Posts Tagged ‘Dragon’s Den’

Harry & Paul

September 9, 2008

Not a review, just a heads up for Harry & Paul which appears to have hit form as series 2 begins. Worth watching episode one on the iPlayer for the above Dragons’ Den spectacular and also the brilliant ‘modern football manager’ sketch.

Harry Enfield is still endearingly a bit stilted but gets big laughs with expert timing, while Paul Whitehouse is like a less successful Peter Sellers with an uglier mug, we’ve decided. Not that we’re ones to talk. We’re nothing like as talented as Peter Sellers was, and are uglier than Bernie Ecclestone.

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Dragons’ Den – 28.7.08

July 29, 2008

I think we can confidently say that long before yesterday’s show, Meaden twigged that she is desired by not one, but all of the Dragons.

Obviously the real battle for Debs is between Theo and Jonesy and, since the mahogany-skinned makeover and the lovely hair-do, Debs has proved she is more than up to micro-managing a love triangle. Last night saw her assertive and prickly nature reach boiling point in the early stages before she settled into a brooding, menacing sensuality for the rest of the show, watching the boys run rings around one another, all desperate to impress the Debsmeister.

Let’s jump in. Once the opening credits were out of the way it was time to get down to business. And by ‘business’ I mean REAL business, conducted in the business world by business men and business women. And Dragons, obviously. It is a tough and fickle world, the business world. Just ask Samantha from Manchester who went up first in front of the reptilian bastards.

She was trying sell them a strange idea based around home security. A little box with motion sensors would make a fake TV turn on whenever it was triggered, fooling hapless burglars (who obviously would never have heard of such technology) and scaring them into doing a runner. It was a dumb idea, already trumped by the fact that you can get those mains-timer things on the market to make your lamps and electrical goods switch on and off whilst you sip cocktails in Aberwystwyth. Debs stepped right up with her critique, safe in the knowledge that all the Dragons possessed a twitching semi with her name on it. She declared herself out swiftly and effectively. Theo managed to find out that this dotty trembler already owns a successful business so the general response was ‘stick to the restaurant, we’re out’.

Next up, the Sinclair C5 of rollerblades as one Dragon put it. Pedal-powered skates that looked too much like hard work and failed to inspire anyone. Theo had a go as he knows what makes good telly, stumbling about on these monstrosities for laughs. All he needs is a pencil thin moustache and some round-framed spectacles and he’d make a great silent movie comedy-hero. Anyway, they all opted out. I’d have opted out too – that kind of rubbish reminds me of the imbecilic berks you see in Central London roller-blading, skateboarding or even tin-scootering down the middle of a busy dual lane in rush hour traffic.

Clive was up next with his opportunity to join him in a venture he called DiamondGeezer.com (I’ll not include a link unless he pays me for advertising). This was essentially a retail website selling posh-rocks. His manner wasn’t particularly endearing despite the potential in his venture. And to add to his woes, Meaden, cushioned by the certainty that all in the Den hold a blue-veined baton with her name on it, screamed that Clive’s been in touch with her before which is AGAINST THE RULES. She was out immediately, bless her. Bannatyne then rather unfairly laid into Clive with a stream of disconnected questions. He was oot.

But then Clive’s luck changed and the other three opted in for a 40% stake. 30%, countered Clive. The Dragon’s did not waver and Clive idiotically turned down the offer on a business which is currently only making him three hundred quid per calender month.

Greetings cards for dogs, one would think, is the preserve of batty old eccentrics. And ol’ Debs proved this to be true by admitting her horses, cats and dogs all receive christmas gifts. More money than sense. The rest of the Dragons, like us right-thinking folk, thought it was ludicrous and kicked it out of the Den.

Impact Items went next with their Space Putty. The boffin who’d created this stuff had dyed his hair and goatee purple, thinking this was a surefire way to secure investment. In the event he got laughed out of the room. Probably a good thing, as I had a sneaking feeling I’d seen this putty stuff before. And I had.

