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The Apprentice
The Apprentice logo
The Apprentice's intertitle
Genre Reality television series
Created by Mark Burnett
Starring Lord Sugar (2005–)
Nick Hewer (2005–)
Margaret Mountford
(2005–09)
Karren Brady
(2010–)
Narrated by Mark Halliley
Theme music composer Dru Masters[1]
Prokofiev
Opening theme Dance of the Knights
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 60
Production
Producer(s) Talkback Thames
Mark Burnett Productions
Running time 60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two (Series One and Two)
BBC One (Series Three, Four and Five)
Picture format PAL
Original run 16 February 2005 –
Present
Status Returning series
Chronology
Related shows The Apprentice (US version)
The Apprentice (Irish version)
The Apprentice: You're Fired!
External links
Official website

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),[2][3] or one of Sugar's other companies, Viglen,[4] Amsprop[5] or Amshold.[6] 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.[7]

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,[8] the success of which led the BBC to commission two more series.[9] 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.[10][11] Occasional 60-minute special episodes, often concentrating on particular candidates and their stories, also air.[12] Apprentice-related merchandising includes a magazine, podcast, and official books.[12][13][14] The programme has led other production companies to produce shows that follow a similar format, including Tycoon and Beat the Boss.[15][16] It has also been compared to another BBC series, Dragons' Den.[17]

Contents

Format

Candidate selection

Open auditions and interviews are held across the country before a series begins,[18] attracting thousands of applicants.[19] 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.

Tasks

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,[20] 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.[21]

Each team within the apprentice candidates will create theyre own team name and that team will remain for the rest of the series.

Boardroom

After completion of a task, the teams report back to the "boardroom", a studio mock-up of a real company boardroom.[22] 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",[23] 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.[20] 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.[20]

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.[24] The surviving candidates are sent back to the accommodation that is provided for the duration of the show.

Interviews and Grand Finale

When only four candidates remain (or five in later series), they undergo individual interviews, resulting in the selection of two finalists.[25] 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.[20]

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.[26] The second version is that Sir Alan decides after the six-month trial period.[27] 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."[28]

Schedule

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.[29]

The candidates live together in a large rented house or apartment for the duration of the competition.[30] 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,[27] and the filming schedule means that the tasks are generally performed one after the other.[31]

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.

Series

The Apprentice
The Board

Sir Alan Sugar (series 1-)
Nick Hewer (series 1-)
Margaret Mountford (series 1–5)
Karren Brady (series 6-)

Series Five

Hired: Yasmina Siadatan

Runner-up: Kate Walsh

Fired: Debra, Lorraine, James, Howard, Ben, Mona, Phillip, Noorul, Kimberly, Paula, Majid, Rocky, Anita.

Resigned: Adam

Series Four

Hired: Lee McQueen

Runner-up: Claire Young

Other Candidates: Helene, Alex, Lucinda, Michael, Raef, Sara, Jennifer, Jenny, Kevin, Lindi, Simon, Ian, Shazia, Nicholas.

Series Three

Hired: Simon Ambrose

Runner-up: Kristina Grimes

Other Candidates: Katie, Tre, Lohit, Naomi, Jadine, Ghazal, Adam, Paul, Natalie, Sophie, Gerri, Rory, Ifti, Andy.

Series Two

Hired: Michelle Dewberry

Runner-up: Ruth Badger

Other Candidates: Ansell, Paul, Syed Ahmed, Tuan, Sharon, Samuel, Jo, Mani, Alexa, Karen, Nargis, Ben.

Series One

Hired: Timothy Campbell

Runner-up: Saira Khan

Other Candidates: Paul, James, Miriam, Raj, Ben, Sebastian, Rachel, Matthew, Adele, Miranda, Lindsay, Adenike.

Series One

Rumours of a UK version of The Apprentice were confirmed in early 2004 by FremantleMedia.[32] Both BBC Two and Channel 4 bid for the show’s rights[33] – the BBC was eventually successful.[34] On 18 May 2004, Sir Alan Sugar was confirmed as the star of the new series.[34] He said he was "delighted" to take part in the programme.[7] Reportedly, the BBC's first choice was Philip Green, who was busy in early 2004 organising the takeover of Marks and Spencer.[35] Michael O'Leary (Ryanair) has also said he was approached but declined as it was "too much of a distraction".[36]

The first series began on February 2005 and lasted for twelve episodes. The viewer ratings climbed[37] to almost 4 million viewers for the final episode on 4 May 2005. The winner was Timothy Campbell,[38] 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.[39]

In August 2008, the American cable channel CNBC began to present the first series on Monday nights.[40] 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.

