Tuesday 23rd December
Like quite a lot of TV this one has been going for ten years now; it is almost as if TV has become frozen into a comfy form of “Family Favourites” – Strictly, Eastenders, Corrie, X Factor, I’m A Celebrity – and even the slightly less popular shows still keep going; Antiques Roadshow, Come Dine With Me and all. It isn’t very often that I watch a complete series through, but for some reason ‘The Apprentice’ this year has held me riveted.
An awful lot of work must go into the show before it even starts – to ensure we have such an eclectic mix of characters, some we will love, some who are destined to fail early, some who are so in love with themselves that it is ludicrous, some who are genuinely smart and a handful who might actually win the thing. And the producers are quite clever in that they have changed the format from a job with Alan Sugar (I refuse to call him Lord – as the contestants are forced to do) to him backing their business plan. Another innovation has been that he can now sack as many as he likes each week. It used to be that once the fall-guy had fallen the other two in the boardroom could breathe a massive sigh of relief but during this series he got rid of two and even three at a time.
They film the teams over two days but only show about thirty minutes of footage, which means that as they know the result they can edit in all the best, and much more fun – the worst bits too. The boardroom itself is almost a modern version of the Gladiators pit, where no holds are barred and any weapons may be deployed to avoid being fired. This year Mark was almost destined to be a finalist but Bianca almost pipped him at the post and Rosheen, my favourite, stumbled at the interview stage.
But almost better than the Apprentice is the show that follows on BBC2 – The Apprentice – You’re Fired with Dara O’Brien where the loser is feted and the tension has all gone and everyone can have a laugh as they look back at their journey. Great stuff – can’t wait for next year.