So TV doesn’t suit the suits then. But why? Some believe the shows encouraged short-term money-making rather than collaboration and long-term investment, which is an acute observation. Others pointed out the rather more obvious fault that the contestants are simply intent on creating a media persona for themselves. You just have to look at the likes of Stuart Baggs, whose sole purpose in going on the Apprentice was to promote Stuart Baggs. With the sole result of making anyone in the UK with half a brain take a severe dislike to Stuart Baggs.
Others criticised the wide variety of tasks that the shows involved, arguing that this just set up young viewers for disappointment when they hit work in the monotony that is real life. Really? That’s like saying the Night Garden gives kids an unrealistic view of what’s happening outside their window when they go to bed.
It’s an unfortunate truth that the only way to accurately portray the working world on TV, without all the editing, would be to do a Big Brother-style thing with the cameras running on a business operation round the clock for a month. Of course, that would just involve large periods where people sat staring open-mouthed as they pressed keys, with the occasional bout of smashing an unresponsive mouse about, followed by a cathartic cup of tea. Hardly a ratings smash. Then again, Big Brother has done well with less.
It wasn’t all bad news though: some business leaders said they supported the shows, and it was useful to get pearls of wisdom from some of Britain’s best business brains. Yet it seems they all missed the biggest criticism of the Apprentice: that it’s based around a shouty man whose only decent business move of the last 20 years was to accept the lead role on a TV show about business. And sorry kids, if you’re expecting a cushy ride like that you will be disappointed…