The Herald Magazine - - NEWS - ALI­SON ROWAT


SOME­THING in­cred­i­ble hap­pened on The Ap­pren­tice (BBC One, Wed­nes­day, 9pm). Was it one of the hap­less con­tes­tants turn­ing out to be a gen­uinely gifted busi­ness op­er­a­tor? Did Kar­ren stop look­ing at this year’s rat­ings-fod­der like pup­pies who had just messed her white shag pile? No. Even more un­be­liev­ably, some­one told Su­gar Chops and Scary Brady to be quiet.

It wasn’t a Sweeney-style “SHUT IT!”, but in its own way it was mag­nif­i­cent. “I am try­ing to ex­plain,” said Ross, when be­ing car­peted for the fail­ure of the task. “Not to be rude, but un­in­ter­rupted would be help­ful.” Su­gar Chops and Scary reeled as if he had taken a swing at them. This is the sort of breach in the cos­mic or­der from which rev­o­lu­tions spring. How long can it be be­fore the ap­pren­tices storm the board­room and turn the table on their masters? On sec­ond thoughts, turn­ing a table that size would be tricky, and I’m not sure this lot have it in them.

Ross, alas, de­served the rol­lick­ing, hav­ing over­seen the re­design of a lux­ury ho­tel room that left it look­ing like a colour-blind teenager’s pit. “The only way you’d get that as a five-star room is on Crap Ad­vi­sor,” said Su­gar Chops. Crap Ad­vi­sor, now there’s a win­ning busi­ness idea.

If the tal­ent was hard to spot in The Ap­pren­tice, it was front and cen­tre in Tunes for Tyrants (BBC Four, Mon­day, 9pm). Pre­sen­ter Suzy Klein threw her­self into the task of look­ing at the role mu­sic played in the hideously tur­bu­lent first half of the 20th cen­tury. She played pi­ano, she sang, and at one point she took to the roof of a Moscow build­ing to recre­ate Avraamov’s Sym­phony of Sirens. The ma­te­rial was some­times dis­tress­ingly bleak (af­ter watch­ing this

you will never lis­ten to Mack the Knife in the same way again), but the light shone into some of the dark­est cor­ners of the Russian Rev­o­lu­tion and the col­lapse of Weimar was steady and true.

If you could look past the tabloid ti­tle, An Hour to Catch a Killer (ITV,

Thurs­day, 9pm) was a sober and in­for­ma­tive look at the 60 min­utes fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of a body, the so-called “golden hour” dur­ing which de­ci­sions made by po­lice can make or break an investigation. That this was a real case we were watch­ing only height­ened the ten­sion. Sir Trevor

McDon­ald’s in­ter­views with the par­ents of the vic­tim were a model of re­straint, and when the pro­gramme’s hour was up it was their dig­nity, and the sense of a young life trag­i­cally cut short, that stayed in the mind.

A pre­sen­ter knows they have made it in the doc­u­men­tary game when their name is in the ti­tle. Louis Th­er­oux earned that stripe with his move away from the fluffier stuff of celebrity (the mon­strous Sav­ile ex­cepted) to more con­sid­ered looks at the life­styles of the not so rich and fa­mous. Louis Th­er­oux: Dark States (BBC Two, Sun­day, 9pm) found him in Hunt­ing­ton, West Vir­ginia, dubbed “heroin town” for the num­ber of res­i­dents who be­came hooked on pre­scrip­tion painkillers only to turn to the brown stuff af­ter a gov­ern­ment crack­down.

What a de­press­ing let­ter from Amer­ica this was, with Th­er­oux look­ing on at the de­struc­tion wrought like some gi­ant, in­fin­itely sad­dened, kid. No mat­ter the in­ter­vie­wee, be it an ad­dict say­ing for the umpteenth time that they wanted to quit, or a dis­traught rel­a­tive who blamed them­selves, he was never less than re­spect­ful. His is the best sort of sin­cer­ity, the kind that can­not be faked, and his in­ter­vie­wees know it. If it was oth­er­wise they would not open up to him as they do.

It’s a tough old life in the Army, but never too tough that it in­ter­feres with such es­sen­tial tasks as eye­brow main­te­nance. That was the sig­nal given off by Our Girl (BBC One, Tues­day, 9pm), where the fe­male char­ac­ters looked like they had just stepped out of the makeup chair and into com­bats.

Michelle Kee­gan, late of Coro­na­tion Street, played Army medic Lance Cor­po­ral Ge­orgie Lane. Although op­er­at­ing in Syria and in an earth­quake zone in Nepal, Ge­orgie’s big­gest prob­lem was a gobby new-start called Maisie. Two women in a male world: of course they took an in­stant dis­like to each other, it’s the law, in­nit?

Be­tween the ob­vi­ously low bud­get, the love in­ter­est sub-plots and the soap opera di­a­logue, Our Girl was like Hol­lyoaks in fa­tigues. Just to add a bit of bite, the char­ac­ters ex­ploded F-bombs through­out. “She is bleep­ing an­noy­ing,” said an of­fi­cer about Maisie. “Bleep­ing an­noy­ing sums it up per­fectly,” said Ge­orgie.

Des­per­ately un­con­vinc­ing stuff, but as a star ve­hi­cle for Kee­gan, and her bleep­ing brows, it got the job done.

The task for Lord Su­gar’s gang of ap­pren­tices this week was to makeover a lux­ury ho­tel room to give it added value, but one con­tes­tant left the suite look­ing like a colour-blind teenager’s pit

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