Jason Leech, was a gentleman and a scholar… literally – he was frightfully posh and a historian by trade. But despite the best efforts of the producers to portray him as Tim Nice But Dim, and his insipid co-candidates to prey upon his good nature to get a leg up in the Nietzschean “process” that is The Apprentice, Jason emerged with his head held high.
He is without a doubt the nicest man ever to have entered the boardroom, and has been a breath of fresh air in this latest run of the show.
In recent years, The Apprentice has begun to show its age. It’s increasingly become a parody of itself: Alan Sugar has got “grumpier”, the candidates have become more self-aware and annoying, and the tasks have become increasingly generic.
I was extremely close to not bothering at all with this year’s Apprentice (much like last year), until that is, I saw Jason Leech. Filled with innocence and charm, honesty and honour, here stood a man who rose head and shoulders above the suited and booted business-grubs who who’s first words weren’t “‘mummy’ they were money”.
Ok, Jason wasn’t the most decisive man when it came to business decisions, nor (beyond one caravan) was he the greatest salesman. Perhaps there are more accomplished marketing strategists, too, and when it comes to leadership, Jason’s immediate abdication in the face of a challenge from a team member isn’t what you’d get from most project managers.
However, as a television personality, and human being, Jason was great. Quite unintentionally, he entertained us, but more importantly he showed the other Sugarbabes up for what they are… backstabbing, money grabbing and nasty. As he bumbled through the process, trying to see the good in everything, he acted as a strange barometer of sense amidst a sea of corporate buzzword-fuelled insanity.
But he’s such a nice guy that even after Luisa Zissman quite openly constructed his dismissal from the process, Jason could still not publicly criticise her, despite her lips being “stained with blood”. “She’s just a lovely, charming person… I cannot tell a lie!” he blushed on You’re Fired! Jason, we salute you.
But now he’s gone, what’s left? Another bunch of clichés in tailored suits – is it any coincidence that most of those are grey? However much they bitch and battle in the final few episodes, I don’t care who wins, because they’re all as bad as each other.
No, without the shining light of Jason, The Apprentice is over for me.
To paraphrase Don McLean’s seminal folk-pop classic Vincent, “Jason, this process was never made for one as beautiful as you…”