Based, in this series where nobody really got a decent full edit, more than ever on who is the biggest sleazy lunatic (/most Apprenticey)
20. Chiles Cartwright (20th place)
Is Chiles in fact the most pointless and forgettable first boot ever, I’m saying yes. Chiles came, patronised James, and then left because…I barely even remember, something to do with printed t-shirts? Chiles was apparently also on Take Me Out. His special talent was karate chopping watermelons. Well…it’s more than he did on this show.
19. James Hill (9th place)
So yes, as promised not in last place. Well done on taking the piss out of Sarah Dales James, it’s not at all like shooting fish in a barrel. With a tazer. The thing with James is that really, in any other context he could have been a semi-fascinating psychological case study. Albeit… a not very difficult one – given that he spent his whole time making doe-eyes at the other men, constantly acccusing the female candidates of Sumfin’ of trying to undermine, patronise and destroy him (God knows what he would have been like on Tena City, given that…you know…the women on that team were pretty much all actually like that), then revealing at the very end that he wanted Lordalan to be his new daddy because he and his biological father don’t get on… I mean…it hardly takes Freud does it? But anyway, in other other context James’ neuroses might have been fascinating but mostly I don’t like spending my time watching reality shows where it feels like someone’s about to get punched out any second. This is why I don’t watch Bad Girls Club. Or Junior Masterchef.
18. Lauren Riley (10th Place)
In a series full of people who spent 95% of their time pouting sourly in the background, Lauren managed to be the most boring about it. She turned up, advertising herself by self-describing as “like a lawyer, but sexy” or some rubbish like that and then constantly poked boring montone holes in whatever the PM was doing whilst never showing the slightest inclination to step up herself, until Lordalan got bored of her and fired her for being boring, the end. Oh, I guess she ran a nice coach tour once I guess well done *slow clap*.
17. Nurun Ahmed (16th place)
Nurun seems like she’s a neat lady, who probably should have done something else other than this show.
16. Lindsay Booth (17th place)
As an Apprentice candidate, Lindsay was the equivalent of someone who’d left their iPhone plugged in to charge overnight, but only found out they’d not actually turned the socket on halfway through her commute. She bounded into the competition, already at 15%, disinterestedly snapping at Sarah halfway through task 1, then slowly petered out to the extent that she couldn’t even quit properly without Lordalan doing it for her. She then turned up on You’re Fired basically giving out that she was just too nice for the competition rather than, you know, a bit shit. Well done teaching kids how to swim though. Noble work.
15. Felipe Alviar-Baquero (8th place)
Yes, yes, I know you all just voted him as Best Personality of the series but I never really got it. Felipe was kind of…always just there at the back, as a vague avuncular presence for the whole series, making everyone’s meals and tying their ties and making sure they had change for the Coke Machine outside the Boardroom atrium. I’ve got a feeling that if there was a Big Brother style spin-off show showing footage from the Apprentice Mansion, Felipe would make up 40% of the footage, as opposed to the actual show, where he made up 3%. I’m not denying that he DID things (SkeletonGate, completely screw Bianca up in the final, yell at Daniel about how tiny his penis was, self-identify as fat for no real reason) it’s just that…none of it felt particularly exciting as it happened because Felipe was so dry. The worst thing was having to sit through You’re Fired after You’re Fired full of hacky joke after hacky joke about how Felipe talked about himself in the third person and that was supposed to be his entire personality. The actual worst thing was finding as a blogger that you couldn’t really do any different. Even then, as reality show contestants whose entire show presence consists of talking about themselves in the third person go…he’s no Monica.
