The Apprentice's intertitle
|Genre||Reality television series|
|Created by||Mark Burnett|
|Starring||Lord Sugar (2005–)
Nick Hewer (2005–)
|Narrated by||Mark Halliley|
|Theme music composer||Dru Masters
|Opening theme||Dance of the Knights|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||60|
Mark Burnett Productions
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC Two (Series One and Two)
BBC One (Series Three, Four and Five)
|Original run||16 February 2005 –
|Related shows||The Apprentice (US version)
The Apprentice (Irish version)
The Apprentice: You're Fired!
The Apprentice is a BAFTA award-winning British reality television series in which a group of aspiring young businessmen and women compete for the chance to win a £100,000-a-year job as "apprentice" to the British business magnate Alan Sugar, Baron Sugar. Winners have gone on to work at Amstrad, an electronics manufacturing company founded by Sugar (but since sold to BSkyB), or one of Sugar's other companies, Viglen, Amsprop or Amshold. The Apprentice, billed as a "job interview from hell", is very similar in format to the American series of the same name, which stars entrepreneur Donald Trump.
The first and second series aired on BBC Two in 2005 and 2006 respectively and the third series ran on BBC One in early 2007, the success of which led the BBC to commission two more series. The fourth series began in March 2008 and the fifth began in March 2009. A sixth series has been commissioned. The programme has spawned three spin-offs, The Apprentice: You're Fired! (a studio-based programme which acts as a companion to the regular series), plus celebrity versions for Comic Relief and Sport Relief. Occasional 60-minute special episodes, often concentrating on particular candidates and their stories, also air. Apprentice-related merchandising includes a magazine, podcast, and official books. The programme has led other production companies to produce shows that follow a similar format, including Tycoon and Beat the Boss. It has also been compared to another BBC series, Dragons' Den.
Open auditions and interviews are held across the country before a series begins, attracting thousands of applicants. The first and second series featured 14 candidates, increased to 16 in the third and fourth. The fifth series was also meant to have 16 candidates, but went ahead with only 15 after a last-minute withdrawal.
The successful candidates are split into two teams, initially by sex (as candidate numbers are whittled down, the composition of the teams is periodically rearranged). The teams are then given a series of business-themed tasks designed to test their skills in salesmanship, negotiation, requisitioning, leadership, teamwork and organisation, with each episode covering a single task. At the start of each episode, the teams each choose a project manager to act as the team leader for the duration of the task, though in later episodes the project managers are sometimes nominated by Baron Sugar himself. The teams are followed in the execution of their tasks by Baron Sugar's advisers, Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford.
Each team within the apprentice candidates will create theyre own team name and that team will remain for the rest of the series.
After completion of a task, the teams report back to the "boardroom", a studio mock-up of a real company boardroom. Here Sir Alan, with the help of his advisers, reveals the results and discusses the teams' performance, exposing flaws in the candidates' strategies and personalities. Sugar, who is introduced in the programme as "Britain's most belligerent boss", frequently delivers scathing criticisms couched in colourful language ("that was a total bloody disaster" ... "you haven't got a bloody clue" ... "I'll fire the whole bloody lot of you if I have to").
The team members are usually first asked to comment on the performance of their team leader, and the team leaders are asked how their team members performed. Sugar's assistants Mountford and Hewer then reveal which team has won, based on whatever criteria were used. Members of the winning team are then told by Sugar that he has laid on a special treat for them such as a dinner at a fancy restaurant or a music recital, and they leave the boardroom.
The losing team are dispatched outside and usually convene at the Bridge End Café to conduct a post mortem. When they return to the boardroom they are subjected to a further detailed examination by Sugar, after which the team's project manager is required to choose two team members to accompany him or her into a final round of interrogation. These are nominally the two poorest performing members of the team, but in practice the project manager may act treacherously and seek to remove more able members of the competition, or make choices based on personality. The discussions often become acrimonious as each candidate tries to divert blame towards the others. Finally, Sir Alan dismisses one of the three with the catchphrase, "You're fired!", and that candidate is eliminated from the competition.