On the theme of kids’ stuff, the next pitcher was asking for trouble with his sinister notion. Tokens kids have to earn through good behaviour in order to buy TV, DVD and PS3 time struck me as being completely unethical. One of the great joys of being a child, though we don’t realise it at the time, is to be completely free of money-worries. Those decisions are made for you so you’re free to kill ants, hang around in abandoned houses and go foraging for pornography in bushes. Why any parent would want to introduce a complex system of capitalism in their own parlour is beyond me and was beyond Bannatyne who told this chap he hopes he fails. Harsh, but probably fair. Jonesy said it wasn’t a bad idea – it was ridiculously mad. Add to the fact the guy could have financed it himself and it seems we had a bit of a slippery snake on our hands. And he seemed so nice…

The apple juice lolly that followed looked tasty, was healthy and was already selling well. But as it was 100% apple juice, packaged tastefully and completely inoffensive, it obviously wasn’t cost-effective. Quality rarely is these days. So everyone was out.

The penultimate item was an illuminated Baby On Board sign which, sadly, was unreadable during the day. So one presumes you’re meant to stick the Baby On Board sign that lights up next to the Baby On Board sign that can be seen in daylight. Weird. Jonesy used this as a platform to mock Baby On Board signs in general, which I reluctantly agreed with him on. They are bloody stupid, when you think about it. Jonesy, sensing he had everyones’ attention, also had a pop at an enthusiastic Bannatyne with ‘when was the last time you drove anywhere in the last 20 years?!’. ‘Fair point’, responded a humbled Dunc.

So – lastly we saw some girl who appeared to have stepped out of the Grazia magazine my missus left in the toilet. She was after money for her venture which went by the dreadful name ‘Neurotica’. She wanted to make fashion for the leading high street stores and was already making headway in the area. Unfortunately, like the apple lolly people, she was only just breaking even. Peter Jones broke all the rules and offered more money than she was asking for in a twist that left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, from where I was standing.

Jonesy’s always trying to be the cool one. Whether it’s his dalliances with Levi Roots, his foray into publishing with the nauseating rag Wonderland, trying to rock out with Hamfatter or this adventure in fashion, he wants to be a scenester.

Well, sorry Pete. You’re a seven-foot corporate tit who does crap ads for BT and sits in Simon Cowell’s pocket. You’re about as far removed from the notion of ‘cool’ as it’s possible to be, so leave that stuff to Bannatyne – the beating heart of Dragon sophistication. In a couple of weeks time, Meaden will see the error of her ways and lurch towards Dunc’s inimitable, brusque stylings – mark my words.

Eating With The Enemy

July 23, 2008

It must’ve looked fairly appealing on paper.

Great idea for new reality / cooking / lifestyle module – a Dragons’ Den vs Masterchef fusion. Import the same chefs who mete out the nasty judgements on Masterchef and get them to judge food made by the Great British public. Like Masterchef without the constructive criticism. Like Dragon’s Den without the real business opportunities and vast sums of money. A chance to see restaurant critics really lashing out on poor, unsuspecting, non media-friendly fools. Guaranteed success.

It looks like a ratings-grabber on first sight but after five minutes viewing, the obvious flaws poke out like impetuous tongues.

Sweet Baby James presents Eating With The Enemy, playing the exact same role as Evan Davis in the old double ‘D’. He’s the go-between who liaises with the judges and cosies up to the contestants. He’s the viewers’ representative. It works with affable Evan, who humbles himself in front of contestants, folding his fists in front of himself and smiling from behind those kind, slightly off-kilter eyes. With Sweet Baby James it doesn’t quite work the same way, given his abrasive attitude. He spends the show mocking the efforts of the contestants to their faces and getting in the way. Yesterday he made a scene when he got splashed with a tiny dribble of custard, the big jessie.

The judges are vaguely known restaurant critics. You’d recognise them if you saw them. They are:

Toby Young – Probably the most famous. Likeable buffoon.
Kate Spicer  – Evening Standard food critic. A sour-faced grunt of a woman who starred in possibly the worst television show ever, Super Skinny Me.
Jay Rayner – Son of Clare. Observer food critic. Pompous man-mountain with ludicrous hair and facial trim who appears to climax every time he makes a weak, food-related gag.
Charles Campion – Miserable, fat knacker who looks EXACTLY like Peter from Family Guy.

