In an interview with the Independent, Suralan insisted that the show has successfully bridged that gap between the boom years and austerity Britain. The reason? The new format offers £250,000 investment in the winning contestant’s business idea, instead of the vague £100,000-a-year job at Sugar’s company.
He said: ‘The show provides a service. It shows how you can start a business with £250,000, which is not a lot of money. Banks aren’t here to help people these days if they have a lack of collateral or a track record.’
In a nod to contemporary political debate, he added: ‘We can’t expect a return to the irresponsible lending we saw in the 2004/5 era.’
Asked whether he thinks the The Apprentice is becoming a tired format, he said: ‘The BBC are the ones who will make a decision on this. They judge television shows, on viewing audiences and all that stuff. I think it’s got longevity as long as we get interesting characters and scenarios.’
The jury’s out on that one, Sugar.