14. Sanjay Sood-Smith (6th place)
I did struggle for a long time with this placement, because Felipe and Sanjay got roughly the same (minute) amount of screen-time, but whilst Felipe’s was mostly positive, Sanjay’s was overwhelmingly negative. By which I mean bitchy. Sanjay burst into my consciousness in episode 2, when he intrerrupted Scott’s psychotic PM Peace Summit, which was already completely out of control, to randomly cuss out his fellow gay Robert for absolutely no reason just to pour oil on the flames. From there he cussed out Bianca (repeatedly), Jemma (snottily), Mark (out of necessity before becoming his bestie again for the final), Felipe, Daniel & Steven (all in one mass strafing session) and probably half the camera crew and whoever buys the sandwiches. Sanjay’s sniping was so rampant that the producers intervened, via their representative on Earth Kaen, to shame him for it. Just think about that. The producers of THE APPRENTICE tried to shame someone out of being bitchy. Admittedly only about 10 minutes before firing him, but still. Sanjay also gets bonus points for being an absolute trainwreck of a Project Manager twice and then some taken off for hand-delivering Mark the series win on a silver platter. The bastard. But feel free to swap him and Felipe if you really want. In your head. I won’t mind.
13. Robert Goodwin (19th place)
I do love a good one-note comedy boot. Robert swanned in 8 foot tall, and proclaimed from the off that he wasn’t going to do anything that didn’t reflect his own personal lifelong commitment to lugzury (pronounced exactly like that, like a town in Slovakia). On The Apprentice he turned up saying this. So on the first task (selling tat) he took the team to a SUPER LUX deli supermarket to buy LUX fixings for their tat hot-dogs to make them LUX, and that was it, because that was really all the luxury you could bring to that task. And then on the Wearable Tech task he spent the whole time trying to find the most LUX fabric he could get his hands on for their novelty stalker jumper and then Lordalan for some reason didn’t appreciate this and fired him before he could even hit the boardroom. Whoever said that there was no such thing as too much good taste clearly never saw this show. It’s a shame, because if he’d snuck through a few more episodes we could have seen him try to bring LUX to Sanjay’s Coach Tour. The thought.
12. Scott McCulloch (18th place)
If Chiles is the least interesting First Boot in Apprentice history, then it doesn’t take too long to fish around the murk of the rest of the early boots to find someone who would have fit the role much better. Elected to PMship via a mixture of others political maneouvering and his own overconfidence (“I went to a conference once, which makes me an expert”), punting forth an idea that was clearly never going to work (“clothes that can magically tell what you’re eating”), and then as soon as that was shot down getting the hump and spending the rest of the task raging in a corner and yelling incoherently like a disturbed sleepwalker at anyone who suggested that he should probably do some Project Managing at some point. Including Lordalan. And if James’ bubbling rage was edgy, Scott’s was kind of…hilarious? I’d hate to think that this was only because it was delivered in a broad Scottish accent but let’s face, it was.
11. Mark Wright (Winner)
Some of my favourite reality tv winners have been “the villains” – the miserable, surly, bitchy Ulrika Jonsson ; the arrogant, preening, not-half-as-smart-as-he-thinks-he-is Richard Hatch ; the superior, haughty, fast-food munching Irina Shabayeva ; the smarmy, faux-mancing, prissy, Judges Pet Sam Attwater. Some times an utter bastard needs to win these shows just to remind us that they are theoretically based on merit, and that sometimes arseholes are actually quite good at things as well as being arseholes. Unfortunately Mark Wright was just…kind of annoying? The show tried to push “Hey Felipe, can I sell the hot tubs?”, “Hey Katie, can I do this pitch?” and “Hey Puddin, could you maybe Project Manage this one?” as some sort of Stearpikean catalogue of Heath Robinsonesque Macchiavellian Schemes and they just…weren’t. Mark was just kind of smug and good at things and selfish and glib and arrogant. And ultimately, who really can care about that? He was by far the most efficacious candidate this year so erm…well done for that though.
