For no obvious reasons, we quite like Duncan Bannatyne and this try-out for a new reality series starring the dour Scot worked well enough to deserve a full run.
What was good about it?
• Duncan acting like Leslie Grantham in his EastEnders heyday, mixing malice with charm as he skulked around in the shiny bank vault setting. “This is not a game, it’s a risk,” he warned in his most severe Glaswegian tones as a couple invested £10,000 of their own money.
• The game(risk) show element just about works with the couple picking one of three entrepreneurs to take their money and turn it into more money. The two who aren’t chosen then get to play with Duncan’s cash to see if the competitors made the right judgment.
• The couple weren’t too annoying – Ian (lovely bluey greeny eyes) and Caroline (wow, what a strange face shape) – were trying to raise money for a house deposit, a dream jeopardised when Ian lost his job. Their entrepreneur, a breezy Australian art dealer called Rebecca, earned them £3,150 over three months; in a bank, the £10,000 would have accrued just £160 in interest.
• Curtis the arrogant antiques dealer reminded us of Fonejacker’s Terry Tibbs, while wine dealer Steve resisted the pretentiousness most connoisseurs would be desperate to display.
• Away from the game show element, there’s an interesting insight into business, worth Duncan asking incisive questions along the way.
What was bad about it?
• Duncan doesn’t get to narrate; Paul Kaye does, making just a quick reference to the “dramatic events in the global market” before pretending the fall of capitalism didn’t just happen.
• Ian and Caroline ended up investing in Aboriginal art. In our opinion (and that of Duncan – “It’s not my cup of tea”), it’s just swirls and dots and has little real artistic merit.
• Caroline did say: “We wanted a journey and we absolutely got one”. The use of the word journey when not applied to travelling has become an annoying reality show mainstay.
• Duncan’s gesture of giving his money to charity – we don’t want to see him as a crowd-pleasing turn-up-anywhere TV fame chaser.