After 10 long years of blustering candidates, appalling cock-ups and lots (and LOTS) of disappointed squinting, Nick Hewer has finally called time on his role as Lord Sugar’s right-hand man on The Apprentice.
So farewell Apprentice – it's been 10 yrs of fun working on a worthwhile show but now it's time to file the notebook and throttle back. Bye
We and the people of Britain are sad to see him go (hopefully he’ll pop up in the interviews next year as another former aide, Margaret Mountford, did) – but now it’s time to look to the future. Who are the candidates to fill Nick’s wire-framed spectacles and perennial look of disappointment?
The methodical but professional Scot (he tracked down the obscure root Roisin planned to make low-calorie ready meals from) is my pick for Hewer’s successor – Sugar’s previous replacement for an aide (Karren Brady for departing Margaret Mountford) came from his interviewing panel on which Soutar has appeared for many years, and the Shortlist media exec seems like he’d be able to take a back seat during the tasks, only to let loose with some devastating putdowns in the boardroom.
This would be quite something – imagine how much more alert the candidates would be with the terrifying Claude looking over their shoulders? On the other hand, how much of a loss to the interview section of the competition would it be to have Claude permanently on the sidelines? It’s a tough call.
Another member of the interview panel this year, Collins has a no-nonsense attitude that would do her credit as Hewer’s replacement – though her slightly more subdued approach might be a little too similar to Karren Brady’s.
Businesswoman Devey made a splash when she joined the Dragons’ Den panel for two series in 2011 – could she have the same revitalising effect when joining The Apprentice? Perhaps – she certainly has the fierceness to really cut a candidate down to size – but her continuing relationship with Channel 4 (including a new series that filmed this year) makes her a less likely candidate.
This businessman is the one person on this list you probably won’t have heard of, but he has something of an “in” with Lord Sugar – he’s his son, and CEO of digital advertising operator Amscreen. Surely he’d know better than anyone what his dad would want in a candidate?
Another former winner
I can think of plenty of former candidates who we’d like to see have a run at new potential business partners – Ruth Badger would be great, and it would be grimly entertaining to see Katie Hopkins involved – but I can’t help but feel Sugar would only pick a winner, lest it send the wrong message. Could series two’s Michelle make a reappearance, or nice Tom from series seven get a bit more ruthless? It’s tough to say, but I think the most recent winners are more likely…
Series 8 winner and recruitment specialist Ricky Martin has already made one comeback in the series, appearing as an advisor to Lord Sugar in the interview section of the process. Perhaps he could make another step up to close advisor – he knows the ins and outs of being a candidate better than anyone, and does genuinely judge people competing for jobs for a living.
Definitely a safe pair of hands, last year’s winner Dr Leah would bring a bit more glamour to the boardroom whilst not overwhelming new candidates with her personality – on the other hand, she might fade into the background just a little too much. Could you really imagine her attempting Nick’s patented disappointment faces?
Recent years have seen Lord Sugar move into government as Labour’s business czar – so could a former political spin doctor move in the other direction? Mandelson could certainly match Hewer’s suave disdain and terrifying disappointment – but then again he might be a bit of a distraction from the show itself.
OK, several twitter spats between the two haven’t made them seem the best of friends – but imagine if the TV-experienced pair could turn that anger and energy towards finding a viable business partner for Lord Sugar. They’d be unstoppable. Right, Nick?
Ok, maybe not – but what do you think? Is there a viable candidate among anyone we’ve seen here? Vote now.