Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Car's the Star!

Oonagh Robinson on Week Ten of The Apprentice...

You didn’t forget did you? Doh!
How many people up and down the country failed to remember about the change of day for this week’s episode do you reckon?
Oh well. It was all rather academic in the end.
Stupid Michael, as we all guessed he would, finally got the push. About three months too late.
The teams had to rent out posh cars to (mostly very, very drunk) businessmen in Canary Wharf.
Sounds a piece of cake.
Michael and the rest of Team Loser chose medium priced Ferraris and stuff.
They did okay, mainly thanks to Claire.
But they didn’t stand a chance against “Lee, Alex and The Zonda.”
Now I’m a bit like Lucinda - I haven’t got a clue what was so good about that vehicle.
Just listen to that engine?
No, don’t get it.
But I have to admit those boys looked HOT in their dickie bows.
Poor Michael, on the other hand, looked like a man who’d given up.
Right from the moment when Claire answered the early morning call from Frances (in her jimjams and a lovely pearl necklace??!!), there was none of the usual confident banter.
At one point, Michael was literally chasing a poor punter up the road in a bid to get him to sign a deal.
“I’ll come to your meeting with you!” he said, as the man ran off to call the police (almost).
S’ralan reckoned he had seen “glimmers of brilliance” in this good Jewish boy (he’s 25 in case you’re wondering) - who famously had no idea what kosher meant.
He must have been watching a different show, surely.
The only disappointment is that Sophocles will now miss the gruelling interview task next week.
How I would have loved to see him squirm his way through round after round of questions about his fairy tale CV.
“So you’ve only worked for a year. Where was that then? Acme Inc of America?”

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Pass us the tissues - our boy's a gonner!

Oonagh Robinson on Week Nine of The Apprentice...

No! No! No!
He’s only been gone a few short hours and already the world seems a duller, less interesting place.
Raef the cravat wearing charmer, Raef the floppy haired Shakespeare-quoting sophisticate, Raef the one who everyone in Britain thought was going to win this series of The Apprentice... gone in the blink of an eye.
And it’s all that blardy Sian Lloyd’s flaming fault.
Well, her and that blithering idiot Michael and his brilliant idea to remake Ben Hur just to sell a box of “I Heart Tissues.”
God, have none of them watched The Apprentice before?
Every year, one team does really brilliantly on the advert task - only to fail at the last minute because they forget to mention the product.
Alex and the rest of the All New Team Loser looked just as gob-smacked as the rest of us as they realised their appalling Atishu promo had WON because... well, it did exactly what it said on the tin. (Or, to be accurate, hideous yellow box filled with images of snotty noses).
Altogether now: “Don’t worry, they’re antibacterial!”
So, okay, Raef’s team forgot to mention that bit.
Indeed they were so pleased with getting Sian and the two “Di Caprio-esque” kids and everything, they forgot to even mention they were selling tissues at all.
But that final twist was just too cruel.
Surely, the ghastly Michael - aka Fagin from Oliver - deserved the chop after his 7000th appearance in the boardroom.
Or Claire? She’s a BRAND MANAGER for goodness sake - shouldn’t she have known a bit about how to create a brand?
But no, Raef gallantly took it on the chin so that those two boneheads could survive another week.
The only positive thing about it all is that we can now probably look forward to seeing Raef’s Sky Masterson in Cameron Mackintosh’s next production of Guys n Dolls.
"Luck be a lady tonight, luck be a lady tonight...."

Friday, 16 May 2008


Poor old Keef Miller.
He’s hardly in the show at all these days and then we he finally gets a scene, one of his only lines is: "Wellard’s pooed in my shoe."
Is there no end to the humiliation that man has to endure?
We’ve got a sneaking admiration for scruffy old Keef actually.
Ever since he gave the perfect explanation for why you should never put milk in a cup with a teabag before the boiling water when making a cuppa*, we’ve suspected he could be a genius character in the making.
Sort of EastEnders’ answer to Corrie’s Roy Cropper but with a bit of Frank Gallagher from Shameless thrown in.
However, obviously nobody agrees with us because he’s never given any stories. And he’s been axed. Which doesn’t help, obviously.
So it’s more wall to wall Slaters and Mitchells for the next 50 years.
Or maybe the Masoods will take over the show?
This week saw the arrival of their "evil" Uncle Imzamam - played by possibly the worst actor we’ve ever encountered.
Still at least his arrival gave us a chance to get to know snobby Mrs Masood a bit more.
There’s definitely something odd going on in that family. And why is she going off for a secret meeting with him next week?
Maybe she wants to have a word about his acting skills.
* It’s because the molecules in milk are actually bigger than the holes in a teabag. So if you put the milk in at the same time as the teabag, the tea flavour can’t get out properly...QI, no?

