Raj Dhonota: I was cannon fodder in reality ratings war

Insider's view: They don't care about the contestants. They look for cracks and expose them

Share
Related Topics

Let me start by saying that producers have a job to do. That job is to win ratings – that's how they are judged. And from the success of the various reality TV shows, most of them have done their job exceptionally well.

But in achieving their goals and winning the ratings war, what price is being paid, and by whom? My answer is simple. A huge price is being paid by the contestants.

From my experiences on The Apprentice, these producers do not care one iota about the welfare of the contestants nor about how their manipulation of the edits could impact on a life. If anything, I think they look for cracks and do whatever they can to expose them. They build you up to break you down. That's what makes "good TV".

We had daily contact with the producers on The Apprentice. They were continuously looking for angles, contriving arguments, encouraging people to fight and cry. They would interview us and tell us what other contestants were allegedly saying about us to get a reaction. Whenever someone would start to argue, break down or cry, the producers and cameras would swarm around like bees.

I remember one producer at an after-show get together laughing about how a contestant was in tears because they were missing their children. With great amusement, he was telling us how he had then cut to another contestant ridiculing people who could not focus on business because of emotional problems. He ended with: "It's hilarious, wait until you see it."

I assume another producer was laughing just as much when he edited the sales pitch I gave to Paul McKenna. Rather than show my speech in full because it was too boring, they edited it to make it look like I was so awestruck that I could not string two sentences together. Imagine knowing the truth, but millions of people believing what they were seeing. Imagine the thought of potential employers or in my case, business clients, thinking you were completely incompetent. It looked so real even my family thought it was the truth. Even now when I meet people, they seem surprised I can pull more than a few sentences together.

I think the pressure can be unbearable for some. In The Apprentice, some loved the idea of being seen by millions while others cowered at the thought. It is the latter, the most vulnerable,who were most exposed by the producers.

You know there will be millions of people watching every move you make, every decision you take. And yet you know the producers are pushing you down a certain avenue. You are being set up to fail. Wherever they could, they would hold us up to delay us so we were under more pressure as time ticked away. Everything is stacked against you. What's worse is that people believe what they see.

I was so disgusted at how the producers manipulated everything in the first series of The Apprentice that I refused to watch it after the sixth episode. I refuse to watch any reality TV programme because I have seen that nothing is as it is made to appear.

The author was a contestant in the first series of The Apprentice in 2005

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'