COUCH POTATO: The jelly-brained mush-heads of The Apprentice

The Apprentices Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Nick Hewer.
The Apprentices Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Nick Hewer.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Unless you’re a contestant on BBC1’s business game show.

In which case, chop them. Chop them all! Chop them, chop them, chop them. CHOP THE LEMONS.

At best, a clear case of unhinged twonkery requiring immediate intervention. At worst, the comprehensive, top-to-tail strategy of a project manager nightmare named Sarah for the opening selling task on The Apprentice, back for its 10 series with an almighty roar and a record 20 abject dingbats.

Which might seem excessive during those tricky, getting-to-know-them early rounds.

But the more the merrier. Unlike Strictly or X Factor, this show can absorb them all by simply airbrushing the deadwood from the action.

In any case, so many of the jelly-brained mush-heads have already floated to the top.

Most deluded? Robert: “My absolute worst nightmare is getting to age 40 with a 50-grand salary.”

Don’t worry, pal. Absolutely no danger of that.

Scott: “I see myself as a mix between Gandhi and the Wolf of Wall Street.”

The Wandhi of Wall Street?

And Chiles, played by Danny Mills, the Max Branning years.

Those three bit the bullet.

But we still have third-person speaking Felipe: “Felipe’s strategy is to be Felipe.”

Daniel who found himself dressed as a giant hot dog within half an hour and trumpeted: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’. But there are five in ‘individual brilliance’.”

And four in ‘excruciating prize pillock’.

Nurun who explained her title “marketing officer and fashion retailer”: “I sell scarves at a market.”

“Business management graduate” Ella Jade who didn’t, so allow me: Jobless.

And “former PA and hypnotherapist” Sarah, the lemon maniac who saw profits in selling individual slices.

The casting has produced a sensational start along with two terrific tasks and the familiar cut-throat editing, wonderful shots of London, soundtrack that included John Williams’ chase though Cairo’s alleys in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the losers’ cafe’s polystyrene cups of despair.

Lord Sugar is at his snappy best, issuing an insta-firing, proclaiming: “I’m not interested in all this Shoreditch, yuppie, arty-farty bollocks,” and trashing the boys’ wearable technology Christmas stalking jumper: “Even the shoplifters would bring it back.”

So it’s 2-0 to the girls, a scoreline due in almost no respect to the girls who achieved a first in coming up with a team name so bad, Decadence, they were ordered to change it.

An on-fire Nick Hewer told Sugar: “It is an odd name to choose, bearing in mind it combines decay, decline, even moral turpitiude, with loads of self-indulgence. Hardly the qualities I would have thought you would wish to find in your next business partner.”

Nick, it actually makes them over-qualified for The Apprentice.


TLC’s Jodie Marsh On Plastic Surgery featured a horrific, puffy-faced woman disfigured beyond recognition by disastrous silicone injections and with no hope of reconstructive surgery... going around interviewing people who’ve had bad experiences with plastic surgery.


Phillip Schofield with viewer’s emails on This Morning’s arachnophobia feature: “Charlie says, ‘It’s ridiculous an eight-legged thing can make me sweat buckets and cry. It’s silly but they are scary’.”

There now. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

A hideous eight-legged beast scares the bejesus out of me too.

In fact sometimes I can’t even watch Loose Women.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

C5’s stylish Gotham, which they should have called Bat To The Future.

Dara O’Briain’s fabulous You’re Fired.

Lord Hewer, on the BBC1 mother show.

The One Show’s Matt Baker and Alex Jones scarcely disguising their revulsion on trying Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “wheat and dairy-free brownies”.

The thrilling final 10 minutes of Homeland’s otherwise stilted series opener. (Still, at least it’s rid itself of Brody’s deathly dull family, eh?)

And This Morning’s Phillip Schofield asking “the man who’s had sex with 700 cars” about his beloved VW Beetle named Vanilla: “What happens if somebody rear ends her?” They’ll end up exhausted, presumably.


Much to celebrate on Strictly...

Jake “The Mask” Wood’s salsa, Judy Murray’s grace and style of a laboratory skeleton on castors, Mark Wright’s calamitous Superman impression and Tim “Simply The Best” Wonnacott’s paso doble.

But the scriptwriters have downed tools, judging by this dirge: “Judy’s dancing to a song from Funny Girl, so when she gets in front of the judges, let’s hope she still has a smile on her face.”

Because I sure as hell won’t.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

X Factor opening the vote lines before anyone’s opened their gob.

EastEnders’ Aleks talking to his non-English-speaking Latvian wife in English.

Spineless ITV apologising for an Alzheimer’s joke on Sunday Night at the Palladium (stop being offended by a joke) but not for Loose Women debutant Judy Finnigan’s clearly outrageous defence of jailed sex attacker Ched Evans because: “The rape was not violent.” Apart from the actual rape bit, of course.

And ITV’s historically rudderless, dramatically dreadful, thespians-in-wigs bun-fight The Great Fire, which included the implausible lines: “They says there’s a fire in Pudding Lane, Pepys,” and, “You will regret this.” Oh, rest assured, one episode in, I already do. Avoid Great Fire like the Plague.


46,014 name suggestions for X Factor’s manufactured boyband, yet not one was Bugger Off.

Instead they’re Stereo Kicks (In The Gonads), an eight-headed beast with more spare parts than City Plumbing that typifies everything stifling this series...

Grey singers, Cheryl bringing nothing to the party, Louis Walsh telling five acts in one night: “You’re going to go far in this competition.”

Thank the gods who gave us Wagner, then, for classy Lauren Platt, Andrea Faustini, heroic Stevi Ritchie channelling a Wilko sales manager at the office party, Brian Friedman’s staging (unicorns and elephants) and the immense Mel B who told Overload Generation: “There’s nothing new or fresh. There’s nothing we haven’t seen before.”

You said it, Mel. X Factor XI’s on a knife-edge.


This week’s TV Link of the Week award goes to...

The One Show’s Matt Baker for this staggering exchange...

Bryan Adams: “My grandfather entered the war when he was 15. He went in there and enlisted.”

Baker: “And, making a comparison to your teenage years, what you were doing and listening to as a young lad, that’s really at the heart of your new album...”