10 years of ‘The Apprentice’: is it time for a change?

3 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

Lord Alan Sugar’s hand has had more airtime than certain ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ contestants, but does the TV programme really represents today’s business world?

The Apprentice goes digital

It’s been 10 years since ‘The Apprentice’ made its way in many of Britain’s living rooms and in an effort to keep up with the times, the producers decided to bring the hit TV show in the new millennium.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed that more traditional selling tasks have been given a makeover and replaced by wearable technology and YouTube based challenges in the 2014 season.

While the tasks may have seen a revitalisation, the fundamental format seems rooted in another age.

‘The Apprentice’ contestants are thrown in the deep end, and taxied around London with little guidance on process, that might actually yield an interesting result.

Improving The Apprentice

So much more could be made of a great show, whose core format seems to be becoming a touch staid. Opportunities for improvement abound, especially in regards to the role of Lord Sugar’s advisory board, and the industry captains the contestants are introduced to – perhaps setting contestants off in the right direction rather than just making shallow appearances would actually result in better TV. There will of course still be ample opportunity to sit back and have a laugh, but also perhaps a little more of a rise for those who manage to achieve something truly great.

As it is, if one of the aims of the BBC’s reality TV show is to give us an insight into today’s business world, then it inexorably fails. Technology has enabled us to interact in new ways, changing the way we do business, enabling new workflows and creative processes. However there’s no trace of this change in Lord Sugar’s boardroom – which is a shame given the setting.

Competition is setting the bar high

In the States, reality TV shows like the Emmy-winning ‘Project Runway’ have found a better balance between an integrity and a good laugh. Chronicling the struggles of making it as a fashion designer, ‘Project Runway’ doesn’t shy away from drama but it also gives the viewer a genuine insight into the world of fashion. Alas, in Britain this opportunity is going amiss. If the long-standing success of ‘Project Runway’ shows us anything, it is that a balance between entertainment and reality can be reached, without compromising ratings. But will the BBC really be brave enough to take a leaf out of Project Runway’s book?

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