The fired candidate is then shown being despatched into a waiting taxi for the "journey home", and is briefly interviewed in the taxi to reflect on his or her rejection from the competition. On rare occasions, two candidates have been fired in a single episode. The surviving candidates are sent back to the accommodation that is provided for the duration of the show.
When only four candidates remain (or five in later series), they undergo individual interviews, resulting in the selection of two finalists. These two proceed to the Grand Finale and perform one last task with teams chosen from the previously fired contestants, after which one is told, "You're hired!", and wins the highly-paid executive job working with Sir Alan.
In fact, two versions of the final boardroom sequence are filmed—showing each of the finalists winning. Between filming and transmission—a period of about six months—both finalists work for Sir Alan in temporary jobs. Sir Alan does not reveal his decision about who he is going to hire until shortly before transmission, and this determines which ending is shown. The BBC has issued contradictory statements about the decision procedure. The first version of events is that Sir Alan makes his decision on the day that the final boardroom sequence is filmed, based on the contestants' performance in the final task, and keeps it secret until just before transmission. The second version is that Sir Alan decides after the six-month trial period. Former contestant Saira Khan also stated that "His final decision is not based on the programme that people see. His final decision is based on these two people [who] have been working with him for the six months."
Unlike most reality television programmes, the whole of The Apprentice is pre-recorded; typically the series is shot during the autumn for transmission the following year.
The candidates live together in a large rented house or apartment for the duration of the competition. Owing to the twelve-week broadcast schedule, the audience is given the impression that the candidates stay for 12 weeks in the house and that there are breaks between tasks. The series is actually filmed in about two months, and the filming schedule means that the tasks are generally performed one after the other.
Compared to the US series, the UK version has a more rigid format that requires twelve episodes per series and at least four candidates for the final round of interviews. This meant that in the first two series multiple firings were not allowed at all (which was acknowledged in the second series when Sir Alan expressed his desire to fire both Alexa Tilley and Syed Ahmed, but could only get rid of the former), and subsequent series allow Sir Alan to conduct either two double firings or one treble firing, the latter of which has occurred in the interview weeks, albeit not yet in the regular tasks.
Hired: Yasmina Siadatan
Runner-up: Kate Walsh
Hired: Lee McQueen
Runner-up: Claire Young
Hired: Simon Ambrose
Runner-up: Kristina Grimes
Hired: Michelle Dewberry
Runner-up: Ruth Badger
Hired: Timothy Campbell
Runner-up: Saira Khan
Rumours of a UK version of The Apprentice were confirmed in early 2004 by FremantleMedia. Both BBC Two and Channel 4 bid for the show’s rights – the BBC was eventually successful. On 18 May 2004, Sir Alan Sugar was confirmed as the star of the new series. He said he was "delighted" to take part in the programme. Reportedly, the BBC's first choice was Philip Green, who was busy in early 2004 organising the takeover of Marks and Spencer. Michael O'Leary (Ryanair) has also said he was approached but declined as it was "too much of a distraction".
The first series began on February 2005 and lasted for twelve episodes. The viewer ratings climbed to almost 4 million viewers for the final episode on 4 May 2005. The winner was Timothy Campbell, who had previously worked as a Senior Planner within the Marketing and Planning Department of London Underground. After his victory he went on to become Project Director of Amstrad's new Health and Beauty division, but has subsequently left the company to pursue other interests.
In August 2008, the American cable channel CNBC began to present the first series on Monday nights. However, the programme aired in disparate time slots or not at all due to the network's abrupt shifting of their programme schedule in order to cover developments regarding the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. The series did not air in full, and eventually as CNBC decided to focus their prime time schedule on financial news programming, the programme's rights moved to BBC America, where it started transmission on 5 May 2009.
The day after the conclusion of Series One, the BBC confirmed that a second series would be broadcast in early 2006 and, despite initial doubts, Sugar's involvement was confirmed soon afterwards. The second series began on 22 February 2006 and a spin-off programme was introduced on BBC Three, called The Apprentice: You're Fired! and hosted by Adrian Chiles.
