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Will Sir Alan Sugar’s judgement be better this time round?

 I like Sir Alan Sugar’s tough no-nonsense approach. I like the fact that he is not obsessed by youth, that his anchorman and woman are respected for their skills and experience, it doesn’t matter that they have grey hair.

Still, he can make mistakes like anyone else, as his choice on last year’s The Apprentice proved with Michelle Dewberry walking out on her Β£100,000 year job after only four months.

I dipped into the new series last night and silly Andy should have known better than to plead with Sir Alan for a second chance after being told “your fired”. Poor judgement again.

Did you ever have a boss that put the fear of God in you? As a cub reporter, my Glaswegian news editor would fiercely order me to go out “off diary” and not return unless I had half a dozen good stories in my notebook. I was too terrified not to, but it did the trick. He wasn’t so hard on the lads in the office, it seemed to give him pleasure to order me about that way. I wonder what’s happened to him now.

This programme does seem to bring out the worst of people’s characters, though that could be due to heavy editing. Every other sentence on last year’s show seemed to have the f-word last year. I just hope this year’s contestants realise there is no need to swear constantly, that it is a huge turn off for employers, as well as viewers.


32 Comments

  1. LJ, Did you check out the Guardian link with my poar which said Michelle left after 4 months:

    http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1884521,00.html

  2. Ellee… you need to do you research better. Michelle worked with Big Al’ for a year before she walked out… not 4 months! There was a delay in filming.

  3. E-K., Ellee was there…
    That reminds me, I was stitched uby by someone somewhere… Now who was that, now?

    Hell, whatever floats your boat, mate.

    Check out comment 18 same site. Be alert.

  4. We don’t get the programme here but I suppose we might in about 10 years’ time. I did see a Sky interview with that silly female who won last time and thought how shallow she was, though.

  5. Chris Wotton

    Along with Top Gear, the Apprentice is the best programme on TV. It provides a good number of talking points after each episode and we all have an opinion on who should be fired. Sir Alan plays his part brilliantly (and naturally) as the rather abrasive boss who no one really knows how to play.

  6. electro-kevin

    We forgot to mention, Ellee, that Mrs Beckett’s allure comes from her penchant for wearing a Rolph Harris mask – in our fantasy creation of course! Do let us know if we’re overstepping the mark here.

  7. Although Alan Clark in his diary calls her ‘sexy Miss horse face from Lincoln’.
    The mans taste was worse than mine, obviously.

  8. Kevin, I think Margaret Beckett is unavailable too, but I wouldn’t say that makes her alluring! πŸ˜‰

  9. electro-kevin

    I love the Badger – something alluring about her being ‘unavailable’ perhaps ???

    It’s not ‘Schadenfraude’ that draws me to The Apprentice; rather like Deal or No Deal I punch the air when someone wins, I suffer the pain when they lose.

    I think Alan Sugar is brilliant – he seems like a nice man, actually and this makes his judgment even more penetrative – and some of the contestants display outstanding talent. Arguably there is an astounding amount of stupidity too, notably the quantum physicist who calculated that 200 litres of milk was required for a small coffee stall – get back to quarks and superstring theory you dimbo !

    And you’ll have to excuse my friend Joe and his occaisionally obscure references – we both contribute to another site which has a slightly bawdy air to it and where I am presently engaged in a fantasy romance involving Margaret Beckett. πŸ™‚

    I think I had -er- better go now.

  10. Linda, Yoy might also want to visit a couple of blogs written by two English men living in the Russian Fed – Nourishing Obscurity and Tom Paine, you will find their links on my blogroll.

  11. Linda, Perhaps you could ask the Badger if she wants to post a comment on this subject, or even write a guest post here, it seems like she has a few fans. Your new blog sounds very interesting, will you mention it in UK Press Gazette?

  12. E-K, I thought now you were married to a member of the Cabinet you’d be too busy to comment…
    Trash TV. Designed to build audiences from the Schadenfreude of seeing the heartfelt, sincerely thought out ideas of others ridiculed by people they look up to.

