Fired Apprentice candidate explains his ‘Harry Potter, but not Harry Potter’ fantasy fiction

Is the tax advisor and mobile DJ the next JK Rowling?

David Alden, The Apprentice (BBC, EH)

CRASH! BANG! KABOOM! The Apprentice candidates might not have produced quite the action-packed comic books they were supposed to during this week’s episode, but the boardroom finale certainly saw an explosive ending to the process for candidate David Alden.


Lord Sugar fired David after the tax advisor/mobile DJ brought up negative points about his own team’s comic during a pitch, and failed to think up an imaginative superhero storyline. The boys’ team’s comic – one that centred on a child superhero who travelled through space – was heavily criticised for a lack of creativity, despite David having mentioned several times that he was a fantasy fiction writer.

Nevertheless, we were intrigued. Exactly what writing was David referring to? Speaking to, he said that although his work was no Game of Thrones, it was similar to another popular franchise.

“I describe it as Harry Potter, but not Harry Potter,” said the bespectacled ex-candidate. “Which I’m sure is ironic because everyone has told me I look like Harry Potter.”

“It’s all original stuff,” he continued. “It’s all about parallel universes that come into our world – it’s set in the real world. It gives my brain a bit of exercise and lets out all the ideas that come into it.”

Sadly, David was unwilling to give much more away about the plot of his story for fear of his ideas being stolen.

“Somebody might be thinking it’s a great idea,” he explained. “I’m quite excited about it and it might take me a few years to put together, but it could end up flying off the shelves one day and people will be like ‘that’s that guy that got fired in week two – he could write stories after all!’”

In other words, watch out JK Rowling.

Kurran records the voice and movements for the Augmented Reality cover of the boy's Benji comic
Kurran records the voice and movements for the Augmented Reality cover of the boy’s Benji comic

David went on to address Lord Sugar’s criticism that he should not have outlined the faults of his comic during the pitch, a failing Lord Sugar described as displaying a real lack of “business acumen”.

“I could have just not mentioned the negatives,” David admits. “But I wanted to give a balanced view. If I just said all the positives it just would have sounded like I was lying and that I left out all the negative stuff. I will defend that.”

But although David accepts he could have articulated this point better in the boardroom, he still thought project manager Frank Brooks was the one set to be fired. However, there are no bad feelings between the two candidates – despite David not having waited outside the boardroom to shake hands with the PM.

“It all happened in such a flash,” David said about his swift exit after the firing. “I don’t really remember what happened, to be honest. It sounded like Lord Sugar had quite a few issues with Frank and I was thinking ‘it sounds like that’s where [the firing finger] is going to go’. And all of a sudden it was me! I think my brain kind of… I just don’t know what happened! I don’t remember!”

It sounds like an understandable reaction given the circumstances, but surely David needs to make it up to Frank somehow? A first edition of his upcoming fantasy book, perhaps?


The Apprentice continues next 9pm next Wednesday, BBC1

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