TV review: The Intern (Channel 4) and Dogging Tales (Channel 4)

 

"We are wasting so much talent," protested Hilary Devey at the beginning of The Intern, a new show that promises to deploy a "radical recruitment method" to get Britain's young jobless on the career ladder. As a top businesswoman and high-profile Dragon, Hilary dislikes waste and she has, I think, spotted something that other television presenters have missed.

All those eager young people, so desperate that they'll do pretty much anything to get a job, represent a resource not a problem. You can make telly out of them. Think of it. People with a few more options might jib at being involved in a trivialising mash-up of Candid Camera and The Apprentice. But these guys don't have much of a choice. Job's a good 'un.

Hilary's just the picture on the tin, of course, a sort of Betty Crocker for this instant-mix reality show, with her Cruella de Vil styling and rasping no-nonsense delivery. She does the boilerplate stuff about putting her name on the line – "I've chosen them and they're not going to denigrate my name and reputation with that company" – but the truth is that she's already besmirched her reputation by getting involved at all. She also unhelpfully raised the question, with that remark, of what kind of selection process the candidates went through to make it on screen. Presumably, precisely the kind of CV-scanning, personal interview affair that The Intern suggests is outdated in the modern world.

Anyway, those who did manage to impress the Intern casting directors get the chance for a week's on-the-job try-out in the industry of their choice, tweaked for our entertainment by a series of booby traps arranged with the help of actors. So 22-year-old Georgia is given the task of walking a hotel guest's precious dogs, unaware that one of them has been trained to run away the moment it's left off the leash. And Princess, a big Made in Chelsea fan, discovers one of its stars, Hugo, chained to a bedpost in the room she's supposed to be cleaning. How will they cope under pressure? Can Princess keep her mouth shut about Hugo's embarrassing predicament? Can Georgia find the lurcher in time?

On this evidence, one of the important skills in the hotel trade is the ability to lie with a straight face, both to and on behalf of the customers. But I doubt that a jobless young person watching would have learnt anything useful about the world of work – the only possible excuse for a format that takes hopeful innocents and torments them for our entertainment. And that also requires two of them to get another rejection to add to the great stack they've already had to absorb. "I could not have wished for a better outcome," said Hilary jubilantly when Georgia was offered a job. In that case, Hilary, you're not very imaginative, are you, since it might have been nice if Princess and Taelre had got something a little more substantial than a pat on the back. Next from Channel 4 – "Making Tramps Fight for Cider".

The depression induced by The Intern was not lifted by Dogging Tales, though it was very skilfully directed by Leo Maguire, who brings a photographer's eye to his subjects. The problem here was not the film-maker but his subject – al fresco sex with strangers. The participants like to call it "play", but the reality is a seamy affair that all too often involves women with low self-esteem following the orders of men with far too much. Maguire's decision to disguise his contributors in animal masks made some of the interviews very funny indeed, as when a paunchy lorry-driving fox praised the social side of dogging. And I warmed to the man who confessed that he found it "very moreish". But overall it had all the erotic allure of a used condom.

twitter.com/tds153

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
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.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project