As The Apprentice returns, the effortlessly grumpy Lord Alan Sugar was at pains to avoid talking about his recent court case against a former Apprentice winner and keen to discuss exactly what it is that makes The Apprentice such a success. “The show provides a service,” he’s quoted as saying, in a report from The Independent. “It shows how you can start a business with £250,000 which is not a lot of money.” Really? A quarter of a million pounds isn’t a lot of money? Try telling that… well… pretty much everyone we’ve ever met.

Still, luckily for Alan Sugar, the kind of contestants that The Apprentice attracts aren’t exactly known for their humility, or for having a particularly strong connection with reality. “I take inspiration from Napoleon. I'm here to conquer,” states one contestant boldly, in the opening episode. Another goes for a two-pronged approach: “I have the sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit and the brain of Einstein.” Right. Of course you do. Sir Alan Sugar does a good job of pretending to be bored of “all these bloody clichés.” You know the ones. Those clichés that made the show popular in the first place; the ones that continue to keep the show propped up in the TV ratings and line his pockets year in, year out. Those ones. The selfish, petty bitching, the cringeworthy, hyperbolic business speak, the total lack of common sense, barely veiled by an over-priced education. Yep. Those clichés.

However, Sugar’s no fool. He knows what he wants but he also knows what the viewers expect. “You need a balance between credibility and entertainment,” he says. Essentially, you’ll always have a Stuart Baggs in with the Richard Bransons. 

Alan Sugar
Lord Alan Sugar: the man's no fool