Good news everybody! The Apprentice is back. It’s been away for nearly two years (much like fun and common sense) and I thoroughly applaud the return. Don’t ever let anyone, including Lord Sugar, tell you that The Apprentice should be taken seriously. It is to be ridiculed and hectored at every step of the way, but it does make fantastically addictive viewing. Before Covid it was almost becoming a tradition to run you through the contenders before each new series started, and since I wouldn’t want to disappoint you please allow me to get stuck in. I went to The Sun website for my intelligence gathering and you may feel free to go there too, to put some faces to names. Ps, I haven’t seen the first episode yet, but by the time this is posted some unbearable, strutting cretin or other will have spent themselves and been fired; their back peppered with stab wounds, a bloated ego lying in a sticky pool of their own hubris, their dream of working with Lord Sugar over. And quite right too – they were probably an idiot.
Brittany Carter is a 25-year-old hotel front of house manager and wants Lord Sugar to help develop the first alcoholic protein drink (eg: a Pina Colada and chicken, or Baileys with mackerel). She says: “every day when I wake up, I write 10 things that I am grateful for and when I go to sleep, I reflect on five things I am grateful for from that day.” (10 things! Christ, when I wake up I’m grateful to be alive (most days) and that the hot water is still working. If I reflect at all at the end of the day, it’s to be grateful I didn’t waste time thinking of 10 things to be grateful for at the start of it. She must have epochs on her hands).
Aaron Willis is a 38-year-old flight operations instructor (and looks like a failed bouncer, at Britain’s most popular flight operations instructor’s nightclub). He revealed: “My strongest point is that I can sell to anybody, and I think that’s the reason why my business will be a success, because people will buy from me.” (This is clearly going to be the guy who will get to the third or fourth week, be ordered by Lord Sugar to demonstrate his much hyped sales power, and then repeatedly fail to sell a bucket of piss to a man on fire; even after a significant price drop).
Akeem Bundu-Kamara is a 29-year-old strategy manager for a financial firm. Akeen describes himself as a people person, but his analytical ability causes him to strategically consider every move he makes. He revealed: “My growing up has made me who I am (I think you’ll find that applies to all of us, Akeem), I’m able to converse with everyone, but also able to show that financial, business side to myself.” (Golly gosh, he sounds dynamic; I expect many people who meet him spend several seconds strategically considering how to walk away, and then just walk away).
Amy Anzel is a 48-year-old owner of a beauty brand from London. She said: “I can be nice when I need to be, but when I unfortunately have to be a b***h, I will…….” (Now she sounds like charm personified and looks like she is no stranger to sucking lemons. Imagine having a mentality whereby you only make the effort to be nice when you need to).
Akshay Thakrar is a 28-year-old owner of a digital marketing agency. He considers sleeping is a “waste of time” (I would very much like the first task to be a brutal regime of intense sleep deprivation, ending with him twitching uncontrollably in the boardroom as he mumbles for his mother) and states that his first word as a new-born was “profit” (he’s joking, of course, his first words, apparently as a “new-born”, were “I’m a cock”) Akshay said: “My friends call me AK47 because I’m a killer salesperson.” (Hark, the kudos of being named after a cheap, mass produced semi-automatic rifle, wielded by drugged up children in central African turf wars – very sexy. Interestingly, behind his back his friends also refer to him as “that cock”).
Alex Short is a 27-year-old owner of a commercial cleaning company. He is a driven businessman that is “not going to stop” until he gets to where he wants to go (that’s what all commercial cleaning company owners say, after all what fruit left of this world is there to pick once you own your own commercial cleaning company?). Although he left school in lower sixth, he is on the path to tripling his turnover (to as much as three times fuck all). Alex said: “I would compare myself to a Ferrari, shiny on the outside but under the bonnet, there is a lot of fire and I’m coming for you.” (Which he probably spent many nights coming up with, tucked under his Ferrari duvet cover, but alas has ended up with a clueless metaphor that doesn’t really work and in fact merely gives us a clear impression that his brains are as tiny as his genitals).
Harpreet Kaur is a 30-year-old owner of a dessert parlour. Harpreet explained: “I’m definitely not in business to make friends, I’m here to make money, and I’m pretty sure Lord Sugar isn’t looking for a new mate.” (I don’t think Harpreet is in a position to assume that Lord Sugar isn’t looking for a friend; perhaps exactly what he’s been looking for all this time is a new friend and now Harpreet has managed to remove herself from the running. Silly Harpreet, you’ll kick yourself later).
Conor Gilsenan is a 28-year-old sales executive. He describes himself as hard-working and “hyper-motivated by money” (such an attractive characteristic). His business idea involves a fleet of quirky food and beverage vendors targeted for music and sports events (cheap burgers, fried onions, served with a special squirt of homemade ‘seen it all before’ quirk). Conor said: “I’m going to be the corporate panther in the boardroom, I’m going to get it done, and I’m going to be Lord Sugar’s perfect business partner.” (Oh Conor, Conor, Conor, my boy, if only your balls and talent really were as big as your imagination – this one might give Akshay a run for his money).
