Undercover Boss Review: Power To The People

June 18, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

UNDERCOVER BOSS, Thursday 18th June, 9pm Alert Me

Holiday parks are rubbish aren’t they?

I think I’d find them like a waking nightmare – cramped accommodation, awful food and being “entertained? by sing-a-long cabaret bingo.

Worse than that, you’d have to spend it in Britain, so there’s no escapism there. I think I’d leave more irritated than when I arrived. Working there’s got to be no fun either – imagine pandering to a load of miserable, grumpy plebs all day long.

Marketing Director Andrew Edge thinks so too and he’s on a mission undercover to find out what’s wrong with the machine. Think of it as The Cook Report, only with less of a budget.

So Andrew chips in for a few days here and there at a holiday park in Norfolk joining the cleaning teams on their round and finding out what hard work it is singing Sheb Wooley’s irritating novelty song ‘Purple People Eater’ and dancing on stage like a prat to a bunch of unimpressed British holiday makers.

Unsurprisingly, he finds that not all is well in the lower echelons of his would-be empire. The cleaning staff are disillusioned, poorly motivated and openly declare hating their jobs. The kitchens are a bio-hazardous wasteland; overworked cook Sean trying to his best to keep 200 breakfasts on the go whilst trying not to trip over plug sockets and plunging his head into the deep-fat fryer.

Andrew’s appalled but sympathetic and vows to change the system. Off he pops to the Isle of Wight to visit their most popular resort. Here everything is running swimmingly thanks to the efficient restructuring by hospitality manager Fiona Page.

Noting the differences, Andrew shuffles back to Head Office and offers such insights into his experience as “It made me realise that as a director, I rarely see behind the scenes?. With such profundity, it’s amazing he hasn’t been hailed as a 21st Century Confucius.

The underlings are summoned to Head Office and are summarily praised or told to buck up their ideas. Kitchen serf Sean is offered a course in catering at the local college and the staff of the Isle of Wight resort is given a luxury five-star hotel break as a reward.

The programme evokes mixed feelings. On the one hand it’s good to see a high-level manager willing to get his hands dirty and actually listen to his workforce. On the other, Andrew’s the Marketing Director. What better way to promote your company that than an hour-long documentary on Channel 4 where Park Resorts is shown as a caring sharing employer willing to make a difference to the lives of their employees?!

It doesn’t really offer much more insight than “If workers are unhappy, they do a crap job?.

And I still think holiday parks are rubbish.

Jez Sands