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Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Apprentice: What does organic mean?


Lord Sugar did something a bit different at the start of this series of The Apprentice. He welcomed back previous winners of the process into the boardroom in an attempt to inspire the fresh faced candidates who sat eager to impress him. As a viewer it was our chance to go "oh look it's him, what's his name again? And to realise that last year's winner Alanah hasn't quite achieved the same as past winners since she was crowned winner. Perhaps it was the shows subtle way of telling the audience that the process does matter and people do succeed, whatever the reason I was just glad The Apprentice is back.

18 candidates await Lord Sugar and co all wearing various forms of garish eyewear but who has what it takes to win his £250,000 investment. Who will triumph and who will be fired? From assistant speech writer ‘tory boy’ Elliot, to millionaire Michaela. This year’s competition is fierce.

The first task for the 18 fresh faced candidates was to manufacture their own burgers, sell them to hungry London folk and flog them to restaurants and literally anyone with a mouth. It sounds simple but somehow it wasn't, this is The Apprentice after all. The boy's project manager was Danny who owns his own manufacturing business, which you would think would give them a head start on the task. It's not a a spoiler to say it didn't. Firstly, the boys decided on the team name ‘vitality.' A name that Lord Sugar would compare to 'something you take before going out on a date' when he met the team in boardroom. The girls on the other hand, were led by the calm and collected Sarah. The team’s name was decided almost immediately, on the interesting suggestion of ‘Graphene’. Its purpose: to connote their strength as a team. Yet as the task progressed this became far from the truth.


The girls' decision to manufacture ‘luxury’ was a smart one. It's just a shame their interpretation of luxury was cheap meat flung into a brioche bun.  With nine candidates on each side some inevitably got lost in the edit. One of those who did make their presence known was Elizabeth. Her self-dubbed ‘barmy’ personality clashed with the straight-talking Siobhan throughout.

The boys’ ‘healthy’ burgers  were a good idea 'in theory' They plumped for Buffalo and turkey, high in protein but low in fat. What could go wrong? Need I remind you this is The Apprentice. Elliot and Jeff were placed on label duty. Their job was to inspect the product, note the ingredients and then print the label. Simple? No. Their decision to include the word ‘organic’ when the product in fact wasn’t, is to me why the team failed. Danny’s decision to split the group into two, having Charles lead one side and him the other, worked for much of the task. Experience on both sides, meant the boys got the meat they wanted for a reasonable price. Charles however was left with the work Danny had not assigned. Meaning he had to play accountant, and fix the labels. Due to this Charles’ side missed the Brixton rendezvous, which as it happened was devoid of customers anyway.

The best bit of any task is the frenzied footage of the last half hour. It's in this half hour we see both teams at their most desperate as they try to sell their remaining burgers to anyone who happens to cross their path.


When we reach the boardroom the revelation from Claude that the boys hadn't even managed to break even was shocking. Prior to the confirmation of their victory the girls continued to bicker with Elizabeth in particular receiving a lot of flak for explaining her role. In my opinion Sarah, who was almost unanimously praised by her team should have had this grilling from her team. I didn’t see her do anything, yet they were happy to say she was a good project manager. For me though, she was lacklustre at best.

Once the girls had left the boardroom the boys attitude changed drastically. A clear divide between Danny and Charles’ sides was established.  Danny at first chose to take Harrison and Charles with him into the boardroom, but went back on this decision for Charles and Elliot instead.  Elliot calling Danny ‘clueless’ was the only time I agreed with him in the episode. Right from the return to the boardroom it was clear that Danny’s argument against both Charles and Elliot was weak and unjustified. This meant that he was the first candidate to leave the new series.

Personally, I really thought Jeff and Elliot should have been in the boardroom with Danny. Their work ethic and selling was appalling. They were both responsible for the groups failure, in Brixton and the manufacturing stage of the task, and yet still they remain. The future for the pair though is clearly uncertain, and in the coming weeks I definitely foresee their departure.

If I was to pick a favourite to win the series it would have to be between Charles and Michaela. Charles is now the series’ underdog, he needs an attitude change but his application and initiative demonstrated in the first task was impressive. Michaela was reasonably quiet in the first episode, but her buying tactics displayed were interesting. Perhaps if she’s picked to be the project manager in the coming weeks we’ll see her flourish.

Contributed by Callum Bancroft
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The Apprentice Continues Wednesday at 9.00pm on BBC One 

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