Series Two

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.[41][42] 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.[43]

The second series finished with a record 5.7 million viewers[44] tuning in to see Michelle Dewberry defeat Ruth Badger in the final.[45] Dewberry briefly took up a post under Sugar but left in September 2006 after a series of personal problems.[46]

Series Three

When a third series was announced, it was revealed that it would be shown on BBC One,[8] which is aimed at a more "mainstream audience,"[47] and that The Apprentice: You’re Fired! would re-locate from BBC Three to BBC Two.[48] 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.[49] Series Three ran from 28 March 2007 to 13 June 2007, starting with 4.5 million viewers,[50] with the audience increasing throughout the run to peak with 6.8 million people watching the final.[51] The series was won by Simon Ambrose, who was chosen over Kristina Grimes.[52][53] Ambrose went on to work at Sugar's property company Amsprop. Unlike previous series, there were 16 candidates (rather than 14).

Series Four

In May 2007, a fourth and fifth series were commissioned by the BBC,[9] and prospective candidates were invited to apply for the fourth series through the official website.[54] 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).[55] A record 20,000 applications were received.[56]

Series Four began airing on BBC One on 26 March 2008,[57][58] and ran for twelve weekly episodes. It debuted with 6.4 million viewers.[59] 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.[60]

Series Five

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.

Series Six

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.[61] Karren Brady was named as Mountford's replacement on 30 August 2009.[62]

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".[63]

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.[64]

To date, contestants have been spotted: selling sausages at Leadenhall Market; selling muffins at The Angel; and filming at Terminal 5, Heathrow.

The Board

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.[65] 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.[66] He is a donor to the British Labour Party[67] and has given money to charities such as Jewish Care and Great Ormond Street Hospital.[68] In July 2007, Sugar sold his stake in Amstrad to BSkyB[69] and has since left the business.[70]

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).[71] Future winners will be employed by one of Sir Alan's other companies, such as Amsair.[72]

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.[73] He lives in France.[74]

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.[75] 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.[76]

Karren Brady is best known for being the former managing director of Birmingham City Football Club. She was appointed in March 1993,[77] 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!.

Filming locations

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.[78] A location in Hampstead Heath was used in Series Two and another in Notting Hill for the third series.[79][80] In Series Four, the candidates' accommodation was a converted glass factory in Battersea[81] and in Series 5, the candidates lived in a penthouse house at Portobello Lofts, Ladbroke Grove.[82]

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.[83]

The "boardroom" (and the reception area outside) is in fact a custom-built set in a West London television studio,[22] and the boardroom receptionist ("Frances" in Series One, Three, Four and Five, "Jenny" in Series Two) is an actress, not Sugar's real secretary.[84]

The candidates' "walk of shame" exit sequences are actually filmed at the beginning of the series,[84] 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.[85] In more noticeable cases, hairstyles have also been different.[85] 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.[84]

Related programmes

Comic Relief Does The Apprentice

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.[86] The programme was entitled Comic Relief Does The Apprentice and was recorded on 15 December 2006.[87] It aired in two parts on 15 March and 16 March 2007.[88] 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.[89] 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.[11][90] 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.[90][91] The celebrities managed to raise over £1 million for charity.[92]

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.[93] Alan Carr was eventually fired for being "too happy", relieving him from the "two grumpy ones", Dee and Ratner.

Sport Relief Does The Apprentice

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.[94] 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.[95] 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.[94][96] The show aired on BBC1 on 12 March and 14 March 2008 and was won by the girls' team.[97]

The Apprentice: You're Fired!

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.[98] 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.[99][100]

The Apprenticast

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.[101] Both programmes featured former candidates being questioned by members of the public, comedians, and those who work in business.[102] 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! [14]

The Junior Apprentice

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.[103]

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.

One-off programmes

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.[90][104] The programme also documented the reaction of Campbell's family,[105] including mother Una Campbell, fiancée Jasmine Johnson, and daughter Kayla Campbell.[106] As a result of his impressive performance, he was offered a permanent position within Amstrad.[107] 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".[104]

The Apprentice: Beyond the Boardroom was a one-off special shown on BBC Two on 2 June 2007.[108] 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.[109] 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.[108][109] Friends of the candidates and members of their families, including parents, children, and partners, aired their views.[109]

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.[110] The episode featured the former participants' views of their time on the programme and what they had learnt from the experience.[111] Sugar's assistants Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford also spoke about the former contestants.[111] 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.[111] Despite voluntarily leaving rather than being "fired", Katie Hopkins was also featured on the programme and her time on The Apprentice was discussed.[111]

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.

