Scarlet Doeskin? Rugelach?! What are the items in The Apprentice’s buying task?

Everything you need to know about all the items related to Lord Sugar


It’s here: The Apprentice’s discount buying task, the challenge that scrambles contestants into a blind panic for an hour of TV gold.


But the hopefuls are more vulnerable to a boardroom backlash this time around as all items have a special connection to Alan Sugar. To celebrate the businessman’s 70th birthday, Lord Sugar has asked candidates to bag nine specific items at the best possible price from across London. Contestants will have to follow the journey of Sugar’s life, from his Northwold Primary School to the House of Lords, where they’ll have to arrive at by 7pm.

But here’s the thing: the candidates don’t have access to any internet – without so much as a Yahoo search, they have to recognise, locate and haggle for the items on Sugar’s shopping list. But if you’re reading this, you do have the internet. And that means you can see below what exactly the candidates need to buy – and how those items are connected to Lord Sugar…


It’s a Jewish pastry (pronounced rug-a-lach or roo-ga-lach). And they look delicious: they’re essentially a triangle of dough, layered with the likes of walnuts, cinnamon and chocolate, rolled up into a baked treat.

Although Sugar has admitted he can’t resist a serving of Cumberland sausages, he’s never confessed a craving for Rugelach before. A food from his childhood perhaps?

Scarlet Doeskin

Doeskin is a soft wool material, often used in coats or riding habits.

What’s the personal connection to Alan Sugar here? Well, you know those scarlet coats that Sugar and other Lords wear in the Houses of Parliament? They’re made out of Scarlet Doeskin.

(Getty, TL)

An Amstrad computer

This is a PC created for Sugar’s former company Amstrad (Alan Michael Sugar Trading). Although bought by BskyB in 2008, Amstrad was Lord Sugar’s flagship business venture through the 1980s, in particular because of microcomputers such as the Amstrad CPC464.

And if you think they look rubbish by today’s standards then you’re right: the Amstrad CPC 464’s processor was 467 times less powerful and its memory one million times smaller than a modern-day Mac Pro. Still, for 1984, it was a fairly popular machine and sold two million units – a big number for computers at the time.

A Tottenham FC scarf

In case you couldn’t tell from the many many references Sugar’s dropped throughout the series, he’s a lifelong Tottenham fan. He even became co-owner of the club in 1991, and was its chairman for 10 years.

Sugar in 1995 (Getty, TL)
Sugar in 1995 (Getty, TL)

Bricks and Mortar

Although mainly known for his electronic businesses, Sugar has made most of his money in property, which is what these items symbolise. In particular, from 1985 Amsprop Estates has proved particularly lucrative for the business owner – the company had an estimated value of £800 million in 2008. 

Interestingly Simon Ambrose, winner of The Apprentice’s third series, worked for Amsprop after his victory on the show. But he left in 2010 to operate several London bars and restaurants.

Car Aerial

No, Sugar doesn’t need a replacement for his Rolls Royce: aerials were the items that the business giant first sold. At the age of 16, he began selling them out of a van he bought for £50. After five years of selling aerials and other electronics, he founded Amstrad in 1968.

(Just FYI: Sugar didn’t get £500m from his uncle – this is a jibe at former US Apprentice star Donald Trump, who started off his business empire with a $1 million loan from his father).

An item made in 1947

Get it? Because Sugar was born in 1947 – 24th March 1947, to be precise. Yet although this episode was filmed in May this year, Sugar is actually closer to 71 than 70 by the time it airs.

A 70th birthday cake

This is a cake…for somebody’s 70th birthday… Lord Sugar’s 70th. Come on, even an Apprentice candidate could work this one out.

Embroidered handkerchief

Lord Sugar has occasionally had a handkerchief tucked into his suit’s breast pocket and, erm…that’s it. There’s not really any real connection between the garment and Sugar. Perhaps he genuinely just wanted one for his birthday?


The Apprentice is on 9pm Wedenesdays, BBC1