sun 09/08/2020

The Apprentice, Series 10, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

The Apprentice, Series 10, BBC One

The Apprentice, Series 10, BBC One

Opening episode of Lord Sugar's business search is a corker

Twenty candidates line up for the tenth series; Sarah is in bright blue, right of centre, and Felipe is seated second from left

It's on later in the year than usual, but The Apprentice is back. Yippee! For the tenth series Lord Sugar and his producers have done a little tinkering with the format - enough to keep it fresh but without upsetting its dedicated fans, of which I am one - and last night 20 hopefuls lined up in the boardroom (instead of 16, as previously) to hear him run them through their paces.

The personal statements from the deluded fools – do they really think Sugar would invest £250,000 in them? - contained many laugh-out-loud moments as they spouted business clichés and puffed-up self-promotion; it's difficult to choose just a few. “Me and Lord Sugar could build an empire together. I think I am him when he was my age”; “I can deliver in minus 50; I can deliver in plus 10. If we went to Mars right now, I’d find a way to be excellent”; “I will out-sell them, I will out-class them and I will perform the best just by being me.” They really are a critic's gift.

Felipe, a Colombian lawyer, looked a cert to lead the boys' team (Summit) to victory; he was aware of his strengths – planning and leadership – while acknowledging a lack of sales background which meant that he should devolve the selling sub-team to Chiles (standing third from left in top picture), who has a career in sales and sales management. So far so good.

The girls had a natural team leader - for which read bossyboots  (“I am the pioneer and the ground-breaker, and I possess all the talents to succeed”) - in Sarah, a bronzed, blonde, over-made-up Barbie and hypnotherapist by profession. Normally I wouldn't dream of dismissing anyone by their looks, but Sarah's big idea was that the team should use their feminine charms to sell. “We need to wear loads of make-up, lipstick, high heels, short skirts...”

When Karren Brady - one half of Sugar's “eyes and ears” with Nick Hewer (all three pictured right) - heard about Sarah's strategy, she was aghast. As indeed were the rest of Decadence, who promptly ignored Sarah - “I didn't bring any short skirts,” said one with an air of finality. Sugar, by the way, told the girls to think up another team name, as clearly none had the vaguest clue what it meant, beyond “something to do with decade...?”

The neat twist of last night's task was to combine all the items that previous series' contestants had had to sell - from sausages and sacks of potatoes to coffee and T-shirts - and ask the teams to sell them all. The intelligent strategy would be to offload the more difficult-to-sell items quickly, get the best possible price for others, and add value to one or two with judicious use of their seed capital. Did they do that? Nah.

The boys had the good idea to buy some baps, cook the sausages and then sell them as posh hotdogs to - as peacock Robert (front centre in picture) put it - “the East London cool guy” in Shoreditch, But the execution was wonderfully inept, as Robert dithered so long in an expensive organic supermarket over which cheese and guacamole to buy for their Mexican dogs (which looked dreck, by the way) that his team missed most of the lunchtime trade. Sarah, meanwhile, brazenly – and hilariously - failed to sell cleaning gear at a ridiculously inflated price to London Zoo.

Both teams made a hash of the task but the girls came out slightly ahead and off they went for their treat. Cue for the usual shouting in the boardroom – do they never learn? - as Felipe brought in Robert and Chiles, and Chiles got the bullet.

As in each of the previous series, huge congrats must go to the editors, who do a great job of filleting egos while telling a narrative at a cracking pace, and the scriptwriters, who give Lord Sugar and co lines that could have naturally come out of their mouths.

I'm hooked already - if only to see how long Sarah and loudmouth Steven (seated extreme right in top picture) will last. I switched over to BBC Two immediately after for The Apprentice: You're Fired!, in which host Dara Ó Bríain added to the fun and, as is so often the case, the loser came across as a genuinely nice guy. It's great to have them all back.

  • The Apprentice (BBC One) and The Apprentice: You're Fired! (BBC Two) continue tonight and then on Wednesdays
The boys had the good idea to sell them as posh hotdogs but the execution was wonderfully inept


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters