|Index||8 reviews in total|
'The Apprentice' is labelled as the interview from hell, and it is
certainly no walk in the park. A range of aspirants from wide-ranging
backgrounds are formed into two teams and must attempt to make the most
amount of money in a variety of tasks, with one member from each of the
losing team getting fired after each task until only one person is
The decision to have Sir Alan Sugar head the show was inspired as though he may not be the richest entrepreneur in Britain, his gruff, no-nonsense manner works very well on television and better I suspect than someone like Richard Branson. His sidekicks Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer are also great value with their world-weary sarcasm and their ability to say more with a lifted eyebrow than anybody since Roger Moore in 'The Saint.' Sir Alan makes tough and controversial decisions about who gets fired each week and though as a viewer you may not agree with his choice, ultimately it is up to him as he will have to pay the winner's wage packet. With some tasks taking place over several days, we get to see what the editor wanted to some degree and not necessarily a 100% accurate reflection of events, but The Apprentice is supposed to be entertaining and not a documentary about business practises.
There are frequent accusations of bullying being encouraged by the programme. While it is true that the candidates will often do their best to stab each other in the back whenever possible, there is some satisfaction in seeing the negative tactics leading to the failure of the task and the possibility of them being fired. There is even more to be had when people who claim in front of the camera to be able to able to crush anybody in their way turn into jellyfish when they get into the boardroom. The tension mounts considerably as the series goes on, as the obviously weaker candidates get filtered out and there is less room to hide behind other people when things go wrong (as they frequently do). Some of the bitchiness and aggressiveness must come from the pressure on the candidates which must be enormous, increased by the television cameras and in particular when for most of them being the winner would be a massive opportunity.
I can't help but feel that the quality of the candidates has declined since the first season as now the producers probably have to wade through applications from people who failed the Big Brother audition. Also the fact that some of the losers have managed to carve out TV careers for themselves probably boosts the attraction for fame-hungry applicants. It is certainly worrying if the 14 finalists represent the greatest business potential in the UK, though in fairness in the business world a £100,000 salary is probably not enough incentive to attract the best who are on more than this money already.
For once a winning format has managed to cross the Atlantic and actually last unlike so many others in the past decade and appears to be here to stay for a good while yet.
The beginning of March 2005 saw one of the best programs to ever air on
English TV. The Apprentice.
This English remake of the hit American series sees millionaire entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar search through 12 young hopefuls to find his apprentice - the award being a 6 figure salary and the chance to work with him.
The hopefuls range, some high flying university graduates to some who never attended school - all going for the same job.
To enable Sir Alan Sugar to pick his apprentice he splits these hopefuls into 2 teams (originally boys and girls) and then sets them tasks - these tasks can be anything from; Selling flowers on Londons Streets, to holding top celebrity auctions, creating advertising campaigns and let us not forget creating a brand new toy for the market - the episode and "secret signals" still haunts me!
Every week the loosing team has Sir Alan Sugar fire the person who performed least in the task - and in the board room looks them in the face and says "You're Fired!"
The series is a brilliant piece of television. It has everything TV needs, suspense, drama, laughter and bitchiness. They all soon learn a big part of this show is not learning how to cope with the challenges but learning to cope with each over.
Overall an amazing, brilliant piece of television. The sort of television that has you an inch away from your screen for the whole hour shouting at the screen as the hopefuls stab their team mates in the back, lie and stitch each over up - all to get in that position of being an apprentice.
Broadcast on BBC2, the 12 60 minute episodes all offered superb entertainment and left the audience not wanting to blink at any stage during the program!
A brilliant piece of television, fingers crossed for a DVD release and 2nd series!
Fourteen aspiring business people (seven men and seven women) come
together to go for one available job working for Sir Alan Sugar for
$100,000 a year. However this is no ordinary job interview and instead
of being a couple of days long the interview lasts about 12 weeks. Each
week the two teams are given a task to carry out, the team that
succeeds the most (in terms of sales generally) is rewarded but the
team that loses is berated before three are selected for one final
discussion before Sugar fires one.
I didn't bother with this show at first just because I'm not a massive fan of reality shows and this one looked like it was based on cruelty and shouting. However I gradually started to watch it and, although I don't worry about missing a show, I do enjoy it as a show. The task structure makes each week different and interesting for different reasons and I was surprised by how engaging each show was. Of course being a harder reality show it is driven forward by a lot of fighting, raised voices and confrontation but it is not forced or cruel for the sake of it it just happens as a result of the structure and task. The dynamics of the characters are constantly interesting and it is impossible to watch it without getting drawn into the debate and judgement. This is why it works because it engages on this level you won't like many of the people in the show and you may not like Sugar but it is the dramatic race against time and tensions that make it work.
