Bangers and Clash: Welcoming back The Apprentice

Oh. My. God. It’s exit stage left for The X-Factor and sit this one out Strictly as the Don of reality gameshows is back.

The Apprentice, making its first Autumnal appearance due to fears of Lord Sugar’s mug – his face not his drinking receptacle  (no doubt of Amstrad design) – may have had an impact on the outcome on the General Election with him being a Labour Peer and all. At least he wasn’t Hastings Pier is all I can say!

Anyway, back to the show and within the first five minutes you are left wondering if they shouldn’t have renamed the programme The A-pretentious. The voiceover said that there were 16 top candidates and 12 tough weeks, I can only imagine that he means they are going to be tough for us judging by this bunch.  

A flurry of suits of nameless wannabe Sugar bitches and bastards who’ll say and do anything to get there. I personally can’t wait for the Saw inspired episode with Lord Sugar coming in on a little trike complete with the Jigsaw doll inspired white face. Talking of Jigsaw, the Janet Ellis TV show, it would actually be far scarier if he came out as Mr Nosey Bonk.

“I describe myself as a bit of a maverick”, spouts Alex Epstein, who looks like Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. Neville, I mean Alex, also claims that he has a unique blend, and something tells me it’s not his brand of coffee he is attempting to get us excited about. He says, “I’m not just another corporate clone.” He’s right there; he’s more the corporate clown and a walking cliché to boot. It’s as if he’s been round all the dentists in the UK and read the words of wisdom on those pictures of lovely lakes and mountains.

Sticking with Hogwarts we also have Melissa, who is an amalgam of Velma from Scooby Doo with the hair and annoyingness of Draco Malfoy, who claims she has loads of business/ retail experience and is as if she is about to nominate herself for Team Leader but then says she doesn’t want it and then snipes at the Team Leader through the remainder of the show. She also had some brilliant facial expressions and I’m sure I saw her glasses steam up at one point.

The person who I hollered at the most whilst he appeared on my television though had to be Stuart Baggs, he with the hair of Eddie Munster. In his intro he claimed that there was no glass ceiling for him, which isn’t technically true as I can think of several I would like to shove him through, and that he was Baggs the brand. Baggs of shite more like.

He even came out with this bobby dazzler, “Everything I touch turns to sold.” Crap comment, plus never believe a man whose eyes are too close together.

We are told these 16 were chosen from thousands of applicants, the voiceover doesn’t say they were the best as obviously they were chosen to give us the best entertainment value in the same sense that people were chosen on the very same basis on how the misfits all complemented, or not, each other as a group.

For me it was the group names chosen that summed up this opening episode best, not exactly inspiring boardroom material. The guys basically had a toss up between Fusion and Synergy, both of which sound like really lame Gladiators, and went for the latter.

The ladies reasoning for their eventual name was my favourite though as they settled on Apollo, after dismissing the frankly bonkers Winning Women from Draco. Alas it was less inspired by Carl Weather’s Apollo Creed from the Rocky series and more the space programme as their motto was ‘failure is not an option’. Great sentiment, but I’m not sure that Gus Grissom (hang on wasn’t he in CSI?), Ed White or Roger Chaffee would agree as they were astronauts on the very first Apollo mission who burnt to death in a fire on the launch pad. There’s an irony of sorts then that the first show’s task was about selling sausages, perfect for BBQs.

The blokes sold budget bangers in boaters, even attempting to sell them door to door at one point. You can just see them feeding strings of them through letter boxes. At one point I thought they were going to start hurling packs of sausages into passing cab windows! At least they got their griddle going, unlike the women, who had an initial uphill struggle selling their bulging posh variety. Some clever number crunching was all that saved their bacon…er sausages.

Dan Harris, the Team Leader of ‘Synergy’ was onto a loser the moment he announced that he would lead the team and that they would do all the work, which saw stepping into the back of a black cab pretty much a foregone conclusion.

He signalled his own demise but dragged Eddie Munster hair and Neville into the boardroom with him. Stuart just doesn’t shut up, not even to Lord Sugar, and clearly his card is marked. He still bleated on about being unique and 21, surely not much of a USP!

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