Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Apprentice

I've watched the various series of The Apprentice with a growing horror as a parade of vile characters shouted, cursed and tore strips off each other in their attempts to get their hands on the prize.

It was a blessed relief a few weeks ago when Sir Alan Sugar finally took matters into his own hands and vehemently rebuked a candidate who thought she had the right to speak rudely to his own assistant, Nick Hewer. That particular young woman, Debra Barr, seems to be one of the most unpleasant females ever to hale from Essex and does nothing to dispel the popular perception that women from our county are brash, brazen and gobby without a care for the thoughts or feelings of anyone else who comes between them and their goal.

However, in her defence, I suspect she was chosen exactly for that character flaw and follows a welltrodden path of previous exponents. Katie Hopkins springs readily to the forefront of my mind when reminded of some of those nasty individuals, who seem to think that to be successful in business, you have to be totally unscrupulous. And it seems so much more obviously vile when this character trait is exhibited by a woman.

I was devastated this week when one of my two favourite contestants came a cropper. Howard Ebison has consistently behaved like a courteous gentleman in the face of some extraordinarily bad behaviour.

In an arena where people think that the best form of defence is a shrill and vociferous attack, he has remained calm and controlled, lowering his voice and speaking carefully in direct contradiction to the hysterical outpourings of his colleagues. I don't think I ever heard him directly badmouth another contender, preferring to deal with situations rather than personalities and it was a travesty that his gentlemanly treatment of Lorraine in choosing to be her partner, rather than let her commit televisual suicide by presenting solo in the television shopping channel presentation, led to his own demise.

I'm now hoping that clown prince James McQuillan can survive the testing atmosphere of next week's personal interviews and become victorious. It would be so very wrong for any of the remaining four women to come out on top since three of them would be a nightmare to work with and the fourth relies on her looks far too often but, whilst she seems able to manage other people's egos well, is not such a good saleswoman.

Pictures, courtesy of,, and


Riff Dog said...

I'm sure that's exactly why she was chosen. In the first season of the American version, they got lucky and one of the contestants (named Omarosa) was particularly unpleasant and became a huge ratings boost as viewers would tune in each week, hoping she'd be fired.

Ever since, when producers are casting for reality shows, they will actually come out and say they are "looking for an Omarosa."

Kyra said...

I'm with Riff. I'm sure the women were chosen for that reason. Though I've never watched the British version, I gave up on the American one when they seemed to fit that typical conflict-seeking behavior of bad reality TV. It's not that I don't like that on occasion. But I expected The Apprentice to be above that since it was allegedly looking for the best business people. It makes me mad at both the producers and the women themselves for encouraging that stereotype. (This from a woman who was called "that bitch" at work.)

Gorilla Bananas said...

But isn't the "prize" a job working for Sir Sugarballs? Who needs that?

Mendicatus said...

If you haven't seen it, check out the inspired 'Cassetteboy vs the Apprentice' on YouTube.