smiley, Naughty, Flirty, Diva, Northern...

And of course their collective one, on the likely course of action by Simon Cowell’s record label six months down the line.

Drop Kick.


MASTERCHEF: The Professionals’ Gregg Wallace tasting Caribbean quail: “Jerk for me is salty, spicy and I’m not getting it at all.”

Then take a look in the mirror. See the jerk?


TV’s worst host Tess Daly on Strictly...

Craig Revel-Horwood: “Pixie, you danced that with precision. Enormous amount of detail.”

Tess: “So much content.”

Darcy Bussell: “I’ve never seen anybody fit so many steps into one dance.”

Tess: “So much content.”

And when the mighty Claudia Winkleman said: “Tess, I love my present from Blackpool. I have a real donkey,” I had a ready-made reply...

Yes, Claude, but chances are they’ll replace her with Zoe Ball next year.


THIS week’s TV Manners and Etiquette award goes to...

ITV2’s I’m A Celebrity... Now!’s Rob Beckett as Edwina Currie stated in the bush telegraph: “Those who use foul language are doing so because they’re failing to make a proper argument.”

Beckett: “Oh f*** off.”