“I Walk the Walk, I talk the talk and I dance the dance.” “I’m not better at business because I’m good looking I’m better at business because I’m better at business.” “I’m going to come in and smash the competition before they even realise I’m there.” Hearing people in business suits uttering these outrageous claims must mean only one thing, The Apprentice is back for its tenth series. I for one am a big fan of the show and watching the candidates boast about their prowess got me excited for the new run. However, even I have to admit that the one big change to the format doesn’t quite work in the way the producers probably thought it would.
The change in question is that this year’s series of The Apprentice has twenty candidates rather than the usual sixteen. I always find it hard to get to know every character in The Apprentice in the first couple of episodes any way and this new twist just makes things worse. In fact when the teams entered the boardroom following the completion of the task I still didn’t recognise all of them. One of the reasons that there are twenty candidates this year is so Lord Sugar can keep them on their toes as there will be a number of double-firings throughout the course of the series. As always, the opening gambit sees Lord Sugar banter with some of the bigger characters in the room including Canadian-born social worker Steven who had recently been working in The Arctic. There was also Scott, who claimed to be a combination of Gandhi and The Wolf of Wall Street, and Sarah who could sell ice to the Eskimos. However, Sarah and her colleagues soon found ice was one of the only things they wouldn’t be selling as Lord Sugar gave them a cavalcade of items to flog all of which have been sold by previous candidates in opening tasks.
Due to her confident assertion, Sarah willingly took on the role of project manager but it soon appeared as if the majority of her strategies had come from the 1970s. Several times during the process, Sarah attempted to convince her cohorts that they would sell more if they hiked their skirts up and put on plenty of make-up. Unsurprisingly this idea didn’t go down too well with the other nine girls who were equally sceptical of her bizarre idea to chop up the lemons in order to sell more of them. Sarah employed a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude when her subteam went to sell coffee as she was adamant that she wasn’t getting her hands dirty by actually making any beverages. Sarah’s leadership was questioned once again when she forgot to give any money to the other subteam when they went off to get prints put on their blank T-Shirts. This slip up meant that a lot of time was wasted throughout the girls’ day but at least Roisin’s subteam managed to get rid of their T-Shirts, albeit by selling them to the printer, but that’s more than can be said for their male counterparts.
The all-boy team was led by Colombian-born lawyer Felipe, who had already caught Lord Sugar’s eye due to his previous involvement with Arsenal Football Club. I certainly warmed to Felipe more than most of the other candidates and found his trend of referring to himself in the third person to be charming rather than annoying. Felipe’s one mistake was to put his faith in other members of the team most notably Robert who convinced him that they needed to buy all sorts of organic products in order to dress up their hot dogs. By spending all their time arguing in a gourmet food store, the boys missed some of the lunchtime rush and therefore didn’t make us much money as they could have done. But their efforts were better than the other subteam which was led by the ineffectual Chiles who had trouble controlling the over-the-top attitude of Steven. Steven disagreed with almost every decision that Chiles made, but to be fair to him he was right to argue with his boss when he chose to leave the T-Shirts at the printers rather than sell them. It was clear that Chiles’ team was packed full of egos and this was most notable when self-confessed Del Boy James attempted to outshine Australian Mark when they attempted to offload their balloons to a party supplier. However the most hilarious pitch came from the disruptive Steven who tried to convince one restaurateur that buying by their spuds they weren’t just purchasing a potato but rather an experience.
Back in the boardroom Sarah’s managerial style was slated by all of her colleagues whilst Felipe’s strategies were praised by the rest of the boys. As Sarah had been painted as somewhat of a headless chicken, I was utterly surprised when her team beat the boys by a margin of about fifty quid. Despite this, the girls got a dressing down from Lord Sugar and Nick who questioned their team name of Decadence and suggested that they changed it before the next task. Whilst the girls experienced a ride on the London Eye, the boys headed to the infamous Bridge Cafe where unsurprisingly many fingers were pointed at scapegoat Steven. But Felipe took Lord Sugar’s warning on board and opted not to bring Steven back into the boardroom purely because he was a bit of an irritant. Instead Chiles’ idea to leave the T-Shirts at the printers and Robert’s need to dress up the hot dogs with humus and guacamole saw them join Felipe in the firing line. The best moments of these final scenes came from Lord Sugar’s showdown with Robert in which he accused him of being too arty farty as he tried to explain that the sausages really didn’t need dressing up.
It’s fair to say that The Apprentice is back with a bang with a number of strong candidates stepping forward in this first episode. Whilst I felt I knew most of the men in Team Summit by the end of episode one the majority of the women were completely interchangeable that is apart from the bizarre Sarah. However I feel that the characters such as Steven and Felipe, who provided the majority of the laughs in this episode, won’t make it past the halfway stage of the contest. Instead it will be one of the twenty candidates who is yet to make an impact and it did appear as if quite a few of them struggled to get their voice heard due to the over-abundance of contestants in this year’s show.
What did you think to tonight’s episode of The Apprentice? Who’s your early favourite?
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