BBC Head of Entertainment Victoria Forster was horrified today to realise that it had completely slipped her mind to cancel The Apprentice in 2008. Forster had been browsing BBC iPlayer at random when she came across last week’s episode, in which two teams of budding entrepreneurs competed to see who had the shiniest suit, whilst attempting to flog crates of discount starfruit at a market somewhere in the Docklands.
The primetime business competition, which debuted on British screens in 2004, features Lord Alan Sugar delivering such zingers as “You said you’re my dream, but with the greatest possible respect, you’ve been a nightmare”, “Can you stop talking in semaphore, we’re not sending each other text messages!” and “Never mind aloe vera, it looks like it’s goodbye Sarah” for twelve weeks, before choosing one candidate’s business more-or-less at random to receive a modest injection of start-up capital.
“Boy, did I drop the ball on this one,” commented a clearly embarrassed Forster. “I heard Margaret Mountford had gone to uni to complete her PhD, and of course the boring one went off to do Countdown, so I assumed that the show must have been over. I was as surprised as anyone to learn that it had just been, well, staggering on.”
Forster – who had made what she described as a “solid” plan after the show’s fourth series to call the producer and notify him of the cancellation before becoming distracted by an early pilot of Don’t Scare the Hare – was seen making panicked calls to colleagues early this morning, and was reportedly devastated to hear that the programme is currently well into its tenth series.
The show’s cancellation has now finally been set in motion, Forster confirmed. “We might just be in time to get this off the air before the week where they go abroad,” she added, hopefully.