The Apprentice is back! And so soon, too: everyone’s favourite geek Tom Pellerau has barely even started work on his winning pitch, a ‘solution to workplace back pain’ (which was possibly a chair, though he didn’t think to include that word in the 10,000 word business plan).
But these aren’t lanky, long limbed Apprentices like Tom, no, these are Small Apprentices! Wait, no, sorry: Young Apprentices!
Or Junior Apprentices, to use last year’s programme title.
I’m very pleased they’ve changed the name. Junior’s a bit of a misnomer: and condescending into the bargain.
Last year’s mini-Sugar army turned out to be approximately a jillionty percent more sensible, capable and level headed than their adult counterparts. Compare the winner, Arjun, to Susan ‘Do French people love their children?’ Ma. No contest.
So yes, let’s embrace the title change: they may be young, but they’re in no way ‘junior’. Yep, they might make mistakes (hell, if you told me to research and market a new brand of shoe polish in the space of half an hour you’d end up with some kind of soup) but pound for pound you’re getting a lot more for your money with this lot.
Which brings me to an important rule of the liveblog: we’re going to try and be nice. Well, niceish. Sighs, facepalms and headshaking (in virtual form) is fine, but please remember we’re dealing with younglings here. Any comments that poke fun at the appearance of these little tycoons-to-be will be deleted.
Also, as additional punishment any further attempts to view this liveblog will see you redirected to an animated gif of Nick sucking in his cheeks disapprovingly and pursing his lips. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
See you at 9!
9pm: It’s starting! Oh gosh, they’re all terrifyingly determined, articulate and driven. Driven by their parents, that is. They seem to have swallowed the X Factor whole. They’re following their dreams…and they’ve got the seven thousand A stars to prove it.
Voiceover man announces that the prize is £25,000. Only a tenth as much as the £250,000 investment Inventor Tom got. Not terribly fair: they’re not 1/10th of the size….maybe they got the prize mixed up with the one for Toddler Apprentice.
9.06pm: Lord Sugar’s being disarmingly nice, chatting about wearing baseball caps and rapping. I predict this friendly Uncle Alan phase will last about as long as a ‘frozen treat’ left on a radiator.
Speaking of frozen treats: SurAlun’s ‘laid on’ a factory so they can make some. He’s always lying on odd things: might explain why he’s usually so grumpy. It can’t be easy to get a good night’s sleep with an industrial chimney poking up your nethers.
9.10pm: Before heading off to Alan’s factory, the Apprentlings get to see their luxury house for the first time. Cue lots of rags to riches sad-eyed prodding of John Lewis Egyptian cotton bedding. “Where I’m from, we don’t ‘ave beds,” says one urchin. “That’s nothing,” says another, “since the riots, everyone my area has to sleep in a burned out car next to a looted petrol station.”
Ok, maybe they’re not quite that hard done by, but several of them have clearly read the Britain’s Got Talent ‘make sure you have a bit of a poignant story’ memo. Either that, or this series they’ve decided to recruit entirely from the Victorian chimney sweep community.
9.14pm: The boys and girls have divided (as is traditional) and chosen team names. The boys have gone with Atomic…clearly forgetting the whole ‘Kitten’ subtitle. The girls have gone with Kinetic: impressive.
For once, neither sounds like a dodgy nightclub in Preston, unlike the adult version: “Ignite!” “Synergy” “Magma!”
9.18pm: The boys have decided to make watermelon flavoured frozen…stuff. I missed what the girls were doing as I was too busy making fun of adult Apprentices from previous series. Whoops.
9.19pm: The boys are doing their costings, working out the price of ice cream, how quickly they can make the ice cream, deciding what to charge and then multiplying accordingly. It’s rather alarmingly efficient: in the adult version people just shriek numbers frantically, decide to make solid gold-and-truffle flavoured ice cream and claim they can deliver thirty thousand gallons to a nearby restaurant by the next morning. For £3.
9.21pm: Phew: turns out that true to Apprentice form, the girls are about as good at maths as the average cat is at quantum physics. When Nick asks Hayley and Hannah (at least, I think that’s their names. They all look identically fresh faced and youthful) if they think they’re correct in their assumption that two twos are a hundred and seventy million, they roll their eyes and say ‘yes.’
Note to any prospective candidates out there: if Nick EVER asks you if you’re sure about something: you’re wrong. Adjust accordingly.
9.23pm: To add to their existing problems, Kinetic haven’t ordered enough fruit. Apparently they forgot that fruit comes with weighty peel and heavy seeds: if you’ve ever tried to eviscerate a coconut you’ll know that you end up with one cubic millimetre of actual coconut vs 14 tons of shell. They end up having to ditch most of their existing stock.
Nick’s eyes swivel so far back in his head he can see last Tuesday.
9.26pm: Uh oh: I spoke too soon- despite being able to put two and two together, the boys haven’t done their research. Plus ca change, etc.
They pitch up at the seaside with their pirate-themed ice cream stand and start selling watermelon frozen goo for the bargain price of £2 for 2 scoops. Madness. They’ve clearly gone bonkers after too long at sea.
