Missed the first episode? Catch up here.
The Apprentice is back. There are 16 new candidates. But the game is the same. Cue aerial views of London, close-ups of fingers drumming nervously in the boardroom and cutaways to Karren Brady and Nick Hewer looking like they have smelt something nasty. Build up the tension and then the glass doors slide silently open and there’s Lord Sugar, more owl-like than ever.
But what’s new? It’s the prize — a chance to win £250,000 to start up a new company with Lord Sugar as a business partner.
How simple can it get? Just buy £250-worth of fresh fruit and veg from New Covent Garden market, make something with it, sell it and make a profit. The skills required include negotiation, financial planning, food production and selling. What could go wrong?
Boys’ team leader Edward Hunter claims to be a “wheeler dealer” but when it comes to a negotiation between apprentices and market traders, there’s no contest. The apprentices shake on a deal as if they have won something; the market trader keeps pointing out that he has not actually dropped his price at all.
Food production is always fun to watch. This time, the boys entertain by trying to squeeze 1,400 oranges by hand when the juicers break down. Needless to say, they fall short.
Talk about costs, margins and profit is curiously absent during this task — most notably from trained accountant Edward, who says he doesn’t believe in margins.
The best bits
The boys vow to “make soup like they’ve never made soup before”. No problem there then — they’ve never made soup before.
The worst bits
Vincent Disneur - doing an impression of a creepy version of the Diet Coke man — as he sells orange juice to girls in offices and leers over them while they drink it.
The winners and losers
The girls do better then the boys — but as ever on the Apprentice, they also make plenty of mistakes. Not least, deciding to “save” money by only spending £150 of the £250. Given that they made three times margin, their total sales of £592 could have been closer to £1,000.
But it’s the shambolic boys team that loses and Edward is in the firing line. Lord Sugar says to him, “You said on your resume that, ‘I am Lord Sugar’s dream’. With the greatest respect you’ve been a bit of a nightmare.”
Edward’s rambling defence includes this humdinger: “Not only am I the youngest in the team, I’m the shortest.”
Edward — you’re fired mate.
The ones to watch
Gavin Winstanley could be a dark horse. He doesn’t have the bravado of some of the others but he sold well and Lord Sugar seems to approve. Unlike poor Leon Doyle, who is told, “I’m not very enthusiastic about you to be honest”. Jim “souper-man” Eastwood comes in for a lot of praise. Meanwhile, Melody Hossaini praises herself all the time and will undoubtedly make enemies fast.
- When someone invests in your business, they don’t expect you to “save” money by not spending it. If you’ve got your margins right, you should spend all of your start-up capital.
- "Rolling with the punches" (Edward’s motto) is an occasional necessity in business; it is not a business philosophy in itself. Try planning — remarkably, it works.
Quote of the week
Vincent: “I’ve got plenty of charisma and yeah I’m not bad looking.”
Missed this episode? Watch it on BBC iPlayer.
This week Lord Sugar made: £624.46