The second series finished with a record 5.7 million viewers tuning in to see Michelle Dewberry defeat Ruth Badger in the final. Dewberry briefly took up a post under Sugar but left in September 2006 after a series of personal problems.
When a third series was announced, it was revealed that it would be shown on BBC One, which is aimed at a more "mainstream audience," and that The Apprentice: You’re Fired! would re-locate from BBC Three to BBC Two. The third series attracted 10,000 applicants and promised "tougher tasks and better people" — Sugar had expressed concerns that the show was becoming Big Brother. Series Three ran from 28 March 2007 to 13 June 2007, starting with 4.5 million viewers, with the audience increasing throughout the run to peak with 6.8 million people watching the final. The series was won by Simon Ambrose, who was chosen over Kristina Grimes. Ambrose went on to work at Sugar's property company Amsprop. Unlike previous series, there were 16 candidates (rather than 14).
In May 2007, a fourth and fifth series were commissioned by the BBC, and prospective candidates were invited to apply for the fourth series through the official website. Auditions and interviews were held during the first two weeks of July 2007 in London, Manchester and Birmingham (interviews were also to have been held in Bristol but these were subsequently moved to London). A record 20,000 applications were received.
Series Four began airing on BBC One on 26 March 2008, and ran for twelve weekly episodes. It debuted with 6.4 million viewers. This series saw a change in the boardroom design and it was the first series where the candidates were not allowed to visit the house before the tasks commenced, instead beginning the first task immediately after the first boardroom briefing. This has subsequently been the case in Series Five. The series was won by Lee McQueen, who beat Claire Young, Helene Speight and Alex Wotherspoon in the final. The final saw a new record of 8.9 million viewers, and a peak of 9.7 million viewers during the final 15 minutes.
Series Five began its run on BBC One on 25 March 2009 with 15 contestants. A sixteenth participant pulled out the day before filming began. The Grand Finale was aired on Sunday 7 June 2009, where Sir Alan hired Yasmina Siadatan over the runner up Kate Walsh.
In May 2009, after an episode of The Apprentice: You're Fired!, it was announced that the application process had begun for a sixth UK series. It will be filmed during Autumn 2009. Margaret Mountford will not return for series six. Karren Brady was named as Mountford's replacement on 30 August 2009.
It has been confirmed by the BBC that series 6 will not be shown in March 2010 (as originally scheduled), but will be delayed until the summer. This is to avoid a clash with the upcoming general election as Sugar is the government's "enterprise champion". Although Sugar states he does not view the position as partisan, the running of The Apprentice during the general election could be a "risk to impartiality".
Karren Brady confirmed in a tabloid interview that the contestants no longer refer to Sir Alan Sugar as 'Sir Alan', but instead must call him 'Lord Sugar', following his ascension to the House of Lords.
Along with "the boss," Lord Sugar, two advisors follow the contestants during their weekly activities. In series 1–5, Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford took on these roles. Mountford resigned at the end of series 5 and will be replaced by Karren Brady in series 6. Lord Sugar and his two advisors constitute "The Board"—the panel that evaluates the teams' performance.
Alan Sugar, Lord Sugar is an English businessman and the founder of electronics company Amstrad. He has an estimated fortune of £830m and was ranked 84th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2007. Sugar was knighted in 2000 for services to business and holds two honorary Doctorate of Science degrees, awarded in 1988 by City University and in 2005 by Brunel University. He is a donor to the British Labour Party and has given money to charities such as Jewish Care and Great Ormond Street Hospital. In July 2007, Sugar sold his stake in Amstrad to BSkyB and has since left the business.
Early series of the show made frequent reference to Sugar's connection with Amstrad, but in the fourth series, following the deal with BSkyB, reference to Amstrad was dropped. Sugar is now billed simply as controlling a "vast business empire" (most of which is actually in property). Future winners will be employed by one of Sir Alan's other companies, such as Amsair.
