There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this new series of Young Apprentice as the BBC have announced this will be the last run of the junior entrepreneur show, however Lord Sugar has since spoken out saying this wasn’t his decision, leading to rumours that he may take this version of the programme elsewhere.
While this probably won’t happen, it appears as if Sugar is a lot more comfortable when addressing these youngsters even cracking a smile occasionally which is something you never seen on the adult version of the show. It also seems as if Lord Sugar has to update his references for the younger generation so for example he tells them not to get out their smartphones to play angry birds because he’ll be angry, while later on he also mentions Lady Gaga as if he actually knows who she is. The Amstrad boss also likens himself to the teens’ grandfather however instead of a fiver in their birthday cards he will be giving one of them a £25,000 cash injection to go towards their business futures.
In a rare display of kindness Sugar also gets to know the candidates claiming that David is the ‘chair of everything’ and that fashion designer Patrick could design him a suit one day. The only time Sugar snapped was when self-proclaimed firework Maria said she hadn’t set up her own business yet as she was ‘only 17’ leading his Lordship to remind her how old he was when he started his first enterprise.
This week’s task involved Lord Sugar giving the teenagers a tonne of discarded items which they then had to pick through before selling them on both at a car boot sale and at Westfield Shopping Mall.
While the girls selected the name Platinum the boys had an issue as David picked out the name Odyssey however didn’t know how to spell it but luckily Greek literature fan Max was on hand to help. Max was also one of the favourites to be project manager, due to his knowledge of selling vintage clothes, however designer Patrick seemed a lot more enthusiastic about leading the team and it seemed Max was more than happy for him to manage the task.
The only girl who put her name forward to project manage was bridal shop assistant Ashleigh whose accountancy background meant that she’d also be good at handling the budget. Patrick took David and Steven with him to rifle through the clothes however while the young designer knew exactly what he was looking for his teammates struggled leading him to get frustrated by their lack of fashion know-how. Meanwhile the girls had no problems finding suitable clothes but they got annoyed at Ashleigh for only giving them £50 to spend cleaning and altering the clothes, however the project manager knew the less they spent the more chance they had of winning the task. I thought it would’ve helped if the trio of girls at the laundrette actually knew what they were doing, however the bemused assistant had to eventually stop them from putting detergent in with the clothes they’d accidentally put into the drier.
With the boys’ clothes sorted Patrick set about altering some of the clothes they’d found using a staggering £133 to put together the world’s first wetsuit kimono, an item that you knew they’d have an issue with selling on the second day.
The wetsuit kimono ended up coming to Westfield Mall where David and Steven drew in customers with an incredibly cheesy charm offensive which actually seemed to impress the easily-pleased ladies. Project manager Patrick didn’t want to pull his weight instead being obsessed with flogging one of his creations, which was seemingly his pride and joy. The sub team went off to the car boot sale however, while Sean and Andrew had a natural sales technique, Max hid in the background happier with folding and hanging up clothes than he was talking to people.
None of the girls seemed to have a problem approaching people however their half-washed stock was an issue as the girls at the car boot sale worried that nobody would buy any of their really stinky clothes. Of all the sales techniques used Ashleigh’s was definitely the oddest, as she told a bloke that a denim jacket looked good on him and when his girlfriend disapproved she told him that he could wear it when she wasn’t around. Just when Westfield was getting busy Patrick made the odd decision of leaving the mall and heading to Brick Lane desperate to get rid of the now infamous wetsuit kimono however this proved tricky as none of the retailers wanted to stock this one-of-a-kind item. Finally the boys found a shop owner who felt so sorry for them that he took all of their remaining stock for a measly £40 which a dejected Patrick begrudgingly accepted as both teams headed back to the boardroom.
For anyone paying attention it was easy to work out that the girls had won due to Ashleigh’s thriftiness but this didn’t stop troublemaker Maria from sticking the boot claiming that there were some elements of her project manager’s leadership style that she didn’t agree with. While the girls headed off for a high speed boat ride across the Thames it was a trip to the legendary Bridge Cafe for the boys who criticised Patrick’s costly alterations and decision to leave Westfield as the reasons they lost the task. This was essentially what was brought up in the boardroom as Lord Sugar questioned whether Patrick knew that the task was about making money though his Lordship also singled out Max for hiding in the background rather than selling at the car boot sale. Patrick eventually chose Max and so-called troublemaker David as the two candidates he wanted to come back into the boardroom and possibly get fired.
From previous serious of The Apprentice we know that Lord Sugar doesn’t like candidates who hide in the background and that’s essentially what Max did in this task so he was my pick to be fired in this opening episode. It turns out I was right and the entrepreneurial teenager’s time on the BBC show was over before it had properly begun.
It seems to me that some people are now suffering from Apprentice fatigue and to an extent I can see this as I knew exactly how this opening task would pan out. After Ashleigh put a tight hold on the budget while Patrick spent a lot of money, it was clear that the girls would win this task and the boys would find themselves back in the boardroom. Despite predicting the winning team I have to say I still enjoyed watching this opening episode primarily because of the characters featured but also due to the enthusiasm that the youngsters have, which is sometimes lacking in their older counterparts. My favourites so far have to be flamboyant Patrick and firework Maria Doran however a lot of the candidates didn’t get their chance to shine here so I’m looking forward to getting to know more of them in the coming weeks. After watching this opening instalment I think it’s a mistake for the BBC to cancel the Young Apprentice as the teenagers are a lot less devious and willing to muck in than some of the contestants on the older version of the game which is a quality I find refreshing. It’s also great to see the BBC promote the fact that not all members of the younger generation are criminals or layabouts but instead have plenty of ambition to succeed in the world of business.
What did you think to this opening episode of Young Apprentice? Who are your favourite candidates so far? Leave your comments below.