Five things to look forward to in the new series of The Apprentice

From format tweaks to familiar faces, here are some teasers to tickle your Apprentice tastebuds...

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The Apprentice is back for its eleventh run this week (dum de dum de dum dummmmm…). But, other than the usual boardroom blarney, dodgy deals and fearsome firings, what can we expect from the new series? We’ve collected together some tasty teasers ahead of the first episode…

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The teams are mixed straight away

The Apprentice isn’t one for mucking around with the format. They don’t like “gimmicks”, Lord Sugar explained at the series launch, being very much of the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality. But a curveball here and there “amuses” the boss. He doesn’t want the candidates getting carried away thinking they know everything that’s going to happen, after all. So this year, the first task doesn’t see the girls take on the boys (much to one candidate’s disgust who was keen to prove men are better sellers…) and instead the teams are instantly mixed up. It created a bit of a headache for production, Sugar admitted. Splitting the candidates by gender makes it easier for us viewers to get to know them. But we’re a smart bunch, we’ll figure it out…


There’s a trip to France

More often than not there’s a trip abroad and this year the destination is France. Last year’s US visit rather harshly allowed just a selection of the candidates to go, so perhaps this crop shouldn’t get too excited – we, on the other hand, will very much be looking forward to seeing the entrepreneurs attempt to show off their best GCSE French. Perhaps they’ll answer once and for all that tantalising question, do the French like their children?


We’re set to see one of the biggest wins in Apprentice history

According to BBC entertainment boss Mark Linsey, this series includes “a very good win – one of the best”. How close it gets to 2011 runner-up Jim Eastwood’s mammoth biscuit order – which resulted in the show’s largest ever sales order of £1.6m – remains to be seen. 


The candidates didn’t know Claude Littner would be Nick Hewer’s replacement 

Karren Brady returns, but the seat to Lord Sugar’s left is initially empty. The candidates may well have wished it had stayed that way after terrifying Claude Littner – yes Sugar’s long-standing colleague who usually rips business plans apart in the interviews – appears out of that frosted blue wall to take up his new role. Scared? Us? Well, yes, actually. 


Team Sugar Babes almost became a thing

Yes, one candidate thought naming their team the Sugar Babes was a good idea. Whether Connexus and Versatile are actually any better is a matter of opinion. But imagine the expression from LS if the first name had made it through… 

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The Apprentice returns Wednesday (14th) and Thursday (15th) at 9:00pm on BBC1