Review: ITV's Undercover Big Boss just represents a sticking plaster on the workers' wounds

Anyone who has ever worked in a junior role has that feeling that the boss knows nothing about the reality of life at the bottom, and this week Undercover Big Boss (ITV, Thurs, 9pm) came along to prove it.

By Phil Cunnington
Friday, 6th August 2021, 6:00 pm

Park home tycoon Alfie Best – last seen being humble in Kathy Burke’s money documentary on Channel 4 – went undercover as gold-toothed, nose-ringed William on his caravan sites to find out what was really going on in his park home business.

First port of call was a park in Penwortham, near Preston, where the residents were complaining to poor, put-upon maintenance man Julio about the state of the drains.

Having dredged a few handfuls of wet wipes from the sewers – and antagonised some of the residents – Best went on to meet van sales executive Richard and ‘clubhouse’ franchise holder Donna, both of whom – like Julio – seemed unsupported and cheesed-off.

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Alfie Best went undercover at his company’s park homes sites in a new ITV documentary series called Undercover Big Boss

By the end, it seemed the scales had fallen from Best’s eyes and he was handing out Caribbean holidays, pay rises and £250,000 investments to his employees.

The problem is, we have seen this before, firstly in BBC’s Back to the Floor, and then in Channel 4’s Undercover Boss. Every decade, the bosses of the country’s big businesses suddenly get the urge to live like common people, as Jarvis Cocker once said, and then apply a sticking plaster to the gaping wounds in their company.

You can’t help thinking that it shouldn’t take a documentary crew to realise that valuing employees, paying them properly and making sure they have what they need to do their jobs properly is what pays dividends.

And if you don’t believe me, ask your employees.

The Top Gear old boys – quite literally, these days – were back in another special, this time churning up picturesque parts of Scotland in Lochdown (Amazon Prime). It’s all getting a bit old and tired now.

A promising sitcom began this week – Buffering (ITV2, Thurs, 9pm). I know I’m not ITV2 ’s target audience, but this comedy starring and co-written by Iain Stirling, the voice of Love Island, had heart and good few laughs.

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