  13. Hi Ellie, you are very kind – my days in St Petersburg were a long time ago, I spent 12 months there 94/95 on the paper and before that three months at university in Leningrad. I’ll check out your Putin post, I certainly enjoyed your guest blogger’s report from Russia.

    I’m hoping to post some examples of the stuff I wrote in Russia on my new blog at http://www.freelancewritingtips.com – which as you can see from the trackback above now has a discussion of bullying in journalism – that’s partly sparked by me reading your post here…and I’m so sorry to hijack your comments!

    Were you a fan of The Badger? I did some copywriting work for her and she’s a marvellous “ambassador” for Compton Hospice for whom we do the PR:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/5113506.stm

    Better go – all the best.

  14. Bedd Gelert

    The problem as Linda identifies is that whilst this is just entertainment, there are plenty of tw@ts who take this as carte blanche to put this management style into place in the workplace – and although I don’t like the phrase ‘zero tolerance’ bullying and aggressive behaviour has ‘zero’ room in the modern workplace. The appalling series about those two cretins who ‘manage’ a double glazing firm in the Midlands [It’s the U-fit way, or the f-ing highway] just shows how appalling behaviour is being elevated to entertainment. Crap.

  15. electro-kevin

    I find this programme enthralling and addictive, I’m afraid. How Sir Alan didn’t choose Ruth Badger last year I do not know.

  16. Linda, Having established a Russian connection, I thought you might like to read a post I wrote in Russian last December entitled: My Message to President Putin:

    https://elleeseymour.com/2006/12/07/my-message-to-president-putin/

    It caused a lot of excitement at the time and there were many comments posted by Russian bloggers.

  17. Linda, I knew you had a journalistic background, but I had no idea you had been editor of the St Petersburg Press in Russia, that’s really impressive. I have visited there myself, what a wonderful discovery you are.

    I do love your dramatic opening paragraph, which I have pasted below, I certainly didn’t get those kind of threats from my news editor, I even had to cross my legs as I read it:

    “I once worked with a news editor who often told photographers that if they didn’t hurry back to the office, she’d have their genitals as earrings. But even she had nothing on Derek Tucker.”

    Thanks for both the links, they were great reading.

  18. Hi Ellee,
    I have mixed feelings about this show (and do some work with the lady who came second last year!) but I also admire some aspects of Alan Sugar’s style from what is shown in the programme.
    I think there is a clear line between someone who appears underneath all the bravado to be a decent bloke and someone who’s a bully.
    I have blogged my experience of a bullying boss here:

    http://www.gotyourhandsfull.com/2007/03/bullies_dont_pi.html

    My similar run in to an editor such as yours is here:

    http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/?t=article&l=linda_jones

    I hope you like them. I hope it doesn’t sound too ridiculous to say writing both pieces was quite cathartic!

    All the best to you.

  19. Alan Sugar and the mad chef humiliating people in public might make entertaining tv for a while, but like everything it gets boring after the 3rd episode or so

    Anyone willing to put up with people like that must be a sucker for punishment, or simply got bills or mortgages to pay (alas, slaves to the system).

    Some thrive in these kinds of situations as if being a chef isn’t stressful enough. But I guess unless you can cope with Alan Sugar you are not ‘really’ ready to go self-employed or to start up a business.

    Personally I find it offensive if anybody attempts to bark ‘orders’ at me and expects me to jump, and insulting if they try to coerce or intimidate me (no matter how covertly). And I really don’t care if they are a High Court Judge … or if my neck is on the line.

    However, even Presidents, Monarchs and PMs have to bow humbly to the physician or surgeon when they go under the knife – whether their name is Mugabe or tricky dickie (Dick Cheney).

  20. Hi Elle, Yep!
    I’ll be wanting to talk to off-line you about the European elections at some stage in the not too distant future.

  21. I did cringe when Andy asked him to reconsider!

    Tre looks like trouble this year.

