The Apprentice: children’s lunchboxes leave a sour taste

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The Apprentice: children’s lunchboxes leave a sour taste

One of Lord Sugar's former boardroom victims delivers her verdict on episode seven of the latest series of The Apprentice

Sohail Chowdhary
Sohail Chowdhary

We’ve now passed week seven of The Apprentice and there are still zero signs of any clear frontrunners.  With only three tasks remaining, at this stage, we should be seeing a clear distinction between the candidates who will make it to the interviews and potentially, the final – and those who won’t. But instead, each week we’re faced with Lord Sugar and his band of merry sidekicks debating over who screwed the task up the least – with the winning team only doing so by the skin of their teeth.

It’s embarrassing. The show has become a faint shadow of its earlier years and if this isn’t a clear enough indication that it’s time to put the show firmly in the bin, I don’t know what is. And I’m not the only one that’s thinking this as viewers on Twitter seemed to agree with me when I shared my thoughts during the latest episode.

Perhaps instead, production should look forward to creating an Apprentice: All-Stars – bringing back fan favourites from over the show’s mammoth run. Now that would make for good television. Imagine it. There would certainly be some extremely interesting characters who it would be brilliant to see make a return – Clash of the Titans style.  The likes of Tom Skinner, Katie Hopkins, James Hill, Saira Khan, (obviously),  – the list goes on… Love them or hate them, an All-Stars series would wipe the floor with anything else this production team can churn out in this series and, I’m sure, the ones who will follow.

This week, the remaining 10 candidates were tasked with creating a children’s lunchbox and an educational app to encourage children aged 6 to 8 to eat healthily. The teams would then pitch to retailers in order to secure orders and whoever received the most orders would win the task. Lord Sugar mixed up the teams with Simba and Dani joining team Apex and Sohail and Marnie joining team Affinity.

Dani volunteered to be Project Manager of Affinity, choosing a bizarre and quite scary babyish-looking caterpillar theme, while Sohail, who runs a martial arts school for children and confidently claimed to know how to appeal to this target demographic, put himself up to be Project Manager of Apex. He opted for a pirate treasure chest theme. Once I saw that Sohail claimed to be an expert in appealing to children of this demographic, I knew his team would lose the task. So predictable – and again so sad that the production will take aim at the candidate who claims to have expertise in a certain area.

Marnie asked to be on the branding team of Apex, but Sohail refused and put her on the app team instead, which she felt was not where her talents would best be applied, while Sohail made Rochelle Sub Team Leader to guide the team in creating the App, but she clashed constantly with Marnie over design and creative decisions.

During one of their pitches to the retailers, Dani’s team was told that the caterpillar- themed lunch box was too small to fit a child’s lunch in and was also designed to suit a much younger demographic. The retailers were also unimpressed with Sohail’s team, saying their app was unfinished and the treasure chest lunchbox was boring.  They also said that the app was dull, unengaging and did not relate to healthy eating at all.

Sohail leaves the show

Essentially, both groups received very poor feedback once again from the corporate clients – as well as from the children during their focus groups.  They all quite literally said what we at home were thinking – cringe and boring! In the boardroom, team Affinity ‘received’ 1500 orders, while Apex received zero orders,  making Dani’s team the winner.  I don’t believe for a minute that the ‘orders’ are legit.  I believe the number of units purchased by the retailers are decided upon by the producers, with some input from the buyers.

Sohail brought Marnie and Brad back into the boardroom with him as he felt that Marnie was disruptive and caused the issues with the App being unfinished due to her wasting time mostly bickering.  He also brought Bradley back into the boardroom as he felt that he wasn’t contributing enough. In the end, Lord Sugar decided to point his firing finger at Sohail, as he was ultimately responsible for the failure of the task.

Throughout the series, I’ve also noticed that Lord Sugar and his associates have clearly taken a shining to Dani – so it was clear her team would win the task. In the boardroom, when Dani said that she looks for problems in business and then tries to find solutions for them, Lord Sugar responded by criticising her, saying that you never look for problems in business. Karen then immediately jumped to her defence and said “she meant identify problems” – this stood out to me as playing favourites as normally Karen is criticising everyone in the boardroom, always looking to point out flaws and mistakes that the candidates make rather than stand up for them. The fact that she jumped to Dani’s defence says everything I need to know with regards to Dani’s time on the show… I’ve got a sneaky feeling she will make it a lot further.

On to Week 8 of ‘Who Loses Less’ and ‘Who Can Look Less Like a Fool’…also known as the current series of The Apprentice.



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