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Monthly arts and media column

BBC2’s The Apprentice is now in the middle of its fourth series and the ratings keep on climbing. 7.4 million watched episode five in which the contestants competed to win orders for strange new flavours of ice cream. The show soars over the success of personality driven vehicles such as Big Brother because of the need for contestants to demonstrate skills in the real world.

Eleanor Margesson

Having said that, there are still plenty of personalities at work. At the heart of the programme lies the ruthless character of Sir Alan Sugar. The 61-year-old offers young wannabe tycoons the enticing prize of working with him and over 20,000 applied to take part in the show. His hardnosed business approach has made him the 92nd richest person in the UK with a personal fortune of £830m. Most young people today want that. Yet many GCSE Business Studies teachers are using clips from the series to show classes how not to do business in the real world.