The finalists are now insisting that they have a job for life, after an attempt to sack one competitor resulted in massive student demonstrations, major strikes across the French public sector and the burning of lorries on the auto-route.
The show has now been renamed ‘Restez en place!’ and follows the various contestants as they negotiate down their 35 hour week and threaten to work to rule over the inadequacy of a two hour lunch-break. Meanwhile the host, Alain de Sucre observes their attempts in the various tasks he set them, such as selling over-priced stale baguettes at a French market in Hertfordshire or working as a Parisian waiter without smiling. After they have failed miserably he tells them what he thinks of them. ‘Vous êtes une pièce de merde’ or ‘Vous n’avez pas un clue saignant!’ before pausing for effect and delivering the show’s punch-line; ‘Mais… Restez en place!’
The head of TF1 is under intense criticism for buying the rights to The Apprentice without checking if the BBC format could work under French employment law. ‘He is totally incompetent and is not fit to run a television channel,’ said one colleague. ‘Mark my words – he will certainly be out of a job when he retires on full salary in 2028.’