Well, it looks like it is working.

He may have got unceremoniously and deservedly booted off The Apprentice in week one, but Nicholas De-Lacy Brown is managing to grab his 15 seconds of fame while he can.

The double-barrelled fledgling barrister and tortured, frustrated artist turned up on BBC Breakfast this morning to talk about snobbery.

He was a good choice in so many ways. One cannot help thinking that his rather aloof and patronising manner in the fleeting glimpse we were afforded of him on The Apprentice did not highlight his best qualities.

And yet, he apparently came from humble beginnings. He is clearly proud of his roots as, on the BBC’s Apprentice site, Nicholas informs us: “My father fought the hurdles of his working class upbringing to provide me with privileged education and luxury.”

Born plain old Nicholas Brown – I doubt he’s ever said, “Just call me Nicky-boy” – he added his grandmother’s name De-Lacy to help him sound more sophisticated.

Unfortunately, the only real example he was able to cite on Breakfast of adding De-Lacy to Brown to make a more impressive, sophisticated and persuasive surname involved upgrading to a better restaurant table.

He then went on to mainly agree with the BBC’s other guest this morning, day-time TV’s favourite psychonaut Dr Linda Papadopoulos, that the double-barrelled surname is largely irrelevant to the air of self-confidence you manage to ooze out of every pore.

It wasn’t the most impressive of performances from Nicholas, slightly worrying given his chosen profession. He failed to argue his own case before getting fired by Sir Alan Sugar and this morning singularly failed to argue…well, anything really.

Maybe his heart wasn’t in it. That is fair enough, but he still managed to miss the chance to make the most of being on the telly again by pushing his less-than-secret artistic bent.

In other words, the whole item was yet another BBC Breakfast non-story. Info-tainment at its puff-ball worst, it was allegedly a news item featured on a news programme presented by news journalists that was devoid of any news.

It was illustrated by clips from another BBC show (obviously), inevitably in this case it was Keeping Up Appearances, but I was mainly left none the wiser about what was actually being discussed in relation to snobbery and what conclusions (if any) we could draw.

The story was something to do with social superiority, whether it still exists and how we react to it and the BBC’s “panel of experts” as they were described – the failed reality TV star and the ubiquitous Dr Linda – were there to take part in a considered and informed discussion.

New research suggests we are instinctively programmed to react positively to those we regard as our social superiors. I don’t know where the research has come from (we weren’t told, other than “scientists”) or what it actually entails, although something in our brains allegedly lights up to tell us we are in the presence of someone who is socially superior.

I watched the item twice, once before 8am and then again after 8.30am, but I’m still none the wiser. I’ll keep searching for more information, as the research itself could throw up some interesting snippets, but I’ll avoid the Beeb.

The BBC recently revamped its news brand. Some are criticising the Beeb for continuing to chase style over substance – a familiar failing these days, in everything from the approach of Apprentice candidates to media organisations trying to embrace the opportunities new technology can provide.

The latest BBC rebrand itself has largely left me cold.

My only observation is they seem to have forgotten to include the news.


4 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    Yes, the hapless Nicholas. I don’t watch Breakfast TV so I didn’t see the item.

    In many ways I feel sorry for the boy – he is barely out of his nappies, and clearly out of his depth. There are people who are naturally confident and can state their case. He isn’t and he can’t.

    Which proves: Whilst a double-barrelled name might get you a better table in a restaurant (which is actually complete nonsense) it most certainly won’t make you into an eloquent and convincing barrister.

    As to the assertion that ‘social superiority’ induces positive feelings in mere underlings – whoever cooked up that theory has never had the privilege of cleaning superior bathrooms for money, open doors for other people or read up on the French Revolution.

    Paul, I hope I won’t have to see you in court (though of course I’d like to see you) by way of suing me on the charge of plagiarism but I’d like to take up a few strands of your piece on my own blog. And yes, I’ll defend myself, though Nicholas is most welcome to come, watch and learn.


  2. Paul Groves says:

    Ursula: Feel free, I’ll look forward to reading your blog.
    I still can’t find any further info on the research, which is really annoying. But I’ll keep looking and post a link when if and when I find something.

  3. […] Snobbery, an Apprentice failure and BBC News rebranding […]

  4. […] Snobbery, an Apprentice failure and BBC News rebranding […]

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