The Apprentice review: it's boys vs girls, but who lives up to their own hype?

Alan Sugar introduces us to a fresh batch of narcissistic go-getters, but it’s still too early to sort the twits from the winners

Watch your back: Alan Sugar with this year’s batch of Apprentices

Watch your back: Alan Sugar with this year’s batch of Apprentices

 

The boss is back, and he’s got a very itchy trigger-finger. Lord Sugar oversees another crew of business hopefuls in the 12th series of The Apprentice (BBC One, Thursday), and they’re an impressive lot – at least on paper.

Most of the 18 candidates own their own businesses, and none of them seems to be lacking in drive, ambition and narcissistic self-regard. They’re all competing for a chance to partner up with Lord Sugar and pocket a £250,000 investment in their business. With that kind of dosh at stake, there’s no room for modesty – or mercy. There will be blood on the boardroom floor.

The candidates also have particular skills. Aleksandra King can mimic a “nuclear explosion”. Dillon St Paul (the Irish man in the pack) is “king of the truth bomb”. And Rebecca Jeffery is like a “bouncing puppy”. They’ll need all their skills to stay in the game and avoid hearing Lord Sugar utter the dreaded words “you’re fired”.

They’re all up for the challenge, naturally, but they’re also ripe for a good taking-down if they fail to live up to their own hype. We’ll soon find out if Dillon really is the business equivalent of a diamond.

The candidates are split into two teams, boys versus girls, which seems a bit odd given that the normal workplace isn’t gender-segregated. The boys name their team the Titans, while the girls go for Nebula. Sugar reckons it’s a bit nebulous.

The girls predict the boys will be at each other’s throats pretty soon, like alpha male gorillas, while the girls will use their noggins to work together in harmony. At the end, it’s the girls ripping into each other as they fight to dodge the Sugar bullet.

For this week’s task the teams have to price up and sell a vanload of antiques and collectibles in a single day. They may be overstating their own value, but Lord Sugar wants to know if they can put a more realistic value on goods. Pretty soon, the girls are flogging their stuff at rock-bottom prices, while the boys hold out for the best price they can get.

Perhaps not the original (Donald Trump truthfully owns that honour) - but still the best Apprentice.

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