  22. I do hate the arrogance of saying one has to be stupid to watch a programme like this; what about the human psychology aspect?? It may be worth watching just for that, even if we do not learn where black holes come from (!) Sir Alan may make better decisions as his eyes are now “wide open”.. the surgery was apparently NOT cosmetic, but simply to enable him to see better; next might be his furrowed brow? Maybe I am being arrogant but I cannot imagine how gormless you would have to be not to be able to calculate how much milk goes into a coffee; also that many people like Espresso.(I think they were talking about buying 200 litres at one stage – I blog and listen..)

  23. Bedd Gelert

    Ellee, Scarcely do I need to point out that if you can achieve something, it is not impossible.

    More Americanised tosh I’m afraid – along with ‘comfort zone’. Why can’t we just speak English ?

    Read ‘Winchester Whisperer’s blog – great to read, and absolutely none of that Brentian management psycho-babble.

  24. Don’t watch it I’m afraid.
    TV not my favourite medium.
    I watch football on it, that’s it pretty much. Oh and the Politics Show. And Andrew Neil on a Thursday night.

  25. I’d forgotten about Tottenham, there are two Spurs fanatics in my house too. I take Bedd’s point about working round the clock, and at the end of the day that is not productive. But I like people who challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone to achieve the impossible. It would be good to hear from some of Sir Alan’s employees about what he really is like as a boss.

  26. Well, I don’t know if I can match Bedd’s impassioned outburst above… (am I right in thinking “blimey, it’s only a TV show… watch it or don’t watch it, as you deem fit”…???)

    But anyway, I caught last night’s show as well as the tail-end of last year’s. It was fairly obvious to me that Michelle’s main advantage over Ruth was ‘the totty factor’. Sugar may be a hard-nosed businessman but he’s also a bloke.. i.e. the little head always speaks (at least) as loudly as the big one.

    NB: And I’m a Spurs fan too!… Sugar was no good for the club but I bear no lasting grudges – we’re doing well now! πŸ™‚

  27. Bedd Gelert

    Ellee, you really aren’t stupid enough to watch this sorry excuse for a programme are you ?

    This is a programme for Americans – it is facile nonsense.

    Hey, let’s see if we can be really rude and bully some people !

    Let’s see if we can forget all our British manners and politeness and import some specious arguments about “It’s a jungle out there!”, or “The weak will die”.

    Crap, crap, crap – dressed up as infotainment.

    This is what is wrong with this country – let us worship at the altar of working 90 hours a week, and f**k other people, and who gives a monkey’s ar$e if they end up stressed, depressed and suicidal. Management by fear – yeah, great strategy Ellee, that will get the workforce sticking by you when the ship goes down.

    I can’t believe that this 3rd rate businessman who screwed Tottenham Hotspur is revered as a guru. But when you realise it is an American programme, and his opposite number is Donald ‘I pretend I’m wealthy, when I’m actually managing a mountain of junk bond debt’ Trump, maybe it is not such a surprise after all.

    And when you realise that at least two of the ‘winners’ [surely ‘losers’?] of this show are no longer working for Alan ‘chewing a wasp’ Sugar, maybe they have seen behind the curtain of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ as well.

  28. Newmania, I wonder if your aversion to the Secretary of State for the Environment is because he evidently has what it takes to keep the present government on the rails?

  29. I wonder if he learned to be ruthless when he was Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club πŸ™‚

  30. What is wrong with swearing exactly ?I sometimes burst with frustration with having to find some long winded way of saying Milliband is a …..

    I don`t watch this sort of thing so I`m out of here

  31. I cannot abide the programme, I had a boss from the same background in the early eighties, he was a bully too. Fortunately I had the balls to stand up to him, and he would then admit to being wrong when he was wrong, and he would show mutual respect. However he made a lot of other peoples lives an absolute misery. You do not grovel to these people, I fear there is to much schadenfreude in this format for my taste.

  32. It seems a long time ago that The Apprentice burst onto the scene. The idea was good then but seems tired now, like so many things in their third or fourth season. i would concur with your criticisms, Ellee. Go and watch something else, folks, or, better still, just turn off the set. BTW?

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