Archives for May 2011

Episode 5: Pet Food Task teasers...

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 14:56 UK time, Tuesday, 31 May 2011

 

Cats, dogs and Apprentice fans are in for a tasty treat - it's the pet food task this week! But will the candidates find canine cuisine and feline food a doddle? We're not gonna tell you that! Yet we can disclose a few exclusive teaser images of what lies in store for the muttley crew...

 

Mr Notepad-Calculator stays true to form!

Edna refuses to take part in a catty staring contest

Leon doesn't seem to be in on the joke...

 

What could Tom be up to in the recording studio?

Why is Vincent recreating the dance moves to 'Tragedy' by Steps?

Can this cute kitty 'Meeeooouuuu' like Melody?

Who do you think will excel in the pet food task? Share your thoughts by clicking on the Comments button!

 

The Apprentice Insider meets Felicity

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 14:05 UK time, Friday, 27 May 2011

Felicity came a cropper in the Beauty task, following a nightmare day at the Bullring in which her team failed to flog enough fake hair products or treatments. But the fired candidate wasn't whinging about the 'winges' when the Apprentice Insider caught up with her for a natter. In fact, she was refreshingly honest about where the task went wrong…

 

"I definitely regret not taking Tom's advice," Felicity said, referring to 'Mr Notebook-Calculator's early warning about the epic distance between the treatment room and the team's stand. "All I saw was 'Bullring – Birmingham' – perfect. I wanted to get in there before the other team did… but it wasn't the best location at all."

Did she not take heed of Nick Hewer's exasperated expressions during the early part of the task? "Nick's always got a raised eyebrow!" laughed Felicity. "Nick is a great, great character. He always has those facial expressions whatever you're doing. So I'd always think 'is he double bluffing us?' I didn't look at him and think 'oh oh, this is going wrong."

Many will be unaware that Felicity is a trained actress, but did she deploy those thespian skills to her advantage at any stage? "I definitely used my acting ability to let people know how great the 'winge' looked – the fake fringes," she admitted. "To be honest though, if it was the exact right hair colour – which is very rare – it did look alright."

Something that wasn't quite alright was the interaction between Felicity and Ellie in the boardroom after the task loss was announced and tempers flared. Nonetheless, Felicity stated: "I don't think there was a personality clash between me and Ellie. I think there was a work ethic clash between us. I think that I am much more passionate about everything I do… and Ellie doesn't quite have that. So I think that's where the clash came." 

As for the lack of a goodbye from Ellie and Natasha after her firing? "I was quite surprised, " sighed the ill-fated Project Manager. "And I was quite hurt". Life in the house was a much more rosy affair however. "I really enjoyed sharing a room with all the girls," she revealed, along with the fact that her roommates were Natasha, Ellie and Melody. "We really got on!" added Felicity, who branded Susan "definitely the liveliest of everyone" in the house.  

Felicity, who is currently busy running an event in Manchester to benefit unemployed actors, also told us that the highlight of her time on The Apprentice was the App task. "I know our App was rubbish!" she confessed. "However, I loved all the creativity of doing the design of it."


Do you agree with Lord Sugar's decision to fire Felicity? What are your favourite moments from her stint on the show? Would you wear a 'winge'? Let us know by clicking on the Comments button.

 

Episode 4: Pinkie to the rescue!

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 17:22 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2011

 

Do you know your cosmetics? Susan and Vincent confidently proclaimed their familiarity with the beauty industry during the latest task, although that was no guarantee of success in the muddy world of chocolate facials and 'winges'. Being in possession of an alluring pinkie seemed to do the trick for one candidate though…

Not even a fake fringe would have shielded failed Project Manager Felicity from the barrage of criticism she faced in the boardroom prior to her firing. "Felicity got eaten for breakfast by Ellie and Natasha!" tweeted tripleseis. It didn't help that Natasha had earlier marketed the hair-enhancing product by comparing it to a "pet hamster".

Mr Notepad-Calculator, as Nick dubbed him, "ditched his Clark Kent glasses for the beauty task," remarked Adgad. Perhaps he hoped that Lord Sugar wouldn't recognise him later in the boardroom if he slipped them back on? Wrong. For Tom and Vincent were both likened to "a couple of stalkers" by Lord Sugar after they endured another task failure. "Vincent just got owned by Lord Sugar big time!" laughed AlexNoble93 following the comment about his orangey complexion.

