Lord Sugar admits the new Apprentice twist was a “nightmare”

Mixing the teams up for the first task wasn’t great from a production point of view, but keeps candidates on their toes, Sugar explained

Lord Sugar has admitted that ditching the traditional boys vs girls split on the opening task of this year’s Apprentice wasn’t actually the easiest of format tweaks.

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“From a production point of view I have to say it created a little bit of a nightmare,” said Sugar. “One of the reasons that we normally stick to boys and girls is that in the early stages of filming – for the audience – it’s an easy way to associate with [the candidates]: that’s team A and that’s team B.”

We’re not looking for a cerebral workout watching The Apprentice after all. And in tonight’s first episode of series 11 – which sees the candidates try to flog fish – not only is there team Versatile and team Connexus, there’s team Fish Finger, team Calamari, team I’ve-made-these-fish-cakes-too-big…

But it’s OK. Lord Sugar’s got our back. “We put them in yellow and blue overalls so you could actually tell who’s who. I think it worked out quite well.”

Sugar’s not just making tweaks for the sake of tweaks here. He doesn’t go in for “gimmicks”. But he also wants to keep the candidates on their toes. He doesn’t want anyone thinking they’ve got one over on the boss of the boardroom.

“There’s an expectation among the candidates, thinking they know what’s going to happen next. It always amuses me to throw a curve ball occasionally…”

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The Apprentice returns tonight at 9:00pm on BBC1