wed 01/02/2023

The Apprentice, Series 16, BBC One review - will they never learn? | reviews, news & interviews

The Apprentice, Series 16, BBC One review - will they never learn?

The Apprentice, Series 16, BBC One review - will they never learn?

Welcome return of Lord Sugar and his gang of hopefuls

Baroness Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Tim Campbell are back for the 16th series

“Will they never learn?” people must have been screaming as they watched the opening episode of the 16th series of The Apprentice – I certainly was. After all these years, the hopefuls vying to take Lord Sugar's £250,000 to invest in their business idea seem blissfully unaware of how daft they look with their strutting boasts.

I know it's a competition, but not in how to sound the most foolish.

So we had the usual bombast bingo list. “I'm the complete package”, “I would compare myself to a Ferrari”, “Failure is not an option” and “I'm so confident to the point people think I'm deluded”. Bless them, they never disappoint, do they?

At least Covid, which took the show off our screens for the past two years, provided some new lines for Alan Sugar. “You don't get furloughed, you get fired,” he warned as he met the 16 contestants in the boardroom for the first time.

As ever, in the first show the contestants were divided into boys and girls, and both octets proved themselves equally useless at the first task – to launch a new cruise line. They were given the run of a ship docked at Portsmouth for the duration of the Covid pandemic and had the skeleton staff to pose questions to, but still they managed to cock it up royally.

The girls were led by Kathryn, who could never be accused of lacking in confidence and whose project management style appeared to consist of believing everything she said was a pearl of wisdom, forcing through her choice of name for the company; Bouji Cruises was aimed at 25- to 45-year-olds travelling in friendship groups. Several of her team either didn't understand the word “bouji” or thought it was reminiscent of a hen night, and not the upmarket clientele they were supposedly aiming at.

The boys, under project manager Akshay, however, outdid themselves. They went for the safer option of a wellness cruise for the over-45s, calling their company Neverending Nautical (catchy, eh?), and the subteam under Akeem produced a risibly bad brown and green logo (do they not know the sea is blue?) that didn't name the company and looked like “a rotten banana”, “a turd” or, as one crew member so memorably put it, “a PVI” – a public vomiting incident. No doubt by someone on a Bouji Cruise.

Karren Brady described the boys' woeful branding as the worst she has seen since she joined the show in 2010, and it's hard to disagree.

Alongside Brady, Tim Campbell is Lord Sugar's other “eyes and ears” for this series. He won the first Apprentice in 2005 and replaces the indisposed and much missed Claude Littner, and hilariously can't hide his reactions to the guff he has to witness. Campbell's friendly demeanour contrasts markedly with Littner's world-weary approach to the candidates, but he already looks to be a good choice.

The boys lost and Akshay called the clueless Akeem and the argumentative Harry into the boardroom for the showdown, and it was the "disruptive" Harry, fighting to the last, who was cast adrift by Lord Sugar.

I've said before that the magic of The Apprentice is in the choice of the candidates (there's clearly no shortage of deluded peeps out there) and the superb editing, and this opener of 12 episodes was up to the show's usual high standard. It's great to have it back.

The boys outdid themselves with their logo


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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