You can’t sweeten up this Su­gar

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - SIOB­HAN DUCK

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.

No non­sense:

Sir Alan Su­gar.

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