Category Archives: The Apprentice

The Apprentice

Who’s the bitch?

Yesterday’s episode of The Apprentice saw the remaining five contestants each go through “the interview process from hell” (assuming that hell would be a continuous loop of people in glass rooms telling you you’re crap – “You were the first person to walk on the moon? That’s not very ambitious. The moon’s very close to Earth. Why didn’t you try achieve something more, perhaps going to Mars? You strike me as a very unambitious person, I don’t think you’re what Sir Alan is looking for”).

Each contestant also provided personal references along with their CV. Sour-faced Debra Barr (she’s only 23! Maybe she’ll learn to smile when she’s 24) had amongst the most amusing references of any of them – mainly involving her colleagues telling her she’s incompetent and a bitch.

Debra tried to defend herself along the usual lines of people-call-me-a-bitch-because-I’m-a-woman-who’s-successful. Interviewer Karren Brady shot back, saying “I’m a successful woman in business…no one calls me a bitch”. REALLY, Karren? I had always got the impression that people regularly called you a bitch. I must be thinking of that other female CEO of a football club, you know the one…

Maybe she is right. Maybe no one calls her a bitch. Except herself, that is. In an interview with the Telegraph way back in 2000, she says:

Oh, I know people have got this image of me as a hard bitch. It’s unfortunate really. There’s this philosophy you should be seen but not heard.

Still, if you want something doing right, you’ve got to do it yourself, eh?

What’s worse than lightweight? Because I think you might be it…

The Apprentice starts next week!! Oh wait, sorry…

THE APPRENTICE STARTS NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best shows on TV – right up there with Come Dine With Me and Freaky Eaters – starts its fifth series next Wednesday, 25th March at 9pm on BBC1.

Today the sixteen contestants were revealed. Last year I blogged a guide to each one of them. This year, I can’t be bothered. Well, at the moment, anyway, so take a look here to see them all – BBC – The Apprentice and below:

Theyre very small...or perhaps just far away
They’re very small…or perhaps just far away

Also announced today is that one of the contestants will quit the show before the first task even commences. Accordingly to cuddly Sir Alan, this male contestant suddenly realised that he’d (possibly) be away from his family for 12 weeks, and could no longer go through with participating on the show. Kind of weak, really. Perhaps the producers could introduce a new first task: making sure that everyone realises they are actually participating in The Apprentice and will have to do, like, things for it and that it’s reasonably tough and people might be mean to them, and that if they have other commitments or job offers or can’t figure out child care (like Katie Hopkins in series 3) then maybe they shouldn’t actually take part? Problem is, that might wipe out three quarters of the contestants and make for a really short season. Oh well.

Eight days and counting til the first “You’re Fired”!

I’d say wooooooo!! YES!! But Sir Alan wouldn’t like it…

The Apprentice – Episode 3

There’s one thing every Apprentice contestant ought to learn before they go on the show. And that’s not to run around the house wrapped only in a towel after coming out of the shower, as Claire did this week. It’s just never going to be flattering.

Ahem, anyway, the two teams were summoned to the Tate Modern (why?) to meet Sir Alan and be told of this week’s task. After appointing Ian and Sara as the two team leaders, Sir Alan then announced that each team would be running a pub for a day – or, more specifically, running the catering for a pub for a day. This, to me, just sounded VERY HARD. I have enough trouble cooking as it is – but cooking for 100 people?

The girls decided on a curry theme for their pub – the King’s Head in Islington (great pub, by the way, I definitely recommend it) – or rather, the majority of the girls did. Claire was somewhat against the theme, declaring “curry is quite niche”. Not in the UK it’s not, love. I even had a TV curry dinner whilst watching The Apprentice on Wednesday. But Claire wasn’t to know that.

The boys, however, were more unanimous in their decision and went for “A Taste of Italy” at the Duke of Hamilton in Hampstead. Kevin – who looks like a nervous rodent to me – was appointed head chef. “I’ve eaten in lots of Italian restaurants” he proclaimed. Oooh, get you!

