Young Apprentice is, as you might expect, like the normal version, but the contestants are teenagers. It has a shorter run, there is no You’re Fired spin-off show and Lord Sugar at least appears to be attempting to me more lenient to the contestants. Although most of the time his persona in this version of the show is a bit like an embarrassing uncle cracking corny jokes that go right over the young ‘uns heads.
The first contestant to go this series was Maximilian, who unfortunately only stayed long enough to fold some clothes and sound very posh. Then there was publisher Sean, a boy who seemed to be 97% hair. Amy showed that she was a great choice to be a contestant on an Apprentice show by her boast that she was like a lion or a tiger and the way she managed to sell a tatty denim jacket to some bloke who’s girlfriend hated it by telling him to basically sod what the dull girlfriend thought and go out wearing the jacket with his mates and pull a more interesting girlfriend instead. Of the contestants that went in the first half of the show the one I was most sorry to see go was egg farmer Alice. Calm and elegant with a slight air of malevolence, especially when she was declaring courgettes to be her arch-nemesis.
The two contestants that left in the middle turned out to be the elimination escapee followed next week by the SHOCK! ELIMINATION! The former, David, had one of the strangest reality TV contestant arcs I’ve ever seen. In the first week he was arrogant and a bit sexist, and surprisingly survived elimination despite being bought into the boardroom 3 times in a row. But then the next week he was project manager and was a complete goofball… yet he won! The week after he did nothing but dress up as a mascot, a sort of human paint splat called Mr. Splodge, which he enjoyed doing and was probably his most popular week as far as viewers were concerned, and then he was fired. So he went from a potential series ‘baddie’ to, well, a bit like Homer Simpson, “succeeding despite idiocy” like in Homer Defined and finding popularity as a mascot like in Dancin’ Homer.
The SHOCK!ELMINATION was Navdeep, a former head girl who came across as very pleasant and a high achiever. Her main strength shown in the show was her pitching, but in the week she went she didn’t pitch too well. Even so, her firing was more to do with Lord Sugar’s belief that she was probably better suited to going to university to study law for example than going into business. I’m sure she’ll do well for herself in whatever career she chooses.
Falling at the last hurdle that is the semi-final were Steven and Andrew.
If they are going to make The Inbetweeners: The New Class, that… would probably be a bad idea, but if they were the best chance of it being not shit would be if Steven was in it. His highlights included looking uncomfortable in a rabbit costume, somewhat happier in astronaut costume and his geezer-lad voice over he did for an advert. And of course his epic bromance with Andrew.
Andrew was my favourite contestant of this series. He’s from Huddersfield where I used to live, so HUDDERSFIELD REPRESENT! But besides that, he was one of the more… multifaceted contestants shall we say. He started out as the normal everylad, he was good at sales and negotiations and had a lively personality. But the week he was the boardroom all that confidence evaporated and he ended up struggling to hold back tears. The week after he acted a bit like a hissing, scratching cornered cat to his team mates, and found time to stick some toilet paper to the shoe of a pompous, pretentious guy who was modelling for an advert they were filming. But once again, in the boardroom all the bravado evaporated and he was less successful in holding back tears this time. He was a bit more upbeat in his final week though. If there was a constant with Andrew, it was that he was a very funny deadpan snarker throughout, and also that he managed to be very likeable and charming all the time despite everything.
The final four were split into two groups and became joint project managers. Fashion designer Patrick created the Wetsuit Kimono dress in week one, but for the rest of the series he got a bit of an invisible edit. Either that or he secretly decided to go on holiday, leaving an automated mannequin for himself in his place to model his own designs, then returning for the final. Even in the final though he didn’t do much other than hire a choir to sing Lady Gaga songs in a shopping centre. Of course it was unlikely to be an equal partnership as the other project manager was Maria, who had frequently ignored her other team mates and even market research in favour of her own views. It was almost as if she had been lost here from another dimension, and was longing to get back to her own universe. And it would be her own universe, where there are posters of her all over, gigantic fire-breathing monuments to her everywhere, they only play her favourite songs, she invented electricity and ALL WAYS ARE HER WAY.
It was the other team that ended up winning the final task, a duo so unlikely it was like one of those buddy cop movies where two different people team up, although in this case the two would be more of a Sunday evening ITV1 lady detective series of a posh pristine blonde and a tough no-nonsense hardy Northern lass. But as they were two of the best candidates throughout the series it was not a surprising result.
The two contestants in question were Lucy and Ashleigh. Lucy was an aspiring lawyer who sells cupcakes. While I’m sure she’ll be a far better lawyer than Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons, it reminded me of his law firm, which also provides “expert shoe repair”, and will deliver a free pizza if you lose. She sort of resembled the Cookie Queen from the Disney Silly Symphony The Cookie Carnival, and in some ways she was similar to The Apprentice series 7’s Helen Milligan, who was a disillusioned ex-lawyer who then worked for a bakery, and like Helen, Lucy ended the series as the runner-up.
As I’m Yorkshire born and bred myself, I kind of liked that Ashleigh did her best to keep Northern stereotypes, and specifically Yorkshire ones, alive. A hard grafter, very stubbon, all common sense and call a spade a spade, and stressing the importance of thrift. I am pleased that she won, as she was definitely a strong character. She seemed to be the most mature of the contestants, made the right call on the tasks most of the time, and I liked the way she always stood her ground.
So well done Ashleigh. In fact, I think all the contestants deserve some credit, because at 16/17 they are at the start of their working life and clearly have achieved a fair bit to be picked to go on the show in the first place, I know that when I was that age I wasn’t as enterprising as these contestants are, so good luck to all of them.