It’s one of only two times of year I get really excited about this week, and that’s the start of this year's The Apprentice. The only reality TV show I actually like.
This year, there’s a slight difference to past shows, however: the formidable Claude Littner is replacing Nick Hewer as Lord Sugar’s aide (the BBC marketing department using this to promote the new series of The Apprentice as ‘the toughest one yet’, which I feel is a bit harsh on Hewer, but I see where they’re going with it), alongside now-Baroness Brady.
Facing this new critical line-up are eighteen candidates. They are:
Kasim describes herself as both single-minded and dynamic, which seems a contradiction in many terms, but this is also a person who describes herself as hippy-ish and I have no idea what that means. Maybe she'll turn up to the boardroom without shoes and a big smelly poncho.
Jackson has the unique feature of being the only candidate this year to already have her own Wikipedia article – for winning ‘Miss Jamaica’ in 2008. So at least she's got the work from that to fall back on if this goes tits up.
Former Royal Navy marine engineer Butler-Smythe prides himself on having no fears, no negative traits, no weaknesses. Unfortunately, his fondness of not having things resulted in him using a double negative in his audition video, so he can add 'no grammar skills' to his CV and spiel. Arrogance and poor SPAG. Doesn’t endear him to me much.
Also joining Butler-Smythe from Plymouth is hair and beauty salon owner Wain – who also has a paragraph long motto, apparently failing to appreciate the advantage succinctness brings to what is supposed to be a memorable phrase. I thought CVs were meant to fit on one side of A4?
Mancunian Callaghan likes to describe himself as not being one who plays dirty, preferring to be straight up about his actions. He then made a comparison between himself and the Snake from Eden, a figure in religious mythos famous for representing deceit. Back to Sunday School for you, Dan. Or back to Hell.
From Stevenson’s audition, three things are clear: he thinks tweed jackets give him an advantage in this competition, he thinks his own beauty will compliment Lord Sugar’s age and give him an advantage, and he thinks he is like Martin Luther King because he has a dream to change the world within business.
Elle Stevenson is the youngest candidate this year, at just 21 years old. She became the operations director of a construction company at just 20 and knows fluent Latin, apparently. Let that sink in while we mount up debt in the education system that she didn't need...
Gary Poulton, a 34 year old Brummie, calls himself Mr. Mankini. And says he’ll do everything in a Mankini. So erm … something to look forward to there, I guess?
Garbis is a new Business Studies graduate who is determined to get her name in lights and over-achieve in everything. She also wants to be a role model for women to get into business which is always a fab ambition to have.
Owner of a plumbing business, Valente IS VERY LOUD and made my ears hurt during his audition tape like OMG DUDE I’M LIKE RIGHT HERE. He resembles James Franco to an eerie degree. I'll leave it to you to decide whether that's a good or bad thing.
Butaja describes himself as God’s Gift, the most happy and charming person you ever met, and spells ‘CEO’ as ‘M-E-R-G-I-M’. His strategy is to make everyone think he’s harmless before going on the offensive. – So basically he’s your standard Apprentice candidate.
Dean hates people being better than her. She should enter some sort of televised competition or something …
Director of a digital marketing company, Woods reckons he is the best thing since sliced bread and is a Swiss army knife of skills. Apparently those skills do not include originality, though he does have an ambition to buy an island and name it Dicky’s World, so there’s that.
Whitely is the eldest candidate here, and she is an eccentric Yorkshire lass, which should endure her to me. Does it? Jury’s out. Everybody together: YOOOORKSHIRE.
Curry’s audition video includes him listing all the clichés before bemoaning clichés. Lampshading does not excuse your crime, Curry.
Saunders’ motto is more succinct and catchy than Wain’s, but unfortunately it’s also ‘to be the best, you need to be the best, and I am the best’ – which seems really self-redundant as a motto.
Waterman-Smith describes herself as smart, passionate, funny and creative. Really making her distinct from all the other supposed smart, passionate, funny and creative candidates.
Koutsomitis talked a lot about how she thinks business is more about people and morals and integrity (and some other things), and not about money. It’s a nice notion, though I fear she may have misjudged the concept of business and capitalism.
Catch all of the action on BBC1, Wednesday 14th October, 9pm