I’m underwhelmed in a way that I haven’t been since…well, the last series finale of The Apprentice.

In keeping with the entire series, nothing much happened in the last episode other than confirmation of a known-knowns as regards Lord Sugar and the programme he fronts.

Wrestling Ricky, aka The Fitness, strolled to a comfortable victory in the final of the latest series and would now like to be known as Richard Martin, something that probably pleases his mum and Lord Sugar.

And we were left wondering whether the last few weeks had actually been worth the effort.

Ricky “Richard” Martin – a £250,000 investment and a boring business idea.

Ricky, sorry Richard, presented a clear, comprehensive and cohesive business plan for his grand idea and the £250,000 investment was never in doubt. Lord Sugar and his Assembled Avengers were suitably impressed with The Apprentice’s simple but effective strategy, unfortunately it made for rather dull viewing.

The biggest things we learned from this final week were more like confirmation of what we already knew.

Firstly, it pays to be loud, obnoxious and ignorant these days as it gets you noticed. Secondly, Lord Sugar hates taking risks.

So, it was goodbye to Jade (horrible business idea which she had no enthusiasm for herself), Nick (promising idea, but totally misguided in suggesting it was the Facebook of the recipe world and would earn tens of millions) and most notably Tom, who came up with a risky idea and earned praise for the thoroughness of his business plan and kudos for his confidence.

But Tom lost because his plan was too much of a risk for the self-made multi-millionaire scrapper who fought his way to the top but now much prefers to play it safe.

And that is why Ricky won.

You can’t blame his little Lordship…well, maybe a little. He is a pensioner and he clearly doesn’t want to do anything other than invest £250,000 and watch his Apprentice – sorry, new business partner – create a profit for him.

Despite his trusted sidekick Nick’s valiant attempt to big up Tom’s idea and tempt Lord Sugar into taking the risk, Ricky Richard Wrestling Fitness Man’s plan for a niche recruitment agency proved far more exciting.

It was all a bit dull and predictable. It is safe, but it is not good telly.

Very safe, but not a very good TV.

We didn’t even get the type of fireworks we’ve previously seen when Lord Sugar’s hit squad went to work.

Chief pitbull Claude Littner raised hope of some classic character assassination when he welcomed Ricky Richard into the interview room. But despite pulling his personal statement to bits, Claude then turned into a one-man cheering squad for Ricky Richard’s business plan.

There was even a depressing acknowledgement from Lord Sugar that it pays to be loud, opinionated, deluded, obnoxious, arrogant and stupid these days as it puts you ahead of the rest. The secret to success comes in tempering those horrible qualities sufficiently to convince people you have a good idea and are worth an investment. And that is exactly what Ricky Richard did.

For the first few weeks he said dumb things, he shouted loudest, he made the wildest boasts, he performed well in Lord Sugar’s eyes (which means he sold stuff) and then gradually we saw less of the obvious obnoxious characteristics and more selling, more consideration and a more business-like apporoach.

He transformed from Wrestling Ricky into Reasonable and Reliable Richard in front of our eyes and secured the £250,000  without breaking a sweat.

Ricky Richard had clearly done his homework as regards The Apprentice.

Be a prick and get an audience, but know when to tone it down and create an illusion of professionalism.

You might still be a prick at the end of the process, but you’ll also be £250,000 better off.

So what does that make us for still watching?

One response »

  1. Ursula says:

    To answer your last question: As long as you, Paul, watch and comment I shall do so too. I don’t care what that makes me.

    My heart skipped a beat when the Lord weighed (for a second) whether to take a risk or play it safe. He is rich, he is retired, why not take a risk? He didn’t. Obviously none of us are nailed to a spot on the greasy pole of respect but he sure did come down a notch or two in my eyes. Old dog, a new approach? And pigs might fly. Talk about an anti climax.

    U

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