I'm not totally convinced that the whole business concept rings true because for the type of job they are going for £100,000 a year isn't really that much money, plus their antics are not the sort of thing you expect from people in their earning bracket or areas of responsibilities. Some of them are smart, sharp and controlled but others you just have to wonder why they think anyone would want to give them a lot of responsibility. The tasks do require skills but they normally are more about the ability to work under a great deal of time pressure that makes them hard rather than requiring much more than good common sense. So aside from the link to business skills being a bit questionable this is quite an enjoyable show. It is cruel (Sugar plays the harsh host just like countless others) but mostly it is interesting and engaging to watch the two sides race against the clock (and each other) to complete their task. A winning formal then which, although it is a reality gameshow, stands out as one of the stronger reality gameshows.
I wrote a scathing review of this last week after Sugar made a terrible
mistake. I'm editing it as this week he redeemed himself somewhat by
acknowledging his mistake. It was pretty good to watch actually.
I still have reservations about how 'realistic' this show is. I wonder if the job is genuine at the end of the process, or just some thrown together task for the sake of the show. I doubt if the candidates chosen at the start of the process are the best in Britain or more likely just some good ones mixed with some morons who make good TV. I also wonder if the selection process throughout the show is affected more on popularity than actual business ability.
Nevertheless, it's good to watch, and a lot less dumbed down than all the other reality TV shows out there. I am still happy to watch it year after year, although I am disappointed at the mistake the big boss made this year cost a very talented applicant her chance at the final.
Now in its fifth series, 'The Apprentice' has 14 candidates for a top
job with Sir Alan Sugar's group of companies - carrying out a range of
tasks (face painting, washing cars, cooking, making a TV commercial,
launching a product, selling sandwiches, etc.) in order to be in the
winning team at the end of the day.
With catchphrases like 'this is a job interview from hell' and, carried over from the US version, 'You're fired', it can come across a bit more reality TV than business acumen. The eventual winners have ranged from nice Tim to liar Lee to dim Michelle to er, the other one. Strong characters tend to stay in until the last few weeks to give the viewer something to loathe.
Sir Alan's aides, Nick and Margaret, are good value to watch, their expressions showing their disdain for the candidates as they flunk one task after another. And yes, these high flyers are dim - the scary thing is that the candidates have top salary jobs outside of 'The Apprentice'! As a reality show, it's watchable and fun - even though the last two series have had candidates who play up to the camera more than their predecessors. As a business programme, it's fairly useless - even the tasks have got less interesting as the series has progressed.
This is my number one favourite reality show, and I really like Dragon's Den. I do think both are vastly superior to the excrement that is Big Brother. True, some of the contestants have at times shown a lack of ambition and scope, and I am probably the only person who found Debra Barr of the recent season really unpleasant and patronising, like Saira in the first season and the horrible Katie Hopkins from season 3. Still, the Apprentice is very very entertaining. The tasks are very interesting too, season 3's teleshopping channel and the season 4 Marakesh tasks were classics. I like Alan Sugar too, he is honest, straight talking and funny, and the boardroom scenes are just priceless, especially when he summed up perfectly one team's idea in last series' cereal box and advertising week, when he cried, "the whole thing sucks" in reference to I think was the pants man idea. His "sick on a stick"(season 3) and "only room for one big gob"(season 1) were also great. I like Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford too, they shed light on how they think the teams do. Overall, I really love this. A definite 10/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first heard of this programme when it was featured numerous times on Harry Hill's TV Burp, and since I have started from the Comic Relief special and Series 3, it is a very good programme, almost as good as a reality show. Every series 14 candidates are brought in, every one has quit their high paid job and left their family for the chance to get a job worth £100,000. The man they have to impress to get this job is the founder of Amstrad (Alan Michael Sugar Trading) since 1968, and worth over £800m, Lord Sir Alan Sugar. They are split into two teams, with aides Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford - replaced by Karren Brady, keeping an eye on them, and each week they are set a business task to make as much money as possible from the certain theme, e.g. selling coffee, dog products, sweets for zoos, art work, beauty treatments, chocolates, wines, fun fairs, etc. At the end of each task he gives the winning team, that made the most money or had the biggest numbers, a special treat, and the losing team faces a member being fired. All this continues till 12 weeks, when one candidate will win this job, the £100,000 and become 'The Apprentice' working alongside Sugar, or in the new version form a new company, with Sugar as partner. Narrated by Mark Halliley. It is funny to see ridiculous ideas brought forward, the silly decisions and actions of candidates, the bickering between them, and of course Sugar is the star with grouchy demeanour, a fantastic documentary series. Very good!
From the outset, this show has always been interesting. Tempers
fraying, tense boardroom meetings and the on-going quarrels of Saira
and Paul all mix together to make one hell of a good show.
I, myself, am rooting for Saira to win, but that is irrelevant at the moment. For anyone who hasn't watched it as of yet, do so. Yeah, Alan Sugar is a rude and ignorant jerk - but it just makes it more compelling to watch! As to who I think will win...well Miriam and James are good contenders, Paul is hope goes next because I find him repulsive, but he has a good chance. Saira also has a good chance.
Plus, Alan, I praise you for kicking Raj out - totally inadiquate.
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