As for the winning team, Susan came in for a lot of criticism from the online community. The eager candidate's frequent mentions of her vocational past led Amit_mandalia to suggest a "new drinking game for every time Susie mentions she works in skincare". For health reasons, we can't recommend that! On the flipside, Misstorydesigns wrote: "Still love Suzie, everyone forgets that she was the one that got the spray tan treatment which made them the profit."

"Leon is becoming a star!" stated Ian Streames. Many were impressed by his growing confidence throughout the task – and he also might have started a new craze with his sales tactics! "I loved Leon's finger trick to get the customers!" praised Kate March.  "I wonder how many guys are gonna try Leon's pinkie trick in a bid to pull!" pondered smoliver23.

The massage element of the task provided plenty of mirth. As Potts93 pointed out: "False tan: £35. Massage: £1-a-minute. The look on that guy's face when Jedi Jim ran into the treatment room: Priceless!" Meanwhile, sensisuperstar felt that "Zoe could massage the clients to sleep with her monotone voice..."

Anyway, it's time to say goodbye – which is more than Ellie and Natasha did to Felicity. Maybe they were too busy trying to remember what Susan used to do for a living. What was it again? 

 

Episode 4: Beauty and The Brand

Stuart Baggs | 21:56 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Another week, another life affirming episode of The Apprentice; restoring your faith in humanity like a vet putting down the family pet. In this case of course our helpful vet is Lord Sugar with a fresh candidate each week put out of their misery.

And what a week it was, with skincare expert Susan doing a fantastic job of exfoliating the other candidates. Talking of rubbing others up the wrong way, did anyone else share my shudders when Jim offered his helping "extra pair of hands" on the massage table? No wonder people didn't want to extend their free trials!

Apparently these are tough economic times, so getting paying customers to have stones wedged between their toes was quite an impressive "feet". Expect next week's task to involve selling magic beans and vegetarian peace biscuits to unsuspecting members of the public.

In a shock result, a poor performance by Team Venture was overshadowed by an unforgivable loss for Team Logic. The writing was on the wall for Felicity and she was unceremoniously despatched from the boardroom.

Thanks to those of you who left comments especially Robyn who correctly noticed that I am indeed an utter legend. I also agree with ChrisMorgansForehead, Jim is looking like a pretty strong contender. I'll add just one caveat; Jim's facial expressions during massages are just plain wrong.

Please keep your comments coming, my butler reads them all and makes sure to pass the best ones on.

On that note, I'm off for a spraytan. Paper bra and pants at the ready.

Stuart Baggs

Don't tell us the sky's the limit...

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 11:43 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

 

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit if there are footprints on the moon."

Melody's opening gambit on The Apprentice raised more than a few eyebrows in the Twittersphere. What ensued last week was an amusing array of tweets that saw this 'limit' pushed to infinity - and even beyond. Here's a selection of the best in chronological order:

AntoniousRS: "Don't tell me the moon's the limit when there are probes, or whatever, on Mars."

Azure_karura: "Don't tell me Mars is the limit when Voyager's at the edge of the solar system!"

CatherineLawler: "Don't tell me Infinity's the limit when Buzz Lightyear went beyond."

Darrenshilsonuk: "Don't tell me lightspeed is the limit, when Han reckons the Millennium Falcon can hit .5 past it ;)"

Marcsned: "Don't tell me There's No Limit, when 2 Unlimited did it in 1993... no no, no no no no, there's no limit..."

 

Any more advances?? Show us your limits via the blog's Comments section.


Episode 4: Beauty Treatment teasers...

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 15:49 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

The remaining candidates are summoned to the British Museum by Lord Sugar in the next task, to be told about the beautiful delights of the next task. Here are some exclusive visual teasers that hint at what lies in store for them... 

 

What is Jedi Jim up to here?

 

Something or someone prompts the iconic Nick grimace... 

Who is Karren Brady so impressed by?

Which candidate meets the feet?

Can the candidates cope in the dreaded treatment room?

Who do you think will soar or crumble in the glamorous face of the beauty industry in the next task? Let us know by clicking on the Comments button and sharing your thoughts...

