Sopho­cles stays philo­soph­i­cal

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

AS A one-time male es­cort, Michael Sopho­cles ought to have been in familiar ter­ri­tory on this week’s Ap­pren­tice on BBC1 as he plunged into the spir­i­tual home of foot­ballers’ wives — Blue­wa­ter Shop­ping cen­tre in Es­sex — to take pro­fes­sional pic­tures of cus­tomers.

Though Sir Alan Sugar shuf­fled the teams, Michael re­mained in his orig­i­nal group, Re­nais­sance, and as ar­gu­ments be­gan at the start of the task, the “nice Jewish boy” kept quiet, stayed off-cam­era and ob­served.

On-cam­era, how­ever, Michael was dis­mis­sive of his team’s di­rec­tion: “The theme we’ve de­cided on cre­atively isn’t a theme. ‘Glam­our! Beauty’! It’s generic. Mis­cel­la­neous — what does it mean? It’s not a theme, it’s just words.”

Work­ing closely with team leader S i m o n S m i t h , Michael chat­ted up women to per­suade them to come and have their pic­ture taken. But it was not a suc­cess­ful ploy and his team made a loss of £73.81. The other team prof­ited with £145.10.

Luck­ily, Michael sur­vived the board­room by high­light­ing a “com­mu­ni­ca­tion prob­lem” be­tween the other mem­bers; team leader Si­mon placed the blame for the loss on two other team mem­bers, Claire and Alex.

For­mer Ap­pren­tice con­tes­tant Sam Ju­dah is con­vinced Michael is play­ing the right game. “An­other quiet episode from Michael, which means ei­ther he was play­ing a smart game by let­ting oth­ers cause more prob­lems in the eyes of the project man­ager, or he didn’t ac­tu­ally do much that was cam­era-wor­thy,” he told the JC. “Some­times just get­ting on with the job in hand is [vis­ually] bor­ing and doesn’t make the cut. I be­lieve the truth lies some­where in be­tween, based on the lit­tle ev­i­dence that we did see of Michael in the episode.

“How­ever, The Ap­pren­tice is a show where you can run but you can’t hide, and even­tu­ally Michael will have to step into the lime­light . When he does, we will re­ally see if he has got what it takes to be Sir Alan’s ap­pren­tice.”

Sam, who made it up to week seven in the sec­ond se­ries, had “a bit­ter­sweet af­fair” with The Ap­pren­tice. He says: “The fa­mously bel­liger­ent at­mos­phere cre­ates a cli­mate of fear, which makes it dif­fi­cult to prac­tise the prin­ci­ples I be­lieve are im­por­tant in mod­ern busi­ness.

“The schem­ing and back­stab­bing is tes­ta­ment to that. I still find it dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that some peo­ple re­ally think this is a valid way of op­er­at­ing in busi­ness. If I did this my clients would never come back!”

Sam has set up a post- Ap­pren­tice busi­ness sell­ing and dis­tribut­ing an in­no­va­tive por­ta­ble multi-gym, Ver­sa­tile Re­sis­tance Trainer ( www.shad­ow­boxer.co.uk). It has been adopted by top ath­letes and en­dorsed by boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. CRAIG SIL­VER

Sam Ju­dah, the JC’s ex­pert

Michael Sopho­cles ( cen­tre) gets ear­ache from his team-mates

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