10. Ella-Jade Bitton (13th place)
I’m surprised that nobody’s complained about my dragging Ella-Jade this far yet, because, apart from her hysterical begging not to be fired, she really wasn’t that interesting or important. An earnest maker of socially conscious documentaries who never worked a day in her life should on paper have turned out to be an hilarious trainwreck but in reality Ella-Jade was quietly competent for most of her stay on the show, selling well and not causing any drama until she got taken out in a ridiculous stunt firing after the most vapid task in the show’s history. Sure she was tiny and flaily and melodramatic and deserves points for keeping up with the two most insane candidates of the series in a most frenetic Boardroom but in sum? A candidate who promised more than they delivered. Until for some reason the final edition of You’re Hired was interrupted to show her Best Bits, the perfunctory Best Bits of an Under The Radar 13th place semi-nobody (yes I know they were theoretically shown because she couldn’t attend her edition of You’re Hired due to bereavement but I doubt she would have cared if they’d skipped it, they were mostly of her walking about because the show never showed her doing anything, they probably just have sent them to her on tape) at which point she became emblematic of the show’s random editing this year. So Apprentice 10.
9. Bianca Miller (Runner-Up)
So for most of this series Bianca Miller was kind of a blandly smug implacable robot spouting aphorisms like “A wise man speaks because he has something to say, a fool speaks because he has to say something” (Plato) and “Teamwork makes a dream work” (not Plato) making massive mistakes like offering exclusivity for the entirity of Westminster to one small specialist retailer and deciding the best way to approach the Wearable Tech task was to pile as many functions on one garment as possible, and getting away with it because of her self-presentation skills. Sure she had some triumphs (Big Dawg, The 9 Items Task, probably being her team’s best salesperson in Week 1) but something special would really need to happen right at the end for someone to root for her to win the final. And then she had an INTERVIEWS MELTDOWN, weeping on Ricky Martin’s shoulder about how Claudine questionned her integrity(/went all Barbara Covett on her) and I badly wanted her to win just because she showed vulnerability and I’m an easy mark for a weepy woman like that. And then oops she biffed the final task harder than anyone in Apprentice history (oops) and joined her fellow “too competent” robots Kate Walsh, Chris Bates and The Helen Entity on the scrap-pile of runner-ups. In all…an oddly unsatisfying journey, but I was incredibly compelled for, like, one episode so she can be 9th.
8. Puddin (11th place)
The story of Puddin is a simple story, simply told. In the real world, I’m sure Pamela Uddin is a multi-faceted character with many friends, interests, hobbies and favourite members of One Direction (she seems like a Zayn Gurl to me). Puddin’ though, was a surly bitch, who spent every single task sat somewhere in one of the Apprenticars pulling faces about how awful and inept her Project Manager du jour was and how styooooopid they were being, and how she could do a much better job. And then she was PM for the worst tonking of the entire series, getting her arse handed to her by JAMES of all people, and then she was fired. And lo, much rejoicing. Neat, satisfying, and not requiring too much though. Just how I like my women, RIGHT LADZ?
7. Steven Ugoalah (15th place)
Steven Ugoalah is easily the most sickening and sassiest person ever to walk through The Apprentice. Everything he said was punctuated with a neck-pop, or a finger-click or a tight pinched’n’pouty little turn of the mouth. Serving executive chic, Mother had arrived, and she was here to turn it. And I so so so badly wanted Steven to convert his naturally exasperating weirdness into being a top-tier Apprentice monster for the ages but…he just wasn’t. In the first couple of weeks of the series it seemed touch and go whether he or Sarah would be the most memorable trainwreck but I think we all know who won that one, ultimately, and as such his legend will have to live forever in her shade. He was giving me 100% in his talking heads, but only (the amazing moment where he exhalted the Potato Experience aside) about 60% in person, and that’s just not enough. I wanted more beligerance, more camp, more reading for filth, more Arctic Social Worker realness, more sequence gowns. I wanted Alyssa Edwards, but all I got was Alyssa Summers, hunty. Now sasahy…away.