The show’s structured really badly. Dragons’ Den is so straightforward you’d have to be lobotomised to misunderstand the formula. Masterchef is slightly more confusing – with semi finals here and restaurant rounds there – but usually we know where it’s at.

Eating With The Enemy has so many segments that we seem to meet the contestants three times, say goodbye to them twice and have the main courses described (in some detail) endlessly throughout the shows fifty minutes.

Another flaw, possibly intended, is that the food is bloody awful. Walid, a Lebanese gentleman, made steak with a ‘stilton vein’ running through it and bacon wrapped around the outside. It was completely over-complicated and rammed with essence of cardiac arrest. His sparring partner was Sam who made ‘rag pudding’ which seemed to be a weird arctic roll made out of mince and fat. Not to mock Sam or Wally – I probably couldn’t do much better myself – but surely it just meant we were going to have to watch culinary assassination as the non-professionals lined up their wares in front of people who talk shit about high end food for a living?

In the event, the judges shrank from the task and praised the dishes where they could. The rubbish in front of them was barely worth comment so they opted for the positive. And therefore the ‘fearsome’ judges pretty much turned the show into an irrelevance. They’re referred to throughout as ‘The Enemy’ in the same way Theo, Jonesy and pals are called ‘The Dragons’, but it doesn’t make any sense as they show sympathy, which is weakness, which drains the element of threat from proceedings. The closest they got, really, was asking Walid why he’d attacked an ‘innocent bit of meat’ and saying he’d ‘pushed it off a cliff’.

So what we have here is a redundant piece of programming. A pretty despicable concept in the first place – four twats who get paid to be pissy to waiters criticise some nice normal folk for giving something a bash – is then completely weakened when ‘The Enemy’ go all soft and praise food you’d clearly send back if you were served it even in a greasy spoon. So what, my friends, is the fucking point?

I’ve not even started on some other major weaknesses. Dragons’ Den works because the prize at stake is a large amount of money. Remove the return and you’ve kicked your programme in the groin. Masterchef works because those participating already have some degree of flair. Serve up two shit cooks and you’ve gone and slapped your show’s arse. Use restaurant critics as your judges and you’ve pretty much decapitated your own creation.

Restaurant critics, as any fool knows, are generally sniffy berks who lack any experience or expertise in what they do. They’re professional moaners. Where the Dragons have all worked their way to their personal wealth, this lot are promoted hacks who are now so far removed from the man on the street they think writing cynically about a fucking pudding represents a meaningful existence. I remove Giles Coren from that generalisation, as he barely even mentions the food, preferring instead to waffle on about his life – which is generally far more interesting.

These four ‘enemies’ and their supposedly daunting presence is acceptable when they’re asked to bitch for three minutes in Masterchef, but try and extend that three minutes to fifty and the whole thing collapses like an undercooked cakey pie.

I just hope they don’t make this rubbish prime time.

Dragons’ Den

July 22, 2008

A new series of Dragons Den then. A kind of apology for The Apprentice having ended. The wafting hand clearing up the final aroma strains from an Alan Sugar trump. No changes to the line up this time round – it’s the same sour faces as last time sitting in a moody row on plush leather seats in a miserable loft conversion. And, of course, perma-grinning Evan Davis scuttles around downstairs like a friendly cockroach to apply soothing balm to those contestants who descend the stairs shell-shocked and pitch-beaten. Unless they’ve won – which is a rarity and depends on a Dragon’s mood. It also depends on how the result of the inevitable game of one-upmanship between the four bastards turns out.

It’s the dynamic between the Dragons that’s made this show work since the first ever episode graced our screens. Remember when that weird sideburn man who runs disgusting Japanese food-theft disaster, Yo! Sushi was in it? Thank God they got rid of that corporate hippy. And thank God they got rid of the Red Letter Day woman – purchase ledger nightmare that she turned out to be – and replaced her with the woman of all our dreams, Debbie The Bombshell Meaden.

