Celebrity entrepreneur Alan Sugar by Chris Ogilvie

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Has anyone else been gripped by the recent series The Apprentice featuring Sir Alan Sugarís search among 14 young hopefuls for a new employee with a six figure salary? Were you among the 6.6 million viewers tuned in to the final episode in May to watch Sir Alan make his choice and speak the momentous words "youíre hired"? This business brand of reality TV is popular. But who is Alan Sugar? With Neptune opposite his sun, does he himself know?

Sir Alan Sugar

'Siralan' as he is known is a self made businessman now estimated to be worth around £800 million. A new moon baby, born in Hackney on 24th March 1947, (see noon chart below) he has both the sun and moon in Aries which describe the pioneering, competitive entrepreneur. This coupled with Mars conjunct Mercury matches his self description of "I am the most belligerent person you could come across". Each week he pointed the finger at one candidate with the words, "youíre fired!" A truly independent Aries with Mercury square Uranus he proudly makes it clear that, while he will take advice, the decision who gets fired each week is his and his alone.

He worked briefly as a civil servant when he left school but soon got bored. His challenge hungry Aries spirit won out and at 16 he started selling fruit and vegetables from a van he had bought with his savings of £100. In 1968 he founded an electronics company (Uranus square Mercury and Mars, north node in Gemini ruled by Mercury) called Amstrad (the name being taken from his initials- Alan Michael Sugar Trading). The peak was the 1980s when Sugar had a major breakthrough with the launch of a home word processor. The wave didnít sustain, however, and he was overtaken by Apple. In 1991 he got together with Terry Venables to buy Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The relationship turned acrimonious and led to court battles; a challenge too far. He was knighted in 2000 for his contributions to business.

In 2005 Sugar entered the work of reality TV with the first series of The Apprentice, a show based on the American version featuring Donald Trump. His Saturn in Leo, conjunct Pluto and in a grand trine with the sun and Jupiter describes the powerful celebrity businessman. The glamour of the media (he appears on other TV shows as well) is also indicated by the Neptune/ sun opposition with the Jupiter/sun trine adding a 'larger than life touch.' The camera loves him and he proudly retains his east end accent. A natural showman with a dry wit he performs his blunt straight talking and finger pointing with dramatic effect. He knows how to do the suspenseful pause along with the ĎIím pondering my decisioní pose while the music throbs in the background.

With the north node in Gemini and Mercury squaring the nodal axis we can presume that communication is part of his lifeís path, especially now that his progressed sun is in Gemini. He appears on the after dinner speaking circuit and has recently finished a two year roadshow (progressed moon in Gemini) sponsored by the Treasury and Lloyds TSB designed to encourage the next generation of business tycoons to succeed.

However, Mercury in Pisces suggests a softer, emotional mind behind the Aries sun. Is this a businessman with the mind of a shaman? We see him when heís angry or fired up (Mercury conjunct Mars), but at other times, particularly towards the end of the series we glimpsed the compassion. He is quoted as saying, "Itís not deliberate humiliation of the contestants and if thatís what the viewers want, I feel sorry for them. You often donít see the other side, when Iím complementary and polite. It doesnít make good, arse-kicking television. Sometimes when the producers want me to do a retake and appear more angry, I refuse. I know their game." This is a valuable reminder that TV, even reality TV, is essentially an illusion. ĎRealityí is contrived by editing and retakes to make it more dramatic. Bad behaviour appeals to popular taste more than good. What does that say about us?

What else is known about this man? He is a patron of Great Ormond Street Childrenís Hospital (sun opposed to Neptune, Mars in Pisces) and claims to be keen to 'give something back'. His television fees are given to charity.

He is said to be strong on family values. Wedded to the same woman for nearly forty years and with three grown up children, he credits his happy marriage and family life as being the main secret of his success. His noon chart has a Saturn /moon square, which suggests a man who takes his domestic responsibilities seriously but also describes his impoverished childhood where there was little to spare. Hard work is one of his values. Despite their millions, he insisted his children all got Saturday jobs when they were young.

What about other relationships? "I come from a council house in Hackney and remain true to my roots. I pride myself on being able to talk to people at all levels and I still enjoy the company of my childhood friends. We are still in touch and they are pleased at my success." This sounds like his eclectic Venus in Aquarius square to generous Jupiter speaking.

Sir Alanís Saturn makes a tight trine to his sun, suggesting he takes business obligations seriously, yet it is in detriment. So perhaps he has had to struggle with authority figures. Maybe this is why he chose early to be his own boss and stayed that way. He takes advice but he now answers to his own authority. Is he driven? He has recently had his second Saturn return but when asked if he was going to retire soon he replied "Too many people rely on me. Iíd like to keep my finger on the pulse and have someone else take more responsibility. My employees have to be looked after: Iím like their father in this part of life."

He wants people to be more financially responsible too, as he appears in TV adverts for National Savings and Premium Bonds. A new series of The Apprentice is being filmed so Sir Alanís media career is still on a roll. So in the autumn he will continue to point his finger and fire.birthchart of Sir Alan Sugar