Saturday, 23 May 2009

The True Apprentice: In praise of Adrian Chiles

I have been lucky enough recently to watch a number of the live recordings of the UK TV show The Apprentice: Your're Fired for the last 9 weeks. The format involves an interview of the latest contestant who has been fired by Sir Alan Sugar on the popular BBC1 show, The Apprentice.

Firstly, I would like to praise the creators of You're Fired', as they have constructed a programme which allows viewers to paint their own well-rounded picture of the Apprentice 'evictee' through a comical yet fair interview. The show is hosted by Adrian Chiles together with a rotating panel of three celebrity/business world guests. As a much needed antidote to the Big Brother style interviews, where the evictee is not prepared for a barrage of questions, and is there merely to help satisfy an audence who are baying for blood; this show minimises the animosity felt by the viewing public towards the evictee. They may have come across as rude, inept and even potentially prejudiced, on The Apprentice but each evictee do not deserve unmitigated wrath, and You're Fired redresses the balance between real-life and the one dimensional nature of reality TV.

Secondly, I would like to say how great it is that the audience always seem to keep the results of The Apprentice a secret, for the two days between recording and screening. It helps enliven the experience knowing that the audience genuinely do not wish to spoil the fun for the millions of viewers glued to their seats at home (unlike American idol bloggers from the US who bombarded the UK with the results of the Final a full three days before it was due to be shown here - but that is the power of the Internet for you).

However, the real star of the show is not the evictee, its not the audience, it should be Adrian Chiles himself. This is a man who is a consummate professional. He records another TV programme 'The One Show' at the BBC which finishes about half an hour before You're Fired begins filming. He then races over to the You're Fired studios, striding in confidently, without breaking a sweat. He welcomes the audience each week in a very friendly manner and he is polite to everyone on and around the show, as far as I can make out. He barely seems to rehearse, yet he never has any nerves or shows any frustration if any takes drag on. This is a man whose naturalistic style seems to appeal to viewers of all shapes and sizes, whether it be in his role on the BBC's Football Focus, to the general interest market of the One Show, or to both the gawpers and the suits peppering the You're Fired audience. We don't even seem to be sick of him, and British audiences are extremely quick to develop a distaste for over-exposed presenters. But ultimately, Adrian's greatest skills seems to be his ability to relate and to reserve judgement. At the You're Fired filming he always reminds the audience that the evictee will be nervous and should be allowed to state their case. He laughs with his guests and not at them, and he always seems to provide intelligent insight without coming across as condescending.

I don't know where he has found the time to write a book, cycle huge distances for charity, write articles for newspapers and sometimes still appear on the first show I saw him in 'Working Lunch'!

So I hope that Adrian Chiles reads this, as a devoted supporter of West Bromwich Albion football team, who seem to have forgotten what being a winner means for a season, he should know that he is the true winner of The Apprentice every least in my eyes.

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