In Ireland the popular Reality Show „The Apprentice“ broadcasts these weeks an own version. I started watching it to pass the time till the new season of Apprentice UK which is my favorite one, although I’m also looking forward to the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice in the US. The first one has been quite funny, especially when Piers Morgan got into trouble with Omarosa and finally showed Country-Singer Trace Adkins how the charity thing works.

Back to Ireland: by episode four it turned out that Irish Apprentice is a great show. It’s a very good version with great debates in the boardroom. So, what’s different from the UK Version: At first sight, not much. The concept licensed by Mark Burnett (Survivor) is nearly the same, same pictures, same look, same dramatization. The entrepreneur is Bill Cullen, selfmade millionaire and businessman, and known for beeing a philantropist. According to wikipedia, he gave all the proceeds from his autobiography „It’s a long way from Penny Apples“ (He started with selling apples, no not the computers) to charity. That may make him as likeable as Sir Alan Sugar from the UK, who’s a supporter of the Labour Party and a nice man too. Cullens sidekicks however are not as great as Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer. The irish sidekicks are his partner, and former glamour model Jackie Lavin (who is not really looking like a model anymore) and PR „guru“ Brian Purcell, who looks more like a hooligan than a businessman. Bringing family into the business and on the screen sometimes is pathetic, as we all have seen in case of Donald Trumps studid children beeing his Apprentice sidekicks. In case of Bill Cullen it’s ok, both, Jackie and Brian, do a good job.

There are two main differences compared to the UK-Version. First, the show lacks of humor and charme. Secondly, due to financal reasons it’s connected with the real business, or explicitly with the business of the sponsors. Producer Larry Bass said in an interview with IFTN:

Our show is modeled on the US series – you will see a reflection of the BBC series given that it is the same format. But unlike the BBC which has very strict guidelines and regulations in relation to commercials products, our show is based on the US show which has full partners on the project so that the tasks that our candidates do are real tasks in real businesses, and that’s the main difference.

This however makes the tasks sometimes a little bit stupid. So the candidates had to sell food from a junk food provider namend Supermacs, which wasn’t really tasty at all. Also the show got into trouble regarding accusations of product placement. Times Online also reported payments for advertising the prizes, the winning team gets at the end of each show: „“€5,000 includes the filming of the contestants using the prize, an introduction by the host Bill Cullen and a credit in the closing roller.”

Nevertheless, the show rises and falls with it’s candidates. One is outstanding so far: Joanna Murphy, a 33 year old Sales Director, who seems to be a little too self-conscious and resitant to any form of criticism. She is also the reason, why I enjoyed the fourth episode so much: Her complete failure during the pitches in this episode openend a view behind her professional and arogant attitude, which nevertheless became dominant in the boardroom again. It was one of greatest boardroom scenes I’ve ever seen on this programme.

The last episode from season four of Apprentice UK has attracted over 9 Million viewers, the ratings in Ireland are still behind its RTE competition. With 276.000 viewers (3rd epsiode) it had a 17pc share of viewers aged over 15, while the UK Version had an audience share mostly over 30pc.

But as we know: It’s a long way from Penny Apples.