6. Katie Bulmer-Cooke (7th place)
This series may have been defined by the dick-measuring cont…sorry, battle of business brains between Mark and Daniel but really this was a feud run and maintained almost entirely by Daniel. Mark, as befitting his…Markness, mostly ignored Daniel entirely, plonking himself on separate subteams, ploughing his own furrow, and occasionally letting slip the odd snide remark compared to Daniel’s 24/7 torrent. The candidate who ACTUALLY had to deal with Daniel hands-on the most was one Katie “The Mummy” Bulmer-Cooke. Task after task it was the same. Katie and Daniel team up, and form an adorable power-duo until Daniel does something wrong/Katie finds it politically expedient to shank him, at which point she’d let forth a torrent of rage in which Daniel was the worst human being she’d ever met and this was the worse she’d ever felt in her life ever. Daniel of course, was completely oblivious to all this, every single time as he was focused on besting Mark 24/7 at all times forever. I mean, Katie was a candidate in her own right, obsessed with the smell of her home and keeping fit, and also the Liz Locke/Miriam Staley/Naomi Lay pre-interviews Sacred Victim firing that all the best series (and this one) needs, but when I remember her, it will be her switchbacking from saying that Daniel had now become a real man to practically scalping him with a switchblade in the space of 10 seconds flat following the 9 Items task. Such a complex relationship.
5. Roisin Hogan (4th place)
If Daniel vs Mark was the trash-talking, ticket-selling, main event feud of the series, then Roisin vs Katie was the second-tier technical bout that all the purists appreciated. Facing off against one another as PM twice in the same series, a feat not seen since the LEGENDARY BATTLES TWIXT MICHELLE AND TUAN and ZOE AND THE HELEN ENTITY, Roisin ultimately narrowly edged out Katie, much as she does in this ranking. I’ve mapped out the public’s opinion of Roisin as well as I can below :
Week 1 : Crap sub-team leader
Week 2 : Does nothing
Week 3 : Sort-of-alright PM
Week 4 : Appears in a video
Week 5 : Oh whatever she’s pretty, let’s decide she’s the most competent.
Fortunately just as everyone was deciding that Roisin was the best she actually…became the best, rolling in a sudden flurry of branding and marketing and creativity tasks like a pig in clover, shaking off her staid accountant duds and switching from left-brainer to right-brainer to create award-winning board games and ready meals and energy drinks and all sorts. Then at the very end she got Neil Clough’d out of here at interviews. Likable, reasonably good, pretty, ultimately not quite exciting enough for me personally to get any higher than this.
4. Solomon Akhtar (5th place)
Remember when people thought the changing of the prize from the a job to a business partnership meant that we’d get some older, more mature, more experienced candidates? LOL no it’s the same bunch of telegenic kids these days as it’s always been, although it’s hard to remember a contestant who seemed less mature than Solomon. The inability to tie his tie ; the reliance on doe-eyed charm to sucker women who wanted to “mother” him into buying Apprentice tat ; the burbling inability to get more than half a sentence out without tripping over his own words ; the constant pushing of his PARTY BOI reputation outside the show ; the rumours that he was being an awkward bugger with the show’s media team ; the Favouriting every tweet that even mentioned his name, just like a teenager would ; the getting rinsed out by the headmaster(/Claude) and being told to GET OUT OF HIS SIGHT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE HE’S LET HIM DOWN, HE’S LET THE SCHOOL DOWN, AND WORST OF ALL HE’S LET HIMSELF DOWN ; the flipping “sex-tape”… It felt like Solomon had wandered in from some sort of Uni sponsored Apprentice knock-off being done for charity rather than the actual show, right down to his winning the most shallow task in the history of the show (Sidebar : does it seem odd in retrospect to anyone else that the Youtube Task was all about getting Internet hits and it was Solomon who got the “Your Day Job” shuffling into the role when MARK WAS SAT RIGHT THERE WITH HIS BUSINESS PLAN ABOUT HOW HE CAN GET YOUR BUSINESS MORE HITS ON THE INTERNET?). It was fun, he was cute, let’s leave it at that and hope we won’t have to make an awkward visit to the STI Clinic soon.