Reception

Praise

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".[112] Broadsheet newspapers have given the programme a similarly positive reception, with The Daily Telegraph calling it "The most addictive show in years",[112] 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."[112] The Evening Standard was also favourable, describing the programme as "terribly compelling".[112]

Criticism

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".[113] 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".[114]

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.[115] 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".[115]

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.[116]

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.[117][118][119]

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.[120] Gerri Blackwood said that her boardroom scene was filmed again to make it look better.[121]

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.[122] Despite these claims, Talkback Thames has denied any suggestion of product placement.[122]

Viewing figures

The Apprentice has received high rating figures in its run.[123] 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.[123] 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.[123][124] Series Two achieved 4.4 million viewers on average, with a peak audience of 5.95 and a 27% audience share.[123] Episodes of this series achieved higher ratings than the 2005 UEFA Cup Final and the film Pearl Harbor.[44] Series Three, airing on the "more mainstream" BBC One, attracted 6.8 million viewers at its peak, with a 27% audience share.[47][51] This series managed to attract more viewers than City Lights, Grand Designs and Big Brother.[51][125] 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.[126] The fourth series opened to 6.4 million viewers,[127] and the series peaked at 9.7 million during the last episode.[128]

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.

Awards

The Apprentice won the BAFTA for "Best Feature" during the 2006 awards, beating Top Gear, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Dragons' Den.[129] It was also nominated for a BAFTA for "Best Feature" at the 2007 awards,[130] but was beaten by The Choir.[131]

Other awards that the programme has won include:[132]

  • 2007 Royal Television Society (RTS) Award – Features & Factual Entertainment
  • 2007 Broadcast Award – Best Entertainment Programme
  • 2006 BAFTA – Pioneer Award (voted for by the public)
  • 2006 National Television Awards – Most Popular Reality Programme
  • 2006 Rose d'Or – Reality Show
  • 2006 Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best Factual Reality Show
  • 2006 TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
  • 2006 The Guild of TV Cameramen Awards – Camera Team Excellence in Photography
  • 2006 Banff – Unscripted Entertainment Programme
  • 2006 Wincott Business Awards – Best TV Show of the Year
  • 2005 National Television Awards – Most Popular Reality Show
  • 2005 RTS Craft & Design Award – Tape & Film Editing
  • 2005 RTS Craft & Design Award – Tape & Film Editing, Entertainment & Situation Comedy
  • 2005 Grierson Awards – Most Entertaining Documentary

Parodies and imitations

The show has been imitated in the ITV programme Harry Hill's TV Burp.[133] 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.[134] 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.[135] The series has been lampooned on the Boleg Bros website, where it is shot in Lego.[136] 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.[137]

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".[138] 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".[139] The series followed Dragons' Den star Peter Jones' search for a new business tycoon.[140] 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.[141] The final episode attracted just 1.3 million viewers.[142] The programme's winner, Iain Morgan, won a prize of over £200,000.[142][143]

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.[144]

Merchandise

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.[145] On 16 February 2006, the book was revised with additional information relating to the second series.[146] An official magazine was first released on 23 May 2007.[13] It includes items about business, interviews with candidates from the programme and other Apprentice-related features.[147][148][149]

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.[150]

In 2009, a DVD called "The Apprentice: The Best of Series 1–4" was released.

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External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to The Apprentice (UK) article)

From Wikiquote

A series of quotes from the British television series The Apprentice, starring Sir Alan Sugar.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

Contents

Series 1

Week 5 [1.5]

  • Paul Torrisi: First time we have a girl as a project leader and it's the first time we lose.

Week 6 [1.6]

  • Paul Torrisi: There's a slight pause, and then it's a giggle. [Actor laughs half-heartedly] Not funny enough!
    Raj Dhonota: Tell him a friggin' joke man! What's the matter with you?
    Paul Torrisi: Okay. An aardvark walked into a pub, and the barman said, "Why the long face?"
    Raj Dhonota: I dunno.
    Paul Torrisi: Well... that's the joke. An aardvark has a long face.
    Raj Dhonotoa: Oh.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: You should have stuck to Mac Man like shit to a blanket.
  • Paul Torrisi: I am a Roman Catholic and God is my witness: I shook her hand outside.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Yeah? Well, I'm Jewish and I couldn't care less.

Week 10 [1.10]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: What a load of bollocks. Hundred and fifty-four quid for a bloody piece of foam. I tell you, if he can sell that then he's a bloody good salesman, that's all I can say. (about James and Saira's airbed choice)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: I'll promise you this. As sure as I've got a hole in my bloody arse...

