Lord Sugar needs to do his homework, says borough businessman
A LEADING borough businessman says Lord Alan Sugar needs to do his homework after last night’s episode of The Apprentice, filmed at Merry Hill, badged the mall as an out of town, Birmingham based, shopping complex.
The show, which aired on BBC1, saw Lord Sugar sending off the contestants to Birmingham to sell beauty treatments to shoppers – with team Logic opting to sell at the city’s Bull Ring centre and team Venture picking an ‘out of town’ shopping centre known to most News readers as Merry Hill, located 14 miles away in Brierley Hill.
However programme-makers have left people across the Dudley borough baffled by failing to mention the name of the mall and it’s true location in the Black Country.
Contestant Susan Ma also left Merry Hill shoppers somewhat peeved after branding them “poor”.
Black Country businessman Peter Mathews, chairman of the Black Country consortium and the man who campaigned for the Black Country to be identified formally on UK maps, was furious after hearing how Dudley, Brierley Hill and the Black Country had been whitewashed from the show.
He said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“People like Alan Sugar need to do their homework. It’s discourteous. Black Country people take great pride in where they live.
“This is where the industrial revolution started. If it wasn’t for the Black Country the world’s economy wouldn’t be as it is today.
“The population of the Black Country is slightly larger than Birmingham and there’s more businesses in the Black Country than Birmingham.
The Black Country is a great place to live and work – and the work ethic in the Black Country is probably the best in the country.”
Posts on Merry Hill’s Facebook agreed with Mr Mathews, who says he met Lord Sugar once.
One shopping centre fan, Zoe Austin-Cope, said: “Merryhill is not in Birmingham!!!!”
Another, Samantha Wright, said: “It gave the false impression that we are in Birmingham.”
Others criticised comments made by contestant Susan Ma about people from the Black Country being “poor”.
Cheesed off shopper Melanie Howard said: “Calling us poor cheeky cow. sum people just doe wanna b bothered when shopping.”
Lucy Moore added: “Susan had a cheek saying everyone in merry hill seemed ‘poor’.”
Merry Hill’s marketing team was unable to comment on the matter due to “confidentiality agreements”.
No-one from the BBC or The Apprentice PR team was available for comment either.