News Dr Leah Totton, right, alongside Apprentice mentor Karren Brady

The first cosmetic skin clinic launched by last year’s winner of The Apprentice, in partnership with Lord Sugar, has opened its doors

Can a nice guy really be top dog in The Apprentice?

Tom Pellereau is thoughtful, likeable – and he may get Lord Sugar's nod

Last Night's TV: The Apprentice/BBC1<br />Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance/Channel 4<br />This World: Italy's Bloodiest Mafia/BBC2

Well, it's been a quiet news week so far, but here's a big story: Shock Apprentice Format Change! In previous series, the penultimate episode of Lord Sugar's talent search has seen the surviving candidates subjected to a kind of mini-cab rendition. They're plucked at dawn from their luxury rental and taken to some anonymous corporate shed in the outer suburbs, where Sugar's trained interrogators are unleashed on them. It's Abu Ghraib in pinstripes – humiliation, psychological torture and helpless curriculum vitae thumbscrewed until the blood runs. It's the episode that you usually think is going to be a bit dull, until the first bead of sweat appears and you realise that it's actually a relief to get a break from the standard format. But not this year. Although the candidates were talking about interview suits as they scrambled for their morning pick-up, the producers had pulled a switch on them. They were going to have to come up with a concept for a new fast-food franchise, serving up crap to others rather than being forced to eat it themselves.

Video: Melody fired from the Apprentice

After the sales task went disastrously wrong, project manager Melody is the latest to be fired by Lord Sugar on The Apprentice.

Video: Zoe fired from The Apprentice

Zoe Beresford is the latest candidate to be fired by Lord Sugar in The Apprentice.

Minor British Institutions: Personalised number plates

Elsewhere, personalised car number plates are considered an amusing accessory or a mark of distinction. Here, the distinction they mark is between Britons who consider them vulgar and Britons whose enjoyment of life is untroubled by such concerns, plus some splinter groups claiming them as a memory aid, or an investment (the record price is £500,000).

Editors involved in phone-hacking should be fired, says Lord Sugar

Editors and newspaper proprietors should face prison if their titles are found to have carried out phone hacking, the Labour peer and television personality Lord Sugar said yesterday.

Sheesh, Ye Olde King&rsquo;s Head, High Road, Chigwell, Essex

It's hard to convey the giggly astonishment that sweeps over you when you walk into Lord Sugar's Essex gastropub. Despite its arch name, the pub is authentically old – starting life in 1547, it's one of ye oldeste pubbes in Englande, and was the original of the Maypole Inn in Dickens's Barnaby Rudge – and is a huge, mock-Tudor-monochrome barn of considerable beauty, overlooking Chigwell School.

Diary: Bookies get behind Pippa

After dipping a tentative toe yesterday into the "Arse-Gate" furore that erupted following game old girl Carol Vorderman's surprise triumph at the Rear of the Year awards this week, I had hoped that the matter would now be closed.

Last Night's TV - Wonderland, BBC2; The Apprentice, BBC1

Pride and prejudice

Last Night's TV: 24 Hours in A&amp;E/Channel 4<br />The Apprentice/BBC1

With "structured reality" shows like The Only Way is Essex making all the noise now (and taking some of the Baftas) it's perhaps worth remembering that all documentaries structure reality – it's just that the traditional kind does it after the event rather than before. Take 24 Hours in A&E, for example, Channel 4's observational series about King's College Hospital emergency room, which on the face of it cedes pretty much all of its construction to contingent life. The structure, notionally at least, is simply one damn thing after another, and the principal characters are whoever gets wheeled through the swing doors on a stretcher or – as in last night's rather dramatic episode – staggers through the door, having been shot in the face.

Stars in their eyes: Why is the Government allowing celebrities into the seats of power?

Mary Portas is the latest television personality to be recruited by government &ndash; but politics is too important to be treated like a reality show, argues John Walsh

Lord Sugar*: Losers and prima donnas need not apply

Tips from the top...

Wonderland: The Trouble with Love and Sex, Tuesday, BBC2<br/>The Apprentice, Tuesday &amp; Wednesday, BBC1

Stories of real-life therapy patients with the faces of Beavis and Butt-head? Amazingly, it works

DJ Taylor: Strawberries and Sugar, and other British horrors

The Lonely Planet guide tells it like it is in the age of the pugnacious celebrity &ndash; and now Newt Gingrich wants to rule the world

Katie Price to rival Lord Sugar

Katie Price is to give Lord Sugar a run for his money by finding her own apprentice for a new TV series.

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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
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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

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A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
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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

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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
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Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

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A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
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Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
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