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The Apprentice.

Hannibal Lecter, contestants on The Apprentice and the French: you might not invite them to dinner, and you certainly wouldn't let them cook. Alan Sugar's reality show (BBC One, Wednesday 9pm) has an iffy track record on food, with sawdust sausages and cereal superhero Pantsman ranking high in its pantheon of failure.

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This week the dwindling gang of pushy dimbulbs were bussed to a Swansea biscuit lab for some outside-the-barrel thinking. "Never say never in this world," advised the oat-flecked biscuiteer tasked with turning their free-market fever-dreams into something edible.

Team Zoe started well, with ace ideas-gal Melody identifying a gap in the market for "biscuits you can eat while watching TV". (Make a note, Fox's.) But they suffered from a surfeit of concepts, coating inventor Tom's clever idea of two interlocking shapes in chocolate and a layer of schmaltz about 'sharing'. That was ironic; their poor grasp of teamwork implied they'd first heard of 'sharing' on a documentary about hyenas the night before.

Their BixMix product impressed none of the assembled supermarket buyers, an Asda powerbroker noting that few people consider digestives the high point of an indulgent night in. The team probably wasn't helped by having a blazing row in the store beforehand, although regulars at the Clapham Junction branch featured know that brawls in the aisles are a common enough sight.

Despite sounding like an after-school club for disadvantaged kids, the rival team's Special Stars biscuit did rather better. There was controversy over their 'Any time is treat time' slogan, which even Karren Brady--whose most notable business achievement is getting West Ham relegated--spotted was a bit contradictory. Brady herself is evidently no stranger to biscuits these days.

As always, the real star was affable Irish rogue Jim, whose "go big or go home" blarney blew the pants off the Asda panel. They ordered a scarcely believable 800,000 units--much to the horror of Sugar, who may now suspect Jim will soon be his boss. The ever-more cadaverous kingpin could hardly summon the will for his obligatory pun about "taking the biscuit".

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Title Annotation:CRITICAL EYE
Author:Wright, Charlie
Publication:Grocer
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 2, 2011
Words:346
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