Mary Horner


A look into The Apprentice, now in its 15th season, and the allure behind the shows façade.

It’s that time of year again where our TV screens are graced with a weekly dose of drama, backstabbing and deceit. I am of course talking about The Apprentice. The competition-fuelled business show is now entering its 15th season and has not disappointed in its picks of entertaining characters. We can all admit to how easy it is to mock the candidates, but do they instead deserve our sympathies? 

Victims of the boardroom include Shahin Hassan (fired in week one), Kenna Ngoma (fired in week two) and Souleyman Bah (fired in week three). To be honest, I couldn’t remember any of their names off the top of my head. I don’t think that the first three candidates to be fired have enough time to develop their business skills and popularity levels enough to be memorable and missed by the public. I personally don’t think it’s fair for someone to be fired immediately following the first task – after all, the candidates are only just getting used to having cameras shoved in their faces whilst they frantically run about in their upmarket clothes. But what can I say, business is business after all? 

A personal favourite of mine is 19-year-old fashion advisor Ryan-Mark Parsons. Who couldn’t be rooting for the candidate that refers to himself as a “pig in business”? From leading safari tours in South Africa to outing Dean in week two for changing the pitch plan last minute, Parsons expresses his individuality in a way that the audience can’t help but fall in love with. 

One contestant that captures curiosity on our screens is Lottie Lion. From reciting lines of Shakespeare and then forgetting which play they’re from (yes, I am a literature student, and yes, these faux pas’ matter!) to not-so-subtly directing the wine connoisseur on how to do her job, I think she’ll be a candidate that flexes her knowledge just enough to irritate the public whilst also being level-headed enough to be a strong contender for the prize. 

With regards to Lord Sugar’s role, I quite frankly struggle to see his use on the show (apart from the investment that he produces AFTER the TV crew stops filming). At no point is he seen to mentor the contestants, but rather belittle and criticise them in the boardroom. His flat and distasteful jokes make the episodes beyond cringy to watch, especially with the candidates looking like they’ve been forced to laugh at Lord Sugar’s quips. 

The fact that the whole process is televised makes it so easy for us as viewers to commentate throughout the show. I’m nowhere near knowledgeable when it comes to business, but if I had a penny for every time that I’d shouted over the TV saying how I could have done it better, I’d have enough money to start my own business! The show is addictive. For instance, my stepdad (a chartered engineer and business-owner) heavily criticises the show for its inaccurate portrayal of the business world and the petty arguments the show seems to evoke. Yet, come Wednesday at 9pm he’s plopped down in front of the TV eagerly awaiting the fiasco’s that the latest episode delivers. 

It’s clear that the show is a source of entertainment for the millions of viewers that tune in each week, but it’s also a source of inspiration for those looking to start their own business. The candidates, from all walks of life, represent the diversity that the business world strives to encompass. The underlying message surrounding the importance of hard work, grit and determination in business alongside the cheesy jokes and constant bickering makes The Apprentice a truly great program for everyone to enjoy.

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