Jump into the back of Fleximize's very own cab, as we air our views on The Apprentice 2015. Never failing to set the nation's tongues a-wagging, the programme also gets the Fleximize once-over. Dave - our Digital Marketing Executive - offers his somewhat direct thoughts on the very first challenge!
It's back on our screens
It’s that time of year again when 18 budding entrepreneurs decide that their careers need 16 weeks of shouting, 3am starts and enough back-stabbing to make Game of Thrones look like a family comedy.
Yes, The Apprentice is back!
So, as always, the candidates gathered in the lobby of Lord Sugar’s boardroom, standing in awkward silence for the faceless receptionist to send them to their doom. In their best suits and looking as professional as possible (all except Dan, who decided that the ‘hands-in-pocket’ approach would win over the Boss), they all marched into the room to be met with Lord Sugar’s newest assistant - the fear-inspiring Claude Littner.
After the first boardroom meeting, the candidates were chauffeur-driven to their plush London mansion - their home during the process - and settled in for nice, restful evening. Only to be woken at 2am with their first mission.
The task was simple: go to Billingsgate Fish Market, buy some raw fish, make it into something a bit more appealing than, well, raw fish, and then go and sell it. Easy enough, right?
Warning: clichés ahead
Well, first, the teams had the monumentally important task of coming up with a team name – one of the best parts of every series in my opinion. 18 people shouted over one another, pitching horrifically clichéd suggestions such as ‘Team Destiny’ and ‘Team Pulse’ – and possibly my all-time favourite suggestion – Sugababes.
Eventually, after what seemed like an hour, the squabbling died down and we were left with an entirely predictable combination of Team Versatile and Team Connexus. Yawn.
The next, slightly more important task was to elect a team leader. Cue the inevitable flurry of people trying to avoid the tag of ‘first to be fired’ by counting themselves out. On team Connexus, events agency and former podium dancer, Selina, decided that her skillset of “I cook” and “I’m intolerant to lots of food” was enough to count her out of the running. Except she didn’t count on everyone else deciding that she should be the first to fall on her own sword.
On Team Versatile, Jamaican boutique owner and food blogger, April, stepped forward with her claims of: “I’m Jamaican. We come first, we win on the track and we will win in the boardroom.” Not piggy-backing off anyone else’s success, eh, April?
So, how did they do?
Here are my thoughts on how each candidate performed in the first, fishy challenge. And whether I think the right person was sent packing. So join me in the back of the cab for my commentary (and bit of a rant) of that episode…
Elle seemed to be pretty anonymous throughout the first episode apart from occasionally chirping up with negativity about everyone’s ideas, whilst not really putting forward any of her own. She knows Latin though. Which I’m sure will come in handy…nowhere along the line.
Likewise, David hid in the shadows for much of the episode. He was part of the team that decided trying to sell fish fingers to a vegan restaurant made good business sense.
Apparently Aisha was also in this episode. I’m yet to find proof.
Vana’s entrepreneurial skills and ability to speak 5 languages came in handy as she spent most of the episode washing up pots and pans, and pouting.
Selina Waterman-Smith – Team Connexus
The reluctant leader of Team Connexus somehow managed to take her team to victory despite half of their calamari going off. The triumph was mainly due to keeping costs low and hitting the lunchtime crowd. Well, that and the fact that the other team didn’t even make enough to cover the bus fare home.
April’s hard-talking, ruthless project management approach did nothing to galvanize her team. They were late getting the ingredients, spent too much on the stock, took too long making the food – then failed to make enough money. That, with missing the lunchtime rush, resulted in a not-so-handsome profit of £1.87. Ouch.
Brett apparently decided that the whole task hinged on “specifications”. In my humble opinion, had he specifically stuck to the specifications set out in the specifications list, his team may have won this specific task. Despite his insistence on specifically following the specifications, he got the specifications wrong and made the fishcakes to the wrong specifications. Specifically he made 89 rather than 300. Oops.
Maergim was the lead ‘culprit’ of the whole selling-fish-finger-sandwiches-to-a-vegan-restaurant affair - something that I now affectionate refer to as #SarnieGate.
Director of a digital marketing agency, Richard gave us a glimpse of his espionage skills by managing to remain in the background for almost the entire episode. That’ll come in handy later. Although he was caught ironing a tie at 2.30am whilst whispering the word “winning” to himself, in a scene eerily reminiscent of Christian Bale/ Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.
The self-proclaimed ‘Godfather of Business’, Joseph was actually one of the more impressive candidates in this episode. He was responsible for around one-third of his team’s entire sales and we all know how much Lord Sugar likes a salesman.
Natalie managed to secure a bargain whilst buying the team’s squid. Then realized it wasn’t very good quality. It could’ve been a better start.
When April bought stock from the first stall she went to, project manager Ruth tried to point out they could probably get it cheaper elsewhere. April spurned the advice, but not to put off the task, Ruth displayed her, let’s say, unique sales approach, which included rubbing the bicep of a passerby and proclaiming: “Ooh you’re a big boy, aren’t you?” I’ll leave it there.
The articulate private tutor, Sam, kept himself to himself in this task. He sold the produce and did everything asked of him, despite Richard claiming that Sam’s “bread is buttered on a different side” to his own. No, that probably didn’t make much sense to Sam either.
Nothing really to rant about here since Charleine did well in this task, contributing in both the sourcing of stock and selling.
Like most of his team mates, Scott stayed in the background, although I feel obliged to warn him of the health risks attached to wearing a suit that skinny.
Whilst buying the stock, Gary tried to outshine his project manager, Selina. She subsequently put him in his place, so much so that it seems, that we didn’t see him for the rest of the episode.
Fired: Dan Callaghan
Despite having a rhyming name (always a good start in my book), Dan got off to an awful start when Lord Sugar told him off for having his casual, hands-in-pockets posture. He also admitted to having no sales know-how, and that he hadn’t entered The Apprentice to “sell salad on the street”. Not the way to impress on Boss, Dan.
Overall, in my view, the right person was fired. Dan was obviously an intelligent, creative guy, but in this process you need to be a big hitter all over the park. Not being able to sell was the last straw for Lord Sugar.