The Apprentice Episode 15in 2019
The Apprentice (British series 15)
Series Fifteen of The Apprentice (UK), a British reality television series, is set to broadcast in the UK from 2 October 2019, on BBC One. As with the previous series, the first task was again assigned to being held abroad, though this series will be the furthest afield in that candidates have gone to conduct a business-related task in the programme’s history. In addition to this, the sister programme of The Apprentice saw a change in the host before the series broadcast, with comedian Tom Allen overseeing interviews with candidates after their final appearance within this series. Alongside the upcoming standard twelve episodes, the series has been preceded by the mini online episode “Meet the Candidates” on 24 September.
|Carina Lepore||Artisan Bakery Owner||30||TBA|
|Dean Ahmad||Owner of a Sports Management Agency||20||TBA|
|Iasha Masood||Account Manager||27||TBA|
|Jemelin Artigas||Network Marketing Consultant||34||TBA|
|Kenna Ngoma||Owner, Ice Cream Company||24||“FIRED” 2nd Task|
|Lewis Ellis||Digital Marketing Project Manager||28||TBA|
|Lubna Farhan||Finance Manager||33||TBA|
|Marianne Rawlins||Owner, Risk Management Consultancy||36||TBA|
|Pamela Laird||Owner of a Beauty Brand||29||TBA|
|Riyonn Farsad||Events Manager||30||TBA|
|Ryan-Mark Parsons||Luxury Womenswear Consultant||19||TBA|
|Scarlett Allen-Horton||Owner of a Recruitment Company||32||TBA|
|Souleyman Bah||Paralympic Athlete and Motivational Speaker||20||TBA|
|Thomas Skinner||Owner, Pillow Company||28||TBA|
|Shahin Hassan||Chartered Engineer||36||“FIRED” 1st Task|
The show’s initial stage, which is not filmed, focuses on open auditions and interviews held across the country; this stage searches for the candidates for a series before filming of it begins, which often attracts thousands of applicants. A second round will usually be held in London for a small percentage of applicants, who divide into groups and are asked to do various exercises to test their business skills and to gauge how they work as a team. Following this, between 20 and 30 applicants are chosen and given an assessment by a psychologist, receiving further checks by the production team and providing them with references, before the final line-up is selected from this group and filming can begin. Candidates who successfully make it into the show are split into two teams, normally by gender, in which they usually pick a team name at the start of the process.
The number of candidates who appear in a series has varied over the show’s history, though always consists of a balanced number of men and women, with the exception of the fifth series in which a candidate was forced to drop out before filming began, leaving little time for a replacement to be found. For the first two series, fourteen candidates were selected to take part, before this figure was increased to sixteen between the third and ninth series to allow for multiple firings to occur at Sugar’s discretion. To mark the tenth series of the show, the production team allowed twenty candidates to take part, the highest number of participants across any variation of The Apprentice. Between the eleventh to the thirteenth series, the production team selected eighteen candidates to take part in the show, before deciding to return to sixteen candidates prior to the start of the fourteenth series.
Throughout the process, the candidates are given around 10 business-themed tasks (11 for the seventh and eighth series), which are designed to test their skills in notable areas – salesmanship, negotiation, requisitioning, leadership, teamwork, and organisation – with each episode covering a single task. Both teams are briefed by Sugar over what the task involves, which also includes the rules they must adhere to (i.e. what they are restricted from doing or using in the task), and the condition for winning the task, with the most common being making the most profit, achieving high sales figures, or coming up with a concept that Sugar feels is the best (such as branding). Both teams often appoint someone in their team as the project manager (PM), who acts as the team’s leader and deals with important key decisions, with the choice usually derived from either a candidate’s background, or the amount of confidence the team has in their choice, although Sugar himself can either suggest who the team should pick as their PM, or nominate a candidate into the role, based upon his opinion of their performance in the process, their background, or, since the seventh series, from what he has seen of their business plan. As candidate numbers are whittled down during the process, the team are periodically rearranged, primarily in the task’s briefing, either to balance out the number, ensure a fair distribution of skills for a specific task, or to give less vocal candidates a chance to demonstrate their abilities.
Each team is provided with two vehicles to use to get around during a task and can only split into two sub-teams for each task, though for some they may also be provided with additional items for them to use, an example being a shop space they can sell in; in one particular kind of task used regularly on the show, teams are given a dossier that dictates what items they need to find with specifications that they must adhere to. Although the teams are expected to work together, the competitive nature of the show means that candidates will often focus on their individual roles and needs rather than the greater good of the team, primarily to prove themselves worthy of winning the process and increasing their chances of making it into the Final of the series. During the execution of their task, each team is followed by one of Sugar’s aides, who notes down their opinions, observations and thoughts for later reference in the boardroom, mostly on any noteworthy matters, such as performance, mistakes, and issues, minor or serious; while it is rare for them to intervene, they may do so if an issue arises in the team’s actions that needs their attention.
In The Boardroom
Once a task is finished, the teams/remaining candidates report back to Sugar at the “boardroom” – either following the task’s completion, or the day after it has ended – to hear about feedback on their performance and learn the results of their endeavours. The team/remaining candidates that have lost the task are forced to return for further boardroom discussions, whereupon the prospect of being fired from the process usually results in them discussing/arguing the case for why they should remain, along with who among their group should go. The format of the boardroom is set out in three stages – Results -> Task Review -> Final Boardroom – with each conducted as such:
- Result – Both teams face an initial review from Sugar and his advisers about the task they undertook, with discussions often including feedback on their performance, any issues they encountered, and any criticism/praise on either the team’s effort or the contribution of a team member(s). After the review, the task’s results are announced, whereupon the winning team advances to the next stage of the process and leave to enjoy a reward set out for them, while the losing team is dispatched to the “Losers’ Cafe” to discuss amongst themselves over what factors contributed to their loss.
