Alan’s Guide To Winning The Apprentice

October 1, 2010 by  
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The Apprentice returns this week with sixteen fresh faces fighting to be hired by Lord Alan Sugar. But what qualities is the big cheese looking for? Presenting exclusive extracts from his new book here’s the Amstrad boss himself with tips for the newbies..

“Hello, Lord Alan Sugar here. A lot of people ask me: ‘Alan, what do you look for in a winning Apprentice?’ So I tell them: ‘Who the bloody hell are you? Now naff off, I’m a bleedin’ Baron you know!’ It’s a dog eat dog world out there so to succeed you’ve got to have a bark and a bite or in my case just grow a bloody sexy beard. A new series of my show starts next week. Karen Brady is still by my side with her impressive assets. I wouldn’t mind a double dip in that recession – gorr blimey! Her and Nick will be helping separate the wheat from the riff raff so to help the candidates I’m sharing some extracts from my new book – Short And Sweet: Lord Sugar’s Guide to Bloody Business.”

Don’t spunk on your CV

I’m all about passion in the workplace but keep your spunk out of it. Here’s James from Series Five bringing ignorance wherever he goes:


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A Career In 5 Clips: Paul Whitehouse

September 28, 2010 by  
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With the second series of Harry and Paul back on our tellyboxes tonight we take a look at the career of the slightly shorter half of that comedy pairing – Paul Whitehouse. Once a part-time plasterer living on a Hackney council estate, Whitehouse is now recognised as one of Britain’s top comedic talents and the man behind some of the best sketches of all time. So come on down Mr Whitehouse as we take a look at your life on screen in five quick clips!

1. Bing Bang Bong – Beginnings

Whitehouse is the first to admit that without Harry Enfield he wouldn’t be where he is today (which currently is making a show with Harry Enfield). After a chance meeting in a pub, the pair struck up a bond and university drop-out Paul, together with his pal and future Fast Show co-star Charlie Higson, started writing material for Enfield’s stage act.

The brains behind Enfield’s best-known character Loadsamoney, the working partnership rose to prominence on Harry Enfield and Chums from which our first clip is taken:

2. Brilliant! – The Fast Show

The revolutionary format of The Fast Show gave Whitehouse the perfect platform to present a whole cast of comedy creations each with real heart. Okay, so all the sketches led to an inevitable catchphrase, but this is long before Little Britain and Catherine Tate cheapened this titter-raising tactic.

Surefire crowd-pleasers like Unlucky Alf (“Oh Buggar”), Tailor Ken (“Suits you Sir”), Arthur Atkinson (“Where’s me washboard?”) as well as characters with more depth like gardener Ted and estate owner Ralph, have all earned their place in the nation’s hearts. Our favourite? The perpetually pickled Rowley Birkin QC:


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Sold? Tetley Tea Folk Return

September 24, 2010 by  
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Remember Gaffer, Sydney, Archie and Clarence? No us neither.

It’s amazing how quickly the Tetley Tea Folk have faded from memory despite being on telly for 28 years. In 2001 Tetley ditched the flat-capped, proper-northern cartoon creations for ads that focused on the health benefits of a regular cuppa. Now, due to a complete absence of any better ideas, the Tea Folk are back with a new commercial.

It opens with some poor intern doing what interns generally do, that is making tray-fulls of tea. Our newbie is debilitatingly nervous or drugged up or something because that tray’s rattling like a pigeon in a snare drum. But after negotiating a door and the guy fixing the photocopier it’s the office’s smiley blonde bicycle that causes the young lad’s downful: her dumb, vacant smile beckoning him to tread on some tip ex and take a tumble sending the teacups smashing against a wall.

If ever there’s some blaming and claiming to be done it’s right there. Okay so it’s not quite as good a fall as that National Accident Helpline woman who slips on the puddle of urine, causing her handbag to explode with pens – but it’s not bad. Lets hope he broke some bones – there could be a generous payout coming. Not bad for your first day young intern.

