‘The Apprentice’ – series 8 episode 1

Right, for those of you who have absolutely no interest in The Apprentice, look away now. For those of you that haven’t yet watched it and you don’t want to know who was fired, you’ll want to avoid this too. But if there is anyone out there that watched the first episode of series 8 live last night, or you just want to know what happened, then this might appeal.

The first task of the first series was “something simple”: creating a printed product and then trying to sell as much of this product as possible. Now, as anyone who has ever watched any episode of The Apprentice ever will know, tasks billed as “simple” never turn out as such: they end in bickering, failure, and recrimination. This task wasn’t any different. The boy’s team, now named ‘Phoenix’ (in anticipation of future failure; why did they all get so excited about that?!), was lead by Nick, the only one brave/stupid enough to put himself forward. The girl’s team, named by the Oracle that is Jenna (I can’t wait to hear more from her and her dreams), was lead by Gabrielle, who fortunately happened to be planning to open her own printing business. However, Stephen evidently loves the sound of his own voice and made a couple of feeble attempts towards mutiny, while on the girls’ team most of them had issues with the quiet Gabrielle. Without going into too much detail, it was obvious that the girls’ product was substantially better than the boys’, but as the boys focused in figures more than product they ended with quite a substantial win.

As ever, it was in the boardroom where the claws really came out. Gabrielle evidently sensed danger when her team began to gang up on her, and as a consequence she launched into a slightly petulant tirade that probably saved her (usually when the ‘specialists’ lose a task they’re straight out). Katie, unsurprisingly, said nothing when she was brought back in to the boardroom: until she pleaded for another chance to “prove herself”.  Therefore it fell to Bilyana to do all the talking – and yes, I do mean all. It never ends well for anyone that doesn’t shut up when Lord Sugar tells them to. It was still a bit of a surprise to see her fired, though: while I wasn’t hugely won over by her, I assumed her forceful attitude would have saved her. But it didn’t. Still, after a nice guy won last year, I suppose anything can happen.

So the group is one woman down. Now it’s hard to make any calls this early on, but there are several people that stood out for me. Stephen will probably be a project manager soon as he seems pretty keen to prove himself. Maria’s eye make-up stood out more than she did on this particular task, but I bet we’ll see a LOT more of her soon enough – the same for Jane (one of the first to get her claws out this week) and Jade. I reckon it could be a woman winning it this year…


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