Return of The Brand

Stuart Baggs | 11:37 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

 

Like all good parties the best guests arrive late…. so here I am, a week after the party started, arriving totally drunk and ready to offend the other guests. After all The Apprentice without The Brand would be like the Royal Wedding without Pippa Milddleton. Missing that special ingredient.

Yes the Apprentice is back and this time Lord Sugar’s offering a £250, 000 investment into a startup business. The catch? 12 grueling rounds in the boardroom and the inevitable loss of dignity that comes with paying £400 for some tea bags!

Lord Sugar is in an unenviable position. Forced to choose a winner from 16 highly skilled candidates, he would perhaps be better served by selecting numbers from a bingo machine. No prizes for guessing legs eleven is Edna.

Luckily for those seeking reassurance, Nick’s eyebrows have also made a welcome return this series.  Seemingly set with an on/off switch (and wired directly into the mains), Nick eyebrows are either off or set to “Über-stunned” mode.

I’ll be writing a blog entry every week, so fear not loyal brand fans! I might not have won the job last year but this is one hell of a second prize!

For now, I bid you adieu, but don't be shy about adding your questions and comments below.

P.S. Fired candidates can collect their party bags filled with shattered dreams and humble pie on the way out.

The Apprentice Insider meets Gavin: Continued...

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 10:25 UK time, Saturday, 21 May 2011

In the first part of the Apprentice Insider's chat with Gavin, we learnt about his view on Clochegate and the infamous quest to find a top hat. What about his experiences with the other candidates, Lord Sugar and life in the Apprentice house? Before bidding us farewell, Gavin gave us the lowdown…

Prior to the firing, Gavin was accused of acting like a 'beaten man' by Thomas during the latter stages of the task. A fair assessment? "No, not at all," countered Gavin. "I don't think I was a 'beaten man' at any point. What's more frustrating is that no one throughout the whole task pulled me to one side and gave me any negative feedback or gave me any direction about what they think we should do."

Fortunately, the opticians guru was able to look back upon his boardroom experiences more happily. "The atmosphere in the boardroom was very nervewracking, but I think it looks a lot worse than what it actually is. There's a good bit of banter going on in the boardroom. There are a lot of things that a lot of people don't pick up on."

 

"Lord Sugar is hilarious," said Gavin of the man that fired him. "Some of the banter that Lord Sugar will come out with in the boardroom is brilliant. He'll put you at ease. He's a very down to earth guy. You can talk to him in normal terms, like he's a normal fellow. He's not someone who thinks he's too good to talk to you."

Gavin was roommates with Thomas and Jim  (both of whom are apparently tidy) during his time on The Apprentice, but how did he find life in the house? "Very peaceful," he answered. " I think we all got along. I think everyone accepted what we were there to do and that we didn’t know each other before we went into the process – and that we weren't there to make friends, but we were there to aim for this goal of investment. But I think as time went on we all became a lot closer and everyone accepted that what happened during the tasks was purely business and purely for the end goal of trying to win The Apprentice." 

"We all shared this experience together and it's an experience we'll never forget," added Gavin. He certainly hasn't forgotten his time promoting the Slangatang app in Earls Court. "It was probably the most cringeworthy day of my life, he sighed. "Having to dress up in what I did and run round in a woolly hat wasn't the highlight of my business career… but you've got to do what needs to be done in order to get a brand out there, to make a noise and to make people notice you."

That's true commitment to the cause – something that Gavin cannot be faulted for.

Did Lord Sugar make the right decision to fire him? If not, who should have gone? Let us know your views by clicking on the Comments button...

The Apprentice Insider meets Gavin

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 03:23 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

 

 

In a manner of speaking, Gavin was taken to the cleaners in the Discount Buying task. It just happened to be a dry cleaners with no top hats for sale whatsoever. Lord Sugar's dreaded finger was soon pointing in the direction of the mild-mannered Project Manager, who struggled to control his team and found himself embroiled in Clochegate. The Apprentice Insider caught up with Gavin and here are his thoughts on the tasks…

"I wasn't shocked that the result was so close because I knew we negotiated really well throughout the task," explained Gavin. "I don't think we really got enough credit for the performance of the actual negotiating. We negotiated better than the other team but we just didn't locate enough items. If we would have got one more item we would have won the task.  We lost by £7.50, which is ridiculous. They got an extra three items on top of what we got. They should have blown us out the water."

