We have been spoilt with gripping TV shows during the pandemic – we can’t imagine what we would’ve done throughout those lockdowns without them! The BBC has got an epic line up in store for 2022, including the return of The Apprentice.
The reality TV series, in which people compete to become Lord Alan Sugar’s apprentice, has been missing from screens since 2019. The show was put on pause due to – yep, you guessed it – the coronavirus pandemic.
Lord Sugar will be back as the leading figure in the show. Once again, he will be offering the winner a £250,000 investment of his own money into the next big business idea. However, he can’t make that huge decision all by himself.
Baroness Karren Brady is returning as an observer of the candidates and an aide to Lord Sugar. However, Claude Littner, known for his dry humour and no-nonsense responses, won’t be back to help. Claude suffered a serious accident during lockdown, while riding an electric bike. The severe injury to his right leg meant he had to learn how to walk again.
Claude will be replaced by Tim Campbell MBE, who isn’t an entirely new face to The Apprentice. Tim won the very first series of the show, way back in 2005. His success earned him the role as Project Director of Amstrad’s new Health & Beauty division. He’s now a co-founder of a digital marketing company, and works in investments and acquisitions.
Apart from Claude’s replacement, we can assume the show will follow the same format. Sixteen candidates will be split into two teams and given business-based tasks each week. In the first episode, they have to design an advertising campaign for a destination cruise.
‘Due to the pandemic, the world of business is tougher than ever before and the same goes for this process. In this boardroom you don’t get furloughed, you get fired,’ says Lord Sugar. ‘I must say, we are glad to be back in the boardroom again. But don’t for one minute think I’ve gone soft.’
Meet this year’s candidates for The Apprentice
Aaron is a 38-year-old flight operations instructor from Chorley, Lancashire. He served in the RAF for 12 years and has also previously worked as a milkman, horseman and butcher.
He says: ‘My strongest point is that I can sell to anybody and I think that’s the reason why my business will be a success, because people will buy from me.’
Akeem is a 29-year-old strategy manager for a financial firm from London, and has declared himself as a ‘numbers guy’.
He says: ‘My growing up has made me who I am, I’m able to converse with everyone, but also be able to show that financial, business side to myself.’
28-year-old Akshay is also from London and owns a digital marketing agency.
He says: ‘My friends call me AK47 because I’m a killer salesperson.’ Akshay also believes sleeping is a ‘waste of time’ and can speak seven languages.
Alex is from Herford and compares himself ‘to a Ferrari, shiny on the outside but under the bonnet, there is a lot of fire and I’m coming for you.’ The 27-year-old owns a commercial cleaning company.
Amy a 48-year-old Londoner who owns a beauty brand, but previously worked in sales.
‘I can be nice when I need to be,’ she says, ‘but when I unfortunately have to be a bitch, I will…’
25-year-old Brittany is the youngest candidate this year. She’s from Bristol and works as the front of house manager for a hotel.
She says: ‘My motto for life is “always look on the bright side and be grateful for everything”– every day when I wake up, I write 10 things that I am grateful for and when I go to sleep, I reflect on 5 things I am grateful for from that day.’
Former professional rugby player Conor, 28, is now a sales executive in London who’s ‘hyper-motivated by money’.
He says: ‘I’m going to be the corporate panther in the boardroom. I’m going to get it done, and I’m going to be Lord Sugar’s perfect business partner.’
Francesca Kennedy Wallbank
‘There are two types of people in the world – there’s people that say they are going to do things and people that actually do them, and I’m a doer,’ says 26-year-old Francesca.
The Surrey-based businesswoman owns a sustainability company.
Harry is 35 years old, from the West Midlands, and works as a regional operations manager. He says: ‘Everything I’ve looked into achieving, I’ve achieved. I’ve literally done everything I’ve put my mind to.’
Harry hopes to team up with Lord Sugar to develop his bath bomb business and become ‘the bad boys of the bath bomb world together.’
‘I’m definitely not in business to make friends,’ says 30-year-old Harpreet from West Yorkshire.
The dessert parlour owner adds: ‘I’m here to make money, and I’m pretty sure Lord Sugar isn’t looking for a new mate.’
Kathryn Louise Burn
Kathryn, 29, is from Swindon and owns an online pyjamas store, but has previously worked as a mortgage advisor and events manager.
She says: ‘My dreams in my head are absolutely huge and I believe I can achieve them.’
Navid is a 27-year-old pharmacist from London, who’s also a proud Nicki Minaj fan.
He says: ‘Nothing intimidates me because I just feel like I’m a strong character, strong person, strong mindset.’
Nick, 31, claims he is ‘a bit of a force to be reckoned with’. The London-based finance manager adds: ‘I know what I’m talking about, I know how things work, and I’m extremely experienced. So, I’m a bit of an animal in the boardroom.’
32-year-old Sophie from Cheltenham owns a boutique cocktail bar, but she’s also a qualified witch.
She says: ‘Failure is not an option, winning is part of my DNA.’
Shama is a 41-year-old from Bradford who owns a children’s day nursery.
‘Being a lady of colour, wearing a headscarf as well, and the challenges that we face on a daily basis, I just want to be a living example for the Asian women and South Asian women out there,’ she says.
28-year-old Stephanie from Kent owns an online children’s store.
She says: ‘I’m an East London girl, and I’ve got that no nonsense sort of work ethic. I’ve got grit, determination and I’m determined to be successful.’
The Apprentice will finally be back on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on 6 January 2022 at 9pm.