Metro 187

I am delighted to see the return of The Apprentice. It’s a bulletproof format and they always find another batch of candidates who’ve apparently never seen the show before. Or who have seen the show and decided that despite all evidence to the contrary, the way to win is to behave like an arrogant bell-end. Because the problem with all the people who’ve failed before was that they didn’t think enough of themselves or try hard enough to resemble Lord Shaftsbury’s purple helmet.

I could never get bored of watching a cartload of deluded idiots who take themselves too seriously being put through a series of pointless and impossible stunts by a tiny, seemingly infallible scrotum-man. In episode one they had 24 hours to set up a business selling fish-based lunches to office workers, despite having no experience in that field. Making any money would be an achievement, as would managing not to take out hundreds of innocent passersby with food poisoning.

But from the comfort of our own home we are allowed to feel superior and pretend we would be able to set up a competitive piscine catering company in under a day, with a load of pricks that we’ve never met before and make more than £1.87 profit.

The real reason the show works though is the riddle trapped in an enigma, stored inside a melted Spitting Image puppet of Sid James’s testicle that is Lord Alan Sugar. I am obsessed with this man. He is my hero, who despite making his fortune largely through computing, will quite regularly go on Twitter and ask his four and a half million followers what the current Spurs score is. Surely he must be overwhelmed with responses and given that he is clearly on the internet why can’t he check himself? Perhaps he’s using one of his Amstrad emailer phones and doesn’t want to risk paying the tariff for going online? Or is it, as I like to imagine, because he’s secretly very lonely and just enjoys the human contact of five hundred thousand people telling him that it’s 2-1 to Spurs.

I also like Sugar because he can’t pronounce the word “resumé”, charmingly calling it a “res-oooo-may”. Given he works on a show that involves checking a lot of resumés this might be seen as a drawback which would have seen him lose out on hosting the show. But he’s overcome this disability admirably. I don’t think anyone dares correct him, because his finger has the power to put them out of work. My theory is that whichever candidate shouts, “It’s pronounced resumé, you pillock!” will have passed the test and be given the keys to the Amstrad emailer phone factory, like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, (when Charlie points out what Willy Wonka actually sounds like and Wonka resigns in shame).

And of course Sugar’s bon mots (or as he calls them “bone moats”) are worth the licence fee in themselves.  My favouritewas when he told the new candidates “ You all look good on paper.... but then so do fish and chips". It sounded like an insult, but when you thought about it you realised it couldn’t be.  Because generally if fish and chips look good on paper, they turn out to be good. It would only be derogatory if he followed it up by saying, “I don’t like fish and chips on paper, so what I am saying is that you are all rubbish”. And he didn’t say that. So he must have liked them.

Watch The Apprentice. It’s genuinely the best show on the telly.

I performed at the Royal Albert Hall last Friday. Alas I was in the Elgar Rooms, whilst Cliff Richard was on the main stage, back from his summer holiday. But it meant that Cliff  was heckling me throughout: “You’re just  devil woman!” I didn’t really have a comeback. “It’s so funny how we don’t talk any more,” he continued. He was right, I had nothing. We made a great double act. But are we Cliff and Richard or Richard and Herring?