Posted by: Paul | May 10, 2011

The Apprentice 2011 – Week 1

And so, following hard on the heels of the delayed previous series (it was moved to Autumn 2010 due to Lord Shoogah’s involvement in Labour’s election campaign), The Apprentice is back. Ready? FIGHT!

The central conceit behind series seven is slightly different to previous years. No doubt sick of the people he employs quitting, falling pregnant or having office-based affairs, the prize this year is no longer a job flogging ad space on virtual billboards or hawking industrial units next door to a golf course. Nope, it’s now an investment of £250,000 in a business of the winner’s choosing with The Dark Lord as a not-so-silent partner. Honestly, running my own business in a very modest way, I can’t imagine anything worse than Sugar’s foghorn voice on the blower every morning: “Oi! Shift yer arse! Those audio files ain’t going to edit themselves, innit!”

The very early Apprentice shows are rarely anything to write home about, being as they are a giant scrum of attention-grabbing, with the loudest candidates rising straight to the top and, most often, straight out the door. Woe betide anyone making the smallest of errors at this early stage, as they are sure to be ripped apart by their so-called ‘team mates’, desperately climbing over one another to reach the finish line. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a burning building with any of them, that’s for sure.

So rather than reviewing the show this week – a mad scramble to make a tiny profit selling fruit & veg – I’ll instead give first snapshots of a handful of the candidates. At this stage I’m not even going to give them any names, as many will be gone before we’ve learned what they’re called. Or even cared. Seriously, 16 is too many, no?

Mr Accountant – staring straight ahead in the cab, not even acknowledging that his team exist, let alone share breathing space with him. Quality. ‘Just rolling with the punches’. And again. And again.

Miss Northern – can’t spell vegetable, let alone understand why someone would want to buy vegetable pasta.

Miss Mmm-Hmm – holding the purse strings for the girls’ team, and trying desperately to run things by stealth.

Mr Smooth – ‘Hey, who likes ‘Ability’?’ That’ll be no-one, then.

Miss Nobel Prize – Oh GOD I hate you. You know, I try not to get personal in reducing people to a sentence or two on a blog, but when you are such an enormous braggart you get everything you deserve in the end.

The rest faded into the background. It was the usual mess of headless chickens as the teams got to know each other under extreme pressure and an instant all-nighter. As ever there was virtually no planning or strategy, and barely even a thought went into the end product and price. And the worst two team names in the history of the show. ‘Venture’ and ‘Logic’. Yawn.

In the end it was no surprise when the boys’ team crashed and burned. If memory serves, the girls usually win the first task due to the boys’ general ineptness and bravado, and this year is no exception. I think Accountant Ed could have gone on to be one of the true classic Apprentice characters, but clearly having absolutely no clue what he was doing or how to do it from the word go left Lord Shoogah no choice but to point the fateful finger in his direction, and fire.

It’s all but impossible at this stage to pick a winner, but someone I did warm to – and one of the very few names I took away – was Susan Ma. Quite unlike the vast majority of Apprentice contestants, she seems…well, nice! Watch out for her…


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