As the Autumn schedules gather pace, another guaranteed ratings hit makes a return as The Apprentice takes up residence. Its comeback has been delayed, owing perhaps to its ruthless, arrogant and brash competitors being too much of a contrast with jolly, friendly and modest Bake Off compatriots. Consider how much more the former depends on teamwork than the latter, I remain constantly surprised that it is GBBO that demonstrates the better side of human nature.

This year, Lord Sugar is allowing 2o candidates to make a grab for his cheque book, allowing for more double firings. All well and good, but the first episode demonstrated why having so many so early on is an issue. Bar the project managers, how many other candidates managed to distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowd? Chiles only became known by being at the root of the boys defeat. Daniel sold a lot more than the rest of the team, but even then only fleeting glimpses were seen. Half the candidates barely opened their mouths for the entire task. Only Steven made himself instantly known, not least for his slightly unusual background as a social worker.

Ah, yes, Steven. He has the perfect combination of ingredients to be the main love/hate figure of this serious. A mouth that goes at 1000 mph. A self-belief that is unshakeable. A diva streak that seems so out of kilter with the rest of the boys and their macho chest-beating. Oh, and to top it all, the only one who was making the right calls on his team.

Which made the scapegoating of him post-results all the more cruel. By daring to put his head above the parapet in his own unique style he became the target for all the missiles. Yes, he perhaps needs to learn when to shut up, but as Lord Sugar pointed out, just because he is irritating that does not mean he is wrong. Only Solomon chose to defend him, and that was to the camera rather than in front of the rest of the team.

Hopefully he will stick around for a few more weeks, by which time some other personalities may start to show. Until then, I am quite happy for this to be The Steven Show. You just know it is going to be fabulous.

 

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