Written on: 04/04/2005 by Hank (124 reviews written)
The no nonsense approach of Alan Sugar
Brilliant Group Dynamic
Lots of Characters
I Could Pick the Winner Already
Sugar's Aides = Waste of Screen Time
The Apprentice is the latest reality TV program to take the UK by storm, however unlike Big Brother and the X-Factor, we don't have a posse of talent-free wasters or tone deaf singers, but instead a group of wannabe business moguls ranging from being fairly shrewd to downright incompetent. The game rules are simple; two teams battle it out in a business challenge, the losing team have to face the wrath of Sir Alan Sugar in the boardroom, the team captain and two unfortunates are then further scrutinised before one of them gets 'Fired' by the straight talking Amstrad chief. The Apprentice is an excellent format and has been modified by the BBC following a tremendous run in America where it was headed up by the infamous Donald Trump.
The UK version is certainly proved to be compulsive viewing with the 14 contestants all battling for the grand prize of a six figure salary working as an Apprentice under Sir Alan Sugar at Amstrad. Sugar is a multi millionaire and although under utilized in the program itself, is an integral and key element of the show's success. It is he who sets the tasks and evaluates the contestants at the end of the show and his no-nonsense, doesn't suffer fools approach, is definitely the highlight of the program. The former Spurs owner doesn't have any time for schmoozers, brown nosers or frauds and his final indictment of the losing team is always a firm but fair analysis of the task. It is after Sugar delivers his verdict to the losing team that one of the losers is 'fired' and subsequently has to leave the program.
One of the shows weaknesses is that it may be only halfway through its run, but it's pretty obvious who the final three contestants are going to be. It will also be interesting to see if the program can remain as entertaining throughout its run as many of the protagonists and egos have already been given their marching orders by Sir Alan. If I'm being ultra picky I would also have to question the usage of Sugar's confidants Nick and Margaret who triy to guide the teams through their tasks. What these two actually bring to the Apprentice table is anyone's guess, these two old coffin dodgers seemingly fail to offer any help to the teams and their role on the program is at best unclear and at worst unnecessary. If I was Alan Sugar, I'd have pensioned those two old wrinklies off sometime ago.
Despite those rather minor complaints though, it is extremely fascinating viewing to see how two groups of very ambitious people can co-exist in a high pressured environment and it is quite easy to separate the wheat from the chaff over some of the tasks at hand. The great thing is that the challenges are very varied each week and they all test different areas of business ability so the winner should turn out to be a real all rounder. The show is billed as a battle between the biggest business brains in Britain, that is certainly not the case, many of the contestants couldn't run a bath, let alone a business empire, however in fairness there are some excellent contestants who are very astute and look like they could make a real success of winning the dream job alongside Sir Alan. If you're a fan of business, entertainment or even reality TV shows, I would urge you to check out this superb series.