The Apprentice finalist Courtney Wood reviews week one: “If it was a later week, it would have been a double firing”

Last year's Apprentice runner-up gives RadioTimes.com his verdict on the first task - from the reasons the boys failed to who impressed him the most

Courtney Wood

I worked out in the first 15 minutes of The Apprentice this week which team would lose the task and who would be fired. It was very clear from the start that Danny Grant didn’t have any control over his team.

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He didn’t really grasp the concept of having to get out and go and sell. Where his team went wrong is that they chose unfamiliar products – buffalo and turkey – and they’re too unusual. The cost of buffalo meat was too high so it was going to be really hard to make a profit as they were talking about selling burgers for £7.

He also chose bad locations. The Brixton pop up is great at weekends, but midweek you’ve got to sell where there’s going to be office people which is why Canary Wharf was the perfect location. Jeff Wan and Elliot Van Eden were in Brixton trying to sell burgers in a market with no people and they got the labels wrong… they reminded me of the Chuckle Brothers. To me! To you! They’re TV gold, those two.

The girls did it right – they made their burgers look more luxurious with the toppings and the buns even though they made them for cheap. That’s why they managed to turn more than £200 profit, and I  they did very well.

I was really impressed with PM Sarah Lynn. I think she’s got what it takes to get far in the process because she managed the team perfectly – and for me it was a near-faultless performance from her. I feel like she noticed who the big, powerful characters were like Siobhan Smith and Elizabeth McKenna and put them on her team so she could manage them. Sarah’s come across very well as the one to watch out for after week one.

The Apprentice 2017 week one

Also, what I liked about Elizabeth is that she saw that she maybe made a mistake with the burgers and she tried to fix it instantly by just punching the meat in the kitchen! Lord Sugar loves that. Got a problem? Fix it, get it done. She put in the full amount of effort, and I was impressed with her.

The boys, meanwhile, were quite laissez faire in the kitchen and weren’t really bothered about getting it done.

It was James White who highlighted the fact it was 1 o’clock and they needed to go out and sell the product. James reminds me of myself a little bit from watching the show – I feel like he was similar to me. He was like ‘this is what we’ve got to do’ and pushed the Project Manager along. Danny even lacked any sort of urgency when it came to choosing the team name of Vitality – and that just doesn’t matter! It really doesn’t.

The way Danny was throughout the process was summed up in the boardroom. He wasn’t decisive about choosing who he was bringing back with him and that’s what cost them. Conversely, I thought Harrison Jones came across very well in the boardroom – he’s a powerful character and in the very early tasks you need powerful people to lead from the front. When we filmed it last year we had Paul Sullivan as the Project Manager. In my opinion he did a very good job and Harrison reminds me of Paul, so I reckon he might be a good person to lead the boys to that first win if they keep the same teams next week.

Charlie Burns, meanwhile, just needs to listen. I think sadly his card is marked but if there’s one thing I reckon helped me get through to the final was listening to my team. I’m really looking forward to when Charlie becomes PM because I can see it being an absolute disaster – not listening to any of his team, and him going out in a really spectacular way. It’ll make great entertainment and great TV!

We haven’t heard from some candidates including Ross Fretten yet – I don’t think he said a single word in this episode! Lord Sugar doesn’t like people who sit back and don’t contribute, so in the next task he’ll need to try and get himself a bit more involved or he’ll be wheedled out.

The Apprentice 2017 week one

Overall though I feel like Danny should be commended for his bravery being PM in week one, because you’ve got lots of big egos in there and I do feel sorry for him. But unfortunately he didn’t show much business acumen when making his decisions.

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Lord Sugar doesn’t take kindly to losing money, and that’s why the Project Manager was fired. Without doubt Danny was the right person to leave and if it was a later week, it would have been a double firing. I just hope Danny kept the labels in some of his suits. On the show last year, I kept the labels in some of my suits in case I got fired in the first week and hadn’t worn them so I could return them!

Courtney Wood was a runner-up on The Apprentice 2016 and is owner of the novelty gift business Bubblegum Stuff