James, a.k.a. ‘Captain Vanilla’ (argh), is falling back on the traditional Apprentice technique of chasing the punters- this time, its along a seafront pavilion begging them at foam-swordpoint to buy their ‘healthy’ piratetreats. He fails. Mahamed takes over and just frantically rushes at people saying ‘dyuwunnabuyiscrum’? in a panicked, mumbled monotone.
Unfortunately in his dainty straw hat he looks a bit like an impossibly youthful butcher frantically trying to offload frozen pork chops: not quite the refreshing treat you want for a day at the seaside (unless you’re a dog).
9.32pm: The girls are doing a bit better at Chessington. They take their stall to a penguin show and sell their ice cream (flavoured with a homeopathic amount of fruit) to a captive audience – the queuers, not the penguins- before they finally give up any pretence at dignity and begin chasing terrified children around the theme park dressed as a giant banana.
About 4 of the team corner one tot and sell him about 6 tubs of ice cream, much to the apparent dismay of his mother.
Maybe next week’s task should be a car valeting service specifically targeted at people whose toddler has just done a massive ‘technicolour yawn’ in the back seat.
9.38pm: Back in the boardroom, Mahamed and ‘Captain Vanilla’ both claim to have come up with the pirate theme. They should duel it out with one of them forced to walk the plank. The terribly dapper young man in a yellow tie who was good at maths spells out his litres to scoops to profit ratio. Suralun seems impressed.
Kinetic announce their theme was ‘treat n’ trim’: treat the lips, trim the hips. A great marketing ploy, but given they were flogging frozen lardy-pops, not something that would necessarily pass the trading standards board. They’re leaving themselves open to a massive, wobbling, angry lawsuit there.
Nick mentions the fact that the girls had to dump 14 litres because they didn’t have enough fruit. All the girls start talking over each other like panicked moths. Er, panicked, talking moths (sorry, my metaphor-generating machine is powered by lambrusco, and I’ve run out).
9.41pm: Despite Alan patting the chaps on the back, it turns out piracy doesn’t pay after all (sorry, Somalia). The girls pipped the boys to the post, despite not having enough (or possibly having too many) pips.
Fruit pips! Get it? Eh?
Oh, never mind.
The girls are sent Zorbing: more of a punishment than a prize in my opinion. If I wanted to pay a fortune to end up tumbling down a hill I’d drink 4 bottles of Bollinger on top of Ben Nevis.
9.46pm: The boys are back in the boardroom and fighting for survival. Well, £25,000, which is almost the same thing. Imagine how many penny chews and toy whistles you can buy for that! Lots, that’s how.
*whispered consultation* ah, according to my sources, young people these days prefer something called ‘Xboxes’ to penny chews and toy whistles and apparently you could buy about 1000 of them for the prize money on offer. Fight!
9.48pm: Alan: “Who came up with this bleedin’ watermelon yoghurt idea?”
Boys: *silently point at each other*
9.51pm: Their team leader- one of the two Harrys- decides he’s going to bring Captain Vanilla and Mahamed back into the boardroom. A bit of a missed opportunity there: surely Yellowtie messed up the maths/costings?
9.50pm: Captain Vanilla is confused as to why he’s in the boardroom. He suggested the concept, the name, bought the foam sword, dropped the price to a pound, sold lots of ice cream….
Woah. Rewind a bit there. Dropped the price to a what now?
Mahamed and Harry H continue to jabber and snipe until Lord Sugar cuts to the quick, saying that Mahamed only made 10% of the sales. He’s taking the credit for everything but didn’t deliver: a bit like a rogue Littlewoods catalogue. He also didn’t put himself forward for project manager.
9.55pm: Mahamed thinks James should be fired for pushing the frozen yoghurt idea. James blames the sales team for failing to shift his watery watermelon gloop. Hmmm. Lord Sir Sugar thinks that cutting the price to £1 is to blame: Captain Vanilla’s decision…
King Lord Sir Sugar PhD ums and ahs. Harry was project manager, James managed to somehow create frozen fruity wee despite the fact he was placed in a factory full of chocolate swirls and Wonka-like sugary potential. But it’s all a RUSE:
He fires Mahamed!
Unlike the adults, he gets whisked off in a fancy car rather than the taxi of failure. Nevertheless, he’s not happy and continues to mutter increasingly untrue claims in a monotone as he’s taken away: “I thought up the theme, I sold £300 worth of ice cream, I invented d’internet, my mum owns Wales….”
But sadly, the ability to make up facts does not a Young Apprentice make.
What does? Er…possibly cool nicknames like Captain Vanilla. Or being called Harry. Or having a tie.
I hope you enjoyed our first Young Apprentice liveblog. It was a rollercoaster ride, with an added ‘people in banana costumes chasing you’ element. All the best theme parks have them.
Thanks to those who joined in for your very funny comments: I’ll try and find time to feature a few up here above the line next week. Think of the glory! Literally tens of people will see it. TENS.
You can follow Hilary on Twitter: @Hilary_W
If you’re a fan of Apprentice liveblogs, you should also check out Gerard’s McGarry’s Young Apprentice liveblog on ace tellysite Unreality TV