The Apprentice: Five takeaways from episode 1
Dillon St Paul declares: 'I'm the king of the truth bombs'
The Apprentice franchise has already given us Donald Trump and Katie Hopkins. What fresh horrors will the returning show unleash this season?
The omens were certainly bleak as we met the latest batch of would-be masters of the universe/people whose faces you’d happily slam in a car-door.
An immediate attention-grabber was Dublin art director and Fade Street graduate Dillon St Paul, whose glistening goatee appeared to incorporate trace elements of dead badger.
“I’m the business equivalent of a diamond. I can sparkle and light up a room but if you’re not careful, I can cut you,” he said as his out-size quiff wobbled precariously. Behold the one-man Jedward.
Also jostling for her 15 seconds was Northern Ireland make-up business owner Grainne McCoy, who came across as sensible and a bit boring. She might win but we’ll have forgotten about her by the next ad break.
The week’s stand-out prat, meanwhile, was Karthik Nagesan, aka the “Big K” (note: only Karthik refers to himself in this fashion).
“A country is not enough, a continent is not enough. I’m after the world,” he said. Was he appearing on a reality TV show or angling to be the next Bond villain?
Here are the other takeaways from episode one:
1: The team names are as reliably ridiculous as ever.
“Nebula – is that like a virus?” wondered one of the ladies as Aleksandra suggested they call themselves after “an interstellar collection of gas and dust, where stars like us are born”. In the board room, Sugar wasn't impressed, pointing out that the team name was a synonym for “toxic gas in space.”
Not that the boys’ pick was much better. “Titans – because we’re going go to be titans of industry,” said Billy Bunter-esque JD O’Brien, all but beating his chest, pounding the table and lighting cigars with a bundle of fifty quid notes.
2: Sugar needs better writers.
In previous seasons, Lord Alan of Sugarington Manor could be relied on deliver a sturdy putdown or ten. This years the zingers felt distinctly soggy. “If you want to moan you can send me an email at Lord Sugar at I don't care dot com,” he said to universal groans on Twitter. He was also endlessly amused that one of the contestants was in the sausage business. Quick – get this man some decent gag-smiths.
3: Michelle deserved the boot.
As Nebula team leader, Michelle was invisible. The week's task involved selling antiques but she never sorted out a sales strategy and went awol when the pressure was on. Worse yet, she was supine in the boardroom as Rebecca and Alana fought their corners.
4: The tasks need a revamp.
Nebula and Titan were each charged with flogging a van-load of antique furniture. For seasoned watchers it was more of the same, as the aspiring entrepreneurs wildly under/over valued their stock and spent their time faffing about rather than closing the deal. Yawn.
5: We already have our ‘love to hate’ candidate
Zany Jessica Cunningham described herself as a female Jim Carrey and she certainly carried on like a cartoon character brought to life. She laughed at all the wrong moments and kept pretending to drop expensive antiques (hint: it wasn’t funny the first time Jessica). Meanwhile a preview of next week’s episode appeared to show her having a meltdown as team leader. She won’t win – but Sugar may keep her around for entertainment value.