TV review: The Apprentice, BBC1: The egos have landed
- Credit: Taylor Herring
It's impossible to resist: The Apprentice is back and the candidates appear to be even more annoying than usual. Wrestling with the wrong octopus, the blind leading to another blind, it was all happening in episode one.
My initial feelings after watching the 14th series of The Apprentice was that I'd have sacked all 16 of them on the spot for being the most annoying people in the Western hemisphere – this is also the reason I will be watching the entire series from start to finish, paradoxically.
As an opening episode, this first look at the new apprentices had it all: a candidate who haggled in a supermarket to win a discount from €59 to €58.99, terrified Europeans staring blankly at bickering harpies arguing amongst themselves, people who seriously believe you can source specialist salt from an off licence, working class heroines with potatoes on their shoulders, the big questions ('how stretchy IS an octopus?') and a man to whom #metoo is something that happened to other people (Rick: 'women are preoccupied with style. They'll be like 'ooh, my make-up's running'. We'll wipe the floor with them.').
Having met the new set of candidates, who look like Love Island contestants at a second court appearance, Lord Sugar delivered the shock news that he'd immediately be sending them as far away from him as physically possible. Completely under-standable, unlike the shopping list he was about to give them.
'Bring me a set of blinds, a small Maltese house, a ship with at least nine sales, an octopus and honeycomb!' he barked, before disappearing in a cloud of smoke leaving his henchmen Claude Littner (my love for Claude is endless) and Karren Brady to follow the candidates to Malta, where they were tasked with buying a collection of surreal objects without the benefit of the internet or anyone who could communicate effectively with the locals.
Terrifying synth Jackie First (which is not only her name, but her mission statement) volunteered someone else to be the project manager and, unwisely, Jasmine (who lists one of her 'interests' on LinkedIn as 'David Cameron') accepted, having been well and truly thrown under the bus.
From the get-go, the women were hampered by a set of difficult circumstances, by which I mean everyone else who was in their team.
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Sarah, a braying Janice-from-Friends style know-it-all with an enormous mouth and a predisposition for shouting at people in Malta, made us all realise precisely how you make a Maltese Cross, Sarah-Ann took us all back to 1995 when eyebrow piercings were acceptable, nut milk enthusiast Camilla unwisely introduced herself as 'an extremist' who was 'looking to achieve world domination' and sub-team leader Sian who claims to be 'the Beyonce of business' and who authorised a first in Apprentice history: buying an item twice.
Sabrina wisely kept her mouth shut while the rest of the team squawked like banshees, argued, rolled their eyes and achieved practically nothing: she is my early prediction as a winner. And if she doesn't win, she at least won my 'least annoying contestant in episode one' award.
The men were no better. Rent-a-gob Kayode Demali channelled Alan Partridge as he told us: 'I don't just grab the bull by its horns, I put it in a headlock and squeeze every opportunity that comes out of him.' WARNING: do not squeeze bulls – something may well fall out, which may well be far more appropriate to Kayode, but it will NOT be opportunities. He took the PM position and instantly proved himself as a great leader, if by 'great leader' you mean 'irritant wearing a diamond ear stud'.
His team members were fairly unprepossessing: Harry-Potter-a-like David 'Boy Wizard' Alden was a key player (he kept quiet and did nothing), unemployed film extra Kurran 'I've got self-confidence oozing from my skin' Pooni, sexist Rick Monk and some others I can't even remember.
The best of the bunch was tree surgeon Tom Bunday, who had the only good idea of the show (to speak to the tourist board to find out what on earth half the items on Sugar's shopping list were) which Kayode tried to take credit for in the boardroom.
Inevitably, both teams failed to buy the right products in the set time, the highlight being the men buying an actual octopus rather than the Octopus diving equipment with a 40 inch hose on the list. It gave Sugar the line of the night, when talking about the four-man sub-team who had purchased it: 'What's got eight legs and is bloody useless?'
Despite making most of her team's deals, Sarah was ejected and Jackie was given a warning (it should have been the other way round). I miss Elizabeth from 2017 shouting at chickens.