Series 2

  • This is not a game, this is a 12 week job interview (Sir Alan's opening line at the opening credits of Series 2)

Week 1 [2.1]

  • Syed Ahmed: I grew up in the East End, and have had to work for everything, no handouts... (whenever he found himself in the firing line)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: I've got your card marked. (to Syed)

Week 2 [2.2]

  • Nargis Ara: Did you know that there are six million cat owners in the UK alone? (the opening line to all her pitches)
  • Nargis Ara: Ask me any questions.
    Virgin Megastores buyer: What sort of retail price are...
    Nargis Ara: (interrupting) I haven't finished speaking!

Week 3 [2.3]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: I just don't know whether you're some sort of bloody nutter. (to Jo Cameron)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Do I need another corporate lawyer? The answer is no. Karen, you're fired!

Week 4 [2.4]

  • Syed Ahmed: We need 100 chickens, we need 30 kilos of minced beef, and we need 45 kilos of gamon. So I'll repeat that again, 45 kilos of gamon, minced beef 30 kilos, chicken: 100 chickens. (on the phone to the wholesaler)
  • Nick Hewer: So that's 100 chickens and 100 chicken tikka pizzas, one chicken per pizza?
    Alexa Tilley: That... that sounds like a lot of chickens.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: What a shower. What a bloody shower! (about the losing team)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: I have got to fire someone, although quite frankly I'd like to get rid of the bleeding three of you. Tell me why I shouldn't get rid of you, now!
    Syed Ahmed: Because I'm a winner, Sir Alan, that's why.
    Sir Alan Sugar: You're not a bloody winner! You lost!
    Syed Ahmed: I've learnt from my mistakes, and I've learnt from this, definitely, and this well never happen again.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Business is not about come in, piss my money up the wall, "oh, never mind, sorry you lost it, now you've learnt your lesson, you won't do it again."
    Syed Ahmed: I've learnt life the hard way, from a young age.
    Sir Alan Sugar: I hold you 100% responsible.
    Syed Ahmed: And I put in 150%.
    Sir Alan Sugar: I hold you 100% responsible!
    Syed Ahmed: I stepped up to the mark, and I...
    Sir Alan Sugar: I'm sorry, Syed, I hold you 100% responsible. But... (to Alexa) I warned you, I warned you severely about this. You have not come to the table today, I still don't understand what you did. He [Syed] should be going with you also... You're a very, very, bad manager. You didn't manage this thing properly. You're a lightweight. You're fired!
Syed: Thanks Sir Alan, Thank you for the oppertunity.
Sir Alan Sugar: Cheeky Bastard.

Week 5 [2.5]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: You seem to have gone from anchor to wanker. (to Mani Sandher)
  • Ruth Badger: Could you tell me what you mean by autocratic?
    Mani Sandher: I haven't got time for this - look it up in the dictionary.

Week 6 [2.6]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: (on reading Jo Cameron's CV) Says here she used to train Financial Directors for MG Rover. No wonder they went bloody skint.

Week 8 [2.7]

  • Ruth Badger: (after failing to sell a product) We put our lipstick on for him, and he was minging!
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Shut, UP!! (to Syed Ahmed)
  • Sharon McAllister: (To Syed) I think you're an arrogant wanker, but good luck.
Sir Alan Sugar: Syed...
Syed: Sir Alan I respect...
Sir Alan Sugar: SHUT UP, I'm talking.

Week 9 [2.9]

  • Syed Ahmed: You couldn't close a barn door even if you tripped over it! (to Tuan)
  • Margaret Mountford: (after Tuan Le is fired) Tuan was just done in.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Yeah, Tuan was done (laughs).

Week 10 [2.10]

  • Nick Hewer: He's all dong and no ding (on Syed Ahmed)

Week 11 [2.11]

  • Paul Tulip: I'm just a likable person who can get along with anyone
Claude Littner: Well you're not getting along with me

Series 3

  • This is not a game, this is a 12 week job interview from hell (Sir Alan's opening line at the opening credits of Series 3)

Week 1 [3.1]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: Never underestimate me because you will be making a fatal error. I don't like liars. I don't like cheats. I don't like bullshitters. I don't like schmoozers and I don't like arse-lickers.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Don't start telling me that you're just like me, because no one's like me, I'm unique.
  • Andy Jackson: At eleven o'clock it wasn't busy, and at that point I pulled [the van back]. Perhaps I should have pulled it earlier...
    Nick Hewer: Even if it was busy, they wouldn't have bought your coffee at that price. Nobody seems to grasp this point!
    Gerri Blackwood: But I did manage to sell eleven cups.
    Nick Hewer [sarcastically] Oh, well done.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Eleven?! What do you want, a medal? You should have sold a hundred and eleven! You sold eleven. It's a disgrace!