Francesca Kennedy Wallbank (yes, the name she regularly uses) is a 26-year-old owner of a sustainability company from Surrey. She wishes to provide a product carbon footprint service for business (stop, let me catch my breath). She is confident she will win by saying: “I’ve never lost anything, I always win. “There are two types of people in the world – there’s people that say they are going to do things and people that actually do them, and I’m a doer.” (Actually there is a third type of person – the person who say they’re going to do something, does something, and completely wanks it up because they’ll never, ever be as good as they think they are).
Nick Showering (also a name) is a 31-year-old finance manager from London (from the look in his eyes I imagine whoever he last showered with was left whimpering in the corner, and not in a good way). He hopes to make a name for himself in the drinks industry with flavoured water (hopefully not the kind of flavours that were knocking about in that shower). He describes himself as a people person and someone that is a lot of fun (fun, as in the well-known fun for all the family game show: Showering Hard, with Nick Showering). Nick said: “In business I’m a bit of a force to be reckoned with. I know what I’m talking about, I know how things work, and I’m extremely experienced. So, I’m a bit of an animal in the boardroom.” (and, somewhat inevitably, in the shower).
Sophie Wilding is a 32-year-old owner of a boutique cocktail bar from Cheltenham. Sophie describes herself as magical (in a subtle, modest kind of a way). “Failure is not an option (sorry Sophie, on The Apprentice failure is always an option), winning is part of my DNA.” (The kind of winning that one can only really appreciate when you own a boutique cocktail bar – in later interviews, under duress, this will suddenly change to her working behind the bar and taking out the bins at a Wetherspoons in Colchester).
Shama Amin is a 41-year-old owner of children’s day nursery from Bradford. A mother of five (her “super supportive” husband, suddenly left looking after the kids, will be crossing his fingers and hoping she fails in the first week), who describes herself as loyal and determined (in this world loyalty and determination count for nothing; it’s how long your knife is and whose back you choose to bury it in). Shama added: “Being a lady of colour, wearing a headscarf as well, and the challenges that we face on a daily basis, I just want to be a living example for the Asian women and South Asian women out there.” (A noble sentiment but I doubt that will get you very far in this game, sorry).
Harry Mahmood is a 35-year-old regional operations manager (and is regularly dressed by his mother, who thinks he is going on a first date). He describes himself as “the Asian version of Lord Sugar” (yes, I’m sure Lord Sugar will look at Harry and think exactly the same thing). He hopes to work with Lord Sugar to develop his bath bomb business. Harry said: “Everything I’ve looked into achieving, I’ve achieved. I’ve literally done everything I’ve put my mind to.” (What, even becoming a regional operations manage? C’mon, give someone else a go!).
Kathryn Louise Burn is a 29-year-old owner of an online pyjama store from Swindon (thus redefining the term – niche market). Having worked a range of different jobs (before settling on her dream of selling pyjamas online), she has plans for her pyjama business to move forward. She describes herself as ambitious and a “savage” (do savages wear pyjamas?). She revealed: “My dreams in my head are absolutely huge and I believe I can achieve them.” (Which is one of the most dangerous things anyone can say, including genocidal dictators; and besides, where else can you have dreams? Asleep, I suppose, in bed, wearing pyjamas – oh now I get it).
Navid Sole is a 27-year-old pharmacist from London (he is in fact 13, and has been dressed by his grandmother, who thinks he is a very handsome young man). He aspires to create a successful pharmacy business with the help of Lord Sugar. Navid plans to stay true to himself through his journey (towards puberty) on The Apprentice. He said: “Nothing intimidates me because I just feel like I’m a strong character, strong person, strong mindset.” (And one who has clearly not done much market research because, to my knowledge, I think we’re all good for pharmacies thanks, Navid. But you stay strong, young man).
Stephanie Affleck is a 28-year-old owner of an online children’s store from Kent. She describes herself as confident and brutally honest (who needs honesty when you can have brutal honesty?). She is looking for funding to support and develop her designer children’s-wear store. She admitted: “I’m an East London girl, and I’ve got that no nonsense sort of work ethic. I’ve got grit, determination – and I’m determined to be successful.” (There goes that determination again. Being from East London I suppose if all else fails, her inner Kray will come to the fore and she’ll cut some slag or nonce with a Stanley knife, just to crawl to the top).
There, that’s what we’re up against this year, Two years of pent up stupidity crammed into one. It would be an understatement to say I really, really can’t wait. I think you should watch it too. I really, really do. It’ll make you feel better about not being on it.
G B Hewitt. 07.01.2022