Poor Maria Connor. She’s lost her baby. Her husband’s finally got it on with his fancy piece. And, to make matters worse, she seems to have spent the past 17 weeks trapped in a baggy cream cowl-neck sweater. Time to change out of it now, dear, especially if you want to get your man back.
As Maria cowered at Fiz's, Old Cruella was luring Liam to her chic city pad/ tart’s boudoir with a special extended remix of The Drugs Don’t Work. Which seemed to go on for nearly as long as Maria’s been in that sweater. We're not surprised Liam was in a grouchy mood the morning after. If he was anything like us, he had the wretched Verve track lodged in his head for the rest of the week.
Meanwhile, Gail was meeting with her dad for the first time. Gail’s dad, Ted, seems lovely. As does Audrey. What went wrong with Gail?
Ted’s also gay or "not normal" as Gail blunderingly put it.
"Not normal?" he protested, one eyebrow raised.
"I’m a Blairite!" stuttered Gail, trying to make amends. "I voted for Blair!"
An unwitting Audrey then floated in, batted her eyelashes at her old flame and asked him if he’d like to decamp to the Rovers.
"Oh, Ted won’t be decamping anywhere," laughed the fabulous Tina.
Classic Corrie. We can’t wait until David finds out. Do you think he’ll be spraying graffiti on his grandad’s walls the way he did the Grimshaws’, the little homophobe?
Now, we really want to see Sally take her rightful place in the only Coronation Street conservatory, if only because we’d like to see her smack poor "working class" Kev’s hand, every time he reaches for a can of lager. But next week, Clur gets cold feet..

Emmerdale’s getting terribly arty on Tuesday nights.
Gone are the days of gossipy old biddies chuntering in the Woolpack while the latest Dingle floozy tried to drag the lord-of-the-manor away for a roll in the hay.
Instead we’re kicking off episodes with atmospheric music; Spanish guitars, moody rock singers, the works...
Meanwhile, all the episodes have names lifted straight from a Jilly Cooper novel like: Betrayal, Denial and Passion.
And after all this build-up, what did we get?
A shot of Viv and Bob wandering around in their dressing gowns, that’s what.
This kind of ‘80s pop video rubbish may work over on Hollyoaks, where everyone has to be under 22 and glamorous or they’re flung in jail and left to rot (quite literally... look at poor Becca).
But with Emmerdale, as with Shadrach Dingle, it simply won’t wash.
This week’s hour-of-fun focused on Viv being thrown into prison for taking part in a very complicated storyline that’s been dragging on so long we can’t really remember it. Fraud. Identity theft. Or something.
Bob somehow got mired in the mess too – possibly by dint of having a solicitor who looked like David Miliband.
Next week, Laurel and Ashley continue to argue about Arthur.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Selling like hotcakes?....

Oonagh Robinson on The Apprentice, Week Eight...

