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.

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