But what would Gavin have done differently in hindsight? "If I had to do everything again I'd probably get out of the hotel a lot earlier," admitted the Liverpudlian. "We stayed there too long but we had nowhere to go. There were six people in the team and no one had located any of the items – so there was literally nowhere to leave the hotel for… we all have to accept some responsibility for some poor calls at the beginning."

As for the top hat quest, what possessed him to try a dry cleaners? "Basically we were looking for a top hat," Gavin clarified. "We'd rung every supplier that we could think of and we drove past a location that said Top Hat Cleaners' so it was a punt. I didn't think, cast iron, that there were definitely going to be top hats available there. I didn't even think that they would sell them. I just thought that they might know somewhere that sells top hats – purely by chance. We were grabbing at straws."

The very mention of the word 'cloche' makes poor Gavin shudder. "Trying to pronounce it in the first place was difficult enough," he joked, before seeking to unravel what happened in terms of identifying what a cloche actually is. "All of us had different ideas – at one point it was a garden item and at one point it was something that you put a hat on," Gavin revealed. "It's probably going to haunt me for the rest of my life..."
 
Do you have sympathy for Gavin and his 'cloche up'? Let us know by clicking on the Comments button... 

Coming tomorrow, Gavin talks about getting fired and life at home with the other candidates.

 

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Episode 3: The Debrief

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 13:13 UK time, Thursday, 19 May 2011

 

 What on earth is a 'cloche'?

Countless folks around the globe must have been asking themselves that very question. For the metallic food cover, which fired Gavin's team thought was some kind of greenhouse, was trending worldwide as a result of the Discount Buying task on The Apprentice.

Followers of @bbcapprentice on Twitter and the fan page on Facebook were certainly captivated by the item. Amyjo1983 lambasted Team Logic for their lack of knowledge: "A half Swiss,a half Belgian and a half French guy don't know what a cloche is?! Ironically "cloche" is also French for idiot!"Over on Facebook, Tiffany Dowling correctly wrote that it's "the lid that goes over a dinner plate! The waiters then bring it over and reveal your dinner!"and amoirdo jokingly tweeted: "Course I know what a cloche is! A Liverpudlian clock, no?"

We also asked the question: "Does anyone want to see an Apprentice spinoff series - 'Nick Hewer and The King Of Tonga Go Shopping'?" The Apprentice adviser's top hat experiences brought an ecstatic response from the online community. "The King of Tonga is this year's 'tramp on chips' comment. Nick is amazing," tweeted destrukt for example.

Team Venture's leader Susan's desperate attempt to knock down the price of the silk item provoked much laughter, particularly in response to the "How does that make a difference to me?" rebuttal from the unimpressed saleswoman. "I'm using that phrase at work for the rest of the week :)" laughed Melissa Brown 'Lloyd' on Facebook.

Nonetheless, CountessViviane echoed Nick Hewer's boardroom praise for the PM, saying that "Susan shone tonight. She was really good although the penny off was highly embarrassing," referring to the incredible top hat discount she achieved. That was far from the worst headgear indiscretion of the task though. As MichelleLiney succinctly put it: "Cannot believe Gavin just walked into a dry cleaners to buy a top hat..."

Alas, the task was won by Team Venture and Gavin was fired. Lord Sugar was on hand to tweet: "Shame Gavin had to go despite him having his own business , but to be fair he did not control the team . Nice bloke though". Richard Hurdle reasoned: "Vincent made Gavin's life very difficult, but he had been put in charge of the sub-team. That was Gavin's main mistake."

The tiny victory margin of £7.51 led to eagle-eyed viewer susandevonshire noting that "if jim hadn't blagged that extra £10, his team would have lost". Fittingly, given his fillet steak haggling techniques, 'Jedi Jim' was back trending in the UK - alongside Vincent, Susie, Top Hat, Gavin and Team Logic. Oh, and of course the legendary cloche!

The final words go to phantomchic2000, who tweeted: "Tomorrow when I go to the Cafe for my breakfast I'm gonna get them to reduce the price by 1p. Then I will jump 4 joy. #winning" 

 

Episode 3: Cloche Encounters of the Thrift Kind

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 21:55 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011

 

Can you believe it boiled down to just £7.51 difference between the two teams?

