Mark Wright thinks this year’s female Apprentice candidates aren’t up to scratch

“This year the boys are far stronger than the girls when working as a team,” says the reigning boardroom champ

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The Apprentice winner Mark Wright says this year’s female candidates aren’t as strong as those in the competition with him last year.

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“In my year, the girls were far stronger than the boys,” Wright told RadioTimes.com.

“It’s a big call,” he admits, but as a “collective” he says the girls are falling short. “If they keep the teams boys vs girls, I think you’ll see a lot more boy wins,” he added.

Although Wright isn’t going so far as to suggest any of the girls ought to have been hired in his place. “I should have won, I was the best,” he laughed. “But the girls in my year, like Roisin [Hogan] and Bianca [Miller], were so sharp. I can’t see that kind of calibre in the girls this year. The boys seem very good when they work together.”

The reigning champion was particularly unimpressed with girls’ project manager Vana’s approach to the task, especially when bossing around the rest of the team. “The way she just said ‘pen’. It really got my back up. You just wouldn’t respect them, would you? When I walk into Lord Sugar’s office he doesn’t go: ‘Pen. Coffee. This. That….’ No one speaks like that, whether you’re successful in business or not.

“I think Vana’s a contender, but if it was taken on last night’s task, she should have gone and [fired candidate] Jenny should have stayed,” he added.

Not that Wright thinks everything’s rosy among the boys’ team. “I think Richard is coming across quite sneaky; I think that’s the perception of his teammates.

“He’s out for Richard, and on last night’s episode – if you look at the boys’ team – they worked well together… except for Richard. He’s trying too hard. It literally sounds so cheesy, but the thing I say to everyone who asks for advice about this show is that you need to be yourself. You can’t keep an act up. If you come across cheesy or try hard, it’s the worst possible way of going about it.” 

Talking of gripes, Wright was rather surprised that last night’s shopping list task saw the boys’ £10 toy dingy boat get a green light for meeting the specifications after the girls spent £250 on theirs. If you remember, Wright was part of the team that suffered a loss over that flat pack paper skeleton. Yep, the flat pack skeleton that Lord Sugar branded an attempt to be “clever” and disallowed.

“We went in with a skeleton that met the specification and got absolutely roasted and lost the task literally on one item,” said Wright, his complaint coming hot on the heels of then Project Manager Daniel Lassman who took to Twitter last night to share his disdain at the fact that the boys “got away” with last night’s gamble.

“The boys rolled the dice on the specifications of that boat and got one for hundreds of pounds cheaper than the girls and Lord Sugar didn’t even bring it up!

“I think the boat was actually worse than the skeleton,” Wright laughed. “Now Gary will get credit for being innovative and having a spark of genius. Actually, if it went the other way, he would have been out of the door.

“The other boat was one that you could use. You could go out on it, the boys’ one was a kids’ boat for a paddle pool…”

Does Wright still stand by that paper skeleton purchase? “I didn’t even stand by it at the time. Now I think it was a good idea…”

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The Apprentice continues Wednesday at 9:00pm on BBC1