They said The Apprentice couldn’t be improved, but TV wizard Donald Trump has gone one better with The White House, a format with even more sackings, more calamities and his trademark witty asides about women, minorities and the healing powers of bleach.
In The Apprentice, odious people were appointed as project managers to expose their weaknesses and precipitate a sacking. In new show The White House, top professionals are set real-world tasks, and then sacked for no obvious reason.
Viewer figures have been excellent, with the traditional ‘car crash’ moments occurring almost daily. In the current season apprentices have to manage an actual pandemic. They are given access to top scientists – many of the sackees are, themselves, top scientists – but despite all the science their key task is to try and guess what Donald is thinking. Get it wrong and . . . You’re Fired! The results are hilarious, with tens of thousands of corpses and a steady trail of fired apprentices trudging away from The White House.
British pundits are openly envious of the sheer scale and audacity of The White House. BJ Johnson, a second-rate TV ‘personality’ in the UK has attempted a spin-off show called Number Ten, but – as with so many things – the British version is a pale imitation of the American original, although the corpse count is impressively high for such a small nation. Rather than sacking people on an arbitrary basis, BJ seems determined to hire random folk, such as the smirking Priti Patel (who might actually have been a candidate on The Apprentice) or the amusingly ineffectual Matt Hancock, believed to be the reincarnation of Private Pike from Dad’s Army.