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Friday, June 13, 2008

Sir Alan you're fired

The Apprentice, final week

No surprise that Sir Alan Sugar chose Lee McQueen to be his apprentice. I predicted on May 8 that Lee would be in the final three.

It was no more than I was expecting. It's generally accepted Sir Alan goes for second best. Most of the runners-up were more feisty, more opinionated and more successful than the winner, and they've done better with their careers since (Ruth Badger, Saira Khan for example).

Lee wasn't bright enough to play a particular game in the series, unlike Alex who continually tried to undermine everyone and to avoid taking any high-profile team roles. Where Lee succeeded was being so affable and hardworking that he managed to stay low profile for half of the series because he didn't get into the boardroom. Unlike others who made a deliberate strategy of staying out of the boardroom which has in the past annoyed Sir Alan, he was visible enough - by being affable and hardworking - not to come unstuck.

But in the final task, he was carried by Claire. She was magnificent. It's sad that Sir Alan can't cope with a bit of healthy competition, that he has to go for someone less likely to be vocal in his boardroom (or stock room probably more to the point).

As always the final task was an anti-climax.

Lee comes across as a nice bloke but he didn't show any signs of being entreprenueurial or exxceptional. He's a terrible presenter. If you don't have a degree you can still be far more intelligent and insightful than those who have, but Lee didn't strike me as very curious or inquiring. All that gungho "that's what we're talking about" and dinosaur impressions are great at the AGM of the sales division but look a bit shallow in a serious corporate environment.

As for the series, it's a big jewel in the BBC crown now and boy do they milk it. Three programmes in a row on Wednesday night. The programme is starting to look tired and the format is too samey. We know every year that Sir Alan will go for someone mouldable who's good at sales. The producers throw a few people into the mix who make good television, but we know they don't stand a chance. I'd like to see a new "Sir Alan" next year so we get an entirely new perspective. Michelle Mone or Karren Brady would both be ideal. What do you reckon?

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