It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Lord Sugar opened the doors of his shiny boardroom to the first batch of Apprentice candidates.
Over the past decade, more than 200 hopefuls have battled it out to hear the golden words, “You’re Hired”, with some soaring higher than Lord Sugar’s chair, and others plummeting like shares after a profit warning.
And while the business prowess of some contestants could be called into question, one thing’s for sure: this show has given 110% when it comes to entertainment.
The Apprentice never fails to attract a brilliant mix of truly talented and hideously puffed-up candidates, some of whom are forever etched in our memory.
In series three, we met Katie Hopkins, who, despite displaying a gift for ruthlessness and back-stabbing, made it to the final three. She turned down a place in the final (claiming she didn’t want to uproot her family), but quitting early didn’t do her career any harm – these days, you’ll regularly find Hopkins mouthing off on daytime TV or engaging in squabbles on Twitter.
Then there was Stuart “everything I touch turns to sold” Baggs, the series six contestant who modestly labelled himself “The Brand”. For reasons we still can’t quite understand, the then-21-year-old managed to make it to the semi-final, where he made one last impassioned plea: “I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a 10-trick pony, I’ve got a field of ponies waiting to literally run towards this.”
Remember ‘Jedi Jim’ Eastwood from series seven? Whether he was selling umbrellas to tourists in Covent Garden, or bagging a bargain from a fruit and veg seller, no one was immune from the Northern Irishman’s charms. He even managed to convince project manager Leon Doyle to change his mind about bringing him back to the boardroom after an unsuccessful task. Eastwood made Apprentice history with a sales order of £1.6m for his team’s biscuits, but this wasn’t enough to save him from the boardroom axe.