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High-flying executives take extraordinary steps to ensure their companies are fighting fit by going undercover in their own businesses

About the Show

High-flying executives take extraordinary steps to ensure their companies are fighting fit by going undercover in their own businesses

Series 2 Summary

In this series business leaders leave the comfort of their offices in the sky to go on an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their company.

With the US version of the show a huge hit in America recently, six more British bosses take on the challenge. The UK companies featured include Best Western Hotels, the Jockey Club Racecourses, Tower Hamlets Council and Harry Ramsden's Restaurants.

  • Episode 1 - David Clarke, Best Western

    David Clarke, Chief Executive of mid-range hotel chain Best Western, goes on an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of his company, with mixed results.

    David has been Chief Executive of Best Western since 2005. He's a stickler for perfection, always looking for ways to better the brand, and has been the driving force behind several Best Western community and charity projects.

    David spends five days undercover as new recruit 'Andy Green', and his discoveries are mixed: chefs and housekeepers who work beyond the pale, putting in over 80 hours a week for no extra pay; maintenance men given inappropriate orders when a hotel inspection is due; and a groundsman who, when seeking treatment for cancer. takes the time off as annual leave rather than blot his flawless sick leave record.

    Perhaps even more alarmingly it would appear that the company's recent million pound advertising campaign seems to have had little impact on brand awareness for the staff who work for this mid-range hotel.

    On returning to his head office David announces that the lessons he has learnt undercover will change the way Best Western runs its business in the future.

    This programme was first broadcast in 2010. The CEO of the company has changed since then.

  • Episode 2 - Kevan Collins, Tower Hamlets

    Kevan Collins runs London's Tower Hamlets council at a time when the new government is slashing public spending. Kevan faces a huge challenge, he has to make huge cuts, £50 million over the next three years. But what does he cut and what does he save?

    In order to find out what the council's services are really like, Kevan has made an extraordinary decision: he is going undercover to work alongside his frontline staff without telling them he's their boss. He believes it's the best way for him to learn what works and what doesn't.

    Kevan has never done anything like this before. He delivers meals to the old and vulnerable. He works at the housing and homeless office with its constant stream of clients.

    Kevan takes to the streets with the community law enforcement officers. And he works alongside the pest controllers who face head-on the continuous battle against the borough's rats.

    At the end of this time undercover where will he decide to make the cuts? And what will his fellow workers feel when they discover the `new trainee' is actually their boss?

  • Episode 3 - Marija Simovic, Harry Ramsden's

    The new head of Harry Ramsden's goes undercover to find out how the fish and chip chain's fortunes might be turned around.

    Britain's best loved fish and chips restaurant chain is under threat. Harry Ramsden's new CEO Marija Simovic has taken on a struggling brand. The recession and increased fast food competition means the 80-year-old business is no longer an integral part of any seaside trip.

    In order to find out just what she's got herself into, Marija takes the remarkable decision to go undercover within her own company. Stationing herself behind the deep fat fryers, she's determined to work out where Harry's is going wrong, and whether its desperate fortunes can be turned around.

    Marija visits three different outlets, and must temper her natural managerial impulses as she shadows a young assistant manager, two waitresses at the company's busiest outlet, and puts in time at an empty restaurant reliant on pensioners. During her time under cover, she comes up against broken machinery, outdated décor and general disrepair.

    At the end of her time undercover, how will she feel about her new role, the company and the staff? And how will the people she's met feel when they discover the `new trainee' is actually their boss?

  • Episode 4 - Paul Fisher, The Jockey Club

    Paul Fisher is the boss of Jockey Club Racecourses, the largest and most successful organisation in the competitive world of British horseracing.

    He'll pose as Richard Setter, a new casual employee, who is trying out entry level jobs in the world of horse racing to find out how his company works from the bottom up.

  • Episode 5 - Colin Drummond, Viridor

    Fifty-nine-year old Colin Drummond is chief executive of Viridor, one of Britain's largest recycling and waste management companies. Colin spends five days undercover as a new recruit called John Roy.

    By going undercover and seeing his business at the sharp end he believes he will learn valuable lessons about what his company is doing both right and wrong.

  • Episode 6 - Narin Ganesh, Crown Worldwide

    Narin Ganesh is the Finance Director of Crown Worldwide, a company who specialise in international relocations for multinational corporations, governments and private individuals.

    Narin Ganesh will go undercover as Paul Ramdhanie, pretending to be recently made redundant from an office job, to find out what's happening at the ground level.

  • Undercover Boss Revisit

    Episode 7 - Andy Edge, Park Resorts Revisit

    Andy Edge went undercover in his own business, caravan holiday company Park Resorts. Now the show returns to see what impact his experience had on the company.

    Andy Edge is a company director of Park Resorts, the second largest caravan holiday company in the UK. They sell value-for-money self catering breaks to more than a million visitors every year, with 37 caravan parks from Scotland to Cornwall. But the holiday industry is reeling from the recession and firms are competing harder than ever to win customers.

    Andy knows that extreme times call for extreme measures and almost two years ago he made an extraordinary decision, to swap the comfort of his executive lifestyle for two weeks of back breaking work and early starts. He went undercover in his own business and found out what was really going on. He cleaned caravans, worked in the kitchens and performed as an entertainer while searching for answers about how best to run his business. He came face to face with the consequences of his executive decisions, and all the time his work mates had no idea he was their boss from headquarters.

    After two weeks on the frontline, he revealed to his staff his true identity. It was a meeting they will never forget. Now Undercover Boss returns to Park Resorts.

Undercover Boss synopsis

High-flying executives take extraordinary steps to ensure their companies are fighting fit by going undercover in their own businesses

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6 Series, 31 Episodes