Now I am NOT an avid telly watcher. I would like to say it’s because it’s a waste of time, which it is, but the plain fact is, there is nothing on. Not really.
I have no problem with others harnessing the hypnagogic power of slumping down on the sofa three times a week to watch Janine being a ‘caa’, or Deirdre getting her neck up, but it’s not for me.
So I get rather excited when a show comes along that I consider essential viewing. This year: true blood 4, angry boys, forty-thousand episodes of come dine with me, and THE APPRENTICE.
Now, I’ve vaguely followed this show from the outset, which got off to a bit of a grinding start, the formula not quite being worked out. And some years I’ve vetoed it, purely to evade coma-inducing conversations in the kitchen at work, but this year, they went snappy, sexy, ruthless and seamlessly HD.
With totty to boot. I even quite fancied the girls.
and of course, the mingers you love to hate:
I think the reason for the colossal 10.7 million-strong ratings is partly due to the pace, and certainly due to the perfection of the show’s format. (Which, incidentally, started in the US with Donald Trump as the macdaddy. Lord Alan of Clapton has been subject to a franchise…)
But for me, it’s also because as I’ve got older I’ve developed a slightly perverse interest in the business world.
And who can blame me? With capitalism being thrust down our oesophagi, we are intravenously fed by mortifying chainstore drip, and we pay our attention to what makes a business buzz.
What can make us money in a world keen on tightening up on employees, cutting services including 19,000 army staff, and charging two quid for a piece of broccoli?
Well, phone apps that play elephant noises, and baby car seats that turn into rucksacks.
And so this year, we had a clear winner in the ‘yes lord, can-do’ stakes – Helen. What a lovely lady. Absolutely flawless.
But he didn’t want her did he? Oh no. She could run piss-ups in brothels, feed the 5000 and turn chickens into pies, but she could not run her own business.
No, instead, lord alan opted for the following quality in his ‘business partner’……
An apprentice. A gimp, if you will, to do as he is damn well told, and to rake in some money.
And, with three out of four business plans laughingly flawed, Tom’s was the only one with any creditability.
“It needs tweaking”, says Alan.
Actually, it needs scrapping. F*ck the 80% of Britons with back pain. What the world needs now is nail files.
And so although I have loved the pantomime of the series – the playing out of disagreements, the camaraderie and the fear, actually the whole thing was a farce.
Because at the end of the day, lord sugar is in the same half-sunk paddle boat as the rest of us. And he needs money.
So he gives a startled mad professor £250k of his electronic wonga and placidly sits in the audience as the business grows and the nails file down. Oh, and takes a 50% cut…….
But let’s not get messy with Sugar, after all, a lot of the show’s success is due to his formidable character, and he probably didn’t get where he is today by flirting.
He is funny. He is intolerant. His roman nose sniffs out bullshit by the busload.
So I thought I’d compile my own business plan, which goes a little something like this:
Option 1: Write to the queen, turn up for tea, tell her about my fuel poverty crisis, get her to buy me a pad in belgravia with a garden, pop out a sprog and live happily ever after.
Option 2: Stalk the lord. Accidentally bump into him get at the ivy. Furnish his oversized snout with snuff. Impress the old don with extravagant and enterprising tales, like how I once sold a cagoule on ebay for £30, or the time I pinched damon albarn on the bottom.
Get some cash out of him.
Start a brothel franchise for women.
And though I have yet to flesh out the financial detail, (legal a big question mark), I truly believe I have spotted a niche gap in the market.
And I am not short of ideas, I can tell you (the cell, ‘clever with leather’, lady luck all rooms in the establishment).
So watch out apprentice series 8……Ünders may be about to blow her cover.