24 May 2011
After a miserable seven or eight minutes without it, I was beyond delighted earlier this month to welcome the return of all biznesspeople's favourtitest show in the world ever - The Apprentice. Welcome back chaps, we've missed you.
This year there's a novel twist, as the Sugarlord is not going to ask the winning candidate to take a pay cut and a middle-management position. Rather he's going to chuck a wodge of his ample fortune at them to enable them to set up in business with him.
And the venerable Amstrad man is taking his usual painstaking approach to finding the right candidate, shrewd operator that he is. I happen to count a number of private equity professionals and business angels as friends, and I know for a fact that they never invest in a budding inventor or aspiring internet entrepreneur without first seeing how hard they can haggle for a job lot of bog roll.
This year, it's an absolutely bumper crop of the country's leading young business lights. There's who's-its, what's-her-face, speccy, glove-lady, Irish-man, smiley-woman, pointy-face-smarmyman, northern-lass, wass-his-name and, my personal favourite: him-at-the-back. Lord knows (geddit?) how His Sweetness is going to pick one. (Well, presumably by making them do things like selling peanuts to Formula 1 enthusiasts, or inventing a new kind of online travel pillow.)
And, in a blow for men everywhere, so far the boys have lost three candidates, while the sisterhood has remained intact. First on the chopping block was self-hating accountant Edward, followed by anonymous bread-lover Alex. Finally, we waved goodbye to mild-mannered Scouser, part-time four eyes and literally the world's biggest fan of the word ‘literally', Gavin.
Come on, chaps, it's time to man up. I mean, really, look at what you're up against. Melody - who was recently voted (by me and Gord) as the world's most confusingly pretty Jimmy Carr lookalike - introduced herself to the Great British public with the gambit: "Don't tell me the sky's the limit, when there are footprints on the moon."
Righty-ho. I wonder what she'd say if I suggested the limit was a follow-up article in Femail or Fabulous, maybe some tickets to the National Soap Awards or something, and a gradual slide back to the welcoming arms of anonymity.
Zoe, meanwhile, "describes her attitude as not ‘why?' but ‘why not?'," according to the BBC website. Interesting. I would describe my response as not ‘why?' but ‘eh?'.
Then there's Ellie, who seems disappointingly level-headed and likeable. But the most remarkable thing her précis can find to say about her is that she "once chased a burglar out of her house at 17". Is it the done thing to put teenage instances of have-a-go-heroism on your CV these days? Maybe I've been looking for the wrong things when hiring at Dodgi.
On top of these there's glove aficionado Edna, 11-year-old Susan and three others I couldn't pick out of a police line-up if all the other suspects were Brian Blessed in drag.
So, men of business, come on. Let's show the laydeez how it's done. Which, of course, is hurriedly, haphazardly and without any expert assistance.