THE APPRENTICE: Tuesday 10th May, BBC1
It’s been less than six months since we watched Stuart Baggs heave his epic ego out of the Apprentice boardroom, but next week Lord Sugar will be presenting a new batch of hopeful entrepreneurs for us to despair of. Yes, The Apprentice.. or ‘The Idiot Olympics’ as it’s dubbed in some circles will soon be back on our television screens and after watching the first episode, I can confirm that there’s another crop of fine young fools to keep us exasperated and entertained over the next couple of months.
After getting a quick look at the poor sods who will be dominating office water-cooler discussions for the summer, Lord Sugar took the opportunity to point out that this year’s series was going to be different in a couple of ways. First off, there would be an emphasis on ‘start-up business’ challenges and secondly, instead of a well-paid job, he will be offering the winner a £250,000 investment and a Dragon’s Den-style partnership. Apparently the new format is designed to demonstrate the potential of small business and wake-up ‘lazy Britain’. Sugar believes that aspiring entrepreneurs have been too quick to blame banks and too slow to get their hands dirty in recent years, and he wants to show people the potential of going it alone. “The BBC will probably get a lot of praise for this in years to come” he added wistfully.
Yet what Sugar lacks in humility, he more than makes up for with his knack for bringing us wonderfully entertaining numskulls. Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor are usually credited with finding the most deluded individuals in this beloved country of ours, but only The Apprentice unearths people who can say, “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon..” without realising that they sound like David Brent on a cocaine binge. As per usual there are more half-baked statements flying around in this first episode than you’d find at a Ron Burgundy convention, yet the person who seemed set to fill Stuart Baggs’ shoes as bullshitter-in-chief was given the boot immediately. As tangibly incompetent as they were, I was very sad to see them go.
Every other personality type has been ruthlessly matched from previous series though. The geek, the posh boy, the attitude, the girl with too much make-up and of course.. the relatively normal person who watches his new team-mates with a mixture of bewilderment and horror. Like Tim from The Office, he’s the everyman who exists so we can contrast the on-screen mentalness with the real world so we don’t start to accept words like ‘baby’ as an appropriate part of boardroom chat. We can only wish this poor person good luck. They will certainly need it..