Last Night's Viewing: Be Your Own Boss, BBC3
Dead Good Job, BBC2

 

I thought I'd got the shouting at the telly under control, but Be Your Own Boss set me off again last night. "For Richard," said an urgent voiceover, "whose reputation and fortune is at stake, this is one hell of a gamble." To be absolutely honest, I didn't shout. It makes the dog jump. But I typed my notes in capitals: "NO IT BLOODY ISN'T!" Presumably, some idiot had decided that the show needed more "jeopardy", television's performance-enhancing drug of choice right now.

So although there was no prospect whatever of Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies, losing either his fortune or his reputation, they had to pretend it was the case. The show itself is a kind of X Factor for entrepreneurs, with Reed – an exemplary figure for the do-it-yourself tycoons among us – sifting through 500 hopefuls to find business ideas that he can invest in. What he gets is a venture capitalist's beauty parade and some excellent publicity. What they get is seed funding and business advice.

While Reed's fortune and reputation were safe, however, there looked to be a good chance that he might lose his temper before the end of the show. The early rounds were no hazard to his amiability, delivering a string of enjoyably daffy no-hopers. One woman appeared to be pitching a chain of restaurants where "dogs and humans can dine together". A young man tried to persuade Reed of the commercial prospects of a wordsearch square that contained only one real word. And two chancers in suits attracted Reed's attention by branding their company "Innocent Chicken". They proposed to lever a gap in an over-crowded market by adding novel flavours: "Bubblegum-flavoured chicken, mango-flavoured chicken... it's just something that's not out there," said one of them, apparently startled that nobody had got there before them. Reed asked to try a sample. "Urr... it's at the conception stage," they replied.

Frankly, I could have taken quite a bit more of this, but the programme had to move on. Reed selected two friends hoping to market the Lazy Camper, an all-in-one-box camping kit for festival-goers; Mango Bikes, which offers colour-customised bicycles; and Poietic Studio, a dippy pair of designer/artists who were the kind of outfit you would only back if you fancied an adrenalin rush. They got some seed money and then all three of them went away and underperformed. Poietic Studio pledged to "revolutionise the way we make tea" but returned with the prototype for a dancing fireplace, and Lazy Camper failed to secure any retail outlets. Only Mango Bikes showed signs of pushing their business forward. Reed took a deep breath, gamely pretended that the decision was a "really difficult" one, and invested £50,000 in their dream of a fashion accessory on two wheels. On what terms, we weren't told, but I'm guessing it doesn't involve a huge risk to Reed's fortune.

Dead Good Job looked at those whose business is seeing us out of this world and – according to your beliefs – into another one or into the ground. It included a single mother terminally ill with cancer who was arranging her own funeral, a Muslim burial in London and a biker's funeral, with the coffin carried in a motorbike sidecar. "That person was unique, so the funeral should be unique," said the motorcycling vicar who supplies this niche market. You might have thought this sentiment would meet with no contradiction, but the interesting thing was that Muslim burial makes something of a virtue of human identity in death, with pretty much every detail specified by religious law and every grave in the cemetery exactly the same. Still, as the single mother recalled with a jolt after she'd quibbled about where she might be placed in the chapel of rest, there's always one participant who won't mind either way.

twitter.com/tds153

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
    RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

    RuPaul interview

    The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head