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Anita Shah's verdict Episode 1

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    Posted: 07 Oct 2010 at 12:47

The Apprentice 2010, Episode 1: Anita Shah's verdict

Former candidate Anita Shah, who was fired during the 2009 series, assesses the first episode of the new series of the Apprentice.


Published: 10:46AM BST 07 Oct 2010

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Lord Sugar, Karen Brady and Nick Hewer Photo: BBC

The first day on the Apprentice is like the first day at senior school. It’s a mixture of exciting and daunting. The new students at the Sugar Academy have bought shiny new heels to impress. Or perhaps that’s just the boys.

The solemn frogmarch over Chelsea Bridge at the start will have taken at least twelve takes. By the end the candidates’ new shoes will have been lined with burst blisters, sweat and blood. No wonder they looked so miserable. I mean, “focused”. My memories came flooding back as I watched them.

What we saw last night really was the first time they met each other. There is no off camera pre-series meet and greet. We saw the class of 2010 size each other up. “What was going through their minds?”, you might ask. I’d suggest a combination of “how am I going to impress the great man?”, “weren’t you at my audition?”, “he looks like he could be tough competition”, “does she fancy me?” and of course “please Lord, don’t let me be the first one out”. There’s more than one Lord to pray to.

The opening challenge continued the Apprentice tradition of a left-field first task. Lord Sugar is testing the newcomers’ ability to make decisions and work together. They were to go forth and make sausages. It was a brilliant idea: a manufacturing process laced with suggestive innuendo and potentially messy ingredients. It was better than the Generation Game (with apologies to the under 25s who won't know what I mean).

They then had to sell what they made for the greatest profit. This was a bit trickier.The first task is always tougher because it’s the first time and they are working with strangers. Some will know each other from audition, but that’s as far as it goes. They don’t know their friends from their enemies and who can do what. They are distracted by the hunt for the wolves in sheep’s clothing. They must gratify their own egos whilst keeping an eye on the roving cameras.

Last night’s episode merged Apprentice with Masterchef. It worked. What can we expect next? “I’m an Apprentice, get me out of here?”

I daresay these words were on the tip of Dan’s tongue before he was fired. It was the right decision; it saw the exit of a man who had managed to make himself unpopular in just one episode. Yes, he stepped up to project manage. Yes, his team turned a profit. But giving orders then playing spectator doesn’t work in business.

This firing may appeal to our sense of justice, but at what cost? We have been deprived of some entertainingly explosive confrontations with Dan in the coming weeks. After all, this isn’t just business. This is entertainment. This is the Apprentice.


Edited by Bren - 07 Oct 2010 at 12:48
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