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The Apprentice is an absurd caricature of the business world. Why is the BBC so sure the public aren't interested in programmes that enlighten rather than just entertain?

A complaint often made against British television is that it hates business: profits are a dirty word, companies are run by aggressive, grasping people without any moral scruples. The latest series of The Apprentice, being shown on BBC1, provides ample support for this thesis. This is the third series of the very popular format show in which, over 12 weeks, 16 people compete to become “the apprentice” to entrepreneur Alan Sugar. Each week the competitors, divided into two teams, are given a task, and one member of the losing team is unceremoniously sacked by Sugar.

In one show, the losing…

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