The Apprentice (BBC1, Wednesdays, 9pm) is now in its 10,000th season and is as loveable as ever. For those unfamiliar with the format, 18 saps compete to go into business with Lord Sugar. They complete various commercial tasks – selling dog biscuits, making a TV ad etc – and are called back into the peer’s boardroom to face the music. The worst performing candidate gets fired. This is one of those game shows where it’s not the winning that counts but the way that you lose.
Here are some contestant clichés to look out for:
The Overseller: “I can sell anything to anyone at any price.” Outcome: sells nothing.
The Specialist: “Lord Sugar, I know that we were tasked with selling boats and that I am a boat seller. But I specialise in yachts, not dinghies.” Outcome: sinks without a trace.
The Persuader: “Lord Sugar, I remind me of you when you were my age.” Outcome: loses millions, crashes a car and spends the night in jail – yet still persuades Lord Sugar to sack someone else.
The Pitcher: “I not only make my living delivering sales pitches but I train other people how to pitch at the Advance School of Pitching, Oxford University.” Outcome: dries up during pitch.
The Flawed Business Plan: “I call it the Thin TV. It’s like a regular TV but bigger and with a very, very flat screen.” Outcome: Lord Sugar points out that this is already on the market.
The Posh Time-Waster: “What I lack in business experience I make up for with a degree in art history.” Outcome: sacked in week one but ends up with their own art history show on BBC Four.
The Woman Having Second Thoughts: Never says a word but wins every task. Outcome: is offered the job but refuses, saying, “I’m going to become a nun.”
The Idiot: When told that the task is in France says: “Wicked, I’ve never been to the Caribbean!” Outcome: wins.
Donald Trump pioneered this show in the US. I’m told he’s doing rather well for himself nowadays…
This article first appeared in the Catholic Herald magazine (13/11/15)
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