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.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes