THE TELLYBOX: It’s Reality, but not as we know it!

The Apprentice - Sir Alan Sugar

As Big Brother launches yet again on British TV, with another group of talentless wannabees (yawn), and I’d Do Anything has found “the people’s Nancy” (yay! for the wonderful Jodie Prenger!), we only have The Apprentice in the frame as worth watching for a fascinating slice of reality TV life.

The Apprentice sees 16 would-be tycoons vying for a coveted training place in Sir Alan Sugar’s empire, with a magnificent six-figure salary as the prize.

Last week Sir Alan (pictured with his two sidekicks, Margaret and Nick), couldn’t decide which two of the last four to put through to next week’s final, so he wimped out and let all four go through. Well, it was presented as wimping out, but Sir Alan doesn’t really do that, does he? No, this was purely for telly-generated drama purposes, just as when, a few weeks ago, he summarily fired two rather than the usual one candidate, to spice things up.

My favourite, Lucinda, was fired last week. With her upper-class accent, individual dress sense and zany approach, she was never going to win, but she was the only one of the final few who really seemed to know their way around the real world. A brilliant team leader, she is smart, fascinating and ran rings around the others – and maybe that was her downfall. Sir Alan wants someone he can mould. Lucinda would be moulding Sir Alan.

So, we’re left with Lee, who lied on his CV and should have been shown the door immediately. Maybe it was his impression of a pterydactyl that kept him in? Alex, who is pretty and, er… well, that’s about it. Nothing much else there other than attempts to be Machievellian by sticking it to Lucinda in the boardroom. Helena defines “morose” and is playing the “hard life” card, something that is unlikely to win Sir Alan’s sympathy. And Claire. Claire, undoubtedly smart and eloquent, but oh you just want her to shut up! On and on and on she goes like a wind-up bunny in one of those bloody battery ads. So it will probably be Liar Lee or Pretty Alex who gets the big job in the end.

Meanwhile, one channel will have pretty much wall-to-wall human zoo, aka Big Brother, for the next few weeks. Here’s an idea: stick those boring sods in the Big Brother house but don’t televise a second of it. When they come out, there’s no-one there to cheer or boo and they realise all their fake antics and attempts to create a TV career have been ignored. Maybe they would learn more about themselves and about life than they will from having their every moment scrutinised in the next few weeks. Let’s stick a notice for them outside the house: “Gone to the theatre to see some real talent!”


© Carole Gordon 2008