Thursday, May 4

Does the Apprentice Make You Happy?

Richey Nash isn't happy about the state of British satire or Wednesday night's dull penultimate episode of the Apprentice

The makers of six-part series The Happiness Formula (BBC2, 7pm) got worried. They needed a celebrity for their first episode: “Hello?” said the producer. “Get me a star.”
“Okay,” replied some researcher.
“Which one?”
“Err… Midge Ure.”
“The one who did Live Aid.”
“Bob Geldof?”
“No, Midge Ure. He was in Ultravox.”
“Why him?”
“To spice up the show. And make a simplistic point about happiness.”
“Okay.” They got their man and wheeled him out to make this point: buying stuff like big cars doesn’t make you truly happy, but doing good stuff like helping starving Africans does. Wow! It’s true, but hardly the startling revelation I expect from BBC documentaries. After an hour wondering if I’d missed the point, I watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (More4, 8.30pm), essential TV that makes you wonder, ‘Why’s our best satire Bremner, Bird and Fortune?’ Then came the ‘special report’: about Deepdale Golf Course kicking out members. “If one is a concentration camp and ten is Hiroshima, how bad is being kicked out of Deepdale?” correspondent Nate Corddry asked a wanky-looking prick in a beige suit. “Well,” the guy pondered. “About five.” The show also featured an interview with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, about her new book criticising George W. Bush’s dogmatic religious belief. Then I switched back to terrestrial for the most boring episode of The Apprentice (BBC2, 9pm), featuring the candidates at job interviews. Hot dang! That’s so exciting I almost rubbed my sexy self on the TV screen! What? Just like a normal episode without the interesting half hour? Fantastic. But two were kicked off, which made it better.
First was arrogant wanker Paul: “Just because you’ve won seven tasks doesn’t mean jack shit to me,” said Sir Alan Sugar, succinctly. And second was nice guy Ansell, leaving Ruth and Michelle to battle it out in the final. Lets just hope next week sees Sir Alan finally morph into the foul-mouthed gangster he thinks he is. What could be a better finale than seeing him nail his new employee to the frosted glass boardroom table? Y’know, to toughen her up. Just a thought.

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