Thursday, 11 August 2011

You're hired Tom - but I doubt I would be

This originally appeared in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday, July 21, the week after former Bath student Tom Pellereau won the Apprentice...

Like I'm sure a lot of people with Bath connections, I let out a hearty cheer on Sunday night when one of our own scooped the The Apprentice title.

Tom Pellereau, a former University of Bath graduate, defied all the speculation to win the top prize and become a business partner with the enigmatic Lord Sugar.

The combination of Tom's brains and inventiveness with the 'good' Lord's famed business acumen should make for a winning partnership and it is certain we'll be hearing a lot more from our former graduate in the years to come.

But it wasn't only because of his local connections that I'm sure many people were pleased Tom had won the contest.

In among the usual collection of ego-driven, cliche-ridden candidates, Tom stood out as being a decent and honourable chap who, unlike some of his fellow colleagues, probably wasn't prepared to sell his granny and all her possessions to win. He had a steel that he revealed when needed and never lost his dignity en route. So well done to our Bath grad.

One of the things I like about The Apprentice is that it is the one (and I think only) television programme that truly unites our editorial office. Even people who would normally rather put the proverbial pin in their eyes than admit to liking reality TV seem to really warm to The Apprentice and it is for that reason I've long regarded it as the middle class Big Brother. It is reality TV for those who don't like reality TV.

In our office if you come into work on a Thursday morning the first thing you do is pick up a copy of this excellent newspaper (of course) and the second thing you do is discuss the previous night's Apprentice You can feel like a bit of a social pariah if you missed the edition and there seems to even be a pecking order in terms of your credibility about whether you watched the follow up You're Fired programme as well. Your kudos goes up if you watched The Apprentice but dips slightly if you didn't watch Dara O Briain's excellent sister act show. It's just that kind of television programme - you have to watch it with the same commitment as the candidates.

Inevitably perhaps, because it is a show we all seem to like and talk about at our office, you do wonder if you and your colleagues and friends would do well in it.

Personally, I have to admit, I don't think I'd be a very good candidate. I like to think I have a few ideas, I can work well as a team member and will happily project manage, but I'm not sure if I would really score with some of the practical tasks that are required. In saying that, however, I am pretty certain that unlike in the programme this year, I would know that the concept of popcorn being the new biscuit is ludicrous, that the French do indeed love their children and that you don't impress people who love their pooches by urging them that they want to give their pet a food called Every Dog.

So I'll stick to watching, I think. After all, if I don't I might not be allowed in the office of a Thursday.

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