You can’t sweeten up this Sugar
BILLIONAIRE Sir Alan Sugar would fire himself if The Apprentice ever sold out and resorted to style over substance.
The 61-year-old no-nonsense entrepreneur is Britain’s answer to Donald Trump — sans the intricately styled comb-over and string of blonde exwives — hiring and firing hopefuls on the British version of the business reality series.
Sugar, who founded Amstrad and has an estimated fortune of nearly $2 billion, says such shows as The Apprentice and The X Factor are a cut above other reality series because they showcase and reward genuine talent rather than fame-hungry attention seekers.
‘‘This ( The Apprentice) is a great example of putting people to work and seeing how they perform,’’ Sugar says. The Apprentice PG Channel 7, Wednesday, 9.30pm Business reality Duration: 1 hour
Sugar signed on to The Apprentice five years ago to find new blood for his empire. He keeps a firm grip on the show’s content, insisting that his prospective employees are set challenges that are grounded in the business world rather than tasks that are simply entertaining.
‘‘I keep them in control,’’ he says of the show’s creative team.
‘‘I will not allow it to become some sort of farcical reality-type show.’’
Sugar hastens to add that he and his series are very different to their highgloss American counterparts.
‘‘With great respect to Mr Trump, he may be well known in America, but I am probably just as well known if not more in the UK,’’ Sugar says.
‘‘Americans are not my favourite people in the sense that they are not as straightforward as the English or Australians. ‘‘We tend to be more to the point.’’ Having now done four seasons of The Apprentice, Sugar says most of the contestants have impressed him and he has unearthed some talented people.
He’s also not one to mince words when he’s disappointed.
Sugar admits that nothing makes his blood boil more than people who try to win him over with excuses and stories of their hard-luck childhoods.
‘‘I am not interested in their sob stories. I don’t care if they’ve been born with a silver spoon in their mouth or from a working-class family. I only care whether they have what it takes to work for me,’’ he says.
Sir Alan Sugar.