Nick Hewer is a former public relations officer. His involvement with Lord Sugar began when his company was chosen to represent Amstrad in 1983. Hewer's role was as a PR manager, working with the media and press. He also became an integral part of Amstrad’s corporate management. He lives in France.
Margaret Mountford has worked with Sugar as one of his main advisers for 20 years, and is a non-executive director of Amstrad PLC. She has many years’ corporate law experience as a partner in the law firm Herbert Smith, where she met Sugar when working on Amstrad's flotation. She retired from the firm in March 1999, and was appointed to the Amstrad board on 22 September 1999. She is also a non-executive director at Georgica PLC. In her column for The Daily Telegraph on 1 June 2009, Margaret announced that series 5 would be her last appearance on the show, as she intends to devote more time to her studies. She is currently studying for a PhD in papyrology at University College London, studying documents found in Egypt and written in ancient Greek.
Karren Brady is best known for being the former managing director of Birmingham City Football Club. She was appointed in March 1993, when only 23 years old. She was responsible for the company's flotation in 1997, thus becoming the youngest managing director of a UK plc. In 2007, Brady took part in Comic Relief Does The Apprentice where she was chosen as a team leader and took the women to victory, raising over £1,000,000 for charity. She has since made recurring appearances on the The Apprentice's sister show, You're Fired!.
The tasks are mostly filmed in and around the London area, though the contestants have on occasion been sent as far afield as France, the Mediterranean and Morocco. In Series One, the team house was located in Chiswick. A location in Hampstead Heath was used in Series Two and another in Notting Hill for the third series. In Series Four, the candidates' accommodation was a converted glass factory in Battersea and in Series 5, the candidates lived in a penthouse house at Portobello Lofts, Ladbroke Grove.
The Apprentice regularly features clips of aerial footage over the skyscrapers of the Square Mile and Canary Wharf financial districts, such as the 180-metre Gherkin, HSBC Tower, One Canada Square, and the Citigroup Centre. Amstrad—Sugar's former company that was prominently referenced in early series—does not have offices in either locale, and the company's real location, in Brentwood, Essex was rarely mentioned.
The "boardroom" (and the reception area outside) is in fact a custom-built set in a West London television studio, and the boardroom receptionist ("Frances" in Series One, Three, Four and Five, "Jenny" in Series Two) is an actress, not Sugar's real secretary.
The candidates' "walk of shame" exit sequences are actually filmed at the beginning of the series, at the same time as the scene in which they are shown entering the Amstrad building at the start of the first episode. This explains why the clothes worn by fired candidates in their exit sequences sometimes differ from those worn in the boardroom scene ostensibly filmed only moments earlier. In more noticeable cases, hairstyles have also been different. The post-firing taxi ride merely takes the candidate around the block to allow their taxi interview to be filmed. They are then taken to a local hotel to stay the night and finally leave after packing their belongings from the house.
Between the airing of the second and third series of The Apprentice, it was announced that a celebrity version of the programme was to be recorded in aid of the charity Comic Relief. The programme was entitled Comic Relief Does The Apprentice and was recorded on 15 December 2006. It aired in two parts on 15 March and 16 March 2007. Five male and five female celebrities took part in the programme which featured only one task. Piers Morgan, a former editor of The Daily Mirror, was the celebrity fired by Sir Alan Sugar during the Red Nose Day telethon after the "boys' team" lost. The other celebrities participating in the programme were Alastair Campbell, Cheryl Cole, Danny Baker, Jo Brand, Karren Brady, Maureen Lipman, Ross Kemp, Rupert Everett, Tim Campbell and Trinny Woodall. Tim Campbell, winner of the first series of The Apprentice, was not in the original line-up, but was brought in when Everett decided to leave after the first day. The celebrities managed to raise over £1 million for charity.
Another Comic Relief Does The Apprentice celebrity special aired on 12 and 13 March 2009. The "boys' team" were Alan Carr, Jack Dee, Gerald Ratner, Jonathan Ross and Gok Wan, and the "girls' team" Michelle Mone, Patsy Palmer, Fiona Phillips, Carol Vorderman and Ruby Wax. At the time the show was recorded, Jonathan Ross was suspended by the BBC over a prank telephone call row, but he was nevertheless permitted to appear since the programme would not be aired until after the suspension had been lifted. Alan Carr was eventually fired for being "too happy", relieving him from the "two grumpy ones", Dee and Ratner.