So let’s all agree, it was an absolute travesty that Bambi-eyed Sara got the chop after the wedding fair disaster.
Yeah, yeah whatever.
She was a bit dull though wasn’t she?
Far better to keep some of The Dimwits in the show for a few more weeks.
Sara’s main problem was having a voice like an air raid siren and being in Team Loser (Michael, Alex etc) rather than Team Winner (Raef, Lucinda etc).
And with useless Helene (she used to be a model, you know) as her leader, the poor girl didn’t really stand a chance.
Helene decided that visitors to the NEC would prefer buying colourful tacky wedding dresses, like Jordan and Jodie Marsh wore, rather than exquisite designer originals by Ian Stuart.
And to be fair, the public did buy dozens of those hideous cheap numbers.
In fact, how much were they if Team Renaissance only made £1,500?
Helene’s awful decision meant Sara was lumbered with selling those fancy wedding cakes.
She and Dimwit No.1 Michael did everything but pull a gun out to force a sale, all to no avail.
If only someone had done what S’ralan later suggested and shoved one of their faces in the lovely edible delights.
Team Winner, meanwhile, played a blinder - selling three enormously expensive dresses at the last minute.
Raef pointlessly dressed up as a teddy bear. And Loudmouth Lee found his forte selling “fongs, bweefs and pan’ees.”
Trouble is, I suspect his business talents don’t go much deeper than that.
As for next week, surely Michael can’t survive another week in the boardroom?
And when will anyone notice that Dimwit No.2 Alex is completely blardy useless?

Friday, 9 May 2008

So what’s all this about Corrie being back on a Sunday then?
Every Sabbath since January, we’ve been rushing home in a whirlwind, plumping ourselves down on the sofa at 7.30pm only to find Holly Willoughby in a low-cut dress telling us which celebrity had been voted out of Dancing On Ice.
Then, when we’re least expecting it (we were actually channel-hopping in search of the Nancy results), suddenly it’s back with Tear Maria droning on in monotone Mancunian: "But d’you luv us Lay-um? Yuv never luved us, have yuh?"
Pardon us for being short on sympathy but is the woman deliberately TRYING to send her handsome hubby sprinting into the arms of the nearest Cruella?
Elsewhere, our beloved Sally is fast transforming into Kirsty Allsop, now she’s got her beady eye on Ashley and Clur’s home with its magical shifting downstairs floor.
"That garden’s a little suntrap," she twittered to Kev. "And just imagine sitting and eating the Christmas dinner in the conservatory..." (where all the neighbours will be able to see Rawsie announcing which of her teachers she bedded).
You’d think she was on Place in the Sun talking about a bijou apartment in Malaga, rather than a mock Tudor three-bedroom on the other side of the street.
Next week, Liam turns to Carla for (more) comfort. But the biggest cliffhanger is... will Corrie be on this Sunday?
A little consistency is all we’re asking for, ITV.

Surely it’s time Road Safety Officers in the borough of Walford had a good look at closing Albert Square to traffic once and for all.
How many more fatal or near fatal RTAs do we have to see before some kind of action is taken?
Literally millions of people have now been run over in this frightening accident black spot.
Okay, mainly that’s usually because the victims are chasing someone and not concentrating on what they are doing.
Just like poor Pat this week - hot-footing it like a girl in her teens after resident dimwit Steven. What was she thinking?
And now you mention it, the only time we ever see anyone driving a car in EastEnders is when they are about to have an accident. So you’d think folk would be a bit more prepared.
But even so. It’s madness.
Ironically, Pat is usually on the other side of the wheel when it comes to collisions.
Between her and dear departed ex-hubby Frank, they must have killed off 50 or 60 characters over the years.
Which obviously is not necessarily a criticism.
What a pity Roxy couldn’t have been at the spot a few seconds earlier and hit Stevie boy instead. Doh!
Of course, she was too excited celebrating Ben’s sudden transformation into Billy Elliot at the time. Another inspired plot line, eh?
And Roxy will have more to worry about next week.
Because she’s failed to remember the golden rule about any woman under 50 in a soap who sleeps with a man.
Ah, if only getting pregnant was really so easy...

The fight for Baby Arthur reached fever pitch this week (although, surprisingly, the fighting wasn’t about what eejit decided to name him Arthur).
We were treated to a whole super-duper extended special hour of Emmerdale as Arthur’s custodians, a pair of gurning Geordies called Mel and Greg, attempted flight when they learned he wasn’t really theirs.
Arthur’s biological parents were Laurel and Ashley who lost what they thought was their son to cot death. Alas, Laurel spouts every line in a nasal voice that sounds distractingly like Su Pollard, somewhat diminishing the tragedy.
Ashley, meanwhile, gave chase to the Geordies as they tried to make an airport getaway with Shadrach Dingle at the wheel. Ashley, we discovered, runs like the Bionic Woman without the high-speed camera shots.
Despite all this, the plotline was complex and dramatic – a welcome shift from Emmerdale’s usual one-tiered stories.
Elsewhere, Jamie sat waiting for his cabbages to grow and we sat waiting for Jamie’s voice to break. And Val discovered Pollard’s blackmailer was Rosalind.
"It was a black day, the day he banged into you!" hollered the Geordie barmaid (everyone in Emmerdale is a Geordie. Or Australian).
"N-n-no other banging occurred," stammered the oily politician, protesting his innocence.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

It's just not kosher..

Oonagh Robinson on Week Seven of The Apprentice...

Two Jennifers for the price of one - now what a surprise bargain THAT was last night.
Well, it was a sort of surprise anyway.
Apart from the fact that everyone else I’ve spoken to seems to have known about the double firing for weeks.
Oh well. In the end it didn’t really matter because the Marrakech escapade was still a complete hoot.
And obviously, the episode will go down in history as “the one with the kosher chickens.”
Now I’ll admit I’m not completely sure what kosher actually involves in terms of poultry killing.
I know it’s not the same as “halal” though.
What’s more, if there was someone on my team who described himself as a “Good Jewish Boy” on his CV, I would expect him to be slightly more knowledgeable.
Fat chance with useless Michael Sophocles around.
Okay, he’s only “half Jewish” and he has a strange habit of crossing himself like my staunch Catholic mum when under pressure, but surely he should have known.
Margaret was right. Edinburgh can’t be what it used to be if that’s what the university tosses out these days.
Still, it was despicable Jenny Celerier who deservedly got the roughest end of the Wrath of S’ralan last night.
Her cheap trick in the boardroom (again) trying to pin it all on Michael completely did for her.
That and trying to bribe the shop not to string those tennis rackets.
And team leader Jennifer Maguire? Useless.
But at least she could get a part as one of the Connors in Corrie now.
I can’t help thinking that everyone would have done a lot better in the task if they’d had some crisp linen suits, as the marvellous Raef suggested.
Surely he’s going to win?

Friday, 2 May 2008



Unusual reaction from Gus, we thought, after being tied up, gagged and tortured by Albert Square nutter Sean Slater.
After narrowly avoiding a possibly horrid death because of Stacey’s timely appearance in the doorway, you might forgive the road sweeper for being a bit upset.
Actually, we’d have immediately run screaming from the flat and never returned to Albert Square again, if it was us.
Not Gus though.
He moaned a bit about wanting to call the police. But Stacey soon talked him out of it.
Ten minutes later he was sat watching the telly as though nothing had happened, apparently unconcerned that Sean could walk through the door any minute and finish him off.
Or are we just overreacting?
Talking of over acting, well done to Wellard for his performances over the last few weeks.
Surely a Soap Award gong is almost guaranteed this year.
Elsewhere this week we got terribly excited when Ian got off the phone and cried: "Simon’s found Lucy!"
Because for a split second there, we thought good old Wicksy was back in the show.
Unfortunately, he meant Simon the private investigator.
Oh well. Still, it’s a thought isn’t it?
Wicksy would be a major improvement on his son Steven anyway.
What an odious little creep.
But if you think he’s bad now, just wait until you see what he gets up to next week.

Coronation Street
The lovely ladies of Weatherfield must be tearing their hair out.All those years of waiting for a decent fella (other than Roy Cropper) to darken their doorsteps and – wouldn’t you just know it? – he turns out to be gay.
Alas dreamboat Marcus may not be about to tip Fiz the wink or whisk Liz down the aisle at the fourth time of asking (although you probably don’t have to be gay to balk at that prospect) but it doesn’t stop us sighing wistfully every time he strides on screen, compassionate, discerning, humorous... and presumably deaf, poor lamb, since he’s picked screechy Sean as his life-partner.
Certainly, Marcus’s presence helped distract us from Maria’s rather torturous still-birth scenes – and the sight of her poor “perfect” baby’s tiny hand peeping over the top of the blanket as she cradled him.
Corrie was doing that heartbreaking juxtaposition thing we learned about in English Lit lessons at school, for while Maria was suffering in Wethy General, Carla was hooting with Liam in the Rovers about his “clingy as a shower-curtain” girlfriend.
Still, Maria should have told him, shouldn’t she? Daft bint.
Alas next week, Liam finally learns what’s happened to Maria and their baby – and turns to Carla for comfort. And we know precisely what kind of comfort she’ll have in mind... and we’re not thinking floral scented fabric conditioner either.
Elsewhere, Janice was telling “Urr Lay-anne” just what she thought of her cheese-brained pyromania in a lecture that was scarier than a Roy Keane half-time team talk. “Yurr be’avin lahk sum kahnd uf lur-lahf ler-deh!” she spat. Well, that told her.

