Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Northern Ireland's Jim Eastwood may be Apprentice to beat as rivals look like they will run out of juice

Zoe Beresford, Jim Eastwood, Melody Hossaini, Ellie Reed, Gavin Winstanley, Leon Doyle, Helen Milligan, Tom Pellereau, Karren Brady, Lord Sugar, Nick Hewer, Edward Hunter, Susan Ma, Vincent Disneur, Alex Britez Cabral, Felicity Jackson, Natasha Scribbins, Glenn Ward and Edna Agbarha from this year's The Apprentice programme.

Northern Ireland’s Apprentice hopeful survived the first show and made it through for another week to try and show off his business acumen.

Cookstown sizzler Jim Eastwood (32) proved to be both a motivator and a mediator during last night’s programme and was saved from Lord Sugar’s firing line, despite being on the losing team.

The Co Tyrone man stayed level-headed and calm throughout the first episode of the new series of the show aired on BBC One last night, and is bound to go up in the betting on the eventual winner.

Instead, accountant Edward Hunter ran out of juice with his fruit drink plan and became the first person fired from the new series, with Lord Sugar declaring him a “nightmare” and like “a very slow internet line”.

The 25-year-old from Reading failed to impress the business mogul during the debut task, in which the teams were given £250 in a fruit and veg challenge.

The hopefuls — who are competing to become a business partner with the millionaire businessman and entrepreneur — were split into two teams, the girls and the boys, and told to turn a profit.

The girls’ team Venture proved successful with their plan to sell fruit salad and vegetable pasta to busy Londoners.

But the boys’ idea to flog “simple” orange juice and tomato soup seemed destined to fail from the start when one of the team picked up an orange at the market and asked: “Is this an orange?”

None of them knew how to make soup either, which would have seemed to be a fatal flaw in their grand plan.

But they stormed ahead at the behest of team leader Edward, who’s motto of “just roll with the punches” did not go down well with the rest of the team.

The boys became increasingly frustrated with his relaxed approach, his failure to share his strategy with the rest of them and his refusal to use his accountancy background to work out costs.

They also hit a setback when the orange juicer broke down and they were reduced to squeezing their 1,400 oranges by hand.

In the end the boys lost to the girls by around £160.

While Northern Ireland’s Jim (left) started off quietly, he quickly stood out as a level-headed challenger who might just be the one to beat.

During the programme he questioned the leadership of Edward, prevented an argument in the heat of the kitchen and took up the role as head of soup production, motivating the team to “make soup like you’ve never made soup before”.

Easy, really, as they hadn’t.

He was praised in the boardroom by Lord Sugar’s aide, Karren Brady, who told Edward: “You were lucky Jim did a very good deal in the market and got all the ingredients for the soup for £40.”

But he couldn’t hide his down-to-earth Co Tyrone roots — ladling the soup out into cups he said: “That’s good hearty soup there, boys.”

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