Hope­less, but they give great meet­ings

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

Sir Alan Su­gar: The Ap­pren­tice 10.30pm, Seven

IT is en­tirely pos­si­ble that in the fu­ture, when hu­man­ity is toil­ing for our ant over­lords, it will be­come clear that the coin­ing of the term brain­storm­ing marked the beginning of the end. The busi­ness meet­ing high­lights our lim­it­less ca­pac­ity for de­vis­ing ways to achieve the ex­act op­po­site of our stated aim. They’re sup­posed to en­sure peo­ple are work­ing with a co­her­ent pur­pose but, re­ally, they’re an ex­er­cise in talk­ing about work in­stead of do­ing any.

Nowhere is that more ap­par­ent than on The Ap­pren­tice UK, a re­al­ity show in which two teams com­pete on chal­lenges, with the last con­tender stand­ing given a job work­ing for an ec­cen­tric bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man.

Give this lot a task and they spring into action, work­shop­ping ideas to fast- track a re­sult- driven par­a­digm that proac­tively synergises best prac­tice with their core com­pe­ten­cies. They use phrases such as ‘‘ a quick blast on the flip- chart plan­ning up­front’’ without irony.

They have meet­ings to de­cide the meet­ing agenda. They even have meet­ings to agree that they don’t have time for a meet­ing.

That the most meet­ing- driven team in a given episode in­vari­ably loses is no de­ter­rent.

Speak­ing of meet­ings, I would like to have been present at the one where it was de­cided to dust off this se­ries now. ( This, the sec­ond sea­son, aired in Bri­tain in 2006).

You can see the logic. Seven let go of the low- rat­ing Ram­say’s Kitchen Night­mares only to see it be­come a phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess years later on Nine. Maybe this is an­other show whose time has come. But Alan Su­gar, the man who founded Am­strad com­put­ing in the 1980s, does not have the sweary charm of Gor­don Ram­say or, for that mat­ter, the mer­cu­rial per­son­al­ity and com­pre­hen­sion- de­fy­ing hair of Don­ald Trump, host of the orig­i­nal US Ap­pren­tice .

And Kitchen Night­mares , a re­al­ity show in which a world- fa­mous chef turned around floun­der­ing restau­rants, was some­thing new. Not only have we had seven sea­sons of the The Ap­pren­tice ( plus the failed Martha Ste­wart spin- off that never aired here), there were a host of imi­tia­tors, such as Mark Cuban’s The Bene­fac­tor , Tom Hil­figer’s The Cut and Richard Bran­son’s The Rebel Bil­lion­aire . Trump’s ver­sion was pop­u­lar for 10 min­utes in 2004, the rest barely reg­is­tered. Which is not to sug­gest this isn’t a de­cent ver­sion. Tonight’s chal­lenge, in which the teams need to pro­cure a list of items as cheaply as pos­si­ble, is not only en­ter­tain­ing but high­lights the short­com­ings of some con­tes­tants, by which I mean, demon­strates who is com­pletely bonkers.

In real life, you usu­ally have to sit through mul­ti­ple te­dious meet­ings be­fore you suss that out.

Kerrie Mur­phy

Not so sweet: Alan Su­gar makes a point on The Ap­pren­tice UK

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