In an often ill-tempered and at times controversial series of The Apprentice, self-described “full-time geezer” Thomas has never failed to raise a smile even from the stony-faced Lord Sugar.
At first, Thomas came across more like a comedy character than a genuine candidate – armed with his own catchphrase, the 28-year-old appeared the closest fit to that stock Apprentice character: bullish, very good at sales – and not much else.
But as the weeks progressed, we saw more from Thomas than just a stereotypical salesman who shouts “BOSH!” at the end of most sentences.
Throwing himself into every task with almost child-like excitement and enthusiasm (from being the driving force behind “the biggest Christmas toy of 2019” Tommy the Turtle, to dressing up as a king for the train task, to becoming a discount DJ in the music managers task) Thomas quickly became a fan favourite as he repeatedly (and without any caution) dived into the process.
It almost didn’t matter that he almost consistently played for the losing team (and it certainly didn’t seem to matter to Lord Sugar, or the other candidates, as he was rarely invited back into the boardroom) – as he served as the show’s constant ray of sunshine in contrast to some of the more negative, naysaying candidates who were shown the door and quickly forgotten.
But aside from his on-task hilarity, what made Thomas the most well-liked candidate was that, when it came down to it, he’s just a nice guy.
It seemed to almost slip his mind that he was in with a chance of winning a £250,000 investment, putting all longing for the prize to the side to nobly take Pamela’s place during the steam train task with a brusque “nah, I’m not having it,” as he felt she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom three.
In a show that has spawned hateable figures such as Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump, it was an unexpected and totally selfless act of kindness, almost reassuring us that not everyone who goes through this process is a total self-serving tool.
It’s little wonder Lord Sugar gave Thomas probably the highest compliment in the history of The Apprentice, saying he was the type of man “you’d want to have with you in the trenches at war.”
With stock from his The Fluffy Pillow Company now reportedly in high demand, plus an unexpected popularity amongst even high-profile fans, Thomas Skinner is the real winner of The Apprentice 2019, even without Lord Sugar’s investment – and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
The Apprentice concludes on Wednesday 18th December at 9pm on BBC One