The Apprentice

Rating:

Britain’s Lost Masterpieces

Rating:

By this stage of The Apprentice (BBC1), the knives are out. At the beginning of the run, candidates are icily civil, taking the measure of each other.

By the end, during the interviews and final tasks, the survivors are pretending to be best friends.

But now, at the halfway point, they are openly trying to shove each other under London buses . . . metaphorically speaking, though I wouldn’t put it past librarian Lottie to barge pillow salesman Thomas into the path of a No. 19 if the chance presented itself.

Essex boy Thomas was mocking Lottie’s cut-glass accent, which was about as smart as a cocky Mexican gunslinger insulting Lee van Cleef’s mother

Essex boy Thomas was mocking Lottie’s cut-glass accent, which was about as smart as a cocky Mexican gunslinger insulting Lee van Cleef’s mother

Essex boy Thomas was mocking Lottie’s cut-glass accent, which was about as smart as a cocky Mexican gunslinger insulting Lee van Cleef’s mother

Lottie, 19, and Thomas, 28, clearly detest each other. If The Apprentice was a romcom, there’d be wedding bells in the final reel. But this is more like a Spaghetti Western, with the pair glaring silently into each other’s faces, trigger fingers twitching.

The nastiness started in the car, before the weekly challenge even commenced. Essex boy Thomas was mocking Lottie’s cut-glass accent, which was about as smart as a cocky Mexican gunslinger insulting Lee van Cleef’s mother.

Lottie’s eyes narrowed, then narrowed some more. If she’d had a cheroot, she would have chewed it.

Lottie, 19 (above) and Thomas, 28, clearly detest each other. If The Apprentice was a romcom, there’d be wedding bells in the final reel

Lottie, 19 (above) and Thomas, 28, clearly detest each other. If The Apprentice was a romcom, there’d be wedding bells in the final reel

Lottie, 19 (above) and Thomas, 28, clearly detest each other. If The Apprentice was a romcom, there’d be wedding bells in the final reel

Her vengeance was swift. When Thomas put himself forward to lead the team, she vetoed him —declaring that his rudderless enthusiasm would get one of them fired. 

For the next two days, she let him do all the work while insulting, belittling and criticising him constantly.

At times, he looked close to losing his rag. Perhaps that is Lottie’s plan — to irritate everyone else so badly that they all implode. 

Lord Sugar has to decide which of them to entrust with £250,000 of his money. This episode was a rarity, though, for featuring an original idea. Mostly, the series has been a blow-by-blow replay of previous years, with the same tasks coming round like clockwork

Lord Sugar has to decide which of them to entrust with £250,000 of his money. This episode was a rarity, though, for featuring an original idea. Mostly, the series has been a blow-by-blow replay of previous years, with the same tasks coming round like clockwork

Lord Sugar has to decide which of them to entrust with £250,000 of his money. This episode was a rarity, though, for featuring an original idea. Mostly, the series has been a blow-by-blow replay of previous years, with the same tasks coming round like clockwork

‘My aim is not to get on with everybody,’ she repeated four times to an incredulous Lord Sugar. (PS: Both Thomas and Lottie survived.)

It is not edifying to watch ten ambitious millennials back- stabbing and buck-passing without any scrap of morality.

Lord Sugar has to decide which of them to entrust with £250,000 of his money. I’m not sure that I’d trust any of them with my front doorkey. This episode was a rarity, though, for featuring an original idea. 

Mostly, the series has been a blow-by-blow replay of previous years, with the same tasks coming round like clockwork. Often, you might as well watch a repeat.

But I don’t remember one set in a theme park, with the bickering ninnies competing to design the best rollercoaster. 

That gave the show a bit of a lift — it was genuinely funny to see a terrified Ryan-Mark hurtling along a ride and letting out one ear-piercing shriek after another, like an opera singer who’s seen a ghost.

What we wanted was to see a conservation expert swabbing gunge off a suspected Old Master with cotton wool. And we weren’t disappointed

What we wanted was to see a conservation expert swabbing gunge off a suspected Old Master with cotton wool. And we weren’t disappointed

What we wanted was to see a conservation expert swabbing gunge off a suspected Old Master with cotton wool. And we weren’t disappointed

Viewers switching on Britain’s Lost Masterpieces (BBC4) could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a repeat, too. 

By an improbable coincidence, art expert Dr Bendor Grosvenor stumbled on an 18th-century landscape with a rustic group picnicking under a tree, and hoped it was a lost Gainsborough . . . just as Fiona Bruce did on BBC1’s Fake Or Fortune three months ago.

More unlikely still, both paintings turned out to be the work of, not Gainsborough, but minor landscape artist Thomas Barker of Bath.

We watch these shows to witness layers of hidden detail revealed as restorers rub cotton buds over murky varnish, and there was plenty of that.

Co-presenter Emma Dabiri tried to add historical context by going out for a spot of rabbiting — with a sack of ferrets. She looked as though she wanted to shriek like Ryan-Mark, but managed to control herself.

That was an unnecessary distraction. What we wanted was to see a conservation expert swabbing gunge off a suspected Old Master with cotton wool. And we weren’t disappointed.

Tangled web of the night: The criss-crossing lies are mounting up so fast, it’s hard to keep track in Guilt (BBC2). 

Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives are excellent, as the shifty siblings, but I need a spreadsheet to keep track of the convoluted plot. 

DailyMail Online


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