Digby Jones: The New Troubleshooter, BBC 2, TV review
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 10 April 2014
The BBC's new business guru is a bloke called Digby. Who? Good question. I've done the hard work (Googling) so you don't have to and, while he's never appeared on Dragons' Den, it appears the star of Digby Jones: the New Troubleshooter (BBC2) still has some qualifications to boss around Britain's business owners.
Lord Jones is a former Minister of State for Trade and Investment and was one of Gordon Brown's most high-profile Goats (As in “Government of All Talents”, not the farm animal). He sits on the boards of numerous different companies and is the author of a volume titled Fixing Britain: the Business of Reshaping our Nation. Most impressive of all, is Digby's ownership of a pair of Union Jack cufflinks. These proved so irresistible to the cameraman's magpie-like eye, we were treated to not one, but two lingering close-ups.
So Lord Jones is entitled to bark orders at the likes of Mike Muxworthy, MD of Hereford Furniture in the West Midlands, and his daughter Kate, the sales and marketing manager. Their company posted a loss of £80,000 last year, its first ever, and the slightly panicked duo are willing to listen to any advice offered.
From an entertainment point of view, their very amenability was the real trouble that needed shooting. That and the fact that Lord Jones didn't bark at all. He put forward entirely common-sense solutions (eg do a financial projection before embarking on any new venture, duh) and gently suggested action.
It's a formula that worked for the BBC's original “troubleshooter”, Sir John Harvey-Jones back in the early Nineties, but that was before Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Supernanny's screaming tots. Mentoring shows in the 21st century require less compliance and more conflict.
Sitting in on interminable board meetings is boring enough when you actually work for a company, never mind once you're off the clock, though Lord Jones would probably disagree. He topped off this first episode with a rousing, Churchillian speech on business profit as the root of all human happiness but, I notice, not within hearing of Hereford's factory floor workers.
When Mike informed his employees that the new regime would require them to become “40 per cent more efficient”, the only suggested expedient being “a faster screwdriver”, they didn't exactly seem flushed with the joys of capitalism. “Does that mean we're getting a bigger bonus, then, this year?” asked one. Another good question.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest