Western Mail, 6th May 2011

It’s a must-watch show but how well does it portray the business world? And why aren’t there any Welsh contestants again? Sue Balsom, Melanie Hamer and Alexandra Marr start the debate on what we really think of The Apprentice.

Melanie Hamer, of Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice LLP, said: “I am thrilled to hear that the Apprentice is starting again.

“I hardly watch any TV these days (due to the time constraints of running my own business and raising my family).

“The Apprentice is one programme which I avidly watch every year and thanks to the Sky planner I can ensure that I never miss an episode.

“I find the programme very gripping – although some of the candidates are extremely annoying.

“I always have great fun as an employer watching it to try and work out which candidate I would employ. In the past series, I have had quite a good success rate at spotting the winner/runner up.

“I always tend to concentrate on the candidates who I like and who I think would fit into my office and of course who have common sense.

“I am always amazed at how irritating some of the candidates are and how some of them are so lacking in basic common sense.

“It is very easy however when you sit in your armchair at home to criticise their business decisions. I imagine with the cameras rolling and the pressure of the competition, things are not quite as easy as they seem. Although I would like to think that I have common sense and make good business decisions, I would never in a million years go on a programme such as The Apprentice as I would be concerned that the pressure of tv/careful editing may not show me in the best light!

“I think some of the tasks the candidates are given are not your typical business tasks although I believe a lot of these tasks are designed to show which candidates have flair, initiative and common sense and which do not.

“As a patriotic Welsh businesswoman I would like to see more Welsh candidates on the programme flying the flag for Wales.”