So, to briefly analyse the interpersonal relationships between the mediators…

James Caan: The silent shit. Caan is an outcast who keeps his balls to the wall and strokes his top lip like a semaphore artist waggles his flags. His body language attempts to say ‘I’m taking this all on board’ when it actually clearly says ‘I haven’t a clue what to do as nobody likes me’. His independence means he can’t as easily arrange split ventures with other Dragons, so he’s prone to making easily usurped offers. All sympathy for the outwardly pleasant Caan drops when you realise he made all his money in the slime-soaked recruitment industry.

Duncan Bannatyne: Everyone’s favourite male Dragon. Looks like a washed up 80s crooner – is in fact the head of a fitness empire. His cute quiff, gangly legs and gruff Caledonian manner make him a lovable bastard. He has a tendency to call a spade a spade. In fact, he has more of a tendency to call a spade rubbish, before demonstrating how flimsy it is by cracking it over his knee. He pretends he gets on with Caan (he has to – he sits next to him) and has the respect of the others, but really this guy is the very definition of ‘loner’.

Deborah Meaden: How do I love ye? Let me count the ways. Meaden takes no bullshit, because she knows bullshit like the back of her bullshitting hand – and you’ve got bullshit all over you, you bullshitty bastard. Deborah is transparently in love with Theo as she’s always trying to find ways of striking a deal involving the two of them, and she visibly crumbles when he mentions ‘Missus Paphitis’ in jealous despair.

Theo Paphitis: Despite being loyal to his enormous wife (he said it, not me), Theo is battling constantly with the true love he can’t conceal for enormo-breasted Debs. Well-liked due to his being a tiny little man, Theo often plays the fool before kicking in with a hard lesson in the steely world of business. Never mess with the little man.

Peter Jones: The villain of the piece. Everyone despises Jonesy. Everyone. He’s a physical and financial giant the other Dragons simply can’t measure up against. More likely to make a big money deal on his own than with any other player – he’s occasionally up for splitting the odd deal but is more likely to go off on his own, like some demented cyborg. You mess with Jones, you mess with the force of death. N.B – Jones’s pubes are shaved into a perfect circle – click here for evidence.

A brief rundown of last night’s episode:

Hamfatter
Likeable indie lads with a generic sound got signed up by Jonesy in a three-way stand off against a Meaden/Theo vs Dunc/Cann pair of alliances. How a band can be treated as a business I don’t quite understand, but Jonesy has contacts in Sony, apparently. Don’t expect them to be number one just yet.

Travel Cushion
Nice enough idea – but you wouldn’t buy one. Labelled stupid by the Dragons who rounded on the poor sod because he worked at ASDA. Doesn’t really seem fair. We’ve all got to start somewhere. Death nell sounded when, pushed for financial reports he stated he was ‘never a fan of maths’. Derided by the Dragons for that, elevated to hero status for me.

Air Oasis Ltd
Water from air, apparently. These alchemists (and ex-hoover salesmen) claimed they could make water from the atmosphere then demonstrated their magical abilities. Unfortunately Barry their salesman was a rapid-fire arse and he sank the pitch, even before the water was declared to taste awful – with much theatrical mouth-wiping from the Dragons.

Baby Supporter
Nice couple who aimed to convert all children into couch potatoes in infancy. Didn’t get very far.

Strike Trainer
Unimpressive punchbag that counts calories burned. Shot down in flames.

Lay Line Sheet
A comical item, suited to the novelty rack in Urban Outfitters. This sheet had a territory line marked for couples arguing over bed space. I could relate to this one and might’ve made it a whimsical stocking filler. Clearly the Dragons sleep in separate beds to their partners as they weren’t buying it and made a mockery of the Morgan Spurlock fellow who was trying to flog it with his lovely wife. Weirdly, Debs gave them hell despite her involvement with You Doo doll – a similarly amusing and novelty project made by friend of WWM, Sarah Lu. ‘Let’s draw a line under this’ said Theo, in the first weak pun of the series.

Graduate Social Networking
An unprepared contestant tried to sell this idea that nobody could understand. Bannatyne unfairly dismissed it as he’s grumpy he had to pay his kids’ university fees.

Paradise Panels
Stupid, sub-kitsch panels that display exotic backdrops in your back garden. On your fence. ‘Don’t take offence (a fence)’ said Theo, doubling his crap joke quotient.