The boys then spent loads of time faffing. Half the team went off to a printers to print fancy flyers and menus. Given it was a one day task and the quality of the food was much more important, I think a bit of Microsoft Powerpoint and some home printing could have sufficed. The other half of the team went off to buy food supplies. WHICH THEY FAILED TO DO. What did they spend the whole day doing, in that case?? We were never told. Mysterious. In which case, it was off to Tesco the next morning. The boys’ total costs were a whopping £543; although they took more in revenue, comparing that to the £190.73 the girls spent on food and marketing, they were always bound to fail. (Perhaps they should have gone to Asda instead?)

Team-leader Ian brought in Simon (who I’ve decided I like – he’s a fighter) and nervous Kevin into the boardroom. Sir Alan made up some stuff to say about Simon – it was clear he was never going to fire him – and Kevin talked a good talk in defending himself.

So alas, Ian…you’re fired!


I’ve also just realised who Kevin reminds me of…it’s his namesake, Kevin the Gerbil aka Roland Rat’s superfan:

L: Kevin the Gerbil and Roland Rat   

R: Kevin the Apprentice contestant

It’s the little nose and close-together eyes that does it. Oh, and the rather nervous way of speaking.

The Apprentice – Episode 2

One down, fiveteen remain. Who will become The Apprentice? (As the always say at the end of each episode.) Nicholas was fired last week, so the remaining contestants have to buck themselves up, wipe their tears* and move on to this week’s task.   *unlikely, actually

At 7am in the house, the phone rings. Cue some guy running crazily down the stairs in his boxers to answer. (Which begs the question – how come there is only ever one phone in The Apprentice house? And how can they hear it if they’re all upstairs sleeping, and the phone is downstairs?)

Ahem. The two teams are summoned to their computers to watch a message from Sir Alan. I was quite disappointed that these computers appeared to be HP laptops, and not giant Amstrad ones from the 80s. Oh well. Sadly, Sir Alan can’t meet the teams in person – he’s got a urgent matter to attend to of course – but luckily he’s got a webcam in his car so can record a video instruction for the teams. Clever thinking, Sir Alan. That’s probably what got him where he is today.

And it’s a laundry task! Each team will get use of an industrial laundry and will need to obtain clients to…well…launder stuff and make money. (But not launder money, of course.) Sir Alan has also provided some large-scale clients that each team have to pitch to to win their business. (It seems a fish restaurant manager counts as a large-scale client, even though his laundry seemed to consist of lots of jeans.)

Raef puts himself forward as team leader for the boys, Jenny does the same for the girls. Raef stammers a lot in his team talk, Jenny – well – just talks and talks and talks.  And is easily becoming one of the more annoying contestants of the series, acting like some kind of school marm from the 1930s as she tells everyone to “Be quiet! BE QUIET!” when she’s speaking. Later on, she seems to have something serious against Lucinda and tears strips from her, causing Lucinda to cry. Awww.

So, how goes the task? The girls – well – completely stuff up, not only pricing entirely wrongly but also managing to lose items of clothing belonging to their clients. (Which never get found – I wonder where those missing shirts went to?) So the boys are victorious! Off they go to the Ritz for tea and cakes. Bit of a poor prize, if you ask me.

Jenny, unsurprisingly, takes Lucinda into the boardroom with her and, surprisingly, Shazia. (Who was deemed responsible for the lost items.) And, as often happens, the unexpected one goes – poor Shazia was thought to have messed up the most, so off she went with her little wheely suitcase into a taxi to be driven through London’s dark night.

Here’s awful Jenny arguing with Lucinda and making her cry. I like how the BBC have now dubbed in Alice Cooper’s Poison on this clip! And it also contains the first “yuck!” bit of The Apprentice so far – Jenny proclaiming that at times during the task, it felt like she was having to breastfeed Lucinda. Sir Alan’s face says it all.


The Apprentice – Episode 1

Hoorah! The Apprentice is FINALLY back. And it’s just as good as ever.

The 16 contestants were thrown right into the deep end in Wednesday’s episode – they met Sir Alan, who explained their task, and were then told to go out there and do it. No settling in, no making themselves comfortable in their house, no getting to know each other. Straight in there. I like it. I like it a lot.