After the first celebrity version proved to be successful, the BBC decided to schedule a second celebrity edition the following year, in March 2008, to raise money for Sport Relief. Once again, five male and five female celebrities competed for charity to sell the most celebrity memorabilia. Viewers saw Hardeep Singh Kohli get fired by Sugar. The other celebrities participating in this edition were Phil Tufnell, Nick Hancock, Lembit Öpik, Kelvin MacKenzie, Lisa Snowdon, Jacqueline Gold, Louise Redknapp, Clare Balding and Kirstie Allsopp. The show aired on BBC1 on 12 March and 14 March 2008 and was won by the girls' team.
This 30-minute programme is broadcast on BBC Two immediately following an airing of The Apprentice. It is hosted by Adrian Chiles and features guests who informally interview the most recently fired candidate and analyse their performance. It has been running since the second series of The Apprentice and originally aired on BBC Three. The series is recorded at Riverside Studios. Celebrities who have appeared on the show include those from the worlds of television, radio and business, such as Dominic Littlewood, Trevor Nelson and Michelle Mone.
The beginning of the third series saw the launch of a weekly podcast called The Apprenticast, and a radio programme on BBC Five Live, both hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon and running for thirty minutes. Both programmes featured former candidates being questioned by members of the public, comedians, and those who work in business. Some critics have described Bacon's performance as better than that of Adrian Chiles, who presents the similar, but television-based, programme The Apprentice: You're Fired! 
In May 2009, after episode 5 of The Apprentice: You're Fired!, it was announced that the application process had begun for a new spin-off for candidates between the ages of sixteen and seventeen. It has been stated by Lord Sugar that the show will consist of 10 candidates – 5 boys and 5 girls.
Instead of the six figure salary and job working for Lord Sugar, the eventual winner will receive around £25,000 in funding for their future prospects and further education aims etc.
The Apprentice: Tim in the Firing Line was an hour-long documentary which aired on 19 February 2006, days before the launch of the second series. It followed Tim Campbell, the winner of Series One, during the first twelve months of the job that he won on The Apprentice. Working within Amstrad's health and beauty division, his task was to market a new anti-wrinkle product, named The Integra. The programme also documented the reaction of Campbell's family, including mother Una Campbell, fiancée Jasmine Johnson, and daughter Kayla Campbell. As a result of his impressive performance, he was offered a permanent position within Amstrad. Sir Alan Sugar later said that Campbell's job would not have been in danger had he failed to make the product a success, and that the project was a "joint responsibility".
The Apprentice: Beyond the Boardroom was a one-off special shown on BBC Two on 2 June 2007. The programme featured interviews with the final five candidates from Series Three. Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford also gave their opinions on the final five, along with some of the previously fired candidates. The programme spoke about the candidates' private lives, revealing that Kristina Grimes was sent to a convent at age 17 owing to her pregnancy, Tre Azam once fell asleep whilst driving and nearly died, Simon Ambrose was bullied as a child and has an IQ of 174, Katie Hopkins managed to complete the New York Marathon whilst she was pregnant. Friends of the candidates and members of their families, including parents, children, and partners, aired their views.
The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them was a one-off special which was screened on BBC Two on 10 June 2007, three days before the revelation of the winner of The Apprentice Series Three. In the programme, Sir Alan Sugar looked back over the series so far, discussed the merits and shortcomings of the candidates, and explained in more detail why he fired each candidate when he did. The episode featured the former participants' views of their time on the programme and what they had learnt from the experience. Sugar's assistants Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford also spoke about the former contestants. At the end of the programme, Sugar reviewed the performances of the two finalists, Kristina Grimes and Simon Ambrose, and said that deciding who to hire would be difficult. Despite voluntarily leaving rather than being "fired", Katie Hopkins was also featured on the programme and her time on The Apprentice was discussed.