Party Organisers
If there’s an industry which is based more in nothingness, I’d be keen to hear about it. Party Organisers are usually good-looking, horribly trendy idiots. Yet these two were likable types, and James and Duncan won the battle to get involved despite another multi-Dragon stand off. I couldn’t see the attraction, but then I don’t go to the types of parties where moving trees and silver living-statues are part of the backdrop, thank Christ. Having said that, I don’t go to any parties at all as I’m a miserable turd.

And that was that. By episode three I’ll wager Theo and Meaden will be on the floor in a naked embrace, as Jonesy and Evan Davis slyly thwack their bald marmosets through pocket-lining.

Pre-order that Kleenex, boys and girls.

Children In Need

November 19, 2007

Pudsey 

It’s actually impossible to watch Children in Need from start to finish without being physically sick. With this in mind, I limited myself to five minute bursts of this festival of patronising gumph on Friday night. I’d just been in to Costcutters and bought the local underage guttersnipes on the estate their 10 Mayfair for them as I made my way home from work using the copper collection they handed me in a sock, so I felt I’d already done my bit and would resist Wogan’s encouragement to dig deep.

Obviously, it’s all for charity, so I sound like a moaning old turd for criticising the telethon. All the same, there were some terrible moments. These ranged from the unintentionally hilarious to the outright cynical. And all compered by the brilliant Terry Wogan who, let’s face it, is getting on a bit and while great on the radio and Points of View (especially when parading his packet on the latter), he’s not really up to a marathon live broadcast. Especially when hampered by that squawking, tattooed emu Fern Cotton. It’s not the first time these two have been teamed together and it always ends in disaster.

The worst example I saw of patronising pointlessness was a kiddie edition of Dragons’ Den. A parade of precocious little shits stepped up to ask for a thousand quid off of the Dragons for their rubbish ideas. Depending on the Dragons’ moods, they handed the cash over like pinstriped Father Christmases (or an elf, in Theo’s case. (Or a reindeer, in Meaden’s case)).

The youngest Dragon was obviously the one they all fawned over, clearly aware that, should their days in the Den ever end they might need to show a softer side to be able to fully establish their media friendliness and versatility. As a result, we had to put up with Theo and Jonesy grinning like Cheshire twats and Meaden and Caan trying their absolute damndest not to hurl needless insults as they usually would. This young, ginger pitcher tried to sell a ‘Lonely Post’ to the Dragons – a place in a playground where lonely kids can meet other lonely kids and make friends. Or, as is more likely, get laughed at for standing at the Lonely Post and get pelted with stones.

At least all that had its heart in the right place. Where Children in Need really raised the hackles was with overblown self-promotion. You can’t help but suspect that the broadcast of the event was delayed until the day before Leona Lewis’ new album is released. All the X Factor judges came on, awkwardly applauded their rival channel’s charity and then presented Leona who warbled her way through that horrible racket she fronts about bleeding.

‘Ah keep bleeding – ah keep, keep bleeeeeding’ she wailed as my ears glugged with claret in sympathy.

Is it just me or is this a shameless tie in? There should be a national outcry about this. How blind do they think we are? I can just about hack celebs doing this sort of shit for charity to raise their profile but when they are actually directly trying to sell a product? It was as transparent and sick-inducing as a glass of salt-water.

For this reason, if you buy Lewis’ album you are not only a sponsor of the shittest music in the universe, you also condone the hijacking of good intentions by Monsieur Cowell to better line his own nipple-high pockets. You bastards.

Dragons’ Den – 22.10.07

October 23, 2007

Alien 

Bannatyne is now so firmly embedded in my head as his alter ego – an 80s club singer – that I half expect him to start singing ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You’ by Glen Madeiros at any given moment, every time I sit down to watch the Den. Or maybe a burst of ‘Girl I’m Gonna Miss You’ by Milli Vanilli. Or anything Tony Hadley sang. As it’s an hour long show I reckon they could shoe-horn in three minutes at half time for a quick medley from Duncan. It would also act as a nice way of balancing their hardass natures onscreen, giving us a glimpse into the Dragon’s offscreen hopes and fears and stop them from looking like the smug, Thatcherite arseholes they so clearly are.