I’m not sure of his milk to water ratios but that tea was one strong brew. After smashing against the wall the tea runs down through the floor, round some bends, drips through a tiny hole, never changing colour, never slowing until Bam! Just like the cop who discovered the Fritzl kids we make a shocking discovery. Here, in basement of some office tower, locked in a dusty cupboard – it’s only the ruddy Tea Folk!

So far, so dull and that’s where the ad ends. No doubt we’re meant to eagerly anticipate what’s next for these cartoons pulled nine years ago because everyone got bored of them. Awakened by the special brew Tea Folk Tina exclaims: “Chuffing hell where are we”. Sadly Tina, we couldn’t give a chuff.

Concorde’s Last Flight Review: Supersonic Doomed

July 12, 2010 by  
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CONCORDE’S LAST FLIGHT: Monday 12th July, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME

It carried the hopes of a nation, cost millions of pounds but ultimately ended in failure. No, not the England World Cup team but Concorde, once the country’s proudest engineering feats.

Unlike Capello’s boys Concorde was lightning fast on the wing. She could fly from London to New York in three and a half hours and travelled at twice the speed of sound. As one contributor in Concorde’s Last Flight puts it: “It symbolised optimism. It was everything that the 20th Century could have stood for.”

Made up of reconstructions, archive footage and CGI, the documentary follows the supersonic plane’s turbulent journey from dream to reality and eventual nightmare – a crash in 2000 that killed 113 people saw it taken out of operation and relegated to museums. Read More…

Sold?: Milking It

June 21, 2010 by  
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Nothing sells a product like a fluffy wuffy poop-machine. Just ask the ad-men who thought up the Andrex puppy. Or the Dulux dog. Or that singing mutt cruising in the Volkswagon Polo.

As a nation of animal lovers we’re much more likely to put our hands in our pockets for something if it’s appeared on the telly with a less-intelligent life-form (though take note Iceland – Kerry Katona doesn’t count).

Dress the poor creature up in human clothes, give it a voice and you’re on to a winner. I’ve watched the entire series of Life but old Attenborough never revealed that horses talk with a posh accent (thanks Weetabix), labradors love loo-roll and sound like Rik Mayall (Andrex) while meerkats originate from Russia (Comparethemarket.com).

Now two new adverts celebrate the wares of a far from cuddly creature – the cow – but we’re still left in the lurch about what they talk like. Which is important to know, should you ever have to sit next to one on the bus.

In a bid to cut labour costs Anchor butter has employed the bovines themselves not only to provide the milk but churn it into butter, quality assess it and package it up for delivery. Bloody cows, coming over here and stealing our jobs. At least they’ve got good taste in music, selecting a dixie-style cover of Guns N Roses’ Paradise City.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqoxvvI4I_c

Not all cows have it so hard though. Muller says “thankyou” to its cattle by making their fantasies come true. Apparently Mary has always harboured dreams of being a horse. Even Jimmy Saville couldn’t fix that one but Muller do the best thing and stick Mary on a beach and film her walking quickly – bet she’s well chuffed.

Two great ads but we’re still none the wiser about bovine speech. They’re love of stadium rock and black and white attire would suggest a Gene Simmons like drawl but then their dreams of fame and vacant eyes could mean a Susan Boyle-like Scottish twang.

Either way, try and find another seat on the bus, unless the only other free is next to Kerry Katona.

30 Rock Review: Rolling With Laughter

April 26, 2010 by  
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30 ROCK: Monday 26th April, Comedy Central, 10pm ALERT ME

Squirreled away on Comedy Central, 30 Rock‘s growth has been slow and steady in the UK, but this fresh new series coupled with the release of Tina Fey’s Date Night should gain the comedy a much larger trans-atlantic fanbase.

The show, which follows the trials of sketch writer Liz Lemon and her slick boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), has won a raft of awards and after a shaky start now pulls mammoth audiences in the US.

Creator and lead, Fey continues to prove herself as a comedic force in TV and film, first as head writer for Saturday Night Live and most recently alongside Steve Carell on the big screen.

