'The Apprentice' gets a British flavour

MUMBAI: It is time now for an ambitious Brit to get fired! The reality show The Apprentice has crossed the Atlantic. The BBC has announced a localised version of the show which kicks off on BBC Two in the UK from 19 February.

Last month Dubai based real estate company Emaar Properties had announced plans to launch a local version of the show in the desert sheikhdom.

The original version hosted by corporate magnet Donald Trump airs on NBC in the US and in India on Star World. The BBC version will see 14 young high-fliers shortlisted from thousands, battling it out through a gruelling selection process. They compete for a £100,000 year-long job with self-made tycoon Sir Alan Sugar.

As in the American show the candidates in the BBC show are from varying backgrounds - from property developer to charity fundraiser, from headhunter to hotel manager. They also range from MBA graduates to some who left school without qualifications.

The 14 candidates have to face a 12 week job interview. Each week their ambition, business flair and their wits will be tested to the full as they compete in business tasks set by Sir Alan.

Displaying a certain degree of contempt for wannabe business entrepreneurs Sir Alan says, "Lots of people claim to be an entrepreneur and they're not. You can't learn to be an entrepreneur, I am afraid to say. It's something that's in you. I don't want to blow my own trumpet but I'm looking for someone similar to me."

He also shot out a blunt warning to the contestants saying, "Never ever underestimate me because you will be making a fatal error. I don't like liars, I don't like cheats, I don't like bullshitters, I don't like schmoozers and I don't like arse-lickers."

The candidates will be divided into teams and the team that wins the weekly assignment will be given a reward. However the losers must report to the boardroom for a showdown with Sir Alan who grills them on their mistakes. If his bluntness is anything to go by then it could well turn out to be a nerve racking experience for the participant whose neck is on the chopping block.

Throughout the series the candidates will live together in a luxury eight bedroom mansion on the banks of the river Thames and experience a taste of the high life they aspire to.

Sir Alan left school at the age of 16 and started trading from a small council flat. By the Eighties his Amstrad computer was a household name across Europe. Thick-skinned and uncompromising, he became Chairman then hate figure at Tottenham Hotspur, but he's still their biggest single shareholder. At the age of 57, Sir Alan is still at the top of his game with a global empire worth £700 million.

As had been reported earlier by NBC has launched another version of The Apprentice in the US which will be hosted by Martha Stewart.

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