For their third assignment, the remaining 14 candidates on The Apprentice were given the task of creating a new condiment. Both teams attacked this with relish but soon ended up in a pickle as production problems left them playing ketchup. In the end, it was Phoenix who bottled it, and in the boardroom Lord Sugar quickly concluded that furniture retailer Michael Copp didn’t cut the mustard and fired him with the dreaded Digit of Doom™. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen …

Week two. 5:30am. All the housemates are asleep. Oh, hang on, this is The Apprentice and not Big Brother, isn’t it? For their second task, the teams were asked to design and pitch a new household gadget. Phoenix’s Eco Press food waste compactor proved to be a rubbish-based idea that wasn’t so rubbish, while Sterling’s Splish Splash wipeable bath screen failed to make a splash. Having been caught napping – literally – loud-mouthed, purple eye-shadowed restauranteur Maria O’Connor became the second victim of Lord Sugar‘s Digit of Doom™. You snooze, you lose.

In the real world, quality matters. At the least, products must be of an acceptable standard or else customers will never return to buy again. Of course, this is The Apprentice, which is nothing like the real world. In this rarefied atmosphere, all that matters is taking the punters’ money and running. Which is why shoddy products which are unfit for purpose will always win over beautifully designed alternatives.

So it should come as no surprise how the opening task of season eight of the show turned out. Bear-faced cheek triumphed over superior design and loud-mouthed Bilyana Apostolova found herself silenced by the only voice that matters: that of Alan Sugar.

It’s that time of year again. For the next 12 weeks, millions of viewers will be glued to their TVs watching 16 people in business suits acting like petulant children and making frequently ludicrous decisions as they compete for the right to receive a £250,000 investment to fund their own business. Yes, The Apprentice is back!

This year’s 16 candidates were unveiled at the series’ press launch earlier today, complete with the obligatory bios and mean-and-moody profile photos. I’ve worked tirelessly (or maybe that should be tiredly?) to bring you the low-down on the names and faces we will come to know and love – or, equally likely, hate – over the coming weeks.

Season two of the BBC’s reboot of the Arthur Conan Doyle classics concludes with Sherlock coming full circle as he again faces off against his nemesis, James Moriarty. Our hero finds himself ensnared at the centre of a web of lies of Moriarty’s making, as he battles to save both his own reputation and the lives of his closest friends.

Spoilers below …

It’s a field trip with a difference in this week’s Sherlock, as Mark Gatiss takes on perhaps the best known Holmes story of them all: The Hound of the Baskervilles. Our heroes decamp to the bleakness of Dartmoor to deal with an apparently supernatural hound. Is it somehow linked to a nearby top-secret research facility named Baskerville? And can Holmes continue to function at his deductive best if he can’t fully rely on the evidence of his own senses?

Spoilers below …

It has been nearly 17 long months since the first season of the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss-penned reboot of Sherlock left us with a literally explosive cliffhanger as Holmes faced off against his evil alter ego Jim Moriarty for the first time. As this new three-part second season begins we return to the scene of this climactic showdown to see its resolution, before launching into a story of sex, scandal and a mind-bending mystery which pits Sherlock and John Watson against a female foe who proves to be their equal at every turn: ‘The Woman’, dominatrix Irene Adler.

Spoilers from here on in, naturally …

Six years after David Tennant saw off the Sycorax in his pyjamas in the first Doctor Who Christmas special, the show has become as much a fixture of BBC1’s festive schedule as the Queen’s Speech. And this second seasonal special from the pen of show-runner Steven Moffat was a perfect metaphor for Christmas Day itself: a flurry of excitement at the beginning, a bit bloated around the middle, but ultimately satisfying in the end as it reinforced the value of family and close friendships.

Thoughts (and spoilers) below …

Season two of Young Apprentice concluded last night with Irish economist James McCullagh and aspiring film-maker Zara Brownless battling it out for the right to succeed Arjun Rajyagor as the beneficiary of Lord Sugar’s £25,000 investment fund. The pair pitched their rival online games Crazy Cabinet and Piggy Panic to a room of gaming industry experts. But who made it to the next level, and for whom was it just a case of ‘game over’? Read on below the line to find out in my final recap of this season.