The Apprentice: The Worst Decisions Ever was a one-off special which was screened on BBC Two on 3 April 2008. It revisited some of the poor decisions made by candidates in previous series.
The Apprentice: Motor Mouths was a one-off special which was screened on BBC Two in which celebrity fans and former contenders remembered those "motor mouth" candidates who only just failed to become "The Apprentice".
The Apprentice: The Final Five was a documentary about the final five contestants left in the 2008 series.
The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them was a look back at why he fired all of the 2009 candinates.
The Apprentice: The Final Five was a documentary about the final five contestants left in the 2009 series.
An Apprentice Special of The Weakest Link aired on BBC One on Friday 30 May 2008. It featured memorable candidates from past series of The Apprentice along with Apprentice narrator Mark Halliley replacing Jon Briggs as gameplay commentator.
The programme has been given positive reviews by several newspapers. In the popular press, The Sun newspaper has called it "The thinking man's reality show", and The Daily Mirror described it as "jaw-dropping viewing". Broadsheet newspapers have given the programme a similarly positive reception, with The Daily Telegraph calling it "The most addictive show in years", and The Guardian saying that it provided "A salutary lesson in aggressive buying and selling, hiring and firing". The Sunday Times said that it was "not just a game show: it's a business school." The Evening Standard was also favourable, describing the programme as "terribly compelling".
The programme has been criticised in the British media for suggesting that success in the business world requires possession of unsavoury qualities. Terence Blacker of The Independent newspaper, for example, said that he believed that the programme falsely linked success with being "nasty, disloyal, greedy and selfish". Talk show host Sir Michael Parkinson has also expressed misgivings about the programme, describing it as being "full of vulgar, loud people who, for all the wrong reasons, are dobbing each other in".
The premise of the show itself has been called into question by some members of the business world. Steve Carter, the head of recruitment firm Nigel Lynn, described the "brutality" of the recruitment process as being unrealistic. In response to these criticisms, a spokesperson for The Apprentice has been quoted as saying "The show isn't designed as a tool for recruiters... but it does highlight and thoroughly test key business skills such as leadership, teamwork, dedication and strategic thinking – integral skills most recruiters are looking for".
Former contestant and runner-up Saira Khan has criticised the programme because the final two candidates both work with Sir Alan Sugar for a few months before he decides whom he will hire. Khan stated that "[Sir Alan Sugar's] final decision is not based on the programme that people see, his final decision is based on these two people who have been working with him for the six months." Khan also said that the show is more concerned with giving viewers a rags-to-riches ending than employing the most able candidate, and that the show promotes bullying in the workplace.
Former contestants Lucinda Ledgerwood and James Max have criticised the tasks on the show as being too heavily sales-focused and designed for entertainment rather than as tests of all-round business skills.
A number of people have criticised the show's editing and production methods. Contestants Syed Ahmed and Tre Azam accused the show of dumbing down their appearances for entertainment. Gerri Blackwood said that her boardroom scene was filmed again to make it look better.
Media Watch has voiced concerns over inclusion of company names and products such as Chrysler in the programme, accusing the producers of breaking BBC policy. Despite these claims, Talkback Thames has denied any suggestion of product placement.
The Apprentice has received high rating figures in its run. The first series, broadcast in 2005, achieved an average of 2.5 million viewers, with a peak of 3.8 million people watching throughout the series. It had an 11% share of the audience and some episodes managed to beat more popular programmes, such as Desperate Housewives, and some films, such as Ali G Indahouse, which were airing on rival channels at the time. Series Two achieved 4.4 million viewers on average, with a peak audience of 5.95 and a 27% audience share. Episodes of this series achieved higher ratings than the 2005 UEFA Cup Final and the film Pearl Harbor. Series Three, airing on the "more mainstream" BBC One, attracted 6.8 million viewers at its peak, with a 27% audience share. This series managed to attract more viewers than City Lights, Grand Designs and Big Brother. Prior to the airing of the third series, Comic Relief Does The Apprentice attracted 6.72 million viewers, becoming the fifth most-watched programme on BBC One the week it aired. The fourth series opened to 6.4 million viewers, and the series peaked at 9.7 million during the last episode.
