Arresting entertainment worldwide

20 February 2005

In America, billionaire Donald Trump stars in the reality television programme “The Apprentice”. Attractive and devilishly ambitious business rookies compete in tasks that help Donald distinguish the winners from the losers. “You’re fired,” he says at least once every week, until the season ends, and one lucky winner gets placed in a senior position at one of Trump’s many companies, like a cherry on top of a cream puff.

The UK has its own version of the show and has recently cast Virgin mega-billionaire Richard Branson as the new role model for the ambitious to imitate. (Correction: Alan Sugar hosts the UK version, Richard Branson stars in version of the show on competing network Fox)

As soon as US household empress Martha Stewart is released from prison, she will host her own Apprentice show too. They've already held auditions. I couldn’t help noticing that the wealthy host for the Danish version of the show, Klaus Riskær Pedersen, has also been in serious trouble with the law in France and in Denmark.

I called NBC and asked them to send me a list of countries that are airing local versions of the Apprentice. They sent me a list of television networks in 35 different countries (click on the link below to see the list). I’d really like to know how many of these hosts have police records.

The show is being broadcast on all continents, including Namibia, Slovenia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, and Korea. Who knew?

I know it’s a show that encourages wanton greed and cut-throat ambition, but I’m still surprised there aren’t more people commenting on the irony of the fact that if you make enough money your character (or at least suitability as youth role model) isn’t questioned. But I guess there's nothing new about that.

If you’ve got the digs on a host in your home country, let me know.

Here's a list of the countries that broadcast local versions of NBC's "The Apprentice":

Netherlands & Luxembourg
South Africa
Middle East
Latin America (Mexico, South America)
Pan-Asia Satellite
United Kingdom
New Zealand

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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