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The best business TV shows in the UK

Covering business on television used to involve arid discussions among experts about growth forecasts, interest rate fluctuation and economic policy. Recently, the best business TV shows in the UK have turned the focus onto personalities and viewing figures have never been better. Suddenly everyone is an expert on market share.

You're fired

  • The Apprentice heads the list of the best business TV shows in the UK by offering a combination of all the fascinating, voyeuristic elements of a reality show with a grounding in the basics of business success. Many of the contestants seem utterly clueless, but that is a key element of its appeal.

  • Dragons' Den offers a similar dynamic by pitting the dreams of would-be entrepreneurs against the hard-nosed business sense of dragons like Hilary Devey. If nothing else, the show offers evidence of the continued ingenuity of British inventors.

  • Mary, Queen Of Shops, in which Mary Portas tells retailers where they are going wrong, is both infuriating and a revealing insight into stereotyped thinking about retail. Her attempt to drag charity shops upmarket was a classic example of what is wrong with British management theory. Worryingly Portas is a key adviser to the government on regenerating British High Streets.

Business TV isn't all about factual shows. American drama series The Wire and Mad Men offer insights into the complexities of street marketing and advertising respectively. The Sopranos provided an in-depth grounding in the problems of running a successful New Jersey waste disposal company. Business Insider voted it the best-written TV series of all time.

Selling yourself

The best business TV shows in the UK make an attempt to bring in the viewer who has little knowledge or interest in business. They have been invaluable in demonstrating how success in the UK is often down to sheer chutzpah or unwarranted self-belief rather than genuine talent for dealing with employees, identifying a market and making a profit.

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