Someone mentioned that DD is stale by now in the comments section of last week’s article. I beg to differ. I don’t think this show willl ever go stale. There are always rubbish inventors in the world, just as there are always amazing new inventions round the corner. There’s no shortage of idiots chasing their pointless dreams who we can laugh at from our positions of inertia without realising these folly-bound individuals are a step above us because at least they’re trying. They’re trying aren’t they? Unlike you, sat on your arse, content to do the same job, day-upon-day so long as you get home in time for the ‘Enders. You lazy shit.

Each episode is essentially a sketch show, five or six episodes of equally balanced content wherein two of four pitchers will n’doubt get a deal, whilst the others will be laughed at. X Factor for boffins, really, with the judges arguably far more qualified to cast aspersions as their pedigree is indisputable – they’re fucking wealthy, like it or not.

The opening pitch last night was for an amiable piece of tat called the Yoodoodoll. Despite having a Hoxton haircut and a vest top showing off a large tattoo, the Dragons warmed to the presenter of the dolls, which shows them to be hypocrites in light of the fact Pink Quiff Man was made to exit stage right last week. Obviously as long as your outlandish look is 21st century, then body modification and crazy cuts are ok with the Dragons. The dolls were pretty much useless – a briefly amusing stocking filler – but Caan and Meaden went into the bidding, with Meaden inexplicably winning despite asking for 45% of the company to Caan’s 40%. Sisters doing it for themselves, perhaps, but is Meaden really a sister? I suspect she’s more asexual alien life-form than human, but I’ll resist the temptation to investigate further.

Some golf gizmo was covered quickly, looked far too complex for my tender brain, so I made a cup of tea during that bit. An older lady then took centre stage trying to flog some learning aids. Y’know – for kids. They were just bits of plastic in the shape of numbers, so after Bannatyne kicked her into the dust with a salient point about copyrighting digits, she trotted back down the stairs, tail between her legs after over-enthusiastically proclaiming her levels of enthusiasm.

At some point a bizarre episode clicked in wherein a hispanic lady tried to sell an ironing board that came in a cabinet. it was kind of a cabinet / ironing board hybrid. Imagine a small, ugly cabinet that had been raped by an ironing board. Then imagine its horrible offspring. It looked sort of like that – and promptly got laughed off the floor.

The ‘infant training mechanism’ was an interesting one. Essentially it was a ping pong ball with a cartoon face on it, designed to stay face-up while being peed on, so that kids enjoy getting off their potties and using a grown up lav. Girls could also use it, the pitcher opined, as the sitting back motion required when aiming would prevent them leaning forward and weeing all over the carpet. Unpleasant images, unwlecome and vivid, couldn’t help but force themselves into the viewer’s mind’s eye. Yes – wazzing is all well and good, me and the missus declared – but what if you get the runs and get all poo all over it. Even if you pop out a floater, imagine it sailing on toilet water with that weird little blue face peeking out from behind it. When does this silly little ball get washed? Does it live its entire life in a piss / shit / flush cycle? I couldn’t see it working.

The pitcher gained kudos, lord only knows why, for his presentation, despite the fact that all Dragons rolled their eyes on his opening gambit: ‘May I ask how many of you are currently toilet-training?’. He must have picked up somewhere along the way, as Caan, eager to seem like he’s one of the crew already, pitched in, but it all came to nowt. Caan should thank his lucky stars.

Finally, and inevitably, a fresh-faced middle class couple managed to get some cash when their terminally dull poker-email system got Theo’s go-ahead, after some overlong wrangling. A duller and more annoying product you won’t see all year. Stick ‘online capabilities’ into a sentence when pitching and the confused Dragons get all excited, for some reason. This was glamourised spam, and these two are now £200,000 more likely to be filling gamblers inboxes with rubbish thanks to the Dragons.

Next week, just imagine Bannatyne in a jump suit, banging out his club-style version of the Ballet’s ‘Gold’. It works, for some reason. Always believe in your soul.

