Young Apprentice 2012

Well, last night we saw the first episode of the new series of Young Apprentice � and, we�re told, the last.� Although, Lord Sugar has gone on record saying that he regrets the BBC�s decision to cancel the show and would like to find a way of continuing it.� Whether his contract will allow him and the production company to sell a series to a rival channel, I don�t know.

Ennui

I have to confess to a certain feeling of ennui after a programme which felt overly formulaic and very familiar.� Don�t get me wrong � I like the formula, but there was nothing at all to surprise in either the contestant�s behaviours or the editor�s attempts to create tension and surprise.� Lord Sugar�s performance also felt laboured and I missed Nick�s barbed comments.

I don�t think we learned anything new, as experienced Apprentice watchers.� And that, for me, is a cardinal sin.� If the programme ceases to delight, then what�s it for?

I do very much understand Lord Sugar�s desire to pump prime entrepreneurialism and business acumen among young people � in their teens and twenties.� But I think the format needs a bit of a refresh.� Will I keep watching this series?� I expect so, because I am an optimist and I�d like to be surprised and enchanted by new insights and lessons to draw.� But last night failed me and followed on from a lacklustre Apprentice 2012, earlier this year.

The Facts about this episode

I am not going to give a blow-by blow account and I have yet to decide how I will approach this series� on an ad hoc basis seems most likely.� But for the record:

The Girls� Team

� named itself Platinum (after dallying with �ex nihilo�
which my sad classics bent thought was kind of clever)*

� was led by Ashleigh Porter-Exley

� won by a short head

The Boys� Team

� named itself Odyssey (which is classical)*

� was led by Patrick McDowell

� threw away its chance of winning on two big mistakes

The Lessons of the Episode

Lesson 1: Understand the task � which was selling second-hand clothes in two market contexts.� Patrick invested a lot of the team�s money in modifying the clothes: too quickly and too outrageously for the market.

Lesson 2: Sniff the air � when sales started picking up to a high level at Westfield Shopping Centre, Patrick decamped his team to try to flog all his stock as a job lot to a retailer.� Two or three retail sales would have netted more than one big wholesale transaction and sales were brisk when he left.

Lesson 3: If it�s a sales task, get out there and sell.� We knew the writing was on the wall for Max Grodecki when Lord Sugar started talking about potential.� He hid from the sales process and failed to engage with customers.� He was fired.

Lesson 4: Please have some respect.� I was unimpressed by David Odhiambo�s attitudes to women “men are the better sex� and his team mates �like dogs� � and so, I noted, was Lord Sugar.


All in all, the right three in the boardroom today and, with Max gone, David and Patrick will have to work hard to atone for their appalling social and commercial judgement respectively.

* For a full listing of Apprentice team names, click here.


Young Apprentice 2012 - Week 1

One Response to Young Apprentice 2012, Episode 1: On Familiar Ground
  1. I disagree that the formula needs to be changed – after all, they’ve already done that quite recently, as the format of the adult show was changed to being a business partner a couple of years ago. I think it’s still as good as it ever was. I do think maybe they need to cut down the opening, as the candidates’ opening statements and Lord Sugar’s speeches are cringeworthy, but in terms of the actual show, I don’t think it needs to change that much. Even the tasks change from time to time – I can’t remember any other series having this task.

    I don’t think the BBC have definitely made the decision to cancel the Young version yet – I’m sure they’re thinking about it as Lord Sugar is saying that that absolutely shouldn’t happen – but if they had made the decision for definite, I think they would have released an official statement. Even Sugar himself has not said in so many words that that decision has been made, he has only said that he will be furious if it is. I think the BBC are waiting to see how ratings for Series 3 go. And I’m sure Sugar is perfectly able to move to another channel, if that’s what he’s threatening. I’ve never really seen him as a man to make empty threats, I think if he says something like that he’s capable of doing it.

    In terms of the candidates, I think the right person went. Patrick messed up the task, but I really liked him, he has potential and will take more from the experience than I think Max would. I really didn’t like David, but he didn’t deserve to be fired on this task.


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