Thorntons factory

A novel concept on Who’s the Boss (BBC2, 9pm, 1 March), where a work-based social experiment saw the cheerful employees of Beech’s chocolate factory handed responsibility for choosing their new boss.

The only people unaware of what was going on were the three shortlisted applicants, Karen, Vito and William, who were all told they would be filmed as part of a five-day recruitment experiment.

The thinking behind the idea was that rather than simply try and impress the owner, the three applicants would show “the real them” to the shrewd and varied workforce, many of whom knew the operation inside out.

And, to begin with, it was an interesting show. The three candidates manned the conveyor belt on the factory floor, met with buyers, dealt with angry customers and hammered the sales phones for a session of cold calling, all the while “blissfully unaware” they were being scrutinised by their prospective underlings.

All of which provided plenty of interesting insight into the various roles in the operation, but it was a shame the clichés of reality TV came along with it.

Typically, one of the three candidates, William, was a clown whose “Machiavellian” attempt to pretend to be an idiot so his two rivals focused on destroying each other was fatally flawed, because he actually was an idiot. But reality TV needs villains just as much as idiots, and the good people of Beech’s were just a little too nice. Ultimately, with a happy ending thrown in, the interesting concept ended up feeling a little too flat.