The Apprentice’s Sajan Shah on that “total disaster” of a car advert – and what he really thinks of Elizabeth

The latest candidate to be fired tells why he doesn't think *that* video was the failure of the task

The Apprentice Sajan, Elizabeth and James in episode 7 in 2017

It will almost certainly go down in history as one of the worst adverts ever made on The Apprentice.


And perhaps rather unsurprisingly, fired candidate Sajan Shah has described his directorial debut as “genuinely just a big disaster”.

The 20-second advert for the ‘Expando’ car featured Elizabeth playing the role of a mum who’s in a hurry, bundling her kids into a hatchback. A mum in a hurry… who inexplicably lives in a reconstructed Norman village and almost runs over some farmyard birds.

Sajan has now explained what he thinks went wrong with the video. Apart from, well, everything.

“While filming I actually felt that it was just so funny, and maybe that was actually our problem,” he tells “We got carried away and we kept laughing… it was genuinely just a big disaster.”

The Apprentice episode 7 2017
The Apprentice episode 7 2017 (BBC)

Sajan also reveals that he didn’t know what a “Norman village” was. “I thought a village was going to be a village,” he laughs over the location mix-up. “And James and Elizabeth were in charge of choosing the locations. Obviously once we got there there was no turning back, we couldn’t go to any other location so we had to deal with what was given.

“It was meant to be funny,” he continues. “And I think it does show its funny side. From the moment we got into that video the plan was to make people laugh, make it stand out, make it weird.

“But I feel that the whole thing went wrong because Lord Sugar didn’t understand the video and there was no synergy with the other group with the name and the advertising boards that they did. So it was a bit disappointing but I genuinely don’t believe the video was the failure of this task.”

Saying that Team Graphene “did what we could do given the situation that we were in,” Sajan also tried to defend their efforts. A bit.

“If you look at the biggest adverts out there like Compare the Market, they’re all weird and stand out,” he says. “I think in hindsight the advert did stand out, so I’m a bit disappointed that Lord Sugar didn’t see that.”

Sajan Shah on The Apprentice 2017
Sajan Shah on The Apprentice 2017 (BBC Pictures)

What actually stood out on the task and in the advert – apart from some chickens almost coming a cropper – was Elizabeth McKenna.

Despite former fired candidate Sarah-Jayne saying she thought Elizabeth was playing a character on the show, Sajan disagrees.

“I’ve worked well with her and I genuinely believe she is who she is,” he says. “The whole process of The Apprentice is so long, it’s very hard to put an act on.

“Elizabeth is who she is. We absolutely get on like a house on fire, but when it comes to business she’s very difficult to work with. She’s a very dominant, military-like headmistress and she really believes in her own way. She doesn’t really take on other people’s advice or opinions but she is a great businesswoman and I’m pretty sure she’ll do really well in this process.”


The Apprentice airs next Wednesday at 9pm on BBC1.