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

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition