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.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 3 Jewish community urged to boycott Cornwall village after residents vote for 'Hitlers Walk' sign to be reinstated
- 4 Benedict Cumberbatch's Alan Turing gay-rights campaign snubbed by Prince William and Kate Middleton
- 5 Kim Sears responds to swearing controversy with 'parental advisory' T-shirt at Andy Murray's Australian Open final
Daniel Radcliffe deemed 'not marketable' without his English accent
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign