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Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Last Millionaire, BBC3

Did we like it?
The Apprentice provides an adequate annual dose of watching hopeless young businesspeople with ridiculously high self regard so there's no real need for this BBC3 lookalike. That said, this series in which a dozen dynamoes strive to make money in foreign cities is good enough to keep a chunk of the audience happy.

What was good about it?

• The flabby, horrendous Jacqueline won the first round in Istanbul. Why's that good? Because she won't be in it anymore. She's won her air fare home and we won't hear any more of her bragging about her "£5000-a-day-sterling" consultancy rates and walk-in wardrobes (anyone got the key?).
• We got a good glimpse of Istanbul which, for a week, was infected by British entrepreneurial spirit, a mixture of bullying, bullshitting and doomed-to-fail enterprises.

What was bad about it?
• The contestants all claim to be successful businesspeople. So why are they on this programme? Because they want a bit of fame. So why would they want to win the task and miss out on exposure in the rest of the series? Oh what a conundrum. The narrator's explanation didn't wash with us – ""The longer they're on the road, the more damage is done to their egos and precious business reputations."
• Beyond belief cockiness such as: "There's no such word as can't", "I just happen to be good at winning"; and "Second place doesn't doesn't come into my vocabulary." Worst offender was James who runs sports coaching clinics for kids (who are warmed up by being made to yell "Yeah, baby, yeah"). Without a shred of self consciousness, James spouts slogans such as "I was born to be a winner" and "Every no is one step closer to a yes." The dreaded Jacqueline came close with her insistence: "I'm a driver, I'm ambitious, I'm completely inspirational."
• Dimple the "yoga entrepreneur", a nasty second-rate version of Saira Khan who talked big yet made just 15 lira with her downtrodden partner – even less than the couple whose amazing enterprising abilities led them to flogging uncooled water on the streets ("two for a lira" became their desperate sales pitch).

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