The Apprentice preview: “Don’t suck up. If I wanted to be loved, I’d go to Tinder”

Lord Sugar's cutting the crap from episode one as the Sugar Babes almost becomes a thing...

“I want to be richer than Lord Sugar,” crows an eager entrepreneur with a watch bigger than my head – and it’s in that moment that you know The Apprentice is well and truly back.

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Yes, it’s time once again to sit back and marvel as our ‘brightest business minds’ struggle to hold a normal conversation, yell frantically at people in the street to buy a £9 salad – which has been so haphazardly put together it looks like it’s been eaten already – and sweat it out in front of Lord Sugar, Karren Brady and (gasp) new boardroom recruit Claude Littner.

Don’t let Sugar’s flowery tie fool you, it’s set to be the toughest series yet. Littner as an aide certainly helps that. “He looks at you and it’s like he’s burning a hole in your face,” one unnerved candidate admits, looking as if hopping into that first taxi wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Sugar, as usual, is cutting the crap: “I don’t like people to suck up to me. If I wanted to be loved, I’d go to Tinder.”

He’s cried “bollocks” already after reading candidate Richard Woods’s CV, which is filled with the sort of business jargon you get at the end of an email to confuse you into ‘not not’ ticking the box that if you don’t (or is it do?) tick you will probably* (*definitely) receive a thousand unwanted spam emails.

And there’s a curveball: boys vs girls has been ditched for the first time ever on the opening task. The teams are mixed up and Versatile and Connexus come into being. Let those names slide – one of the alternatives was ‘The Sugar Babes’.

We’ve got the self-styled “Godfather of business”, a wannabe Hugh Hefner and someone who throws thoughts into the “thought pond”. One team chooses their first project manager for a food-based task because she boasts a whole load of food intolerances, which is bettered only by another candidate trying to offload his extra fish to a vegan restaurant. “You’ve got more chance of seeing Jesus Christ,” scoffs a market trader as the wheeling and dealing begins. It just doesn’t get better than this, does it?

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The Apprentice returns with a double bill Wednesday (14th) and Thursday (15th) at 9pm on BBC1