The Apprentice, BBC1

by | Mar 28, 2009 | All, Reviews chart

1. Howard. Howard is too nice to win the Apprentice. This was apparent when upon becoming project manager, he stated: “If people step out of line I’ll be tough with them!” Someone who is a genuine bastard – rather than a fake one like Howard – is doesn’t need to explain that they’ll “get tough”; they are already dripping with vicious venom.

Howard has the sort of calm voice more suited to an emergency operator who has to talk a seven-year-old girl through the steps to making her unconscious diabetic mother more comfortable until the ambulance arrives.

And you could witness as he spoke the other boys tearing rapaciously at his integrity with their eyes, flashing conspiratorial glances that here was the runt, the cannon fodder who could be sacrificed upon their altar of their megalomania before they have to cannibalise themselves.

He won’t be here long – unless Sir Alan sees through the mendacity of the other boys – enjoy him while he lasts.

2. Mona. A corporate-speak Vesuvius she might be, but, unusually for a human being, Mona is far more appealing when she’s angry. The business façade melts away and she seeks out the truth of the matter in her disputes, awarding her an incongruous valour amid the nefarious backbiting of the rest of the candidates.

3. Paula. Has red hair, otherwise less memorable than grey.

4. James. Reminded us of Nemanja Vidic.

5. Yasmina. Did some negotiating, otherwise less prominent than Max Clifford’s shame.

6. Lorraine. Did take part, we think.

7. Katie. “It’s a huge mistake for people to see me as a ‘dumb blonde’.” If this is truly “the job interview from Hell”, then idiots who judge women by their hair colour alone should have been filtered out in the first round of interviews. The reason for her pre-emptive defence is that she seemed utterly incapable of defining her own identity beyond the vernacular of tabloid headlines and American teen soaps. She claims to be “a straight-A student”, but people who employ the phrase “straight-A student” have already had their minds rotted to amorphous sugary obsolescence by Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill.

8. Rocky. Could partner Phillip and James in central defence in an Apprentice/ Premier League doppelganger first XI as Stoke;s Ryan Shawcross to Phillip’s John Terry and James’ Nemanja Vidic.

9. Ben. Savours screwing up his face to accentuate his pleasure, but only causes his features to congregate about his nose like cattle at feeding time. “For me, making money is better than sex!” he crowed, but the fact he needed to qualify his opinion with ‘For me’ enfeebles his words, intimating the veracity of his prowess in either pursuit.

10. Noorul. Made one of those absurdly arrogant speeches at the beginning about how brilliant he was, but came across as if auditioning for one of the ‘furious and outraged’ member of the public spots in the Jeremy Kyle audience.

11. Anita. The moment Anita was doomed to be fired didn’t come when she overspent at the start, it didn’t come when she failed to “pull her weight” when cleaning cars. It arrived when the boardroom battle hotted up and she claimed, “I was in charge of vacuuming!” as though such a menial task required coordination. After that Mona and Debra left her to hang herself. As she bleated about her role in the task, instead of arguing with her, Mona and Debra just sat dumbly and watched.

She was the business equivalent of a neutron star; a whole corporate enterprise condensed down to a fraction of its previous size but not losing a single atom of its enslavement to the blinkered pursuit of profit ejecting every last semblance of humanity for the sake of the balance sheet, perceiving worth in the kind of qualities that are only valuable in robots, spreadsheets and termites who form the raft of an escaping colony on the floodwaters, doomed to drown for the sake of its siblings.

12. Kimberly. Banalities loitered about her mouth like vultures round a carcass. “I’m in it to win it!” she chirruped, instantly obliterating her chances of victory. If she is capable of only speaking in such a pre-programmed vernacular, Sir Alan may as well hire the Speaking Clock.

13. Majid. Another candidate semantically incarcerated in the world of the corporate cliché. After his dreary spiel that was as indelicately hoisted from his mouth with all the dexterity and charm of an elephant being retrieved from a mouse’s rectum, he added the addendum, “simple as that!” Which, next to ‘get a life’ is the apex of cerebral decay; words that when uttered act as an epitaph on that person ever being listened to again to the point when they should be forced to carry round molten candle wax to deafen any potential audience as the atrophying effect of their words will be far more injurious than any minor mutilation.

Although, moments later Sir Alan was heard to utter the same offensive oath, just before he rattled off how he used to sell car aerials from the back of a van etc etc. In the task Maj dived deep into the sea of wisdom and breathlessly emerged with the pearl, “Cleaning is all about working hard!”

Is “not sexist”, apparently.

14. Phillip. He spread the dissent about Howard’s leadership in the style of Joseph Stalin’s plotting to unseat Trotsky as Lenin’s favoured successor. Seditiously seeded his colleagues minds with Howard’s ostensible incompetence while cleaning cars like a bear scent marking against a tree.

His eyes reflect a drunken Friday night out, and, as they stagger home, the ritual abuse of the shop assistant in the 24 hour garage who grips his cash till until the ends of his fingers whiten to the shade of snow.

15. Debra. The Wicked Witch of the West, Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters and Snow White’s Evil Stepmother could all have been candidates, and none would have been portrayed in a worse light that Debra, ‘24’.

Of course, she would have been well aware that she might be portrayed thus (you’d have to be a lobotomised fool to realise that character assassination to make ‘good TV’ is supreme over truth in such programmes; although the truth is more often than not just tweaked to make the bad seem slightly more appalling than they really are – and there have been some truly appalling people on TV this past week).

She has twin black daggers for hair, swaying lightly to the rhythms of her vapid indignation, while each of her utterances is chased from her mouth by a brood of insatiable spiders.

16. Apprentice production team. Well done! Well done! Both Debra and Mona were featured in the introduction taking part in later tasks, meaning that it was obvious that Anita would be fired in the boardroom.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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