A few initial obversations. Firstly, the girls all seem to wear a surprising amount of make-up! I mean, I know they’re on telly, but surely gold eyeshadow (as Lindi was wearing) is a little OTT? Secondly, I said Lucinda was a Katie Hopkins lookalike, minus the crazy pink lipstick. I take this back. She is a Katie Hopkins look alike FULL STOP. Well, with a crazy dress sense, and a natty pink beret. And finally – is it just me, or is Sir Alan turning into a hedgehog?

So, after learning of the task, the two teams went off to mull over group names. The boys chose “Renaissance”. The girls, “Alpha”. Hmmm. Then off they ran to their vans of fish – for it was a fish-selling task, you see – to get identifying and labelling. The teams had to sell £600-worth of fish at a market…after they’d figured out what each fish actually was, and then pricing it all up. Both of these tasks are clearly harder than it seems, as both teams had trouble doing either. What also suprised me was that both teams chose Islington’s Chapel Market. We weren’t told what the other three possible locations were, but I think it would have been more interesting to see the teams operate at different markets.

Here’s a bit of advice for you: if you want your fish (head) battered, don’t ask Simon to do it for you. Because here’s what will happen: (40 seconds in)


Well, the girls won the task, bringing in more profit. The boys, meanwhile, not only lost but decided to go down in a blaze of glory, bickering and cat-fighting. Team leader Alex chose to bring in the poshos, Raef and Nicholas…the two that had bickered the most. And I was right. Hedgehog Alan…sorry, Sir Alan…clearly wasn’t impressed by Nicholas’s fancy qualifications, and uttered the two most scary words in the English language…”Marry me.”

No, I kid! Of course, it was: “You’re fired!”

The Apprentice 2008 – Part 3

Yay! Let’s take a look at the remaining contestants on the new series of The Apprentice.

Helene Speight (32) bored me. Actually, really, truly, bored me. I read her blurb on the Apprentice website, and couldn’t think of anything to say about her. Sorry. No doubt she’s actually the life and soul of the party, so I hope to be proved wrong when I watch the programme on Wednesday. Verdict: …zzz…

Ian Stringer (26) wins top prize for having THE most annoying quote out of all of the contestants on the BBC website. Ian says: “there are two kinds of people in the world. Winners and… I don’t know how to spell the other word. I can’t say it…” ARGH! It’s losers!! LOSERS!! It’s not flipping hard. If this bloke can’t even say certain words, he’s going to be rubbish at leadership, negotiations, brainstorming…pretty much everything. Verdict: Won’t be able to defend himself against Sir Alan in the boardroom – out week one.

Shazia Wahab (35) says she’s “a stubborn cow who wants to have the last word”. I like her already. Anyone that describes themselves as a stubborn cow is great. The poor cow…er, girl…thinks however that she’s underestimated and is desperate to prove her worth. Considering that she’s self-employed and is director of her own company, I’m not too sure who’s underestimating her. Best of all, though, is that she’s worried people will find her aggressive as “what she’s thinking is often revealed on her face”. Wow! Does she have a magic LED panel in her forehead that flashes up certain words? “ANGRY…ANGRY…ANGRY” “BORED…BORED…BORED” “THIRSTY…WANT COCA-COLA NOW…” Amazing. Verdict: Will be in the last five.

Alex Wotherspoon (24) is someone I wonder about. Well, not often, just for the purposes of writing this post. First of all, can he not afford a comb? What kind of ridiculous hairstyle is that? Secondly, Wotherspoon? I wonder if he’s done a David Walliams (whose real surname is Williams) style name change, to make himself more interesting. He admits he can be forgetful. Which isn’t great. He might get fired by Sir Alan, forget about it, then turn up for the next task. Verdict: Will get fired in the first few weeks. Then will forget he’s been fired, so will probably appear in the final.

Claire Young (28) provides a nice little ditty as her quote: “I’m just as happy watching the rugby in the rain as I am sipping champagne”. She doesn’t say what happens if she’s watching rugby when it’s actually quite sunny. Or if it’s a bit cloudy, say, with just a threat of rain. Oprah Winfrey is her role model, as Oprah is a successful businesswoman who gives back to the community…as well as being a yo-yo dieter like our Claire. How mean of you, BBC website, for revealing that! Go pick on someone your own size. (Which may well be Claire and Oprah, if they’re having a bad month.) Verdict: Sounds quite down-to-earth, could go far.

