Brits Get Rich in China (3 stars)

Channel 4, Mon 28 May, 9pm


Paul Merton recently recalled with some anxiety how he forced down a portion of cooked donkey penis in the name of travel shows. And in this documentary, a marginally traumatised businessman dines briefly on the same delicacy. The connection between the two films is that both show a side to China which somewhat goes against the grain of that country’s current image as a progressive economic superpower and a futuristic force for change.

Some of the other goings-on in the clumsily titled Brits Get Rich in China (what was wrong with the previous working title of China or Bust?) are similarly hard to swallow as we track three male entrepreneurs heading off to the new land of plenty in order to reap unimaginable rewards for their companies. Whether you are in the business of building kitchens, making cushions or creating energy saving devices, there is one thing you have to beware of: the underhand Chinese trickster.

Happily, most of the shifty characters come good in the end despite the suspicion-laden soundtrack whenever one of them is on screen and the doomy voiceover as one shady dealer after another comes on board to puff at a cigarette while erecting a smokescreen which the beleaguered Brit has to overcome. Meanwhile, should his kitchen business eventually come to nothing, brash Rochdale lad Vance Miller may well find himself in demand as a kind of Gordon Ramsay for the building trade, cursing and blinding about the ongoing injustices inflicted upon his wallet from forces he cannot comprehend.

(Brian Donaldson)

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