Another year, another series of The Apprentice. I sometimes wonder if Lord Sugar genuinely gives a damn about investing in another business, or whether he just wants the screen time to help promote his latest book. Perhaps he just wants an excuse to yell at young people for a few weeks, or his wife wants him out the house so she can watch Loose Women in peace.

Regardless, he is back, as are all the shows key ingredients. Loud, bumptious business wonderkids? Check. Tasks that bear only the slightest resemblance to the real world of business? Check. Two ‘aides’, who glower on the side lines at every utterance out of the candidates mouths? Double check. Yes, like GBBO or Strictly, reliability is key to The Apprentice’s success.

This year appears to be a vintage year. There are enough decent candidates to make it look like at least some effort is being put in to match the premise of the show. David, Charlaine, Scott and even Richard have all had moments where you have been mildly impressed by them. True, they have also had some horrors, but it is rare for any candidate to be unblemished by the process.

There are also some nice rivalries stoking up. Richard and Joseph are currently doing a very testosterone fuelled dance around each other, with the former pointing out to the latter that he took himself off to France despite being unable to speak French, with Joseph retorting that Richard’s attempt to get a deal on cheese by playing the bumbling Englishman resulted in the price going up.

The real juicy one though is between Charlaine and Selina. The former has shown some good business sense – she was the only one of the girls to fully understand the cactus task and is half-decent at selling – while the latter appears to have attended the Katie Hopkins School of Charm, spending most of the tasks sulking. Rumour has it that this battle is going to turn particularly nasty, which will either make for compulsive or uncomfortable viewing.

One of the accidental delights of the show is the increasingly tenuous links between the location the candidates are summoned to and the task in hand. This week, Samuel Johnson’s house. A repeat of last year’s coach trip task? No. Invent a language based app? Of course not. Launch a spoof Twitter account of a historical figure? Too obvious. No, turns out Johnson had a cat, so the task was to sell pet products.

Sadly, this week spelt the end of my favourite. Ruth was one of the most eccentric figures in the programme’s history, with her jazzy suits, sparky catchphrases and relentless energy. She loves life and business not for money, but for the sheer buzz. She certainly knew how to flirt her way into selling people seafood salad. Sadly, luxury cat towers were a bit too much of a stretch. Yet she was such a beacon of joy I can’t help feeling the process will lack a bit of light now she is gone. Still, at least we have one hell of a cat fight to look forward to.

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