Week 2 [3.2]

  • Tre Azam: Don't talk to me like I'm a child, don't talk to me like you're my boss, we're all in this together.
    Rory Laing: I am your boss.
    Tre Azam: You're not my boss, you're my project manager...
    Rory Laing: I am your boss!
    Tre Azam: You're nothing to me.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Ifti, I don't know if you've got a problem or something, but you are not transmitting confidence to me.
    Ifti Chaudri: Ah, Sir Alan, I do apologise for that. I know it's no excuse, but I was missing my son very badly...
    [Tre laughs]
    Sir Alan Sugar: What, you think that's funny, do you?
    Tre Azam: Not at all, I have a son too. But when have have to get down to work, you have to get down to work, don't you?
    Ifti Chaudri: I've never been away from my son, and I found it crippling, to be honest with you. Absolutely crippling.
    Sir Alan Sugar: You can't concentrate on this, is really what you're saying?
    Ifti Chaudri: It doesn't look like I can. But I'm just being honest with you, Sir Alan, because I'm not going to be going into tasks and not giving 100%. You saw me on the first task, you saw what I'm capable of, but I just found myself in a mental block, and if I can't tell you the truth, what can I do?
    Sir Alan Sugar: I appreciate it, you're a very good family man. But business is business, as I'm sure you'll agree. And so it's with regret, Ifti, that I'm going to have to say to you, you're fired.
    [Ifti sighs, gets up and leaves. Sir Alan turns to face Rory and Tre]
    Sir Alan Sugar: I suppose you think you've got off lightly there? That because Ifti's gone, that's it, you can get back to the house? Well, as I've said once before, never underestimate me, and don't try and second guess what's going on. Because, I'm telling you, as unusual as it is, one of you is still going to get fired.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Rory, you're a disaster. I'm sorry, an absolute, total disaster. I've given you the chance to explain yourself, and you haven't. I was told that you were bankrupt; there's no shame in that, been bankrupt twice. Well, here's the hat-trick... Rory, you're fired!

Week 6 [3.6]

  • Kristina Grimes: The French are cheese connoisseurs, and we're going to sell them something from Makro?
  • Lohit Kaliburgi: (attempting to sell while speaking French) Hello, we have some specialities of Britishness... are you interesting?
  • Paul Callaghan: So, just to recap, we're trying to sell pork sausages to a Muslim, and offering him a taster in the middle of Ramadan. Other than that, I think it's all going perfectly well!
  • Sir Alan Sugar: That's not very good, is it? (After discovering that Stealth have made a loss of over £200)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Is this a joke?! (during Paul's attempted explanation of his baked bean-tin stove)
  • Katie Hopkins: She's a complete snake in the grass and, frankly, too orange to be taken seriously. (about Kristina Grimes)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: I sent you out on a mission to France, to sell quality British products. I gave you a list of organic farmers, of people who use tender love and care to create something special that they take a pride in. And I wanted you to take that product and say "This is what us British produce, this is not mass-produced tut..." and what you do, is you go and buy a breeze block-load of bloody cheddar cheese!
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Paul, I sent you to sell the best of British to France. You spent half the bloody day frying sausages on some stupid contraption that the Boy Scouts could have made, and worse than that, Paul, you went out and lost me money! You're a total shambles. You're fired!

Week 7 [3.7]

Sir Alan Sugar: Adam, what's Katie doing here?
Adam Hosker: Katie didn't give me the extra effort that we needed. I felt if we had more effort and more commitment, we could have won.
Sir Alan Sugar: So you're saying lack of effort, then?
Adam Hosker: I-
Katie Hopkins: I could not have put more effort into yesterday! I fragged myself to the bone yesterday to try and make this thing work. Your reasons for bringing me in here just do not stack up. One, on a personal level; two, on a business level. Sir Alan says he does not know about my personal stuff. He knows about it, because you talked about it and Kristina talked about it. Fine, been there! But if you want to go personal, I'll go personal. I'd very much strongly advise you not to take this down a personal route. At a business level, you have one speed setting, and that setting is slow slow slow! Someone put the wrong speed dial in when they created you, sweetie, which is why when the phone rings, I always drop, because I know that phone call will take forever, to tell me something either I already know, or I could get done quicker myself. So you know what? You're just barking up the wrong tree!
Sir Alan Sugar: I wouldn't expect a Christmas Card from her this year, Adam.

Week 8 [3.8]

  • Tre Azam: We need a break dancer.
    Simon Ambrose: I'm a dance man!
    Tre Azam: Shut up!

