TIRED of endlessly trying to stay plugged in and on to just what's happening in the business world? Then why not sit back and let television take the strain? But just what makes good business TV and how important will it become? Jeremy Smith reports.

That Working Lunch, BBC2's flagship business magazine, has attitude is all down to one man presenter Adrian Chiles.

A bulldog in pinstripes, Adrian has become a favourite among business viewers and the retired with his in-your-face cheek and general bemused manner.

Perfect in fact for fingering his way through today's over-packaged and pampered business community.

According to Adrian, businessmen do take time out from making money to watch what their competitors are up to.

"I think they probably take too much notice," he said. "But they themselves never want to appear on TV.

"They're so defensive and so nervous, it's the Devil's own job getting anybody to take part in anything.

"And if you do get them on, they're so media trained they just sound stupid. They won't address a question, they won't behave like human beings and they trot out lines which just make them look implausible.

"It's odd. You go out with a bunch of business people and you talk and it's fascinating. It's really good fun. But you stick these same types on the telly and it just doesn't come across.

"It's partly their fault and it's partly our fault because we're not supposed to celebrate business.

"I mean, you could do a long feature about Norwich City and make it as hagiographic as you like. But do the same feature about Norwich Union, and there's this need that there's got to be some jeopardy, a pop, a certain level of criticism.

"Personally, I think we do need to celebrate business more.

"I am especially keen on reporting the empowering side of it by saying, look, you can do this, don't worry about balance sheets, don't worry about all the bits of jargon, there are people out there to help you do it. It'll be hard work, yes, but very rewarding."

Adrian says he describes a good business story as one of two things.

"Either it's the old fashioned, somebody's been up to no good so we give them a proper hammering," he explained. "Or it's the aspirational stuff, where somebody's had an idea, run with it against all the odds after being told the idea was rubbish, has gone on, made money and done really well. I think that's interesting.

"Sadly, every year it gets harder to make decent programmes, because the only thing you can really film is manufacturing. And with manufacturing in decline, there are fewer things to film.

"So instead, you end up with a load of computer stuff which, while it's interesting from a business point of view, doesn't give us much to film."

Adrian added that the way business news was reported in the past had done little to make the subject seem more appealing today.

He said: "For some reason, there is this idiotic belief that when you start talking about business, you've got to adopt a tone as if you're announcing the death of a monarch. And I've never quite understood it.

"I do a lot of sports broadcasts on the radio, and you hear me talk about sport, and then hear me talk about business, and the tone's more or less the same.

"Funnily enough, I always say that sport and money are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

"Sport is the thing that loads of people are interested in, but is of absolutely no consequence whatsoever, whereas finance, at the other end of that spectrum, is what nobody's really interested in, but everybody ought to be because it's absolutely vital to all of us.

"And no, I don't believe we're ever going to have a fad of business programmes like Changing Rooms. I mean, there's a lot of good stuff about now, but we're some way from ever being a must see on daily, evening prime time television for a number of reasons."

The main reasons he listed were people being frightened away from share ownership and trading by the bear market, and a lot of business not being very televisual.

He added: "We try to be a programme to all men we're a programme for consumers and we're a programme for businesses, which creates certain tensions because you could argue you can't be both at the same time.

"I argue you can."