Alan Sugar is back on his massive boardroom chair, the king of all that he surveys in his self-made kingdom of car aerials, Tottenham Hotspurs and Labour peerages. He’s ready for his twelfth (yes, twelfth!) outing pointing his finger and crushing people’s grandiose dreams.
Since its inception as a smart BBC2 business show to the glamorous, dramatic, theatrical offering it has evolved into today, one thing has remained constant. No, not the actress who ushers the terrified business minds into the boardroom, or the sycophants by Sugar’s side. There are certain things that happen every series that make watching the Apprentice almost as sure as playing a game of bingo.
Here are 10 things that happen every series of The Apprentice.
Someone will come out of the gate bragging about their ability only to fall at the first hurdle: The first episode is the one to get past to even tell people you were on The Apprentice. Nobody wants to be that bad that they leave first. But, the first words out of someone’s mouth will undoubtedly be high self-praise as bright as their foreheads will get under the glare of the boardroom. This person will then eat those words in the nasty little polystyrene trucker’s café when they are the reason for the failure of the task. They will go home, spending the taxi ride explaining why they are still the greatest. Where are they now? Probably telling their friends and family how badly the episode was edited and how they did manage that sale.
He didn’t win…100 Million percent.
She wasn’t able to get past Week 6.
Well, he did win, so we’ll give him that.
Everyone will pass the buck: The favourite phrase of wannabe apprentices has to be ‘he/she passed the buck’. There seems to be a baton of bad ideas and failure that the team sporadically relay to one another throughout the task and when the clock runs out and they learn they’ve failed, everyone desperately tries to remember who skirted which task to try to stay safe.
“Which one of these idiots am I going to pin this mess on? Maybe the one in the tiara?”
The best pitcher will do terrible at pitching: Someone will announce their pitching pedigree. They were magna-cum-laude and valedictorian at university; they spend each day publically speaking to more people than Kim Jong-Un; they have given more speeches than every branch of the Toastmasters General ever. And then they will stand before the panel to pitch their product…and fail epically, dramatically and embarrassingly. Excellent television.
Like this time they tried to pitch a free magazine to the over-60s called Hip Replacement.
Someone will ‘rub everyone up the wrong way’: Another favourite Apprentice saying. The show seems to find people who you will never come across in real life, and throws them all together, and the one ‘character’ whose obnoxiousness radiates through their pores the most becomes the one that the others decide is doing someone wrong rubbing. Most of the Apprentice candidates would not pass the 30-second elevator test, but one of them just seems to be such a terrible, awful human being that the other slightly less terrible, awful human beings pinpoint all the terrible, awfulness on them.
Stuart Baggs, the Brand, the greatest Apprentice candidate ever (RIP) clashed with his fair share of competitors.
Karren will give a lot of side-eye: Shady Brady will return for her 7th series (beating her predecessor Margaret Mountford, ah simpler times) to dish out calm platitudes, to masterfully dress down the cocky candidates and to provide enough side-eye to the camera to rival Jim from The Office. Savvy candidates will know to look to Karren once they’ve suggested an idea. If she’s scowling at the camera, it’s a bad idea.
There will be one or two genuinely competent people: Sugar won’t just throw his £100,000 investment away (he might?) so the producers obviously find one or two genuinely competent people who can carry the clucking driftwood through the business version of The Hunger Games and provide some actual business acumen to learn from. They can usually be spotted very early on.
Aussie Mark Wright when he realised he was easily going to win, Week 1.
There will be a lot of ridiculous people: Without having to cast your mind back too far, the latest few instalments presented us with a crash course in buffoonery. Last year alone we had Ruth, who liked to dress like a Battenberg cake; Dan who suggested naming the team the Sugar Babes; Mergim who tried to sell fish to a vegan café; and Selina who grumbled and complained all the way through (and after). Ridiculous people will butt heads, and this is probably why we watch. It’s a classier version of Jeremy Kyle, but where they sometimes sell sausages and candles.
Ruth, the human version of a Battenberg.
There will be shock firings: Remember that time he fired someone before they even made it to the final boardroom? Remember that time he fired two people? Remember that time he fired all three people? Remember all those other shock firings? Ok, so maybe at this stage they are less shock firings and more a game of ‘How Many People Will Make It to Jack Dee’s After-show This Week?’.
There will be unnecessary topless shots: A show won’t do well unless there’s gratuitous sexiness in it. I’m just worried this trend will transfer over to Eggheads.
“Dress for the boardroom? I thought you said bedroom.”
Everyone will claim they can do the tasks better: I’m looking at you, reader. Every single viewer will utter, will think or will boldly shout ‘I could do that’, ‘Why don’t they try this…’ ‘That’s easy’. Because perhaps what it worse than the people on TV thinking they can do business tasks is people at home thinking they can do better. We are all as bad as each other. Let’s just sit down, grab a cup of tea, prepare the betting pools and wait for the DUH-DUH-DUHHH-DUH-DUH-DUH-DUUUUH
“You mug, you’re fired!”
The Apprentice starts on Thursday 6th October.