Week 10 [3.10]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: If she [Kristina] says "okay" one more time, I'm gonna hit something.
    Kristina Grimes: (on TV) Okay! Now here we have...
    (Sir Alan laughs and shakes his head)
  • Simon Ambrose: (while unwittingly appearing to be masturbating) If you're a young child you can do this, if you're an adult you can have fun!
  • (during Simon's trampoline demonstration)
    Producer: Honestly guys, at this moment in time, we're dying.
    Tre Azam: Is that really bad?
    Naomi Lay: Yeah...
  • Sir Alan Sugar: In these past ten weeks, I've been relying upon Nick and Margaret to tell me what you people have been up to. Well, I didn't need to last night, because I saw it myself. And what I saw was the biggest load of tut that I have ever seen in my life.

Series 4

Week 1 [4.1]

  • Raef Bjayou: The spoken word is my tool.
  • Jennifer Maguire: As a salesperson, I would rate myself as probably the best in Europe.
  • Alex Wotherspoon: I'm 24.
  • Nicholas de Lacy-Brown: I'm very into art and culture and that sort of thing... I find it very difficult to have conversations about football, for example. (to Sir Alan, a noted Tottenham Hotspur fan)
  • Raef Bjayou: I get on with Prince or Pauper!
    Sir Alan Sugar: And you're the prince, are you?
  • Alex Wotherspoon: I am NOT over-sensitive!
  • Sir Alan Sugar: You were devastated when you got a B in your GCSE French. You're going to be even more devastated now, because you've got a big F. You're fired! (to Nicholas)

Week 2 [4.2]

  • Lee McQueen: That's what I'm talking about! (repeated throughout the series)
  • Jenny Celerier: All day it's been like I've had to breastfeed the pair of you. (to Lucinda and Shazia, with a puzzled look from Sir Alan)

Week 3 [4.3]

  • Ian Stringer: There are two types of people in the world; Winners and... I don't know how to say the word, I can't say it, and I won't say it. (at the start of the episode; Ian lost as team leader that week, and was fired)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: How was Ian as a team leader?
    (long pause)
    Ian Stringer: Don't all speak at once, guys.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Ian, you lost. A word that's not in your volcabulary, I understand.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: You haven't got a bloody clue, not a bloody clue! (to Renaissance)

Week 4 [4.4]

  • Lucinda Ledgerwood: I am technically useless.
  • Lucinda Ledgerwood: How dare you! (to Helene)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Simon, if I asked you to build me a wall, you'd build me a wall, I'm pretty sure of that. If I asked you to dig me a trench, you'd dig me a trench. But I'm not sure that if I asked you to run my investment portfolio, you'd be able to do that very well. I'm sorry my friend, I think you're a little bit out of your depth here. And with regret, you're fired.

Week 5 [4.5]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: Lucinda, you are a risk manager. What is the risk of you being fired here today?
    Lucinda Ledgerwood: The probability is one in three!

Week 6 [4.6]

  • Clinton Cards Representative: Do you think that's actually going to make someone smile? (Reads from card) "A bath uses 120 litres of water, whereas a shower only uses 30. Being more efficient in the way you wash will stop your money going down the drain. Bathe less, shower more."
    Kevin Shaw: If you don't put your weight behind it, then it's just the same as the US saying, "We don't care about pollution."
    (Stunned looks from the Clinton Cards Representatives)
  • (Renaissance have sold 6,000 cards so far; Alpha 3,000. One supplier left to go...)
    Margaret Mountford: Celebrations didn't buy any from Renaissance.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Right. And Celebrations for Alpha?
    Nick Hewer: They were keener. They bought 19,500.
    Michael Sophocles: (punches table) COME ON! COME ON!
    Lee McQueen: That's what I'm talking about!
    (long pause and shocked look from Margaret)
    Sir Alan Sugar: This is not a football match. This outburst of yours is... not something I would condone.
    Michael Sophocles: I apologize, Sir Alan.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: I can tell you Kevin that Clinton Cards, for example, reported that your pitch was dreadful. They found you a bit cocky, they found you preaching to them. Not selling them cards, preaching to them! There was a smell of arrogance about you, they felt. Did anyone else put themselves forward? (Claire and Jenny raise their hands) You two did?
    Margaret Mountford: Can I just say that perhaps it was a good thing that Jenny didn't do it? She actually told Clintons that because of environmental concerns she wasn't buying so many cards any more.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Is that right?
    Jenny Celerier: (proudly) Yes, I did, Sir Alan.
    Sir Alan Sugar: How can you make a statement on one hand that "I don't buy so many cards any more," and then come up with the concept, that this is what we should do?!
    Jenny Celerier: I really do passionately believe that this is still a viable concept, and that pitched correctly it could...
    Sir Alan Sugar: Oh, I'll tell you what, it's beyond my comprehension, this is.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: This whole task turned out a fiasco, and as team leader I hold you totally responsible. Kevin, you're fired!