The first episode of series five of The Apprentice averaged 8.11m (33.3% share). The previous highest-rating instalment was the opening programme of series four, which achieved 6.4m (25.6%) on 26 March 2008. The Apprentice: You're Fired! garnered 3.01m (15.2%) for BBC Two in the 30 minutes from 10:00 pm.
The Apprentice won the BAFTA for "Best Feature" during the 2006 awards, beating Top Gear, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Dragons' Den. It was also nominated for a BAFTA for "Best Feature" at the 2007 awards, but was beaten by The Choir.
Other awards that the programme has won include:
The show has been imitated in the ITV programme Harry Hill's TV Burp. It was also mocked in the BBC impressionist programme Dead Ringers, in which Sir Alan Sugar turns fired contestants into frogs and the candidates are portrayed as failed applicants of Strictly Come Dancing and Big Brother who are seeking their 15 minutes of fame. Several parodies have been uploaded onto the popular video publishing website, YouTube, notably Michael Sophocles' overexaggerated celebration in Sir Alan's boardroom from Series Four.
Rory Bremner did an impression of Sir Alan on the show Bremner Bird and Fortune; he was in the boardroom with the main London Mayoral candidates, Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick, and after each of the candidates failed to get a single vote according to his results, he hired himself for the job claiming he "would make a profit on City Hall". In Dead Ringers Bremner also impersonated a Sir Alan with magic powers castigating a contestant over an event akin to what occurred to The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
In early 2007, the show was mocked in the television programme Kombat Opera Presents The Applicants. The series has been lampooned on the Boleg Bros website, where it is shot in Lego. Paul Merton and Ian Hislop also parodied the show during a promotional advert for the 2007 and 2008 series of Have I Got News for You.
In June 2007, shortly after the conclusion of Series Three of The Apprentice, rival UK channel ITV began airing Tycoon, described in The Times as "a shameless rip-off of The Apprentice". Mark Thompson, The BBC's director general, accused ITV of "copycatting" and said that Tycoon was "very like The Apprentice, and there's possibly a bit of Dragons' Den in there". The series followed Dragons' Den star Peter Jones' search for a new business tycoon. It proved relatively unsuccessful and was removed from a prime time slot on Tuesdays after achieving fewer than 2 million viewers, over 2.5 million below the channel's average. The final episode attracted just 1.3 million viewers. The programme's winner, Iain Morgan, won a prize of over £200,000.
In the fourth series of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, Brooker parodied The Apprentice, with Brooker taking on the role of a Sugar-like character dressed in a crown and gown. Instead of saying "you're fired" he said "you're fucked" to the contestants.
On 10 February 2005, Sir Alan Sugar released a book to coincide with the first series, called The Apprentice: How to Get Hired Not Fired. On 16 February 2006, the book was revised with additional information relating to the second series. An official magazine was first released on 23 May 2007. It includes items about business, interviews with candidates from the programme and other Apprentice-related features.
The Apprentice has included various pieces of classical and popular music throughout. Numerous pieces from film soundtracks are also used. Examples of the music used include the opening theme ("Dance of the Knights" from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev) and "The Boardroom", "You're Fired" and "Closing Credits" from The Apprentice (Original Theme) by Dru Masters. An official soundtrack was released on 4 June 2007.
In 2009, a DVD called "The Apprentice: The Best of Series 1–4" was released.
Nick Hewer: How much do you think you've spent
Paula Jones: Well, the Sandlewood was-
Nick Hewer: Almost half of your 450g recipe was Sandlewood.
'(The team look stunned at this, as Sandlewood is extremely expensive)
Yasmina Siadatan: No, half of 450-? Shit.
Nick Hewer: Would it surprise you to know you've spent over £700 on fragrances? (Views the stunned team) Anyway, I'll leave it with you... (He leaves the room)