But what if came down to just one penny? That would have made Felicity and Susan's miniscule top hat discount look like the masterstroke of the century. It's fair to say that the close/'cloche' nature of the result, which led to Gavin being fired, was almost as surprising as Nick Hewer's revelation that he has frequented a Top Hat emporium with the King of Tonga!

Lord Sugar's Discount Buying task gave Susan's Team Venture and Gavin's ill-fated Team Logic the chance to display their negotiating skills. Natasha was more fearful of displaying something else though, having previously told her roommates that she is unable to locate her underwear. Buying instinct, not Basic Instinct, is what this task was about.

The "Irish bulldozer of charm" Jedi Jim certainly used 'the force' to his advantage, deploying his mind tricks to knock tenner after tenner off the fillet steak order. He even managed to secure a hug as well as a discount from one shop owner later in the day.

Susan should have used reverse psychology - and claimed the silk was for someone totally irrelevant, they would pay by Postal Order, and drag out the transaction as long as possible. You never know.

On the subject of clangers, Gavin's trip to a dry cleaners in search of a top hat, Natasha's attempt to secure a competitor's procurement list and the confusion between a ten inch cloche and a green house were all reasons why Team Logic was ultimately doomed.

The biggest moment of delusion during the task stemmed from Natasha's attempts to purchase a brass sign. She stated that £20 was the "absolute uber amount" she had, yet within seconds was offering £40… and then £60. When Vincent stepped in with a successful bid of £80, Natasha retorted: "I think I could've driven the price down further!" To paraphrase Yazz and the Plastic Population – the only way was up with those negotiating tactics!

 

The boardroom encounter with Lord Sugar left Gavin heading for the exit, but do you agree with the decision to fire him? Who else would you have fired? What was your moment of the show? Don't be shy about sharing your comments.

And finally, does anyone know exactly why Nick was shopping for top hats with the King of Tonga?

 

The Apprentice Insider meets Alex

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 16:21 UK time, Monday, 16 May 2011

Did Alex make a memorable impression on you? After all, according to Nick Hewer he spent both tasks he was part of lurking in the shadows. The freshly fired candidate was nonetheless in a confident mood when The Apprentice Insider caught up with him. He even treated us to a stunning reprisal of his Welsh Farmer character from the Slangatang app. Yup Apprentice fans – we can confirm the man is still on the hunt for his sheep!

 

On the subject of his firing, Alex said that Leon was lucky to return to the flock following the Project Manager's boardroom indecision over whom to bring back. However, he was quick to point the finger at himself for his downfall rather than a certain highly opinionated individual dubbed 'The Soup Man': "Being branded 'a passenger' by Jim, to me, doesn't really have any effect. I went in with a set of tactics which I've openly admitted didn't work or play in my favour."

Alex unsurprisingly declared that he was "mortified" when he learnt that the rival Ampi-Apps product had triumphed – a piece of news that certainly turned up the heat on the perspiring Team Logic. "The atmosphere in the boardroom with Lord Sugar was tense," he said. "Everyone [was] obviously very guarded, slightly walking on eggshells. Once we'd been told that we had lost I think the atmosphere got even worse."

Ah well, nevermind. In between the Squeezeathon of the first task and the Slangatang of the second, surely Alex managed to unwind with his fellow candidates back at their base, right? Wrong! "Life in the Apprentice house was tough," he countered. "There was really no 'away' from the tasks. The only time we were away from the task was either when you were showering or sleeping. Outside of those two functions you were basically on task, you were on topic. It was work, work, work – and it was tough."

It wasn't all doom and gloom in the shadows though, as Alex did pick up a couple of buddies along the way: "Out of all the candidates I got on particularly well with Gavin and Glenn. I identified strong similarities in our characters – we were all quite down to earth, [with] similar experiences in business. We seemed to have quite a lot of common ground."

A keen cricketer, unlike his rugby-loving Welsh Farmer figure, Alex has landed firmly on his feet since being fired. "I have gone back to work for a new company which I'm really enjoying," he revealed. "A bigger company, lots of responsibility and doing what I do best. I'm just looking forward to the future now."

