Review: Badger or Bust

When the name of a show poses such a choice, it's inevitable that some will lazily wrap their intro around it. Us too. We choose 'bust' every time.

Last time we saw Ruth Badger, she was losing, by some distance, the final of the second series of The Apprentice. Unless you read Sunday tabloids, of course, in which case other information about her may be nearer the top of your head.

Her defeat is often conveniently forgotten about, of course, amidst talk of her being the “real winner”, and perhaps she’s got a point: after all, she’s got her own TV show on, er, Sky Two.

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Sadly, being a reality TV star and a television presenter of sorts are two separate arts, and “The Badger” demonstrates this with aplomb. As comfortable as if her back was being impaled onto rusty nails when talking to the camera, the programme is a bizarre, unfortunate and excruciatingly low-budget mix between The Apprentice and Gillian McKeith.

“The Badger” basically goes into failing companies, barks some obnoxious orders, occasionally shows a scary smile (before resorting back to the proverbial snarling look of the bulldog-licking-piss-off-a-thistle) and then – yes! – does that classic thing of referring to herself in the third person! The word ‘I’ clearly isn’t in her lexicon, with an insistence on calling herself “Ruth Badger” at every opportunity.

That’s “Ruth Badger”.

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It’s a car crash of a show. The lovely moment where she took a calculator to work out what 5 x 1000 was ended up being overshadowed by the show’s title character gobbing off about “Ruth’s Rules”, about how she turns companies around by farting, and generally being the kind of obnoxious banshee that reality TV seems to attract.

Hilariously, at one point she sent the members of the sales team – none of whom even got up to shake her hand when she eventually left – onto the streets of Brighton to sell rock. Yes! If we can’t pad out the programme enough, let’s watch some Apprentice reruns to get some more ideas!

“Ruth Badger” may well be a quite brilliant businesswoman, and there could yet be a television format out there to suit her. But this show surely did her no favours, nor offered much evidence of the fact. The moments where she made argued, legitimate points were so diluted by the prodding, the mouthing off and generally being utterly dislikeable on-screen, so as to render them borderline redundant.

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She came across less as the person you turn to when your company’s in the shit, and more like the woman you move to the other side of the pub to avoid. Or to another pub entirely. Or to Threshers.

If it’s a choice between watching episode two or reading the book of the woman who won the second series of The Apprentice, our emergency booze cupboard will win every time.