Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rough diamond puts Risborough on the business map

So, Princes Risborough's Lee 'That's what I'm talking about' McQueen has been crowned as Sue Ellen Sugar 's new Apprentice.

The BBC series came to a close last night with most money on Claire to take the title, but Lee, the diamond in the rough, had done just enough to convince the beardy wonder that he's got the right stuff to make it in the Sugar'd world where being a grafter counts for more than having a nice line in presentation skills.

Actually, Claire could just as easily won, but perhaps Lee, the slightly inarticulate, bad-spelling, CV-enhancing pterodactyl impersonator needed the role more.

Certainly he seems more of a chip off the Amstrad block that oleaginous Alex or glowering Helene. Actually, I knew she hadn't won as she already had her website set up (ok, in development) several weeks ago.

I don't claim to know Lee at all, but vaguely recognised him when the series started as someone we'd see shopping with his girlfriend in M&S and Tesco in Risborough. He lives in Lacey Green, up the hill from us in Risborough, but hasn't been spotted down in town for ages, prompting speculation that he's been working in Sue Ellen's empire for a little while now (the series was filmed in summer/autumn last year).

I hope he does well. He came across as a naturally warm bloke, without the calculating plan and with the, seemingly, naive view that 'delivering' would be enough to see him through. It turned out not to be naive as the UK's answer to Donald Trump probably saw rather more of himself in Lee than in any of the other candidates.

I don't see Lee gracing the boardroom of many FTSE100s in the future, but for Sugar, the key to success is graft, tenacity and a willingness to learn. Lee, probably more than any of his other apprentices or candidates appears to fit that mould best.

Two highlights of the series stood out for me: why on earth did Lee whose speech is decidedly challenged when it comes to pronouncing his Rs decide on the name Ryan for his target market man in the last challenge - and for that matter, was 'Woulette' the best possible name for his fragrance?

My second highlight was the unmasking of Jenny C as the unmitigated snake in this year's crop. Unpleasant, dogmatic, devious and dishonest, she reminded me so much of my last corporate boss, and will probably end up as the HR director of a large organisation. Watching her squirm last night as Sue Ellen recapped her attempt to climb to the top over the bodies of others brought a very satisfied smile to my face.

Sometimes it's nice to see the good guy win!

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