Week 7 [4.7]

  • Claire Young: Look, a snake! Ugh! I hate snakes. If Sir Alan, for a Million Pound, came up to me and said "Claire, kiss that snake.", I'd say. "I'm sorry. I'd rather kiss you!"
  • (In the boardroom after the kosher chicken incident)
    Sir Alan Sugar: It's an insult to the Muslim religion, let alone the Jewish religion. On your CV, what did you say on there? You're a good Jewish boy.
    Michael Sophocles: I'm not, I'm only half Jewish, Sir Alan.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Well, you either are or you aren't, yeah?
    Michael Sophocles: I'm a nice Jewish boy.
    Sir Alan Sugar: OK, because if you're unsure, you can always pull your trousers and we can check.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: Is it right that you went to a Muslim halal butcher and asked him to give you a kosher chicken, and he actually made a prayer over it, is that right?
    Michael Sophocles: That's correct, Sir Alan.
    Margaret Mountford: And he slaughtered it for you?
    Michael Sophocles: That's correct.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Are you having a laugh or what? I don't know why you didn't go the whole hog, and find a Roman Catholic priest to take the butcher's confession. You're here because you're supposed to be intelligent people, it's unbelievable! Aren't you embarrassed, Michael?
    Michael Sophocles: I am embarrassed, yes, Sir Alan.
    Sir Alan Sugar: Do you know what the word L'Chaim means?
    Michael Sophocles: I know what the word schmuck means.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: You know what? I think this team was totally out of control. It's the people who made the mistakes in buying the products that I can point at, or I can point at the team leader. Be under no illusion, there's no rule, no written rule, that I just have to get rid of one person. There's three terrible mistakes here. I don't give a shit! I'll fire three of you if I have to, I'll fire the whole bloody five of you! Don't bother me at all! It's up to you, you open your bloody mouth, or I'll just make some quick decisions.
  • (Sir Alan, Margaret and Nick continue the discussion alone...)
    Nick Hewer: How can he not know what a kosher chicken is? He did classics at Edinburgh, he's a bright enough boy, how could he make such a mess of things?.
    Margaret Mountford: Well, I think Edinburgh's not what it used to be.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: You know what, it seems that you hang on every word that I say and turn it on your colleagues. No good, no good. Sorry, same old story. Jenny, you're fired. Goodbye!

Week 8 [4.8]

  • Raef Bjayou: I think that we need to remember that those in a size 16-32 dress, are size 16-32 for a reason: they love cake.
  • Michael Sophocles: They're just dumb-dumbs. (after failing to sell a cake to some brides-to-be)
  • Sir Alan Sugar: The fundamental flaw here is that the selling approach was wrong, in the sense that you're not selling double glazing.
    Michael Sophocles: I didn't sell it like a hard-sell double glazing.
    Nick Hewer: Really?
    Sara Dhada: We tried our absolute best to sell those cakes, it was really difficult. The first questions, we were asking, "Are you getting married, who are you getting married to? Really interested in their wedding. It is new, it's all edible..."
    [Sir Alan winces; Nick and Margaret look at Sara disapprovingly]
    Sara Dhada: "...You can do this to it, you can do that to it, you can have different colours put in it, it'll be like a wow factor at your wedding." We explained all these points, and it was so difficult to...
    Sir Alan Sugar: Listen, I'll tell you what. If I had been one of the recipients of your sales pitch, if it's anything like what you're doing now, I would have gotten hold of your head and pushed it in the bloody cake!

Week 9 [4.9]

  • Lucinda Ledgerwood: Stop it! Not on! Naughty, Naughty, Naughty!

Week 11 [4.11]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: Lucinda, I'm afraid to say you're a little bit too zany for me, a little bit too unconventional for me. And so, Lucinda, with regret, you're fired!

Series 5

Week 1 [5.1]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: This is job interview from hell. First prize, you get to work for me. Second prize, don't exist.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: You think you can play and second guess me? Well let me tell you - I am as hard to play as a stradovarius. And you lot, I can tell you, are as easy to play as bongo drums!
  • Anita Shah: Well done, girls! We're in budget. (after spending all but £2.30 of their £200 budget)
  • Margaret Mountford: Never before have so few cars been cleaned by so many people in such a long time.

Week 2 [5.2]

  • Paula Jones: I don't think the food is up to scratch. It looks like it's come from a funeral at a working man's club.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (to James when questioning him on his CV) When you wake up in the morning you can taste success in your spit" is that right? ... What did you have, a curry last night?
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (to James) Who do you think should get fired?
    James McQuillan: Out of the three of us? I think you should fire the pair of them.

