Apprentice 2023 interviews

The Apprentice’s interviews week is a toxic, mean-spirited mess and it needs to be axed

Anyone fancy watching women be torn down and reduced to tears for an hour?

There was a time where the interviews week of The Apprentice was a hallowed and special hour of the series. A time for the cat to be put amongst the pigeons – for the greatest five minds of the season to be drilled down and put through their paces and a chance for their business plans to shine and for Sugar to choose his two finalists. At this point, we should have five candidates all pretty worthy of both some praise and a spot in the final two – otherwise what were the last 10 weeks even for? But The Apprentice of recent has proven time and time again it is only interested in tearing its candidates down, and this year’s interviews prove why 2023 should be the last time the show ever conducts itself this way again.

An exercise in nastiness

The same faces come back to haunt this week of the process year after year, most notably Mike Souter, Linda Plant and Claude Littner. Claude is ruthless, but I’d argue the most fair of the bunch. Mike just wants to make an idiot out of people, and always had a ludicrous prop to plonk on the table in the hope of making someone feel like absolute garbage. The worst of the worst is Linda Plant – a woman so vicious and who takes so much pleasure in ridiculing whoever comes in front of her that at some point you have to just marvel at the sheer coldness.

This year, Karren Brady joined the panel – and unlike the candidates she tried to lambast at every possible moment, I won’t be referring to her as Baroness. Watching Karren do the interviews was like watching someone try and do their best impression of how they thought they should behave – toe curling.

The worst bit of it all is when they all reconvene in Sugar’s boardroom and laugh at everyone like the bunch of absolutely minted and out of touch folk they are – truly a grim watch when five businesswomen sit outside waiting to find out if their career is about to be changed forever or not. As much as the show likes us to treat it as a joke, for these women it’s deadly serious.

‘That’s Baroness Brady to you’ – but is it?

Everyone on earth has seen the peak of funny and savage interviews from The Apprentice long before it turned to shite in 2023. When Claude Littner lured Solomon in with the praise for his CV only to annihilate him for the sailboats pictures in the business plan, it was cinema. It felt fair and savage at the same time, and every year it goes viral. It’s impossible to scroll past and not watch it.

Both the BBC and Karren Brady know this, so my theory is she was briefed to take on her debut interviews appearance with the goal to create a similarly savage and cutting moment that would have viewers live tweeting along with the episode declare her an icon, a girl boss, a baddie and a savage. Megan was the recipient of this, and the flaws in the plan showed faster than the tears flowed in the episode.

For one, Karren Brady has said previously that the contestants should just call her Karren, and when she tried call Megan out on accidentally not saying Baroness Brady but didn’t call Dani out on the same thing it was transparent beyond belief.

If they’re all so shit, why waste our time?

This is an issue with The Apprentice 2023 as a whole, but one that’s particularly apparent when it comes to the interviews. The show spends so long telling us that these candidates are the worst we’ve ever seen, that their business plans are useless and Sugar bellows out that they’re a “bladdy disgrace”.

By the time we get to interviews, we then get told even more so that all five of them are useless whilst we watch them be reduced to tears. Poor Victoria is leathered for her spelling – something she definitely can’t help even if she should have got someone to check it – and we have to watch her sob in the lift. This isn’t fun hijinks, it’s just an exercise in cruelty.

After all the pasting, we then get two finalists who we know have to believe are the next oracles of business? It doesn’t make any sense. The Apprentice needs to learn that for shows to work like this we have to have success and failure. We mock them when they flop but we need to cheer for them when they nail it too. Look at competition shows like Drag Race – the highs are high! Not everyone can be shit, and if they are please don’t waste our time making them compete and giving them money. I’ve got better things to watch with my time.

The Apprentice continues at 9pm on Thursdays, on BBC One and iPlayer. For all the latest reality TV news, gossip and for the best memes and quizzes, like The Holy Church of Love Island on Facebook.

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