Every Thursday the conversations at work revolve around the apprentice! I used to be a massive fan of the show but it just doesn’t do it for me any more… when it began in 2005 as a relatively unknown programme on BBC2 it involved a group of talented young businessmen and women and they competed for a chance to win a £100k a year job as Lord / Sir Alan Sugar’s apprentice. Series 3 saw the show move to BBC1 and it was at that point that I think the essence has been diluted.
Over the years, the quality of the candidates has declined to the point where effectively now it is a group of absolute muppets who couldn’t tie their own shoes without help! The show has moved from a quality group of aspiring young professionals being asked to complete interesting tasks to Big Brother on BBC1. It is a bunch of people who are chosen to engage with a mass audience and are required to argue, fight and bicker whilst living in a house and doing tasks. The only difference between The Apprentice and Big Brother is that the tasks are held outside the house (and the people might be slightly more intelligent!)
Dragons Den is another example of this dilution for mass appeal. What started as an interesting programme focused on investments has become a show which focuses on people asking for money for stupid ideas and messing up their pitches. Every episode also has to have a series of Dragon’s cliches so they can build their own TV personalities and careers. I preferred it when they spoke about good ideas for a while as that was actually interesting. See someone fluff their pitch on a stupid product that clearly has no hope, to allow Theo to say he wouldnt invest his children’s inheritance was funny at first but is now annoying.
Now, don’t get me wrong… i understand why this has happened. From a TV perspective, the latest versions of both these shows are far more on trend for the mass audience and will be far more watched and thus lucrative from a BBC perspective. However, as someone who used to watch because they interested me, i just don’t like them. I’d rather watch Geordie Shore as at least they don’t pretend to be clever and business oriented! To make the Apprentice even worse, even Lord Sugar doesn’t want to hire them! He has changed the prize to be a £250k investment in a business of the candidate’s creation, with Lord Sugar as a 50% owner. I think that says it all!