fri 28/01/2022

The Apprentice Series 7: The Final, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

The Apprentice Series 7: The Final, BBC One

The Apprentice Series 7: The Final, BBC One

This year's series lacked memorable characters, but at least the nice guy won it

Just as we thought we were getting tired of the format, the BBC rang in the changes. It was no longer an apprentice Lord Sugar was after, but a partner in a business that he would invest a quarter of a million in. The candidates – 16 freshly laundered suits kicked us off – did the usual strutting and rustling of peacock feathers (a large part of the programme’s success is surely due to these cringeworthy failures of self-insight). But still, this year things seemed a little subdued on the bravado/bullshit front – though Northern Ireland Jim, a cliché machine, yes, but an impressively persuasive one, gave it his best shot.

But where were the stand-out “characters”? Last year it was Stuart “the brand” Baggs and the verbally challenged Melissa (casting clichés aside in favour of lingual mash-ups, such as “conversate” and “manoeuvrement”). This year, viewers had to contend with less memorable characters: dippy Susan (“Do the French like their children?”) who turned out to be not so dippy after all, and who, like Jim, made it to last night’s final. Oh, and flirty, spivvy Vincent, who, disappointingly, got fired in episode five (having stood accused of being Jim’s lap dog, he aptly got his marching orders over his team’s failure to win their “Every Dog” task).

We also lost the nail-biting head-to-head between the last two finalists, the one where we see a return of the fired candidates. Instead it was the gruelling interviews we ended with. And although this is undoubtedly the best part of the show – audiences get a gleefully eye-popping snoop at the candidates’ CVs and sit in on some seriously humiliating job interviews (yes, we are sadists) – this made proceedings feel a little truncated. But at least we saw the return of Margaret and her much-missed haughty eyebrow manoeuvres.

tom_1346123aBut all in all, what was significantly different was that this year’s line-up seemed an awful lot nicer, an awful lot more human, than the usual crop. Sure, there was idiocy aplenty – Columbus was a Brit, apparently, who brought back potatoes – but where were the boo-hiss villains, such as 2007's Katie Hopkins (part Miss Piggy, part Iron Lady)? Even Helen, who came across as a bit of a cold-fish automaton – scarily organised but lacking any affability - managed to crack a joke on demand (about a fish, funnily enough).

And did the best candidate win? Tom the inventor (Tom Pellereau, pictured above), who cites Thomas Edison as his inspiration (it may only be a curved nail file he’s invented but huge credit for getting it into Walmart) seemed an outsider from the off. Too laid-back – “directionless” was the term used. But in the end the prize went to the nice guy. And, for the very first time in the series’ history, I thought it was absolutely the right call.

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Love Jim! He was a legend to be missed! A dedicated Fan page for his many entertaining cliche!

I always felt Tom was the male version of the woman in the "Why, Miss Jones, without your glasses, you're...beautiful!" scene.

What exactly was Helen's fish joke? I rewound the fragment a few times but still her words are impossible for me to understand..

Mike, if I recall correctly, it was a pun on the words 'dam' and 'damn'. I grant it wasn't particularly side-splitting, but it was a joke all the same...

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