And looking for those sheep too no doubt…

Watch more from our chat with Alex here:

 

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Did Alex deserve to be fired after the App task? Let us know what you think by adding your comments– and also tell us what you'd like to know about life in the Apprentice house. The Insider is ready to do some probing on your behalf…

The Apprentice Insider meets Edward

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 16:38 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

The Apprentice Insider found itself toe to toe with Edward as he reflected upon the virtues of orange squeezing, the origins of 'roll with the punches' and communicating with what Lord Sugar described as verbal "text messages".

 

Edward also clarified that his team's issues with using the mechanical juicers with the oranges – once they managed to correctly identify the fruit – was not a knockout blow. "I think we were actually squeezing them fast by hand!" he declared.

"I think the only real tension that was in my task really came from Glenn," continued the ill-fated Project Manager. "I think the problem with Glenn was he saw that we weren't selling. It was almost a sinking ship as it were and obviously I was the person to target."

"The real lesson I learnt from The Apprentice is to speak with full sentences," the first fired candidate of Series 7 revealed. "I feel that if I fully explained to Lord Sugar that I actually absolutely, completely knew what I was doing and conveyed that to him I would not have been fired."

Viewers couldn't help but notice a certain catchphrase that Edward was keen to "roll" out on numerous occasions. He told The Apprentice Insider that it is indeed "fantastic advice", but where did it stem from?

"The 'roll with the punches' – and I used other boxing type analogies like 'taking the gloves off' – it's just part of our English vernacular, which is great. You've got other things like 'on the ropes' and whatnot. Great stuff!"

After being fired, Edward opted to travel around South East Asia with his wife in what he described as a bid to "explore myself". He admitted that "the jury is still out" on whether he made the right decision to leave his job, but he was quick to encourage any naysayers of his performance on the show to step into the ring themselves.

"All I'd say to all the people out there who say 'they're idiots, they make all these mistakes' and whatnot – just apply and do it yourself. Until you do it, you just don't know how difficult it is."

Edward bade The Apprentice Insider farewell with one spot of advice for fans of the show:

"Roll with the punches – come on guys!"

Episode 2: The Debrief

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 13:34 UK time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

It's fair to say that the Apprentice App task had followers of @bbcapprentice on Twitter and the fan page on Facebook rolling with the cringes.

Vincent's app-alling pun lead Lord Sugar to comment "lead balloon or what!" and Depicta stating "poor Vincent proper tumbleweed moment there". Lloyd_Rees chimed in to point out that Lord Sugar "is the Baron of Cl-app-ton"

Not many were impressed by the teams' Slangatang or Ampi-App products. "2 absolutely terrible ideas for mobile phone apps, why do teams never think these things through?!" blasted Craig_Todd. "Maybe the boys should have an invented an app to help you identify fruit?" suggested hollyvn. "LOL! How do you avoid racial stereotypes when you put an aussie in a hat with corks on it?" pondered discountofo.

As for the girls' effort, linseyaff laughed "A barking elephant - i've seen it all!" while Edna's pitch in Earls Court led to much cringing. Karen Todd felt that the Project Manager "started off ok, at least she was confident... but what an idiot forgetting to actually tell people how to download it! And the dominatrix gloves were just weird!" Emma Passfield Yeo added: "It wasn't so much the pitch, it was the superglued grimace afterwards when she realised it probably wasn't her best moment!"

 

 

The episode certainly took many viewers by surprise with a couple of the twists. The overwhelming majority felt that the boys were on course for an easy victory and were shocked by the result. Christopher Elworthy summed up the consensus with his reaction of "How the hell did that happen?????"

Lord Sugar was fortunately on hand to clarify why Slangatang was slung out by the consumers: "when you have global market why would people abroad be interested in UK accents."

As for whom Lord Sugar would fire, James K Thorp reflected the views of many with his post: "Leon's gone, can't make a decision in the boardroom?!" Alex's subsequent firing split opinion. Sidders000 was in agreement with Lord Sugar, writing that his dismissal "most definitely right choice, hiding behind bush cutting bread!" 

However, FullMetalRhino tweeted that "Alex should not have gone, the spineless PM should have been out". "I'm gonna miss Alex on @bbcapprentice - he was definitely the best looking ;)" sighed GraceWitherden.

As the episode concluded, attention turned back to one particular candidate and his antics. "We need #soupman trending after another awesome Jim-filled week and a cheeky wink to cap it all off...!" tweeted DanSmith_x. Alas, his prayers were not answered. Instead it was another guise that started to trend in the UK after an apparent boardroom mind-trick leading to Leon changing his decision on who to bring back. Step forward 'Jedi Jim'!

