Last Night's Viewing: The Apprentice, BBC1 Evidently...John Cooper Clarke, BBC4


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The Independent Culture

I'd love to see the shooting schedule for the Apprentice second unit crew. After eight series, the rhetorical flourishes in the programme have become so predictable now that you feel they could film all the nuts and bolts with which the narrative is held together in a single busy day. So 10.00 to 10.30 would be spent on Karen Head Shakes and another half an hour after that on Nick's Wincing and Brow Furrowing.

Neither of these canonical reaction shots need necessarily be captured on the hoof during the actual challenges, just recorded in bulk at some point and spliced in whenever the production team need to point out a particularly stupid decision. After that, you could spend some time on Back of Cab Silent Look Exchanges, an all-important grace note that lets us know that the two team members who are present think the one who isn't is a dipstick (Note to director: Please ensure that the phone is held at all times in the approved About to Eat a Kit Kat posture). Then you could do some Boardroom Head Swivels, very handy for underlining those moments when Lord Sugar's been particularly acerbic, rack up a mixed bag of the Losers' Café Shuffle (one shot everyone looking gutted, one shot of someone saying how gutted they feel), and, before wrapping for the day, make sure you've got a couple of Hostage to Fortune phrases in the can. Last night it was Adam, confidently announcing, "There is no way on the planet that it will be me that goes tomorrow. No. Way."

You won't need me to tell you who went. He was dispatched, I suspect, because of a conspicuous nervous collapse during the pitch for his luxury confectionary brand: his throat closed up, his hands shook and what tenuous commercial logic had ever existed evaporated completely. At an earlier stage of the game, Adam might have been saved by the bottom line, but this close to the end Lord Sugar isn't taking any chances that an unforeseen bump in the pitch might take out one of his favourites. Though Adam's competitors Ricky and Tom had produced a male toiletry range so bland it was virtually invisible, they talked up a storm when presenting it to industry experts and provided him with a reasonable rationale for pushing them through to the final. Next week, in a slight tweak on the established pattern, the four survivors get the dry waterboarding from Lord Sugar's inquisitors, but if they have any extra Nick Winces left over they can always use them in the next series.

Evidently... John Cooper Clarke traced an unexpected connection between the Victorian poet Henry Newbolt and Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. The linkage was poetic inspiration, Cooper Clarke having been turned on to rhythm and rhyme by, among other things, his boyhood encounter with "Vitaï Lampada", a heady imperial threnody that he can still recite by heart. So, when Cooper Clarke wrote his poems he made them rhyme too, providing a model of aggressive Northern verse that later caught Turner's ear and inspired his own lyrics. Lots of other people admired Cooper Clarke too, of course, and most of them were here – a parade of Manchester media aristocracy testifying to the deep affection in which he's held.

There was a time when it would have been a pretty sure bet that a 2012 celebration of Cooper Clarke would have been a posthumous affair, but having kicked the drugs he was here as well – the Dylan barnet and shades unchanged but the face sliding towards Keith Richards beneath them. He's not the most reliable chronicler of his own past: "That's the trouble with drugs," he chuckled. "The good memories go with the shit you're trying to block out." But he is a genuine original. Highest praise came from a punk-era manager who'd occasionally booked him: "He wasn't precious, he didn't pull strokes... and he could also dodge the bottles".