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Wednesday 05 January 2011
When Tory advisers opened their newspapers yesterday to find a picture of George Osborne styled as the Dickensian pickpocket the Artful Dodger, they would have been forgiven for thinking that the advert was the latest attack from the Labour Party.
Monday 20 December 2010
Stella English left school without any qualifications. Sixteen years later, the 31-year-old woman, who has two children, has won the sixth series of the BBC contest The Apprentice.
Sunday 19 December 2010
Thursday 09 December 2010
I don't know exactly when last night's episode of The Apprentice was filmed but, as pleasant as the weather appeared to be, it wasn't a good day to be a London tourist. The remaining contestants – just six of them now – had been invited to set up rival bus tours, thus exposing the less wary foreign visitor to the full range of their incompetence, ignorance and financial rapacity. "It's like walking into a room full of knives blindfolded, not knowing how badly you're going to get cut," Stuart had said on the way to the briefing, a characterisation of his own haplessness that applied with equal force to his unsuspecting customers.
Monday 29 November 2010
Thursday 25 November 2010
A rare and sumptuous treat," promised the makers of Fry and Laurie Reunited at the beginning of Gold's celebration of a comedy double act that (unusually as these things generally go) gave rise to two very successful solo careers. And they were right, really, though you had to scrape off an astounding amount of adulatory Dream Topping and sprinkles before you got at the good stuff. Some of the gush was knowingly over the top (Emma Thompson talking of a "colossus" bestriding "this business we call show"). Some of it unnervingly seemed to be in earnest ("They're so brilliant... they're so untouchably amazing," Ben Miller). And none of it was exactly being underplayed by anyone – except for Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson – one-time painters and decorators to Fry and Laurie and, apparently, eventual purchasers of their first house in Dalton. "They didn't inspire us at all!" grumbled Whitehouse, mercifully giving us a break from saccharine and whipped-cream substitute.
Thursday 18 November 2010
I have to tell you I ain't putting up with him for much longer," said Lord Sugar in the very first episode of the current series of The Apprentice. He was talking about Baggs the Brand, gratingly self-regarding even by this programme's exacting standards for cocky self-love. As it turned out, though, Lord Sugar has had to put up with him for six long weeks, which may have been why he made him a project manager for last night's episode. He doesn't have any means of guaranteeing that someone ends up in the boardroom, after all, but he can at least shorten the odds a bit. Up against Baggs the Brand was Sandeesh of the Scary, Starey Eyes, the two of them competing to see who could most successfully sell novelty back-projection DVDs to London shoppers.
Thursday 11 November 2010
Did Ruth, Alex and Peter spend a brief layover in the 21st-century while in transit from Victorian to Edwardian England, I wonder? You may remember these three as the unaccountably cheerful trio of have-a-go-historians who lived for a year on Victorian Farm, spurning modern conveniences and doing everything the hard way. Now – with barely a break for rest and recuperation – they're doing something similar for the Edwardian period, pulling on the itchy underwear and setting up in Morwellham Quay, a Victorian farm and mining port on the River Tamar. Since Morwellham Quay is an open-air museum and heritage visitor centre one assumes there must be a car park somewhere, not to mention a gift shop and a café, but if so they've all been carefully excluded from the frame, the better to maintain the illusion of time travel. Our proxy Edwardians arrived in the early morning, through a haze of Tamar river mist and orchestral bombast that suggested they were passing through a portal in time.
Friday 29 October 2010
A jeweller whose clients have included Donald Trump and Yoko Ono has been convicted of murdering his wife by incinerating her in an oil drum. Werner Lippe, 68, of Cortlandt, New York, had confessed to the killing three times, but then recanted. He stood trial in February, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Thursday 28 October 2010
The science museum," mused Jamie in The Apprentice, trying to work out what the location of their briefing might tell them about the task ahead. "It's either going to be something to do with science... or museums." He'll go a long way with a mind like that – though in the event it was neither, the venue having been chosen because it was crammed with inventions "which have made millions for those brave enough to back them". (Does the Science Museum contain an Amstrad E-m@iler? And if not, isn't it time this significant gap in their holdings was put right by some anonymous donor?) This week, both teams were being given the opportunity to play at Dragons' Den, auditioning eager inventors and selecting two products to try and sell on to retailers. They passed on the laser-light wrinkle reducer (which looked like a wearable microwave oven) and the electronic slouch preventer (it nags at you every time you slump, like a miniaturised mother) in favour of – among other things – a T-shirt with built in six-pack and a baby-grow that changed colour if the child wearing it got too hot.
Friday 08 October 2010
US tycoon Donald Trump hinted today that he could run for the American presidency.
Sunday 29 August 2010
Sunday 08 August 2010
Tuesday 27 July 2010
Saturday 05 June 2010
George Osborne, the Chancellor, ought to do a little more practising what he preaches. He is full of the need for austerity measures, promising billions of pounds of cuts in public spending. He expects colleagues to set an example – ministers have been told to travel using second-class train tickets whenever possible. And he has even started lecturing other countries on cuts, warning about high budget deficits around the world when he arrived at the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Korea yesterday. So how did Osborne get to Korea? By business class flight, obviously.
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