Lord Sugar says he still relishes the battles in The Apprentice boardroom and firing candidates who don’t come up to scratch.
“I really don’t have sleepless nights over who I’ve fired,” he insisted at today’s launch of the 10th series of the BBC1 series, which begins next Tuesday. “Also, it’s very rare for me to ever watch an episode back and think I’ve made a wrong decision. I get it right generally.”
There are more opportunities than ever for Lord Sugar to sack people, as there are four more candidates than usual in this year’s series with 10 boys and 10 girls now competing for his £250,000 business investment. The new move for The Apprentice spices things up as it means his Lordship can fire more than one person per episode, just because he feels like it!
“Having more candidates gives a greater chance of friction between them, but we did it for this series because I wanted to give more people a chance,” explains Lord Sugar. “It’s also given me much more flexibility in the firing process, which I like, and you see this used throughout this series. I don’t think we’d have 20 again next time. It’s been a one-off for our 10th series.”
In the first episode (Tuesday October 14, 9pm), the teams must flog products sold by contestants in the previous nine series, including sausages, T-shirts, spuds, flowers and cleaning products. The boys’ team decide to sell overpriced hotdogs to ‘cool commuters’, but soon start bickering over ingredients. Meanwhile, the girls go off to get T-shirts printed, but they hit a big snag at the very first hurdle.
“It’s simple things and the distractions which always cause problems for candidates, and it’s the same in this series,” says Lord Sugar. “The T-Shirt fiasco in the first episode is a prime example. I just wish they’d all listen more and read the rules I give them at the beginning of tasks. They’d be more likely to succeed, it’s simple really.”
Those not booted out by Lord Sugar in the first epsiode, will face the another task in the next day’s second episode (Wednesday, October 15), which is to design a fashionable piece of ‘wearable technology’.
“Wearable technology didn’t really exist 10 years ago when we started. It’s great that after 10 years of doing the show we’ve adapted to the times,” says Lord Sugar, who first hit the big time in business selling electronic equipment such as stereos and home computers back in the 1970s and 1980s. “We’ve also got a task that’s about using YouTube. It’s always great to move the show forward.”
*The Apprentice premieres on BBC1 with two episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 14-15, both at 9pm. There will also be a special episode looking back at 10 years of The Apprentice, on Monday, October 13, at 9pm.