The Apprentice episode one: Who lost their shirt?

Dan Martin
Former editor
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Stu Bradley, marketing executive at KashFlow, reviews the first episode in the new series of The Apprentice.

One of those shows that I don't seem able to not watch, I can never decide whether the return of The Apprentice is like welcoming back an old friend or more a case of 'oh Christ, look who's at the end of our street. Shut the curtains and turn your phone off.'

Initially, the ineptitude of the candidates always frustrates me. I often find myself worrying that the Chinese are watching, and that we'll be the laughing stock of the world by morning, but as self aggrandising statements like "I'm going to roar my way to the top" and "I'm like a shark" and "I'm the reflection of perfection" start to drop I remember why we all love this show - no-one's told the candidates that they're the Derek Zoolanders of business. After the standard opening shots of a miserable Sugar looking like he's contemplating throwing himself off the roof of One New Change (after he meets the candidates I presume he'll be heading straight back), we find out that the prize is £250,000 worth of investment. This is a little disappointing, given it's exactly the same prize as last year, and it wasn't enough to keep Harry Pott…erm, Tom Pellerau on the map.

The show is rapidly heading towards self parody, with some phrases actually feeling like they've been written with nimble thumbed tweeters in mind - 'Today, Nick [Hewer] will be following the girls.' Yeah, I bet he will!!!! #Apprentice #LOL and 'She was probably flustered by having lots of strong women under her.' apprenticeLAD hahaha #uktvscene2k12. The candidates themselves I remember not so much by name, but by stereotypes and nicknames - there's the communist bloc (of flats) one, Blondie, Hottie McIrish, Justin Bieber and, of course, self professed 'alpha male' Ricky Martin. Of course, the rule is that anyone who actually worries about being an alpha male will never be one - I predict Ricky Martin will be going the same way as the other Ricky Martin shortly.

Watching the show makes it difficult not to feel like a business genius. Actually, genius full stop - it took me about three minutes online to find somewhere offering tote bags at half the price the boys managed to negotiate. And charging £15 for that teddy bear? I haven't seen such an overpriced bit of merchandise since I accidentally wandered into the Porsche shop on Regent Street. Plus I imagine every single Londoner was shouting 'CAMDEN IS THE OTHER WAY!' as Billygoat led them on that massive detour.

I also love how desperate for approval the candidates are when they're around Sir Alan; 'Jack. This is Jack. THE BEAR'S CALLED JACK.' Yes, like Union Jack, that's very clever, boys. Of course, it's only a Union Jack when it's on a ship, otherwise it's called the Union Flag. But Flag isn't much of a name for a bear, I suppose. Still, the boys won the task, though probably not much favour with feminists as they joked about how 'this is a real man's job!' when someone made them do a bit of ironing.

After a long pan shot of The Shard (I guess we're meant to believe Shugs' offices are in there now. The poor Gherkin's been dumped), we end up in the boardroom where SPOILER: Billy Idol gets fired, despite the fact that she 'wasn't as loud' as everyone else (hah!). Next week looks like it could be good, with Team Bromance 'inventing the bin' and Team Baying Hyenas deciding who to rip to shreds next.


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