Week 3 [5.3]

  • Ben Clarke: I’m quite happy to go along the “sex sells” route with this one.
  • Ben Clarke: I am the best looking.
  • Ben Clarke: I would say Kim, clinically speaking would be considered obese. And James isn't obese, but you can tell he's not exactly fit. He could do with going for a few runs.
  • Debra Barr: (back in the penthouse) I'm not really bothered whether you're successful or fail. Your failure's my success... not to be nasty.

Week 4 [5.4]

  • Paula Jones: (unaware that she’s spent over £700 on luxury oils and fragrances) The cost of fragrance is naff all.

Nick Hewer: How much do you think you've spent on fragrances?
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)

  • Philip Taylor: I enjoy the odd cosmetic and from past experience with former girlfriends I've got a fair grasp of the market.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (to Paula’s excuse that she's no good with numbers) You know how to work out redundancy on a calculator, don't you?
  • Ben Clarke: I've got a scholarship to Sandhurst.

Week 5 [5.5]

  • Kate Walsh: (aimed at Ben) No “sex sells” ideas. That's why I'm project manager for this task, there's no red bikinis coming out
  • Philip Taylor: (after performing his Pantsman jingle in a London studio) One take, that's all I do, one take.
  • Dru Masters: (after Philip’s performance) He's certainly got some confidence... He may think he's Bono.
  • Mona Lewis: (to a confused audience of creative advertising executive) The slogan we've come up with is “Put your pants on the right way.” Not like a superhero, 'cos he's the only one allowed to get away with it. So basically when you eat our cereal you won't dress up like pants man 'cos you're not pants man, only pants man gets away with his pants over his clothes...
  • James McQuillan: I feel like a monkey learning to use tools.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (Commenting on Ben's Pirate Voice) I thought I heard a hoarse Ian Paisley there.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (questioning the bright green box design) It wouldn’t have looked out of place in the fertilisers section.

Week 6 [5.6]

  • Ben Clarke: I'm a natural born leader. Sandhurst clearly saw that in me.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: The bleeding skeleton could have done a better job than the lot of you.
  • Debra Barr: (snaps at a startled Nick Hewer) How can you say that Nick? How can you say that?
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (to Debra) You find another way of addressing yourself, right? And stop talking to him like he’s a second class citizen.
  • Ben Clarke: I think I'm going to bring back Noorul, and I think I'm also going to bring back... James.
    Sir Alan Sugar: James?
    James McQuillan: What?! [to Sir Alan] Ooh, sorry.
    Ben Clarke: I don't know what exactly he contributed. But then again, I'm torn between James and Debra.
    Debra Barr: Bring me in, mate! I'm well up for it. Take me in, and we can sit here and explain about this task.
    Sir Alan Sugar: What have you picked on him [James] for?
    Ben Clarke: I'm going to bring back Noorul and Debra. I was struggling to identify what exactly James had done...
    Sir Alan Sugar: I hope you're bringing in people for the right reasons. I hope you're not thinking about James, that there might be a village missing an idiot somewhere.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (after his latest firing) I've got this feeling about Noorul. All I can say is, whoever employs him, better get a receipt.

Week 7 [5.7]

  • Lorraine Tighe: I'm a little bit of a slow burner in terms of my thought process. I don't necessary get the idea immediately, but it will come...
  • Nick Hewer: Frankly returning to London with no sales is a bit like the three of them popping into that cat plane and taking off to join the Battle of Britain. They ain't got a chance.

Week 8 [5.8]

  • Mona Lewis: (meeting a pre-op in a gay bar) You're a boy and you're going to be a girl?
  • James McQuillan: (directing the ‘gay’ actors for the Margate rebranding) Not so much of the suggestive licking either…we’re not shooting a porno.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (after Debra, James and Mona's arguments) You're putting on a great Punch and Judy show here.

Week 9 [5.9]

  • James McQuillan: (on how he would have liked to have got through his wife's labour) 'I would have given anything to have had a Playstation with me to kill a bit of time...
  • James McQuillan: (on the benefits of a home birth pool) The lid's open so the baby can jump out.
  • James McQuillan: (on breast-feeding) The mother needs to be happy because if she's a bit anxious there's something in nature that switches off the tap in her breast.
  • Sir Alan Sugar: (to Ben just before firing him) Stop going on about bloody Sandhurst, so what? I was in the Jewish Lad's Brigade, Stamford Hill Division, trainee bugler, but that didn't help me sell computers when I got older!
  • Sir Alan Sugar: We had the Sandhurst group here before - and one of them couldn't cook sausages on a baked bean can! (a reference to Paul Callaghan from series 3).

Week 12 [5.12]

  • Sir Alan Sugar: Yasmina... you're hired!
    Yasmina Siadatan: Thank you, Sir Alan! I'm going to be the best Apprentice ever!







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