Episode 2: 'Appy Days

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 21:56 UK time, Wednesday, 11 May 2011

 

MEEEEOOOOOOUUUU! MEEEEOOOOOOUUUU!

Annoying even when you read it, right? Yet somehow Edna's team of cacophonous ladies managed to pull the cat out of the bag by emerging victorious in Lord Sugar's appetising App task.  

It's best to deploy an amnesty on App related puns from now on, given Vincent's appalling (d'oh!) effort in the back of the cab. Following his issues with orange detection in the first task, he managed to drop another fruity folly with THAT "app-le" pun. It's only a matter of time before Vincent has some kind of plum-related mishap…

 


 

Alex was the fall guy for Team Logic, an eventuality that could be traced back to Nick Hewer's prophetic squint after he declared there were "better men" to lead the task. Not even his sterling (and in no way racially stereotypical!) enactment of a Welsh farmer for the Slangatang campaign could spare him. Let's just hope he can find those sheep… although they could be cowering in fear after hearing Melody's vocalisations of their fellow animals.

Is there a brewing 'bromance' going on between Leon and Jim? The knowing wink that Jim gave his spared teammate in the house after his boardroom survival seems to suggest so, given that Leon had already changed his decision to bring him back to face a firing. Special powers of persuasion appear to be part of the Soup Man's strengths.

Who would have given Team Venture a chance of winning after Edna's Ampi-App pitch at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre? It was a bizarre manifestation of David Brent fused with the Jim'll Fix It theme tune lyrics, as she strutted around the stage promising to "share a secret with YOU, with YOU and with YOU" to the aghast audience of 500.  What about the other 497 in attendance?


They turned out not to be that in important in the end, as Team Venture's success in landing the support of a major online magazine proved pivotal in their triumph. This was despite their App featuring an image of an elephant accompanied by the sound of a dog. The world's first Bestial Identity App – genius!

"How strange folk can be," remarked Lord Sugar upon learning of the girls' victory in the download stakes. He could just as easily have leveled that comment at the boys for their outfits (which were in no way racially stereotypical!) at the Earls Court presentation.

The boys must have been regretting their decision not to pick Thomas up on his traffic light App idea. Hours of fun to be had with that gem! Well, only if you have the mind of a vegetable. Or should that be vegatable, Ellie?

"Is that victory I taste on my lips?" remarked Melody at the celebratory dinner. No dear, it's probably a furball. MEEEEOOOOOUUUU!

Let us know what you thought about the task, the firing of Alex and which App you, you and you preferred by clicking on the Comments button…

Episode 1: The Debrief

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 19:03 UK time, Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Is it an orange? Is it a 'vegatable'? No, it's… SOUP MAN!

The genesis of Soup Man

The emergence of a new Apprentice superhero in the shape of Jim gave followers of our Twitter page @bbcapprentice and fan page on Facebook more than a soupcon of delight last night.

"Loving 'Soupman' Jim!" tweeted Emma_Sydenham. "Seems to have a very dry sense of humour… and a lovely accent!"

"Soup Man – he didn't need corporate clichés to help him along," wrote Emma Passfield Yeo on Facebook.

However, former Apprentice candidate Philip Taylor chimed in to point out that there's a long way to go before this new creation matches his own:

"ApprenticePhil: @bbcapprentice stop kidding yourself #soupman will be here for a week. #PANTSMAN is now pure legend."

The jury is still out on that one, although the online verdict was fairly unanimous in relation to Lord Sugar's decision to fire Project Manager Edward.

"No surprise there then," tweeted lollydollyla. "The accountant who forgot to count is out for the count."

Miss_R_Millie was on hand to tweet some reassuring words: "Don't worry Edward, getting fired was one of those punches you had to roll with! Oh well!!"

Lord Sugar – yes THE Lord Sugar – was a bit more sympathetic on Twitter: "Edward was real nice guy. Hard being team leader on first task."

Edward's subsequent appearance on You're Fired managed to win over many viewers.  On Facebook, Amy Lewis said: "Thought Edward came across really well in You're Fired. Best of luck to him". Christina James replied: "I agree, I'm sorry he's gone now". "He should have been more like himself in the real show," added Thomas Perkins.