Farmers have fallow fields; Emmerdale has fallow plotlines – the ones in between the good bits that make them seem more exciting.And this was a pretty fallow week. The most interesting thing we learned was that you need to be registered under the Porcine Waste Purveyance Act in order to sell pig s**t. Who says telly can’t be educational?Luckily, we’re back to the good stuff next week in the show’s best plotline... the baby swap plot. Mel decides she’d rather not know the outcome of a DNA test to confirm Arthur’s parentage, so gathers up her brood and attempts to flee the country. Ashley’s no action man, but even he springs into motion to prevent the child that could be his son from exiting his life for good. Tragically, no one thought to ask Laurel where she stands in all this mess, and Hilary is aghast to find her daughter can’t bring herself to want little Arthur. In a bid to win the forthcoming Village Pub of the Year competition, Val bans the Dingles from the Woolpack. It’ll take more than that, dear.

We thought Susan must be wearing exceptionally jangly earrings this week but then we discovered there must be noisy wind-chimes in the Kennedys’ house.Listening to their strange, slightly eerie melody (anyone seen Hand That Rocks the Cradle?) was definitely preferable to listening to whiny Rachel wibble on about how she’s not allowed to sleep with her teacher any more and how she hates EVERYONE! And she wishes they were all DEAD! And yes, she’s mature enough for an adult relationship... what made you think otherwise?Meanwhile, in the coffee shop, Chubby Chops Harold was making small-talk with the customers.“Look at those lovely, big rosy cheeks,” he cooed at Baby Chloe who might have retorted that he could talk.Then Carmella announced she was going for a wax to celebrate the mysterious Marco’s homecoming.“Come back less hairy!” called Harold in a quirky take on the more traditional “Have a nice day!”Next week, Rachel runs away from home again. Can’t she stay away this time?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Cards on the table - Kevin, you're fired!

Oonagh Robinson on Week Six of The Apprentice...

“Bathe less, shower more...”
A worthy sentiment indeed, but let’s be clear here. If anyone ever sent me a greetings card inscribed with such a message, a smack in the mouth would be the obvious reaction.
Nevertheless, Vicky Pollard look-alike Kevin Shaw thought his new line of environmentally themed cards were going to save the planet. Or “any planet” actually.
Thanks mainly to terrifying Jenny Celerier and her unfeasibly enormous ego, Kev’s team took a wrong turn during last night’s creative task and just kept driving. Or cycling.
Not even the “inspirational” team leader could explain exactly who would buy the green cards. Or why. Or when.
Even when client after client - not to mention S’ralan himself - pointed out that the idea of buying a wasteful card was fundamentally at odds with the environmentally friendly theme, Kev was having none of it.
“Yeah, but, no, but... I think you’re wrong,” he kept muttering, trying to sound convincing.
Maybe he had a point. After all Tesco (or is it Tesco’s? Or Tescos’) bought a couple of thousand of the blighters.
Truly, these were some of the most brilliantly cringeworthy scenes in the series so far.
The sequence where Kev waffled on for several hours in the car, while sidekick Alex desperately chewed on the inside of his cheek to stifle his laughter said it all.
Talking of which, Alex didn’t really contribute much last night did he?So why didn’t he get it in the neck like poor little Sara - who had just about the only decent idea for a theme at that first meeting (in Eid etc)?
Luckily, S’ralan saw through the nasty plot and sacked Kevin instead. Good for him.
Anyway, back to the most important question of the night...
... where DO you put the apostrophe in Singles Day?