Last Night's Television:
Gerry's big decision, Channel 4
My Best Friend's Murder, BBC3

Here's to you, Mr Robinson

There's something rather cruel about Gerry's Big Decision. It's sort of like The Apprentice, but with far greater consequences – or Dragons' Den, with added despair. Every week, Sir Gerry Robinson is presented with two businesses on the verge of bankruptcy and picks one to save. But, unlike The Apprentice, there's no real prize – just the possibility of a lifeline. It's the last-chance saloon. Look, you can see the desperation in their eyes. They really need this, and need it bad.

Good thing Sir Gerry's so nice. They couldn't really have picked a better millionaire: he's loaded and lovely – even more so than Stuart Rose, that other Benevolent Businessman. He listens while the contestants pour out there hearts, frowning sympathetically, humming and hawing. This week, he lavished attention on Andrew Berry and Simon Bryon-Edmond, the respective owners of H J Berry, the oldest chair manufacturers in the country, and Chunk of Devon, a new(ish) pie-making business.

To be honest, the prospects weren't great. At least Berry has a profitable history. The problem nowadays is the management. The owner, Andrew, wanted to be a gamekeeper, but went into the family business for the sake of his dad. He recently brought in management consultant John to oversee operations, since things weren't going to well under his watch. The only catch is... they loathe each other. Properly loathe. They can't even hold a conversation, let alone a meeting. My heart's on team Andrew, I think. John seems like a bit of a prat, part David Brent, part whingeing schoolkid, and Andrew's really lovely, though my brain's not so sure. If Andrew hates John so much, why doesn't he fire him? Or do the job himself? Or... anything. Anything but dither and walk on the moors in his Barbour jacket. Gerry seemed to feel the same, though he did take John down to London to pitch a contract with House of Fraser. He did all right, actually, give or take the odd leather/pleather confusion, and gets the gig, promptly bursting in to tears on camera. Not that it matters, though. He quits shortly afterwards, leaving Andrew to do it alone.

At Chunk of Devon, things aren't much better. In fact, they're worse. Husband and wife Simon and Suzi set up the business several years ago and they've never turned a profit, though they did win pie of the year last year, which counts for something. Doesn't it? Maybe not. Business-wise, I can't see why Sir Gerry would help these two out, but they've remortgaged their house and everything, so they're properly desperate. Please, Sir Gerry, their eyes pleaded. Please give us your millions. The problem here – or one of them anyway – is that they don't even seem to try and sell pies. Simon wafted in and out of the factory, picking at his pastry rolling (or something), and left the selling to the rest of his staff. The rest of his staff, meanwhile, are too busy on the shop floor, rolling pasty, to go out and about. So they never get anywhere.

If I were Sir Gerry, I'd get out of there as soon as possible. He didn't, though. In fact, he hung around, dithering over who to give the money to. In the end, he decided to give them both some money. Hang on – isn't that cheating? Where's the despair? Alas, nowhere to be found. Sir Gerry's far too nice for that.

No such pleasantries over on BBC3. Distressingly, My Best Friend's Murder wasn't supposed to be what it was – a portrait of life after death. Instead, it was planned as a run-of-the-mill documentary on knife crime. Then, Stephen Lewis, the 15-year-old star of the show was stabbed shortly before filming. He died in hospital hours later. Overtaken by their subject matter, the film's crew decided instead to chronicle the consequences of knife crime, profiling Stephen's family and friends as they come to terms with his death.

In all, it was an insightful, if a somewhat static, profile – and more than a little depressing. Stephen's death, at least, appears to have shocked those around him to make changes in their lives: his mother, brother and girlfriend all talk of what they want to achieve, how they want to distance themselves from their environment. Not so the other teenagers whose lives and deaths were featured last night. When Kodjo Yenga died in west London, his friends were still there a week later, hanging around on street corners, rapping about gang life, showing off their bullet-proof vests. It's awful, really. They're only kids with bikes in some crummy corner of some suburb in England and they're trying to be 50 Cent. Take them out of their element and they're as vulnerable as anyone else. "Do you think the public understand you?" asked one of the camera crew. "Are things really that bad?" The boys just laughed. "They're badder than that. Way badder."

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Mitch Winehouse is releasing a new album

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star