Rome’s Colosseum has been through some major changes in its history.
It was originally intended as a theatre.
Mock sea battles, and mythological dramas were enacted for the well-educated Roman public.
But as time passed, and as the Roman Empire began to wane, successive Roman Emperors felt they needed to hold on to their grass-roots support.
The Colosseum began to change.
A number of additional levels were built on to the original design.
A heavy canvass roof was added, to provide shade to the spectators – to encourage them to stay longer in the company of the Emperor.
Colosseum productions began to change; shows became shorter, and a typical show had more breaks, during which popular news items were read out.
And with these changes, came darker changes in content.
The competitions gradually began to pander to the lowest levels of Roman society.
Re-enactments gave way to brutal Gladiatorial fights.
Tales of glorious deeds from Roman history were replaced by the unedifying blood-letting of Christians v Lions.
And at the head of the blood and gore, judging the mood of the public to ensure his decisions echoed their views, sat the Roman Emperor.
Ironically, the morally-declining spectacles that were performed in the Colosseum could be seen to document the decaying slide of the once-great Roman Empire.
I used to like The Apprentice.
As ‘reality’ TV went, it was one of the better offerings.
The Apprentice was an eliminiation-based show, where a clutch of hopefuls would be put through a range of business-orientated tasks.
Sitting in judgement over their performances would be Sir Alan (now Lord) Sugar, and two of his advisors.
At the end of each show, one of the candidates would get rejected by Sir Alan/Lord Sugar, until – at the conclusion of the series – the surviving candidate would be offered a job in the Sugar Empire.
Lately – in the last couple of series – I have lost The Apprentice faith.
Despite the title sequence which proclaims the candidates are the brightest and the best, the reality is that they all seem to have been selected from the shallow end of the gene pool.
And they’re becoming more stupid, with each passing series.
The Apprentice candidates now seem to be drawn exclusively from a place where common sense, intelligence, and business acumen are all remarkably absent.
The candidates are so handicapped by their stunted personalities, that watching The Apprentice is now like watching a bunch of drunken stupid people, failing to complete a child’s jigsaw.
And really, if you ran a successful business, would you want to enter in to a commercial arrangement with any of the current crop of examples of hopelessness?
So it occurs to me, that it’s time we updated The Apprentice.
Rather than have the show mirroring the decline of the entertainment that the Colosseum came to offer, it is time to turn the show on its head, and time to bend the show back, towards reality.
The Apprentice candidates are vying for a place in the business arena, yes?
Why not put them there?
Why not create a dummy company, and put each of the candidates in a number of positions of managerial responsibility?
And why not have their performance judged by the other (real) members of staff?
The Apprentice candidates are supposed to be aiming themselves at success in the business environment, yes?
What better way to test the business acumen of these candidates, than by putting them in to positions of corporate responsibility, where they can be assessed by their own subordinates?
It’s a kind of reverse appraisal.
Currently The Apprentice candidates are assessed against an unwritten criteria.
They are judged on how well they have performed on a task that usually involves selling things that people don’t really want.
But in my redesign, ‘the brightest and the best’ would have their business suitability assessed against on-the-job scenarios.
And they would be judged by their colleagues/staff.
Successful candidates could be moved forward to another role in the dummy organisation.
The less successful candidates would be consigned to the mail room.
Or the car pool.
Because, let’s face it, there is more to business than selling.
The Apprentice candidates must know – and must experience – that being successful in business means being competent in all aspects of running a business.
Selling ice to Eskimos is just one small facet of being in business (assuming that one’s business is selling ice to the Eskimo market).
Because it doesn’t matter how good a salesperson one is.
If a person can’t actually run the company in the first place, the business will die.
So let’s steer The Apprentice away from the ‘Throwing Village Idiots To The Lions’ game.
And let’s produce a generation of business leaders while we’re at it.
Because that would be cool.
That would be Entertainment Plus.