Thursday, 2 April 2009

Sir Alan? You're fired!

For several years I've been a big fan of the UK version of The Apprentice with that lovable rogue of an entrepreneur, Alan Sugar. But this time around (second episode broadcast last night), I found I was getting more than a touch jaded. I have to admit I skipped over 20 minutes to get to the denouement.

Part of the problem is that the tasks seem so artificial now. I'd like to see Mr Sugar (sorry, Sir Alan) succeed in one of these scenarios where they're dropped in to do something with insufficient knowledge, poor resources and a ridiculous timescale. The fact is, he'd fail just as much as they do. It's amazing they ever make a profit under circumstances engineered for failure.

Then there's the rather amusing way that before the boardroom scene, we always get shots of flash office blocks in Canary Wharf. I could be wrong, but somehow I imagine Sugar's boardroom is in Hackney or some such (relatively) cheap location. He'd be stupid if it wasn't.

In the end, though, the thing that has me cringing most is how often we hear people say 'Sir Alan.' It's as if the man needs constantly reminding of his own achievements. 'Send them in, please,' he says to the receptionist. 'Yes, Sir Alan,' she replies. I don't know anyone - some in much bigger businesses than Sugar's - who expects their secretary/receptionist to say 'Yes, Mr Smith,' or whatever as they reply to them. It's really quite sick making.

So, with regret, Sir Alan - you're fired. (From my TV.)
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