It is her SNL experience which provides the setting for 30 Rock – based behind the scenes of a fictional live sketch comedy show called TGS. It’s got the quickfire style of Scrubs but without the over-emotional indie soundtracked downtime – here the laughs come thick and fast with little time for reflection. Read More…

Tory Eggheads Edition Pulled At Last Minute

April 23, 2010 by  
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An edition of Eggheads was pulled at the last minute becuase it featured a team of Tories.

BBC bosses decided airing the show, in which the contending team was made up of members of the Torbay Conservative Club Quiz League, Devon, was “too politically sensitive”.

The show, hosted by Dermot Murnaghan, was due to go out immediately after a Tory party election broadcast but was replaced with a celeb DJ version at the last minute.

Captain of the team, called the Con Artists, told The Sun: “The BBC rang me at about a minute to six to say that, as they had just aired a Tory election broadcast, they couldn’t put us on.

“They said they’d call when they had a new date, I’m assuming after the election. We were all sat around with drinks and TV recorders at the ready when they called.”

The BBC said: “In line with guidelines, an edition of Eggheads which features a team associated with a political party will be shown after the election.”

It is thought the BBC will balance the edition with quiz teams from other parties including Labour supporting Well Red and Liberal Democrat team The Cleggheads.

Hole In The Wall Axed

April 23, 2010 by  
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Bring on the axe! Anton du Beke’s Hole In The Wall gameshow has been given the chop after just two series.

The show, in which celebrities don skin-tight silver wet suits and try to squeeze through spaces in a bright red polystyrene wall, has suffered a rating slip of 2 million viewers since last year.

It is the second blow for Du Beke, real name Tony Beak (ho ho), as he is likely to to be axed as part of the Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers shake-up this year.

He was embroiled in a racism row during the last series after saying dance partner Laila Rouass looked like a “P***”.

Despite sparking a trend for physical gameshows, Hole In The Wall, which enjoyed audience figures of 6.1million when hosted by Dale Winton, has been surpassed by shows like Total Wipeout and Steve Jones’s upcoming 101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow.

A Beeb insider told The Sun: “There’s still a lot of affection for Hole in the Wall, but bosses thought it was time to try something else.”

A source close to Tony Beak (still funny) said: “Anton won’t be happy. It’s an astonishing fall from grace.

“Just six months ago he was being talked about as the next big thing at the BBC. Now it looks like he could be left with nothing.”

Charlie Brooker Working On Scripted Show

April 22, 2010 by  
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Charlie Brooker has revealed he is working on a new show – “a cross between Screenwipe and more scripted elements”.

The columnist and presenter of telly-bashing triumphs like Newswipe, Screenwipe and You Have Been Watching said he already had a concept in mind.

The 39-year-old said in an interview with Shortlist magazine that: “I want to do another scripted TV show. I think I’m supposed to be doing one next year. Doing Dead Set was a miserable experience, but I was glad I did it.

“You’re creating a little world, which is fun. I’m doing something which should be interesting, I don’t really want to jinx it, but it’s a sort of cross between Screenwipe and more scripted elements.

“But that’s not until far, far into the future. I couldn’t be more cryptic or dull.”

In 2008, Brooker penned Dead Set, a BAFTA nominated zombie drama set in the Big Brother house.

David Dickinson In Line For Teatime Slot

April 22, 2010 by  
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Sunglasses at the ready – permatanned David ‘I’ve been Tangoed’ Dickinson is expected to dominate the 5pm slot with his own show on ITV.

The orange-skinned antiques expert will head The David Dickinson Show which will replace Alan Titchmarsh’s programme when it finishes in May.

The former Bargain Hunt presenter, who claims his unnatural skin tone is the Real Deal, will chat to celebs and share his antiques expertise on the new show.

A source told The Sun: “ITV has high hopes for David being their next breakout teatime chatshow host.”

Michael Ball is also in talks with the broadcaster and has already recorded a pilot for his own teatime outing.

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