After Bake Off finished I thought that was it – I thought we were doomed to X factor and nothing but until Christmas.
I had totally forgotten that The Apprentice was coming back!
And, what better way to start a new series than with two episodes on back-to-back days?!?!
I loved the first episode – such a classic Apprentice-style task. Buy a product, turn it into profit. Easier said than done obviously, but I think they did quite well for their first week.
However, with one team making over £200 profit and the other only making £1.87 there was a very distinct winning team – and well deserved too – better ideas, better management, better team work. Obvious winners all along.
The second episode was fab too – I’m such a big fan of this show! The task was a marketing task, and there was clearly one product marketed better. In this case, in my opinion, it wasn’t about what that specific market was (which is why Vana shouldn’t have been called back to the boardroom) but how it was advertised to that market – and one team did that job much better than the other – Well Done Boys!
It’s after about 2 episodes than I think you start to see people’s characters a bit more. You get to see how they work under pressure and who you think really stands out.
So, here’s what I think of this year’s candidates so far:
1. Dan Callaghan
First to be fired from the process, bless him. I actually think it was wrong to fire him. I know that you need to be versatile and be able to at least attempt to be good at everything, but Sales clearly isn’t his area and I think we didn’t get a chance to see his strong points.
I tweeted on Wednesday night “Aw, I think April should have been fired. Dan was sweet & the mistakes were down to her rash decisions and unrealistic pricing” and I totally stand by that (as do several people who retweeted it!). I think Dan was the wrong person to be fired in this case.
2. Aisha Kasim
Second to be fired and, unlike with Dan, I think this was the right choice. She didn’t allow anyone else a choice in anything and made decisions about things like the product name when the other candidates were literally saying “no-one likes it” and “I don’t think it works” – she didn’t listen, she didn’t delegate – at the end of the day, a Project Manager is supposed to Manage, not Dictate.
3. April Jackson
I’m not sure what to make of April. I think she didn’t do a great job at being PM of the first task – she made decisions that directly led to the failure of the task and didn’t take anyone else’s thoughts and ideas on board. However, in the second task, I think she worked much better – possibly this is a sign that she is much better being managed than managing….we shall see!
4. Brett Butler-Smythe
I really like Brett. I hope he does well in this process – I think he is a really strong candidate as well as, actually, coming across as a great guy too. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t put himself forward for PM in the first task, given that he had experience as a sous-chef in a fish restaurant, but who knows what his game plan is and I think he did a good job.
He got a bit of a raw deal with the “size of the fishcakes” discussion – actually, he was only sticking to the recipe, which is, in my opinion, showing professionalism in producing his product.
One to watch.
5. Charlene Wain
I think Charlene is another that is going to do well in this process – I think she is independant without being abrasive and I think that is really hard to be, particularly in the second task in an all female environment.
She seems to have a very good grasp on business and marketing, immediately focussing on what the individual product USP (Unique Selling Point) was and trying to get that heard for the campaign. I think if she had been PM of the second task, the outcome might have been drastically different.
6. Jenny Garbis
I’m intruiged about Jenny. I think she is playing a good game so far. I’ve always said, the way to do well in things like this is to be the person that doesn’t stand out either way for the first few weeks and she is doing that really well. She was hardly seen in the first episode and in the second she was only seen in the moments she was being praised for doing a good job.
The quiet ones are always the ones that come out of the woodwork later on, and survive the process by avoiding the confrontations – Can’t wait to see more of what she gets up to!
7. Gary Poulton
Again, I don’t think I’ve seen enough of Gary to really know what he is going to bring to the process. I get the impression he knows what he is doing, and he seems ready to work hard and get on with the job at hand….we shall see what happens next!
8. Elle Stevenson
I think Elle has had a bit of bad press so far on the show – and yes, some of it is deserved. Particularly in the second task where she was quite negative about things, but I actually think that she deserves a bit of credit for putting her cards on the table and saying when she didn’t like something or something had gone wrong. A lot of people could avoid that confrontation but she said her piece and didn’t end up in the boardroom because actually, her thoughts were right.
9. Sam Curry
I want to know more about Sam. We’ve seen quite a lot of him so far but I still don’t really know what his strong points are or have any idea of what his business plan is…it says he is a ‘Private Tutor’ so I presume his business plan is something educational, but there has been no mention of his experience so far….not sure what to make of him yet.
10. Vana Koutsomitis
Vana is another one who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. She has very good ideas and puts them forward in a very concise, professional way. I think she will go quite far in the process – I really admire the way she handled being brought back into the boardroom by Aisha. She took it on the chin and worked on the job at hand which was, essentially, to show exactly why she shouldn’t be there. She didn’t deserve to be there, but she wasn’t aggressive about it, or particularly argumentative – she handled the whole situation really well.
11. Mergim Butaja
Frankly, I haven’t been able to pay much attention to what I think of Mergim as a candidate or an entrepreneur. He has so far filled our screens with hypocritical opinions about people not volunteering as PM (when he didn’t even put himself in the mix!), arrogance about his “good looks”, and completely sexist comments.
It might just be the way it is edited but at the moment I can’t seem to get past the fact that he is coming across as a bit of a pig.
I’m sure he has business credentials and a brain in there somewhere otherwise he wouldn’t be in the process so here’s hoping the real businessman comes out soon!
12. Ruth Whiteley
First thing I have to say about Ruth is “Oh My God that colourful suit” – I mean, wow! I’m guessing she wanted to stand out and fair play to her, from the opening second of the VT I noticed her!
I actually think she has done really well in this process so far, we’ve noticed her, she’s pulled her weight and she’s contributed some very sensible thoughts and ideas.
I don’t think she is going anywhere for the next few weeks – she seems to have her head screwed on the right way!
13. Scott Saunders
I definitely haven’t seen enough of Scott to have a comment – he seems to be one of the lads, and hasn’t got on the wrong side of anyone yet….I just haven’t seen enough of him yet to know if he is one to watch or one that you don’t notice until something goes disastrously wrong…. we shall see!
14. Natalie Dean
I think Natalie knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to fight for it. Her pitch in the second task was, frankly, diabolical, however I think she has a lot to offer. She may have shot herself in the foot a little telling Lord Sugar that she didn’t believe in the product, but I think that is a lesson learnt now and, though she is lucky to have survived that boardroom, I think she will be stronger for it and might end up being one of the stronger competitors. Yes, she does come across as a little abrasive, but unlike with Aisha who seemed to be abrasive because she wanted her way no matter what, Natalie seems to be abrasive because she cares about what she is doing….maybe I’m wrong… can’t wait to see more!
15. Richard Woods
Richard was a fab PM for the second task. He heard something from everyone and even if he didn’t use all of their ideas, he really worked well as a manager. People have said things about him covering his back, but at the end of the day, he was asked if he would take credit for the product, not knowing if it was going to be a positive or negative thing and he said yes. Then, when it turned out to be positive, he made sure to give the boys credit. Good man. One to watch I think!
16. Selina Waterman-Smith
Selina was a great PM in the first task – she led the team really well, made good decisions and took the thoughts of the team on board. I think she struggled a bit in the second task when she had no authority, becoming a little stroppy at times when she didn’t get her way. Despite that, I do think she is a really strong candidate and her management skills were really good.
17. Joseph Valente
Another I haven’t seen enough of to make a judgement I think… He seems to be working hard and getting stuck in, but I think I need to see more – he could have really good things to offer, I just haven’t seen them yet.
18. David Stevenson
I didn’t really notice David in the first task, but could anyone miss him in the second task?! He was so full of positivity and was so excited for getting going with the product. I was so impressed with his contribution in the shampoo challenge. I think he is a really positive influence on the whole team and he added so much fun into the task. I hope he has a good business plan and a strong spine to go with his positivity because he may well have just become my favourite! (Plus, who can ignore that smile?! I think he’s a little bit adorable!)
Have you been watching? Who is your favourite?