Television's new talent show, Phone Shop Idol (BBC1, Tuesday 22:00) provides a look into a lifestyle competition – something which can change someone's livelihood and career.
It's based around Shop Idol, a competition which sees mobile sales representatives battle against each other, to be crowned King or Queen of the Industry. It sounds quite dull, but the first episode kept me watching.
With over 24,000 phone salesmen in the UK, the standard is high. Especially considering only 32 are marked out to The Chosen Ones at the first round before being joined the self-nominated people. All nominees are visited by a Secret Shopper, with all visits being judged by a panel who decide who ultimately makes it into the Regionals.
We meet Johnny Brown who works at Golden Square, Warrington. His employer, EE has over 3,000 sales associates and he recently won their Best Sales Associate award. The toughness of the criteria is shown by the judges' conclusion (they had just watched his secret shopper), "He has a very monotone voice, there's no joy, no happiness and it's just so tedious."
Another who doesn't get much praise is Maria Cooper from Tesco Mobile's Northampton branch. Mainly because she advises a customer that sixty pounds won't go a long way. The judges do have a point; it took me a fortnight just to use a fiver!
However at least someone is left smiling, when Andy Gray (29) is described as cheeky and funny. In a competition so evidently full of big names, it's surprising to see someone from Fonehouse (Sunderland) do well. He adds a much needed enthusiasm to the show which is boring at times.
Another special mention must go to Jason from Three's London shop; I could tell he loves his job! He's doing star jumps in the back with staff, clapping them into the sales floor and states, "I'm crazy and passionate about being the best, and just not being the same as every other robot out there." He's the manager of the store, who has self-nominated Kiet and Ayub. The two sales assistants were chosen by EE from a charity for unemployed youngsters – it's really lovely to see how much trust Jason puts into them.
This show is interesting just to understand how salespeople should be. With eighteen million of us purchasing a smartphone every year, the chances are you will be going to a shop in the next twelve months to buy one.
A decent start for Phone Shop Idol, it has a nice mixture of facts to keep the show going along. It would be nice if the next episode could add a pinch of drama and get under the skin of the contestants – as sometimes I was bored.