The Apprentice: car crash TV?


I WATCHED the first couple of episodes of the latest series of The Apprentice, and any slight faith I had in the human race wilted a little further. To think that there are still people who have this ‘succeed at all costs’ attitude, even after the world is coming out of a near depression astounds me.

And like The Office’s David Brent, we probably all know and/or work with someone who exhibits some of the behavioural traits on display. The worrying thing though is that Brent was fictional.



The biggest benefit of The Apprentice, however, is that, given the current state of the economy, these idiots have mercifully been temporarily taken out of the real business world. At least no-one will make the mistake of hiring them and asking them to do any real work. Giving them publicity also means the wider public is forewarned.

The Apprentice is a mixture of Megan’s law and a low-security open prison. And the real cherry on the cake? That the biggest offender gets to be Lord Sugar’s gofer – surely the equivalent of carting him off to Broadmoor?

I once came across someone who’s been through the selection procedure for a reality TV show (not The Apprentice), and got through to the final selection. Now he’s ordinarily a pretty grounded sort of guy. But the whole process of psychometric/ physical testing, being slagged off by production staff, interacting with fellow mouthy show-offs and dummy TV interviews by interviewers trained by the Khmer Rouge where candidates were encouraged to say/ do things that would normally never enter their minds, turned him into the ideal short-list candidate for a show like His Sugarship’s. He’s recovered now – took him ages – and he didn’t even make the final cut. Shame really as by that stage he said he was really enjoying being totally out of control.

Dan Harris, the first to be fired in the latest series, made a similar point in the ‘You’re Fired’ programme afterwards.

Namely, that he’d watched all the previous programmes and knew how stupidly contestants came across, yet somehow couldn’t stop himself behaving just as badly. Shows how we can all be like hamsters on a wheel given the right circumstances, and those who think they would act any differently are probably kidding themselves. So maybe we really should feel some sympathy for the candidates, each one silently hoping, “please Lord, don’t let me be the next one out”. Reality TV, though, is particularly evil and cruel – there’s now more than one Lord to pray to …

Britain may be in the grip of recession, but in the field of self-important, testosterone-fuelled chancers it remains the market leader so I’m going to give 199% to the task of watching The Apprentice this year.

Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code ( available at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca

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