Sport on TV: The Max Factor wins as Brady finds Britain hasn't got talent

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The Independent Online

It's appropriate that, with the bottom falling out of the Commonwealth Games, this was the BBC's chance to shine. An event that no one else was interested in showing, with no need to actually go there and spend millions on a far-flung studio as they did for the World Cup, and a plethora of sports stars available for studio time because they hadn't botheredto go themselves. Sadly, though,most viewers probably watched the more interesting highlights – clocks falling off walls, floaters in the pool, that kind of thing – on the news bulletins instead. Still, it's a good warm-up for when the wheels come off at London 2012.

Wednesday's Games Today (BBC2) saw two legends of sport, Ian Thorpe and Michael Johnson, share the same sofa and the same sense of bemusement. According to Jake Humphreys, Sydney 2000 was "the only time when two very special careers crossed paths". It was hard to see how a swimmer and a sprinter could actually cross paths, although given the chaotic organisation of the Commonwealth Games, it could have happened in Delhi.

Later that evening, The Apprentice (BBC1) returned with its cast of wannabes who already, inexplicably, regard themselves as legendary in their fields. And yet if Sir Alan Sugar had set them the task of organising the Commonwealth Games, they couldn't have done any worse.

This was the debut of Karren Brady, now vice-chairman of West Ham, replacing Margaret Mountford as Sugar's sugar. Of the first contestant to be fired, she opined: "Dan's management style is just to stand around shouting orders at people and not actually do much himself, which is not going down very well." The Hammers manager, Avram Grant, might have been shaking in his boot room if he hadn't seen it all before. After all, his wife did once drink her own urine live on TV. The fact that the money-worshipping apprentices were flogging their own sausages merely added to the comparison with footballers.

* Back in the real world, Max Mosley was one of the guests on Question Time (BBC1, Thursday) from the Tory party conference. David Dimbleby remarked, "Bernie Ecclestone said you should run the country", to which Mosley suavely replied, "It was never offered". The former president of F1's governing body proved a staunch critic of the cuts of benefits, perhaps surprisingly defending the little man.

"All that Cameron said in that speech is, 'Let's join the Boy Scouts'," he spluttered, perhaps thinking about uniforms and badges and things. His comments were warmly applauded by the studio audience, though his popularity – and populist stance – did rather raise the spectre of his father Oswald's pre-war British Union of Fascists. But it must be stressed that there was not a Nazi salute in sight.

The debate ended with a discussion of the Nobel prize-winner's claim that immigration laws favour footballers over scientists. Charles Clarke quipped: "There will be scientists playing football and footballers doing the science." Something along the lines of Nobel Styles, perhaps, or a Van der Vaart Generator. But foreign footballers must at least be able to speak "simple English". That seems a little unfair considering that we don't expect the same from our home-grown players.

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