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Competition based series where amateur cooks progress through by successfully creating dishes that show off their technical skill and understanding of flavour. Guest judges include food critics and Mitchelin star chefs.
Sir Alan Sugar - the £700m owner of AMSTRAD, is presented with 14 candidates, he must split the candidates up into two teams each week, and set them a business task. At the end of the each task, Sir Alan will fire one member of the losing team. Until Week 12 when one of the candidates will get a £100,000 with Sir Alan and become 'The Apprentice.' Written by
'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 left.
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.
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