- Task review – The losing team are subjected to a more detailed, extensive review of their performance in the boardroom, with Sugar and his advisers being more openly critical of any team member’s performance on the task, particularly those who performed poorly or contributed very little, while candidates argue their case for staying in the competition, often highlighting others in their team and countering any criticism they receive that they feel is unfounded. Once discussions are brought to an end, the team’s project manager for the task is asked to select two candidates from their team to accompany them into for a final boardroom discussion. The power of this choice means that anyone can be selected, whether they were responsible for the failure of the task, made mistakes that cannot be overlooked, or those that the PM has issues with (such as a clash of personality between the pair). Those not picked are sent back to the candidates’ accommodation for that series, while Sugar and his advisers have a private discussion amongst themselves about the PM and their choices after the group are told to wait outside the boardroom; if the team only consists of two or three candidates by that stage of the contest, they are simply told to step outside at the end of the team’s discussion period.
- Final boardroom – The candidates at this stage, dubbed the “final three”, face a final discussion with Sugar and his advisers, in which they argue their case for remaining in the process, with discussions often including feedback on their performance as a whole by the stage at which they are at within the process, their relationship with the other candidates, and any other criticism put towards them, with the candidates usually asked on who they feel should be fired based upon what has been discussed. After summarising the arguments and his own thoughts, Sugar eventually fires a candidate by pointing his finger at them and proclaiming to them “You’re fired!”, voicing his reasons for doing so beforehand, thus eliminating them from the competition; he may repeat this again, if another candidate is deemed by him as having no further potential to continue in the process. While the surviving candidates are sent back to the candidates’ accommodation, the fired candidate(s) depart via a waiting taxi and taken on “home“, conducting a brief interview to reflect on their elimination during the “journey”.
While the boardroom scenes differ for the Interviews and Final (see sections below), there are a number of exceptions in regards to the boardroom format after tasks, which can occur during this scene:
- Candidate firing – Sugar can choose to fire a candidate at any time in the boardroom, if he deems it noteworthy. Thus a candidate could be fired during the first or second stage of the boardroom, rather than as a part of the final three.
- Reward – Sugar may withdraw the reward, if the winning team’s performance on the task is considered to be too inadequate to his liking. In this case, they simply return to the candidates’ accommodation after the results.
- “Final three” selection – Sugar may opt to choose who returns for the final boardroom discussion, rather than let the PM make this choice themselves, while he can freely send someone back to the candidates’ accommodation if he feels they do not deserve to return.
The Interviews stage of the process takes place as the penultimate step of the competition, in which the five remaining candidates in the competition each undergoes an individual set of interviews with a selection of trusted aides of Sugar; for the seventh and eighth series, this stage was assigned as the final step, and featured the four remaining candidate in each respective series’ competition.
In this stage, each interviewer questions the candidates over various matters, from their performance in the process, why they applied for the show, the content of their CVs, and their personal attitude with others, and often probe and scrutinise any brash, boastful, or controversial statements that they have made, including on their application forms and CVs, which can usually see them encouraged to prove such outlandish claims are truthful or were made up. The aim being to determine the suitability of the candidate for the prize being offered by Sugar. Since the seventh series, following the change of prize, the interviewers now scrutinise a candidate on their business plan, determining how feasible it is, if the candidate can achieve the plan, as well as rooting out any potential flaws and issues that come with it.
After candidates have been through their interviews, and Sugar has heard feedback from the interviewers, he conducts a boardroom session to discuss with the candidates over what he has learnt about them, as well as reviewing their performance on the tasks they undertook. Eventually after discussions, he will determine who he feels has potential to move on to the Final, with his decision usually resulting in three candidates being fired at this stage of the competition; there has only been one instance in the show’s history where Sugar fired just one candidate, as the feedback from the interviewers during the third series’ competition made it difficult to fire more than one. For Series 7 and 8, where the Interviews was the final task, his decision determined who won the competition.
The final stage of the competition sees the finalists of the process compete against each other in one final task, with the outcome influencing Sugar’s decision on who wins the current series’ competition, though his choice is determined through a comparison of the two candidates, and is not influenced purely on how successful a candidate is in the final stage, but also other factors connected with them such as their overall performance in the competition, and the overall feedback he has received about them. Whereas in Series 7-8, the Interviews stage was the final task, prior to these series and after them, the task sees the finalists being able to form a team out of a selection of returning candidates that had been fired over the course of the competition, their choices affected by past experiences with them, how well they worked together, or if their skill set can help improve their chances of winning.
For Series 1-6, the final stage was a purely business-styled task, as a final test of a candidate’s skill set and their suitability to the job being offered as a prize in these series. For Series 7-8, following the change of prize, the task primarily focused on determining how potential a candidate’s business plan was for investment, via interviews. Since the ninth series, the final task reverted to a similar format prior to Series 7, though was altered in that the finalists’ task is to promote their business idea, presenting their proposed plan along with its brand identity to a group of industry experts. In all versions, the finalists eventually reconvene at the boardroom in which Sugar discusses with them over their performance, the feedback they got, and voices his final opinions of the candidates, Eventually, he declares his choice, proclaiming to the winner he points to with the words “You’re hired!”, at which point the winner departs in Sugar’s limousine and conducts a brief victory interview, reflecting on their success in the competition.
While only two finalists ever reach the final stage, Series 4 featured four finalists, who were divided up into pairs, working as joint project managers respectively on the final task, with Sugar effectively firing the pair who performed poorly, and making his final decision on who won, between the candidates within the remaining pair.