Remember to tune in on Wednesday, 9pm, BBC1. I can’t wait!

The Apprentice 2008 – Part 2

Okay, let’s take a look at some more of these pesky Apprentice contestants, shall we?

Lee McQueen (30) believes “if you missed something in the earlier part of your life, you’ll find it again before your time is up”. Aww, that’s nice. Very positive. Looks a tiny bit scary, no? Verdict: Will probably make it quite far, sounds like the kind of guy dip under the radar the first few weeks before making an impression.

Lindi Mngaza (22) apparently doesn’t quite seem to get what the show is all about. Her quote (all the Apprentice contestants have given a quote which is displayed on the BBC website) is the following: “I have Royal blood. My nickname amongst my friends is African Princess as I am a Royal descendant”. Riiiight. So, nothing to say about your business experiences? Achievements? Your ambitions for the show? Seems like she’s been brought on to provide a bit of glamour. Verdict: Sir Alan will probably think she’s too young.

Kevin Shaw (24) …dear me, where to begin? He’ll “take no prisoners in the boardroom and will nail anyone who gets in my way”. I mean, honestly – NAIL them? That’s a bit harsh. Sir Alan certainly won’t like all the blood involved in that. And this kid thinks he’s “fun to be around”. Anyone that says that about themselves is clearly dull as ditchwater. Or is it dishwater? I never know. Maybe Kevin is as dull as both ditchwater AND dishwater. Verdict: Will get fired early on.

Simon Smith (35) “hopes to win The Apprentice by winning every task because of his ability to think on his feet”. EVERY task? Now that would be impressive. Clearly, the rest of them might as well go home now. (Despite the fact that this series was probably filmed last summer – you still know what I mean.) Verdict: Possible semi-finalist.

Michael Sophocles (25) apparently wishes he’d left school at sixteen and not gone to university, so he could begin his lucrative career earlier. This guy, however, studied at Edinburgh. At the very least he could have gone to uni in England where courses last a minimum of 3 years, not 4. That would have given him one whole year to get started on his lucrative career. Ahem, clearly doesn’t think things through properly. He also “admits to jealousy when others are more successful than him”. Well that’s going to completely scupper his chances on The Apprentice then, isn’t it? Verdict: Will throw toys out of pram spectacularly in week 3.

Final part tomorrow!

The Apprentice 2008 – Part 1

The Apprentice is back. Hooray! Here comes Sir Alan in his big, black menacing car, getting driven around scenic bits of London when in fact his Amstrad office  is in some crappy bit of Essex. Here come the new contestants, installed in another ludriculously over-the-top house again (this time in Battersea) where we’ll see them drinking wine in the kitchen and having arguments in their underwear. And here come (hopefully) exciting new tasks, designed to distinguish the winners from the losers, when all we really want is for the contestants to get hopelessly embarrassed and ridiculed. The show next Wednesday, 26th March, on BBC1 at 9pm.

So, let’s look at some of the contestants:

Raef Bjayou (27 years old) believes he has the charisma to win The Apprentice. Hmmm, it’s literally oozing out of his photo, isn’t it? *yawns* He’s a former estate agent. Nuff said. Verdict: Could be last year’s Adam. Remember him? No, me neither.

Jenny Celerier (36) is a single mum to Simon, who’s 17. Sounds like a self-made woman. Sounds a bit like last year’s finalist, Kristina! Verdict: Could go far.

The Apprentice
Nicholas de Lacy-Brown (23 years old) was born plain old Nicholas Brown, but added the “de Lacy” bit to make him sound more sophisticated. The Apprentice website says he “feels most comfortable in the role of an artistic, country-hopping lord”. For his sake, let’s hope there’s a task where they have to pretend to run a country manor. The website goes on to say “he supplements his earnings with a mixture of artistic endeavour and property development”. In other words, he creates party flyers in Microsoft Office, and once painted a mate’s living room as a favour. Verdict: The kid won’t last. Sir Alan will hate him.