3. Jemma Bird (12th place)
Having Jemma sat there all series, all wrapped up in her Ms Delphox/Missy/Madame Kovarian/Miss Kizlet/Ms Foster/Yvonne Hartman packaging of sleek corporate evil (those clothes! that severe bob! those glasses! that lipstick!), just waiting to see what variety of lunacy was lurking inside was one of my favourite parts of each episode. Week after week went by, with Jemma offering nothing other an odd suggestion for a name, a bouquet of flowers, or a pointless role as Youtube Talent Liasion Officer, and no real clues to what was at the heart of Jemma Bird. AND THEN, came Coach Tours and it turned out what was underneath the facade of Jemma Bird was an adorable burbling JEMMANGEL.. Both in terms of her hilarious mess of a coach tour (Fun Fact : inspired by all the new material uncovered by Jemma, Hilary Mantel is currently working on a fourth volume to her series of books on Thomas Cromwell called “That Henry VIII Was A Bit Of A Dickhead Wasn’t He?”) but also in producing easily the most satisfying smackdown of James all series, as she simply called him embarassing. Better than Roisin piously telling him that she couldn’t be party to his lying, better than Bianca firing aphorisms at him…just “embarassing”. And THEN, as if this wasn’t enough, she then branded herself with what I hope is what of the most enduring Apprentice nicknames of all time “The Girl Who Always Nearly Wins”. I guess…12th place is a sort of “nearly” isn’t it? For the mystery, and for that one glorious episode, Jemma Bird, you are 3rd.
2. Sarah Dales (14th place)
More than any other candidate in Apprentice history I think Sarah Dales lives in her own universe, which occasionally nudges against ours like a submarine against the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, with Sarah Dales gazing out the window and viewing the wonder without actually being able to fully understand our world. It’s not that Sarah is aggressive, or mean, or unpleasant, it’s just that…she comes across like she’s struggling to adapt to the rules of our species. No Apprentice candidate ever has seemed more like a second-tier Third Rock From The Sun character. From second 1 she was stomping around like a Martian demanding all the other women get their norks out and expressing an overwhelming obsession with lemons, trying to SELL A BUCKET TO A ZOO FOR £250, and then clinging to her eventual entirely random PM victory tightly like a lifebelt. Some of my favourite scenes of the series were of Sarah suddenly barking “WOW, I HOPE WHOEVER PROJECT MANAGES THIS WEEK IS AS AMAZING AT IT AS I WAS” and “I WAS PROJECT MANAGER AND WE WON, HELLO, I WAS GREAT!” like Lucy van Pelt from Peanuts entirely unironically, for no reason. Unfortunately, as is usually the case these days, everyone else recognised Sarah’s insanity and relegated her to the sort of pointless tasks you can get away with giving people when your team has 10 mebers, like “spokesmodel” or “time-keeper”, but even then Sarah delivered, stomping the runway and demanding the staff of Buzzfeed stroke her lining or completely forgetting to write any content for the team’s website (<3). And then inevitably she was fired the first time she was in the boardroom, yelling “I NEVER EVEN LIKED LORDALAN ANYWAY!” as she went, right onto You’re Fired where she got incredibly inappropriate with the business guest of the week (all of whom look vaguely terrified at the best of times anyway) demanding to know her dating history and all but licking her face. And that was it for Sar…
OH WAIT, she came back for the finale and single-handedly redeemed it as an episode by continuing to be a loon, birthing such soundbites for the ages as “CLIM BON LIN! CLIM BON LIN!” and “people are always dying aren’t they?” and “I SOLD IT MARK, I SOLD SOMETHING! I’M A REAL SALESWOMAN!” and “NO OFFENCE BIANCA, BUT YOUR TIGHTS ARE SHIT, I WOULDN’T BUY THEM, NO OFFENCE I’M SURE IT’S A GREAT IDEA, IT’S JUST NOT FOR ME!”. Sarah Dales is easily the greatest Apprentice early boot of all time, especially given the lack of screentime she was afforded. Imagine her in a series with a normal amount of humans in it. Imagine. SARAH DALES FOR ALL-STARS PLEASE.
