While these days I don’t watch much TV, and most of watch I do so on “catch up”, there are some programs I rather enjoy and follow whenever I can. As if I needed reminding, Christmas is less than a week away and three such programs came to a head in the weekend that has just gone, all shown on BBC and can be seen again via BBC iPlayer: “Strictly Come Dancing”, “Sports Personality of the Year” and “the Apprentice”. At best, I have only dipped into these programs this year but enough to get the gist of what went on.
I must admit twangs of guilt for liking Strictly, given the revealing costumes worn and the closeness of the couples, which would not have been approved of by my Puritan like forbearers. But the idea of taking celebrities with little or no dance experience and pairing them up with professional dancers, and then pitting them against each other in dance competition in order to find out who is the best dancer, is an inspired one and gives a good deal of entertainment, helped by a tried and tested format involving presenters, musicians, judges, presenters, celebrities and professions. There is something quite enticing watching people dance and dance well. After several weeks of competition, where one by one celebrities fell by the wayside, we were left at the weekend with just three dancers. Thankfully they were the best three (no guarantee given the public decides) and no one can begrudge the couple who won it.
As a keen sports fan, the idea of being reminded of many of the more significant sporting happenings in the past year, and rewarding the best sports people, is an appealing one, and the Sports Personality of the Year Program is an annual event that goes back for as long as I can remember. As with Strictly, the viewing public have an opportunity to vote who they think are the best. But I have a gripe – unlike with Strictly, the Sports Personality of the Year award did not go to the right person, even though the person who won, Andy Murray, has much to commend him. The same went for the team of the year, Leicester City FC. I suspect it was because of a large popular following who voted, as much as anything, that led to the results. For the record, I would have awarded the trophies to Kate Richardson-Walsh and the GB ladies hockey team. As for the other trophies, I felt, on balance, the right choices were made and the program remains one that I am keen to check out every time the opportunity comes, around this time in the year.
I have to confess this year I have not been following “the Apprentice” this year and almost missed the finale. Like the two afore-mentioned programs, the format is one that has proved successful over a number of years. In this case, a number of young business people compete against each other to become the business partner of the well known entrepreneur, Lord Alan Sugar. They are set a number of tasks and are put in competing teams, where they need to work together, in order to complete the tasks. Each week, the least successful, in the opinion of the Lord Sugar and his trusted aides, is eliminated and only two were left for the final that took place over the weekend. I must admit, the idea of being able to come up and run with business ideas in a wide variety of contexts is a fascinating one, as well as seeing how the contestants fare. It brings out both the best and the worst in people. Just as dancing and sport are activities that have certain merit, so is business. I think one of the most significant things anyone can do is to run a business, especially one that delivers something worthwhile at the end and employs others. If I had my time again, that is what I would have liked to do. The best I can do now is to watch the Apprentice.