The Apprentice: Why was Lord Sugar so fixated on Alex Mills’ age?

Alex was sent packing in week nine with the word “young” ringing in his ears

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Alex Mills and his eyebrows stormed into this year’s series of The Apprentice declaring, at 22 years-of-age: “I’m an old head on young shoulders – I believe I’m the new breed of businessman this process needs.”

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Lord Sugar apparently doesn’t agree, using the word “young” a whopping five times in the process of firing Alex in last night’s boardroom sequence.

But what’s got Lord Sugar’s back up about young candidates?

After nine series we sure as hell know that Lord Sugar started out at 16 years-of-age selling car aerials out the back of a van. And he’s supposed to be a champion of youthful talent – heck, he has an entire series called Young Apprentice.

Yet it seemed Lord Sugar just couldn’t get past Alex’s age.

After the candidate also known as Dracula failed to lead team Endeavour to victory in the ready meals task – racking up just 300 orders for their range of Deadly Dinners – Lord Sugar noted to Karren Brady and Nick Hewer:

“Alex, he’s a young boy, he’s enthusiastic”, before scoffing, “Alex, you sit there passing the blame, you’re a young man, claims he’s started up some business somewhere.”

Lord Sugar tried to cast his net of criticism over all young entrepreneurs, adding an almost fatherly: “I always say to young people, you need to stick to what you know.”

And he even briefly tried to turn a negative into a positive, telling Alex that in his first attempt as project manager: “You should have stuck to your guns on this thing here, but I do admire your enthusiasm. But you’re very, very young, and I have to say that as someone as young as you, you are someone to be admired.”

But, concluding with his final “young” of the night, Lord Sugar said: “Alex, I think you’re a young enthusiastic chap and I want to send you off with a bit of advice – try to stick to something and you’ll succeed. But at the moment, it is with regret, that you’re fired.”

Leah Totton may do well to note Lord Sugar’s use of the word “young”. In an attempt to better her chances in the boardroom, Leah made a point of reminding us all that Myles has been doing business longer than she’s been alive.

Two ears one mouth and all that, Leah…

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The Apprentice continues next Wednesday at 9pm on BBC1