Public Service Announcement 50 of 2015: The Apprentice, River

In the 16th and 17th centuries members of the public were allowed, on payment of a small fee, to enter Bethlem Royal Hospital – whence we got the word “bedlam” – in order to laugh at the deluded. Meantime, this week in 21st century Britain we’re getting the start of the eleventh season of The Apprentice, a show which – as far as I can see, and allowing for post-filming creativity in the editing suite – even its admirers concede is there to give people an opportunity to laugh at the deluded. There are undoubtedly plenty of things I like, on TV and elsewhere, which others won’t think much of; equally, reality TV isn’t my thing, and The Apprentice is a particularly egregious example of it (BBC One, Wednesday 14 October, 9pm).

So let’s move on to River. This is an intriguing proposition, which sounds as if the BBC has tried to replicate its success with bought-in Scandi-crime drama by getting production company Kudos to make one and set it in London instead. It’s written by Abi Morgan (The Hour/Suffragette), and starring Stellen Skarsgård as Detective John River, who is of course brilliant yet troubled, or troubled yet brilliant. The supporting cast includes Nicola Walker (Spooks/Last Tango in Halifax), Adeel Akhtar (Utopia/Four Lions), Lesley Manville, and Eddie Marsan. It sounds as if it should be good, but Kudos is by no means above the occasional clunker. We might watch the first episode and see how it goes (BBC One, Tuesday 13 October, 9pm).

Also starting: season 2 of Flash (Sky 1, Tuesday, 8pm); season 10 of Supernatural, which my teenage daughter loves (E4, Wednesday, 10pm); season 4 of Arrow (Sky 1, Wednesday, 8pm).

And coming soon to their own PSAs: Fargo, Mr. Robot, Les Revenants, Dr Khan out of Homeland, The Blacklist, and many more.


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