CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Think The Apprentice is tacky and mean?


Industry 

Rating:

Our Yorkshire Farm: Five Years With The Owen Family 

Rating:

The best thing about The Apprentice, with its preening, socially inept, wannabe business moguls, is that while it might be a reality show, it isn’t anything like real life. Unless, that is, you’re a merchant banker.

Industry (BBC2) is a financial drama set in London’s Square Mile, where a clutch of high-flying university graduates are competing in a six-month apprenticeship scheme at the sort of bank that trades in derivatives, inverse floaters and other high-risk money-spinners.

At the end of their trial comes a cull, known as RIF Day — ‘reduction in force’. Half will be given contracts. Half will be fired. Only the most driven and vicious survive. If it isn’t already a TV gameshow format, some production company will snap up that idea like a crocodile gobbling an antelope.

Industry (BBC2) is a financial drama set in London’s Square Mile, where a clutch of high-flying university graduates are competing in a six-month apprenticeship scheme at the sort of bank that trades in derivatives, inverse floaters and other high-risk money-spinners

Industry (BBC2) is a financial drama set in London’s Square Mile, where a clutch of high-flying university graduates are competing in a six-month apprenticeship scheme at the sort of bank that trades in derivatives, inverse floaters and other high-risk money-spinners

The graduates are desperate to be selected, though less needy, greedy people would take one look at the senior bankers, foresee their own futures and run.

Derek Riddell portrays a manager who makes casual jokes about paedophilia. Ruby Bentall is a department head who tries to assert her alpha status by spouting streams of swear words, while Sarah Parish plays an alcoholic lesbian who exploits one trainee’s ambition by bullying and groping her. 

All of them are relishing every minute of their roles. I suspect the casting director rang around, asking actors: ‘How do you fancy playing someone really vile? You do? Oh good!’

The juniors are humiliated from the opening sequence, a round of snide job interviews designed to gauge how many insults the newcomers can swallow. ‘Tell us a joke,’ one exec sneers to terrified Hari (Nabhaan Rizwan).

The juniors are humiliated from the opening sequence, a round of snide job interviews designed to gauge how many insults the newcomers can swallow

The juniors are humiliated from the opening sequence, a round of snide job interviews designed to gauge how many insults the newcomers can swallow

A brutal culture pervades the trading room. ‘Why is there a ring in your nose?’ barks a boss at ultra-competent Harper (Myha’la Herrold). ‘Are you cattle?’

Harper is prepared to do just about anything, including fraud, to win a job. Hari thinks his best chance is to work through the nights, washing down amphetamines with energy drinks and catching shut-eye in a toilet cubicle — a strategy that leads to a shocking climax for the first episode.

Directed by Lena Dunham, the award-winning star of HBO’s Girls, this eight-part serial is The Apprentice played for lethally high stakes. Like the reality show, it’s fast-paced but tacky, even seedy. 

The graduates imagine they will be ‘masters of the universe’ but they’re no different from bookies and double-glazing salesmen — playing the odds on dodgy products.

Amanda Owen’s nine children will never have to sacrifice their principles for meaningless jobs. Even the youngest of them, toddler Nancy, knows what it is to work for an honest living.

Our Yorkshire Farm: Five Years With The Owen Family (C5) joined shepherdess Amanda, her husband Clive and their free-range family on the Swaledale moors where they tend their flocks.

Our Yorkshire Farm: Five Years With The Owen Family (C5) joined shepherdess Amanda, her husband Clive and their free-range family on the Swaledale moors where they tend their flocks

Our Yorkshire Farm: Five Years With The Owen Family (C5) joined shepherdess Amanda, her husband Clive and their free-range family on the Swaledale moors where they tend their flocks

Fans of the joyful show, like me, will have thoroughly enjoyed the recap of the past few years, seeing teenagers Reuben and Raven growing up, as their little brothers and sisters blossomed.

Those new to the family got a welcome introduction, the distinctive personalities of each of the children shining through. An extra segment, shot last July, gave Amanda the chance to reminisce about each baby’s birth.

She almost called it quits following the first, a Caesarean. The next was unexpected, ‘after a Chinese takeaway,’ joked Dad.

Others in the brood were born in lay-bys, beside the living-room fire or on the seat of Clive’s Land Rover. Every one’s a proper character. This might be the most life-affirming series on the box.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk