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The Apprentice Recap: Season 8, Episode 1

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Lord Sugardaddy is back with another 16 young hopefuls all vying for his attention and a £250,000 investment in their business.

The eight men and eight women walk across the Millennium Bridge, which is nowhere near the Gherkin but whatever, and into Lord Alan's boardroom where he tells them he's not looking for a friend but the Marks to his Spencer, the Lennon to his McCartney...the Brad to his Angelina.

The first task is a printing one - buy blank material, brand it and sell it. It's girls against boys and the team with the highest profit wins.

In the cab ride back to the house, we meet "business superstar" Ricky Martin, who is a professional wrestler by night. We also meet capitalist convert Bilyana from "a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria" and restaurateur Maria, a tanned, slightly more intelligible version of Stacey Solomon.

The boys name their team Phoenix (blah) and the name Sterling comes to beauty salon owner Jenna in a dream. Sterling has got to be the best team name in all eight series, although it would have been stronger before the recession. Technology entrepreneur Nick reluctantly leads team Phoenix and "quirky" architect and publishing business owner Gabrielle volunteers to lead team Sterling.

The girls design a range of baby clothes, business developer Jade draws three ugly animals everyone seems to love and Irish co-founder of a food manufacturing company Jane bangs on about margins. Nick is disappointed with quiet Katie, who calls herself the blonde assassin. I call her the unnatural blonde assassin, those eyebrows aren't fooling anyone.

The boys play it safe with teddy bears wearing Union Jack tees and "This is a (picture of a red double decker)" bags for tourists and somehow think £15 is a reasonable price for a bear. On the second day, they set up a stall on Southbank and half the boys go to St Pancras station. The girls set up a stall in Greenwich Market and Billy, the blonde assassin and Miss Margins go to the zoo. They're stuck in traffic all morning and their sales approach doesn't go over well. The ever-lovely Jane says, "There's a daddy with a little baby over there that I want to attack."

Halfway through day, the boys haven't sold any bears - no one will buy a bear for £15, not even an American tourist, go figure. They mark down the bears and they start selling but an unsatisfied customer refunds 10 bad-quality bags.

In the boardroom, the boys win with a profit of £616.20 to the girl's £214.80 and Lord Sugar lays out an "art-inspired reception" for them, a classy affair which involves licking edible reproductions of a Kandinsky painting off plates.

After another lengthy discussion on margins, Sterling team leader Gabrielle brings Billy and Katie back into the boardroom. Gabrielle admits defeat and Katie is silent and sullen but when Billy interrupts Lord Alan for the third time to tell him about her childhood in Bulgaria, she's sent packing. I'm from Wales, which has the economy of a small eastern European country so I was rooting for Billy. She was a real character but her big mouth saved tight-lipped Katie.
I'm sad to see Billy go and the girls had a better product but they didn't do the maths and in the end, they lost by a wide margin! A sterling first episode.

In related news, last year's winner, inventor Tom, recently released his latest product, an S-shaped nail file that retails for £4.95. How many times can one man reinvent the humble nail file?!

I'm happy to announce I'm also entering the lucrative nail file market. My inhouse R&D team has also "invented" a nail file in the shape of a letter I chose randomly from the alphabet after extensive market research found no one cared.