You're hired!

Lorcan Mullan on who should take a top telly job

It's the question on everyone's lips. One of the most sought after jobs in television is up for grabs after its star comedian has left to seek new challenges.

That's right; Dara O Briain has left The Apprentice: You're Fired. One of the few shows on TV I actually feel the need to watch as it is broadcast,

I am genuinely disappointed that the ebullient Irishman – a man that can make even the dullest episode of the parent show seem greatly entertaining in hindsight – has left. Couple that with the departure of Nick Hewer meaning only Lord Sugar remains of the original trio, this leaves me fearful of the next series resembling the later years of Happy Days. Although if Adrian Chiles comes back it will have jumped the shark, the Channel, the Mediterranean, the entire Pacific Ocean…

When Dara took the hot seat back in 2010, he was already a proven host of panel shows, but this required more hands-on management, interacting with grasping, clawing, desperate-for-attention men and women utterly deluded at their importance and qualities. As well as the comedians, he'd also have to talk to the recently fired contestants, keen to show they can take a joke after being a victim of judicious editing and often their own jaw-dropping acts of stupidity, as well as radio DJs, business experts and newspaper columnists.

O Briain passed with flying colours and,should Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton seek a new challenge, he would be my pick to take the role of prime-time chat show host, talking to the likes of Will Smith and Lady Gaga. His experience of dealing with massive egos and making them seem unexpectedly likeable is already proven to be second to none.

But who to take over? Chiles will almost certainly be up for a return, but hopefully they'll take a punt at one of the many comedians out there deserving of a chance to take a relatively high-profile job as far as currently available UK TV positions go.

I've taken some of the You're Fired guests of the last few series, and sprinkled in a few outsiders I think may also be worth a thought.

Jo Caulfield: A solid proposition, Jo can certainly rock a sharp suited jacket, and has a no bullshit demeanour that means she could bring a few big egos down a peg or two.

Hugh Dennis: A safe pair of hands, Dennis has hosting experience and certainly has an easy-going manner that could keep the recently fired contestants relaxed, and maybe become more honest. I must admit, though, that I would be disappointed at a lack of vision if Mr. Dennis was chosen to take his Mock the Week ally's place.

Jenny Eclair: A ball of manic energy, she makes for a fantastic guest, but whether she would work in the hosting seat, or would even be interested in it, would be a big question.

Sean Lock: A sardonic wit, every bit as quick as Dara, I doubt the hosting role is something he that would pique his interest. Lock is a great for dropping in the best line during the group conversations, but the links and general autocue reading may be something he would struggle to give a toss about.

Simon Evans: Certainly would look and sound the part, but a man who always seems to have been keen to make his bread and butter from his live work. I doubt this would a job for which he'd even be interested in being considered.

Russell Kane: A fixture on BBC Three for the past few years, that channel's imminent departure from the airwaves may mean he's keen to move down a BBC channel number and up in audience share. He's certainly quick and intelligent, and will be able to match unusual haircuts with any of the more eccentric contestants. Maybe the requirement to suit up would rub up against his more hip wardrobe.

Sarah Millican: Far too big a star to take over a spin-off show, Millican would probably be good in the role, as her own Sarah Millican Television Programme has similar links, monologues and interview segments, but I doubt she'd want to take it.

Andy Parsons: Another safe pair of hands, I'd have the same concerns with him as I do with Dennis. Also, his quick in-and-out joke style may not suit having to do the lion's share of the talking and hosting for a full half-hour

Ed Byrne: Another good choice, Byrne would probably take the role from his good mate with little fuss.

Katherine Ryan: One of the fastest rising stars on TV, Ryan deserves a regular role in this sort of channel and time slot, but occasionally her appearances on the show suggest she possessed a thinly veiled contempt for several contestants, that may mean that she would end up tearing her own hair out in frustration at being sat directly next to the ballbags that are most contestants.

Josh Widdicombe: Already has a regular TV gig on The Last Leg, and now hostsFighting Talk on Five Live, Widdicombe will probably be considered. Again, the sharp suited nature of the job may be what either puts Widdicombe off, or puts a less imaginative producer off him taking the job.

Miles Jupp: Like Evans, he'd look and sound the part, and I would certainly have no problem if he took the role. His accent, height and poise certainly boast an authority that would probably meet Sugar's approval, and may mean the contestants don't try to take over the show, as O Briain has certainly had to put a few in their place in the past.

Mark Watson: Similar to Eclair, his manic energy is great to keep a conversation going, and to spend over 24 hours on stage doing a comedy show, but maybe not the strongest qualities to host a panel discussion show. But, I could very easily be wrong there.

Andi Osho: An exciting choice, and someone with TV hosting experience, Osho's recent TV appearances on the likes of Comedy Central's @midnight and CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson unfortunately suggests that she's another black British performer – to go with the likes of David Oyelowo and Idris Elba – who feels going Stateside provides better chances at success.

Romesh Ranganathan: An up-and-coming star, Ranganathan has a wonderful dry delivery, and has experience in taking over hosting duties with his recent run on BBC Radio's Newsjack.

Tiff Stevenson: Another performer with a growing TV CV (or resume, as Lord Sugar would say), Stevenson would also be an exciting voice, although her most recent live show suggests her Save-the-NHS and left-leaning beliefs may make her want to throttle some of the Young Tories and Fountainhead readers that populate that brightly-lit boardroom.

Joe Lycett: A megstar waiting to happen, Lycett is definitely the right TV vehicle away from becoming a prime-time fixture, in my opinion. Again, maybe a spin-off show is not the best place to find that right job, but it might be a start.

They are the past guests. But I would like to offer some 'outside bets'.

As a podcast junkie, I know that there are a number of other comedians out there who have proven themselves as hosts, interviewers, crowd controllers, and marshals of barely contained insanity as comedians desperately try to get the best line.

With that in mind, I believe Richard Herring (who is even rocking the sharp suits now on his RHLSTP show), Matt Forde from The Political Party and Pappy's own Matthew Crosby would be surprisingly effective in the job.

Forde in particular may be the most appropriate hiring, as he even looks like he could be on the show, but actually has the self awareness nearly every contestant (and prospective sharp suited bell-end working in the city) do not posses. If you can deal with the likes of Nigel Farage and George Galloway, then you should certainly be able to get some quality stuff out of a Stuart Baggs or Katie Hopkins.

So, there you go, 20 or so potential candidates for the role. The majority of them I'd be happy with taking the role, but if you asked me to put my neck out? I'd probably go with Romesh Ranganathan, with Matt Forde and Jo Caulfield as joint second-choice.

But any of them would be fine. Hell, blow the cobwebs off of Angus Deayton and see if he can rebuild his once stellar presenter image.

Or the producers could just trust their own instincts that have led to a show that's lasted even longer (and remained more relevant) than the original Donald Trump Apprentice.

Oh, and Jessica Williams should take over on The Daily Show.

• Lorcan Mullan tweets at @lorcanmullan.

Published: 13 Feb 2015

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