Sara Dhada (25) apparently decided to save the family company – selling cars – by taking over the reins from her brothers. Her brothers were a bit crap, then? She likes “socialising and baking” – hey, we’d probably be friends! I like socialising and eating! She “recently challenged herself to drive from Leicester to Mumbai in seven days”. Only the other day, I challenged myself to ride from Bromley to the moon by bike – in 4 hours. I’m not going to bother trying, but it’s at least important to challenge yourself to do things, don’t you think? Verdict: Mid-table.

Lucinda Ledgerwood (31) …wait a minute! That’s just Katie Hopkins from last year! All she’s done is scrub off her hideous blue eye make-up and cover up her pink cheeks with foundation! So not only was she the first contestant to turn down Sir Alan, but know she wants to be the first to do it all again! Weird. Verdict: Sir Alan won’t be fooled again.

Jennifer Maguire (27) says she can “sell anything. I can sell pieces of paper for £50 and making a living out of it”. These “pieces of paper” intrigue me. What are they? Are they blank A4 sheets, suitable for inkjet printers? Do they have long-lost Picasso sketches on them? What about if these magical pieces of paper are £50 notes? Then you’d only be breaking even. Except you’d most likely have overhead costs, so then you’d be making a loss. Jennifer clearly hasn’t thought this through. Verdict: she could use these pieces of paper to wrap up the competition, ho ho ho.

Tune in for more tomorrow! 

The Celebrity Apprentice

The Celebrity Apprentice

 Tonight in the U.S. sees the start of The Celebrity Apprentice. Well, what with the writers’ strike, they’ve got to fill the airtime somehow, eh?

14 “celebrities” (that word’s gotta be in quotes, it’s a reality TV show after all) will take part in usual Apprentice style tasks, not to win a job with Donald Trump, but to raise $250,000 for their chosen charity. Collectively, the group seek to raise over $1 million for various charities. Still, I think maybe one or two would appreciate a job at the end of it as well.

So, who are the 14? Well, most aren’t know to a UK reader. There is, however, a Baldwin brother (you know, one of the “other” Baldwins), Romanian super-child-athlete Nadia Comaneci, Gene Simmons out of Kiss, Lennox Lewis and Piers Morgan. Yes, you read that right, Piers Morgan. How is this man becoming a global superstar?? He’s most famous in the U.S. for being a judge on America’s Got Talent – how’d he get that job in the first place? Still, the official Celebrity Apprentice website has an interesting write-up on him:

Morgan studied journalism at Harlow College, beginning his career in local south London newspapers. He was then spotted by Kelvin MacKenzie of The Sun and given his own showbiz column, Bizarre.

He lives in London and East Sussex and is a devoted Arsenal fan.

So apparently his nine-years spent editing one of Britain’s most popular newspapers, The Daily Mirror, doesn’t warrant a mention? Well, I supposed he was sacked from that job – for authorising the publication of faked photos of British soldiers absuing Iraqi prisoners. Someone’s trying to gloss over this, clearly…

Katie Hopkins – You’re Fired! (Part 3)

Katie Hopkins 

Poor love. This keeps happening every few months or so. Katie Hopkins, patomime villainess of this year’s Apprentice has been fired from yet another job. A columnist for the Exter newspaper Express & Echo (the cutting edge of modern journalism, I’m sure), she was recently subject of an online poll where readers could vote for whether she should keep her job or not. 84% of those polled voted for her to go…and today she got the sack. Katie was also fired in the summer from her job at the Met Office.

In fact, only 407 people voted in the poll. I wonder what was the actual readership figure of her column in the first place?! Maybe she’ll move on to bigger and better things, like agony aunt in Turning Down a Job with Alan Sugar Monthly, or gossip columnist for Shagging Outdoors Weekly.

You can read her column – all nine entries of it (wow!) – at the link below. I can see why some got annoyed.

One of the comments to the article at the Express & Echo makes a good point – will the paper be running a poll for all its writers? I say yes! Do it for all newspapers and magazines everywhere!! Let’s get rid of all the annoying writers!