1. Daniel Lassman (3rd place)
So, like last year with Jason, let’s do this week by week.
Week 1 : Turns up, preens about how all the ladies (and some of the gents) want to do him, dresses as a hot dog, is his team’s top salesman, is living The Apprentice dream and well on course to do everything he wanted to do on this show. This will not last.
Week 2 : Immediately wrecks all this by doing a truly amazingly bad pitch in which he claims that he wouldn’t personally be seen with the team’s product in daylight. Given that he’s not in fact a vampire, this is not an endorsement. Mark immediately leaps on this to do down the guy who seems his biggest competition for “Top Salesperson”, birthing a feud that lasts the entire series.
Week 3 : Meets Sarah Dales, so everything else in his life goes on the back-burner just like it does for everyone else who meets that glamorous lunatic.
Week 4 : Sadly not a lot, oh well. This does however mark the last time that Daniel is passed over for the final boardroom in a losing team.
Week 5 : Becomes Project Manager and immediately turns his entire team against him via a mixture of inept selling and low-level autocracy to the extent that they all a) refuse to hug him at the end (*see above*), b) spend the entirity of the results boardroom reading him for filth, c) spend the entirity of the reward hurling abuse at him. TRULY this is where Daniel vs Tena City really gets going.
Week 6 : Daniel immediately gets his revenge on his most vicious antagonist – Puddin – by innocently sabotaging her Board Game project by producing some of the most amazingly surreal questions seen in any quiz outside of Shooting Stars. This gets Puddin fired.
Week 7 : Daniel gets his revenge on his second most-vicious antagonist – Mark – by producing hands-down the worst job of graphic design done on this show since Debrabarr didn’t even bother finishing her Margay leaflet with “Aquafusion”.. This doesn’t get Mark fired, but it does get Lauren fired and she was also kind of rancid to him, so shrug.
Week 8 : Mark gets his revenge for Daniel’s revenge by sneaking out the obviously task-winning sales item (hot tubs) out from under his nose, leaving Daniel fuming and fulminating and generally roiling in having been bested, before immediately taking it out all over Felipe, until Felipe snapped. Given how equable Felipe was for the rest of the series, is truly a testament to Daniel’s ability to be incredibly annoying. This marks the point where Mark vs Daniel truly became a death feud.
Week 9 : Daniel seeks to regain the initiative over Mark by becoming the only person all series to PM two victories. He so tantalisingly almost does it…before Felipe gets revenge on Daniel for the week before by pulling some smart-arse stuff involving paper skeletons. It gets Felipe fired, but you can tell he thinks it was kind of worth it. Tena City is such a mess of revenge plots at this point it’s positively Jacobean.
Week 10 : Daniel is ripped from the heart of Tena City, immediately forgets about Mark and spends the entirity of his time on Sumfin giggling with Solomon about how Bianca and Roisin are blates lezzing. As a brief calm in the storm, it’s kind of amazing.
Week 11 : Daniel spends the ENTIRITY of interviews talking about Mark, bitching about Mark, literally refusing to believe that he sold less than Mark on pretty much every task bar one, and making up sales awards on the spot just so he can try and get one over on Mark. It sadly does not work, although he comes much closer to getting into the final than he has any right to.
Week 12 : Daniel crawls his way back FROM THE GRAVE for one last attempt on Mark’s life as he is chosen for Bianca’s team in the final. He sadly fails as he has to watch Mark sail on to victory, which makes for a sad ending to the Daniel Lassman Story but on the other hand…the most thematically appropriate one. I’ve got a feeling that Daniel would have left a trail of destruction in his wake in any series he was on but I’m glad he was on this one, because there wasn’t much else going on…