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The Workings of The Apprentice

The Workings of The Apprentice



Warning: this article contains spoilers about how the show is made
 

How are the candidates chosen?

There is a web-based application form that is open to anyone. From that initial list, a smaller number of candidates are invited to interviews around the country.

On the basis of the regional interviews, about 75 candidates are called back for a second round in London. At this stage, the candidates are assessed in groups, and asked to do various exercises to test their business skills and how they work in a team. 

After this, between 20 to 30 candidates are assessed by a psychologist, references are taken and other checks made. It is from this group that the final line-up is chosen.

Who thinks up the tasks?

The tasks are designed by Lord Sugar and the production team, working closely together. They are carefully chosen to test the core business skills, including sales, marketing, design, teamwork and negotiation.

How many people does it take to film the tasks?

The production team, including all crew, is large. On each task there will be four crews filming (each with a producer and researcher) - one for each half of the two teams.

When does the shoot take place?

The shoot for Series Six of The Apprentice took place during Autumn 2009.

Is the boardroom really Lord Sugar's boardroom?

In order to make it possible to properly film the boardroom, where there are up to 19 people around a table, a lot of cameras are needed. In order to set up and manoeuvre those cameras properly without interrupting proceedings, the series director needs to work from a gallery. Therefore it is not possible to film the boardroom scenes from Lord Sugar's real boardroom. They are filmed in a studio.

Does Lord Sugar use a script in the boardroom?

Lord Sugar is not given a script of any kind for the boardroom. He is entirely in charge of what happens there. He does not wear an earpiece, so the production team cannot interrupt him or feed things to him in the boardroom. Everything he says and all the decisions he makes are his own.

How does Lord Sugar decide who the winner is?

Lord Sugar decides the winner on the basis of the final task, the boardroom, and their overall performance throughout the series. 

He makes his decision on the day of the final boardroom meeting. As there is a gap between the shoot and transmission (to leave time for editing), measures are taken to ensure that the outcome is kept a secret for viewers prior to transmission.

Two endings are filmed in order to ensure that the winner is not revealed in advance. Lord Sugar does not tell the production team and the finalists about the identity of his Apprentice until the day before the transmission of the final programme.

What happens to the finalists between the shoot and the transmission of the series?

As both finalists would not be able to seek employment until after transmission, and they cannot be out of pocket as a result of that, Lord Sugar finds both of them temporary jobs somewhere within his group of companies..

Elsewhere on the BBC

Catch Up

Lord Sugar, Series 5

Relive Series 5

Where business supremo Lord Sugar tested a group of eager candidates in a series of gruelling business tasks.

07 Jun 2009

Next on TV

next episode

Series 6

Lord Sugar returns to our screens with the next batch of hopefuls competing to be his new apprentice.

06 Oct 2010

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