Dragons’ Den – 16/10/07

October 16, 2007

Bannatyne - 80s ICON 

Dragons’ Den returned to BBC2 last night, having seemingly not been offered the upgrade to a BBC1 slot that the Apprentice took, bizarrely. It’s as good as Alan Sugar’s  job interview / assault course and also offers an altogether more tangible reward. Where Sugar offers a year of working on some lame electronic gizmo from the 80s, the Dragons offer cash and their ‘expertise’ (which is probably corporate-code for constant pressure and irritating daily phone calls demanding to know where the profits have gone).

But it’s hard to deny that, from time-to-time, a few dreams have come true. The other day in Sainsburys I noticed some Reggae Sauce in the sauce section. Obviously, I didn’t buy any, but someone might do, one day. And that means cash in Levi Roots’ pocket – and he deserves it because he’s a lovely bloke. Well – he has a nice smile and can play the guitar. To be honest, as far as we know he could be a serial granny-fiddler, but let us give him the benefit of the doubt.

Other winners from past series included that grinning smugstrel who sold broadband to yacht owners (the very thought of it makes me feel like a down-and-out tramp) and that slick publishing gimp who  wanted to start the ‘executive magazine’ called ‘Wonderland’. How I scoffed at the time. How I paled when I saw three or four of his glossy pamphlets in my local newsagent and off licence. Seems Peter Jones‘ gamble paid off on that one.

Ah. Peter Jones. There’s that name – it had to come up as he is, let’s face it, the pantomime villain of the piece. Obviously untarnished by the complete failure of his ITV Apprentice rip off, Tycoon, he’s still the lanky streak of expensive piss you remember, all apple-cheeks and scowls with that mop of boyish hair and a face only a blind mother could love. Last night the awful toff made a point of saying, to some chaps trying to sell a dating website,  ‘I don’t have any trouble with dates as I’m incredibly good looking, and I’m wealthy’. Wrong on at least one count there, Jonesy.

He’s not the only one with a misconceived notion of their own beauty. Bannatyne, the bequiffed Scot of the group is becoming increasingly similar in appearance to Tony Hadley, lead singer of Spandau Ballet. He looks like his dressing room is situated two decades away, what with the slick Martin Kemp back-comb and the loosened skinny tie. It’s not a good look for a man who looks like a dead baby chick that’s fallen out of a nest, that’s for sure.

These two self-love experts actually cast the other three Dragons in a more sympathetic light. That is, at least, until Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden round on some unsuspecting victim and tear him to shreds, like Mickey and Mallory Knox in pinstripe. I swear those two misfits are having a passionate affair. I see visions of their lovemaking in my most torrid nightmares. Last night Duncan Bannatyne joined them (not in a threeway shag, thankfully, but in a bullying) as they gave a chef a kicking for having a ‘ridiculous pink quiff’. Ironically, had he died that quiff brown, his look wouldn’t have been a million miles from Duncan’s own.

Typically, the first batch of money went to a couple, clearly already from a wealthy background. Because they were well spoken, presentable, had a decent idea and would clearly jump through hoops, Peter Jones flattered them almost to the point of fellatio and cunnilingus until they broke down sobbing, with no choice but to submit to his slimy fawning.

The other handout went to a deserving young fellow who was looking to franchise a gold-plating machine. A solid idea, at first highly criticised by Duncan B and Theo ‘The Loverman’ P, but then bought into by new Dragon, James Caan – a high flier from the Recruitment industry. This new Dragon is a lot more ruthless than the softly-spoken Aussie he replaces and is fast becoming a silent-assassin type. In the first pitch of his Dragon career, he broke the heart of a David Beckham lookalike. But he rounded the show off with a shrewd deal. Good editing to place that particular pitch at the end of show one as it establishes Caan as a proper Dragon immediately, rather than have him look like a spare prick at a wedding for the rest of the series.

Terrible people, decent television.

Tycoon

June 20, 2007

Cash-bastard 

From the off, Tycoon unashamedly dresses itself up in The Apprentice’s still-warm clothing and embarks on an intro of sweeping cityscape shots, accompanied by exactly the kind of music you’d expect a show like this to have; a kind of power-percussion number with strings, culminating in a contrived attempt to present the show with some poise and sophistication early on. Then we see that gangly cash-bastard Peter Jones’s bonce getting out of a car and we are immediately reminded of Dragon’s Den, and then the picture is complete. It’s Dragon’s Den meets The Apprentice. On ITV. And it does seem slightly odd that this has ended up on ITV as it is so clearly a mish-mash of successful Beeb output.