Many fans felt that Edward's Team Logic was doomed from the start. "OMG! If they can't even establish if the fruit is an orange, this is going to be a disaster!!!" tweeted sahara_woolie. GerryPimm predicted: "An accountant as a leader can't possibly win. They don't lead, they bore". No wonder Edward tried to keep his numeracy skills quiet!

However, Lord Sugar tweeted the boys' team had "clearly a good and simple idea but all went wrong in the factory."

Our very own @bbcapprentice account posed the question: "6 boys + 1400 oranges = ____ ?"

The responses were very amusing, with DoctorDamocles answering "Team of Lemons" and ginger_ninja24 replying with "Unmissable TV!"

The first episode of Series 7 was warmly received, with many finding it one of the funniest yet and #bbcapprentice climbing up to the third position in Worldwide trending topics on Twitter. As Steve_titley tweeted: "Soup Man and the forensic identification of an orange… gotta love the return of @bbcapprentice"

Finally, the #bbcapprenticequotes hashtag was in full flow throughout the episode as tweeters kept their ears open for any gems – of which there were many. We'll leave you with the following highlight from Edward:

"Not only am I the youngest in the team, I'm the shortest…"

Episode 1: Rolling with the lunches...

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 15:34 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

 

Do you think Edward was the right man to leave the Apprentice ring? The gloves were off in the boardroom, although the boys could have tried wearing them while squeezing all those oranges. Nothing wrong with a bit of a skincare – and it's not as if they could have been any slower at their task!

Edward may have been knocked out in the first round, but he has left his mark. Not only did he rattle off the 'rolling with the punches' catchphrase like a battery-operated speaking toy, he also trotted out one of the bizarrest boardroom bids for survival. "Not only am I the youngest in the team, I'm the shortest!" he pleaded to Lord Sugar. Classic!

In hindsight, Team Inability To Juice Enough Oranges would have been a better fit than Vincent's suggestion of Team Ability. But at least Vincent finally figured out what an orange is (the clue is in the name!), before using his flirtation skills to shift a few of his products. Not that Karren Brady was overly impressed!

 As for the Girls' team, Melody's team sung her praises (sorry!) and it appears that her audiences with Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have had a positive effect.

We'll leave you with the Question Of The Week, as posed by Glenn:

"Does anyone actually know how to make soup?"

Let us know your thoughts and observations on the episode and firing by posting your comments below…

Apprentice Insider

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 12:20 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011

 Welcome to the new Apprentice Insider blog!

The Apprentice Insider. The official blog

We'll be here throughout Lord Sugar's latest quest to find his next apprentice - equipped with exclusive news, gossip, games, vids, interviews... and some quite shaaaaameful attempts at humour. Your eagle-eyed observations are definitely needed and appreciated, so please post away in the Comment section below the blogs, tweet @bbcapprentice and natter away on our new fan page on Facebook. Not all at once though, or else you'll end up with fingers resembling those bargain bangers churned out by the boys last year!

The new series of The Apprentice storms onto BBC One this Tuesday at 9pm, with the added bonus of the second episode being shown the very next evening at the same time. Prepare yourself for plenty of 'juicy' action (hint hint!) and shocking team name suggestions in the first episode, with Lord Sugar revealing all the details of the brand new prize on offer.

Amidst all the crafty business strategies, there's also a spot of juggling, an orange with an identity crisis and perhaps the most amusing use of boxing analogies on mainstream telly ever. You'll be knocked out by them... (and if you think that pun was appalling, just wait until the opening moments of Ep 2!)

The press launch for the new series has already taken place, with the screening of the series premiere culminating in a rousing round of applause from the journos in attendance. It's a good job that the reception was so positive, as Lord Sugar and his trusty advisers Karren Brady and Nick Hewer were all sitting in the front row. As several candidates found out last year - you don't want to incur their wrath.
 
But which one candidate will win over the trio in Series 7? You can size up the hopefuls right now by watching all their audition clips. The search has almost begun - and we hope you'll join the Apprentice Insider for what promises to be a fun and thrilling journey. 
We'll be back with more news in almost the same amount of time than it takes Nick to raise one of his legendary eyebrows in reaction to a candidate clanger...

 

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