The Apprentice

Today saw the final of The Apprentice where Sir Alan Sugar finally selected 26 year old Michelle Dewberry as his new employee. I’ve enjoyed the series immensely and rapidly learnt the names of all the apprentices which is a great tribute to the series as my memory for names is pitiful. Over the last three months, it is the only television programme that I have made a concious effort to watch. My enthusiasm for it will certainly last another series.

Enough of the compliments, time for some observations and ranting!

I think Sir Alan probably had Michelle marked for this role from at least an early point in the series and perhaps from before it even started. I certainly would have forecast her being in the last four along with the other three. All were totally deserving of their places in the late stages of the competition.

The loss of Paul Tulip in the penultimate episode was a shock to me and I’m sure to many other viewers. He thought he had it licked and despite his arrogance, I thought he did too. In the end Sir Alan told him straight that he didn’t give a damn about Paul’s previous undeniable domination of the previous challenges and fired him. Somehow this knocked an edge off the programme for me. How could the task master suddenly declare that his tasks had no meaning?

Ansell Henry met a similar demise to Paul. His failing in the eyes of Sir Alan was that Ansell’s only expertise was as a salesman. Another very strange decision when throughout the series the vast majority of tasks had been based on salesmanship. This is akin to firing a plumber because he can’t wire up a fuse box.

Ruth Badger proved herself in task after task. In some she was competent, but in others she made the others look like bumbling amateurs. Her ability to sell was right up there with Ansell, but perhaps she excelled over him in her ability to learn in no time the product she needed to present. If ever she fancies selling used cars, I’m sure she will have cowboys knocking at her door.

Last there’s Michelle Dewberry. Michelle did well in all the tasks, but in some way she failed to shine in any of them. She seemed to lack all the qualities that exemplify Alan Sugar, namely that she had none of the feisty characteristics he seems to crave. How on earth did Michelle manage it? She even lost the final task from a financial perspective which would normally trigger a firing from Mr Amstrad.

My conclusions:

Alan Sugar hired who he wanted regardless of the apprentices performances on his tasks. The tasks failed to represent what qualities he really wanted in his would-be employee. He sacked all the sales experts who had excelled in the tasks and settled for the one who had neither excelled nor failed, she performed without cause for complaint or merit; the exact opposite of the always controversial Sir Alan. The series was great, but it would have been even more enjoyable if the tasks had successfully represented the qualities he really wanted in his apprentice. I still don’t know what those qualities are and I suspect Sir Alan doesn’t either. Then again, he is a man who appears to have a finely tuned gut instinct. Perhaps if his desired qualities could be simply demonstrated by tasks then we would all own a few Rolls Royce cars and a board room of our own.

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