ITV obviously want some of the action, but unfortunately, the action has already passed through the Beeb’s system, and all ITV can do is kneel down and drink the pissy wastes of the BBC’s success. Anyway, Peter Jones, who is either an expressionless cyborg or a friendly terminator, has selected six wannabe’s to pander before him to vie for the title of ‘the tycoon’.

Each candidate has been handed £10,000 by the lanky streak o’ piss himself, and they must dazzle him with their array of entrepreneurial skills in attempting to pitch a business plan and subsequently launch a product plucked from each of their own personal greed-fuelled daydreams.

When Jonesy is sufficiently aroused, he will then choose one of the grovelling muppets to donate yet more money to.

The contenders are as follows: A pair of green fingered ladies who have some kind of gardening ploy up their sleeves, only I can’t quite remember what exactly (I wish I’d paid more attention), some posh tart who dreams of mixing fruit and vodka together to make piss weak alco-pop-cum-smoothy drinks, and a real wet weekend of a man who used to be a bodyguard for the Sultan of Brunei no less, and a creation he calls the ‘Eco-bag’. Not sure of it’s exact function though (I wish I’d paid more attention and drunk less wine).

Also in the running are: A woman desperate to see her extra super-special hair extensions (apparently they’re better somehow) hit the shelves, a ridiculous camp little fellow who wants to launch his own free student newspaper and some dullard and his harebrained remote-controlled indoor helicopter concept – the helicopter will be crash proof so he claims and ideal for living rooms etc, although I can’t believe that it never occurred to anyone that everything else in the room would have to be fucking crash proof as well. Bizarre.

So, here is my interpretation of what happened next – The two gardeners wanted to call their business ‘Garden Girlies’. Peter said no. They changed their name to ‘Sod’, and surprisingly, Peter loved it, though personally, I prefer ‘Buggery’, or maybe even ‘Rape’ (that was not a confession). Posh tart ended up inventing a drink that already exists and floundered like a legless ape in trying to come up with a name for it. Her original idea was ‘Vopples’, an ingenius play on the words vodka and apples. That was rejected though as Jonesy pointed out that it wouldn’t work with the other flavours she planned on making. She then came up with a plethera of equally awful suggestions such as ‘Frusion’ before settling on ‘Fruka’, which was also rejected when Jonesy pointed out that saying “Do you want a Fruka?” sounds like “Do you want to fuck her?”. Fair point.

The camp paper boy failed to acknowledge that there was any competition for his impending student rag despite the fact that the pie-fingered Piers Morgan had already released a similar product, entitled ‘First News’ (I think). Paper boy later completely ballsed up during his pitch by presenting Jonesy with a mock-up of his newspaper, essentially a single sheet of A3 paper with the ‘news’ printed on each side. Jonesy was not amused and despatched a rather amusing bollocking the way of the boy.

After trying to sell their products, ‘Sod’ came out on top making just over a thousand pounds in profit, while Eco-bag man made £35. As far as I could tell no-one else made a bean. And for some strange reason, old lankypants decided to give the extra money (£20,000) to indoor helicopter boy, so he could swan off abroad to drum up some interest or some such nonsense. To be honest, by this time I had drunk far too much wine and was – am – a bit worse for wear.

Right at the end, Peter met the posh mother Fruka at the end of a pier and told her that he felt a bit like closing her business down. He should have just pushed her in the water though because she began to weep and beg and claimed to posses the ability to move mountains, at which point Peter got scared and walked away.

He really is a funny one, Peter Jones. There’s something other-worldly about the man. I could easily be convinced that he is just a puppet at the mercy of miniature creatures who control him by pulling levers in his brain. When he’s not being driven about in the back of a car wearing various pastel shades, he’s doing other amusing things like explaining how he lost a fortune in his 20’s, consequently having to “sleep on a floor”.

Still, can’t wait ’til next week when Paul McKenna tries to motivate the desperate fools with optimistic words and thoughts.