We’re just over the halfway point for the Apprentice series 10, and after weeks of deception, disasters and firings, we’re still trying to work out who could possibly secure Lord Sugar’s investment from the current crop of candidates.
Currently picking the winner seems impossible, but we asked one man who’d definitely have an opinion on the matter – Nick Hewer, who’s spent weeks following the candidates around as they lurch from one mess to another.
So who’s standing out for Nick from the remaining candidates? Who’s for the chop? And who could go the distance?
Age: 27 Job: Senior Manager, Banking
“A bright enough guy. Apparently the youngest bank manager ever appointed but I don’t know whether that says more about banking or more about Sanjay! His maths skills were used to good effect in the home fragrance task but let him down in the coach-tours task.
Then to top it all off, he started singing Wheels on the Bus with James when as project manager he should have manned up and shut James down. He needs to stop caring so much about what people think of him. Might be tough, as apparently he thinks he’s the best-looking bloke in the street!” Odds of winning: 16/1
Age: 26 Job: Multiple business owner
“A very strange fellow. He’s only partially house-trained, I would say. His fooling around on the online video… I mean, for heaven’s sake. That was dreadful! The Wheels on the Bus… Just wrong! He can sell, I’ll give him that, and Alan Sugar has a soft spot for candidates who started from the same place as him, but it’s not enough to be a market trader. It’s not enough but it’s not a bad start. If he can pull himself together, he may go far.” Odds: 25/1
Age: 27 Job: Fitness entrepreneur
“Gritty and down to earth. She was PM in the home fragrance task and she won by staying focused and determined. She may lack the glamour of the others but I don’t think we’re necessarily after glamour. Is Marjorie Scardino glamorous? Or Karren Brady — well, she wears very high heels, and plunging necklines, but that’s Karren.
I don’t know whether Katie has got any downside to her really, but it’s early days. What we’ve got to remember is, we all spot a potential winner early on and then, as the process goes on, people learn and overtake the obviously good. You’ll have to wait and see if Katie can maintain her steady lead.” Odds: 11/4
Age: 25 Job: Owns a personal branding company
“A formidable character. I feel she’s keeping her powder dry at the moment, although she did blot her copybook in the coach-tour task and the board-game task. She undersold in one and gave away the whole of Westminster in the other — both big mistakes and, boy, did she look horrified at making them!
What they demonstrated to us is that what she lacks in wiliness she makes up for in honesty. But who survives and flourishes — the wily business person, or the discreet business person?” Odds: 10/1
Age: 33 Job: Lawyer
“I like Fat Daddy! He’s one of the kindest contestants we’ve ever had and perhaps the one with the greatest integrity. A smart, generous guy. He’s talented, he’s educated, he’s collegiate. And he’s not an egotist.
Although that may count against him. Because I’m afraid that in this process ego, sometimes, is more valuable than talent. But maybe he’ll acquire it and develop a killer instinct.” Odds: 20/1
Age: 32 Job: Accountant
“She keeps opening her mouth like a goldfish, which I don’t understand. But she’s a very competent, professional woman. Admittedly in the home fragrance task, she lost, but it was a better product. As an accountant she should jolly well have got her margins right. Had she done so, she would have won on both counts.
But that’s the pressure. She really came through in the board-game task though, so she’s looking like a very strong candidate. As I’ve said before, be careful backing someone who looks good early on because you’ll always get it wrong — I’m not saying that you will in this case, but it is frequently so.” Odds: 10/1
Age: 27 Job: Director, Pub quiz company
“He’s got all sorts of braggadocio and front. “I am the best salesman in the world,” but of course he hasn’t demonstrated that at all! He then had the disaster of the On-Air camera jumper, which he said he wouldn’t wear in public.
I thought he was more streetwise than that, but he slipped then and during the coach- tours task and didn’t the rest jump on it! The fact that they buried him doesn’t bother me because there was merit in their argument. But he does learn and Alan Sugar sees a bit of a go-getter in him.” Odds: 25/1
Age: 24 Job: Sales Manager, Digital Marketing
“A pretty competent guy. He’s in it to win it. But he’s got to be very careful as he’s coming across as a bit of a schemer. He spots a victim — someone he thinks might be a problem for him in the future — and then leads others to gang up on them.
In the board-game task he did a good job selling to a multiple retailer, and in the coach tour, he negotiated well. But he’s at risk because sometimes if you’re leading a mutiny against somebody else, you can find yourself being thrown overboard as well.” Odds: 7/4
Age: 22 Job: Technology entrepreneur
“A creative young man, which is a strong commodity. Alan Sugar admires creativity — you’ve either got it or you haven’t. It’s what won him the online video task… although apparently he has experience behind the camera. [Solomon revealed he’s made a sex tape following allegations in The Sun.] He came up with some very good camera angles…
He has great ideas but must win the respect of the group and they’ve got to do what he says. At the moment they don’t. He reminds me of Tom Pellereau from a few years ago — they’re both creative, well mannered but lack authority. Can Solomon emulate him and win? I don’t know – he’s very young and a little bit of a flibbertigibbet…” Odds: 5/1
As told to Alexia Skinitis
The Apprentice is on BBC1 tonight (26th November) at 9.00pm