The Apprentice 2016 Review: Let’s celebrate the candidates, rather than knocking them

The 2016 batch of candidates on BBC One’s The Apprentice have been accused of being the weakest and the worst in the show’s 12-season history.

It’s an opinion and it’s perfectly fair to have that opinion. It might well be true, but the fact is that such an opinion needs to be put into context.

These candidates are only on the show in the first place because they are very credible and very successful business people. In the context of the show, they can be made to look clueless.

But we should be careful to fall into the trap of slamming these people on the basis of an hour-long television programme. Across the series we’ve seen Paul labelled a ‘bully’, Frances a ‘snake’ and Karthik (aka The Big K) ‘egotistical’.

Lord Sugar and his 2016 candidates. Image: BBC

That’s an easy judgment to make based on the way the show is edited, but is hugely unfair.

And that’s not a criticism of the editors. They have a job and that job isn’t to act as PR for the candidates, it’s to cut hours and hours of footage into a 60-minute programme that the British public find interesting and entertaining. And they do a brilliant job of it every single year.

So let’s not make snap judgments. It is perfectly fair to have the opinion that these are the weakest candidates in the show’s history. But let’s not forget their achievements.

All of these people have achieved great things. All have come from a variety of different backgrounds to make a success of their business careers.

Frances left university and set up a very successful children’s clothing store, leading to her now having two shops. Courtney has enjoyed great success setting up a novelty gift company from his bedroom at his parents’ house. Paul is the owner of a marketing company, Karthik owns an IT consultancy, Alana is making great profits on her cake company.

These businesses are the backbone of this country and it should be realised that these candidates are very talented people who have enjoyed great success. They should be looked on as role models, not picked apart on the basis of opinions formed from the television show.

It’s the nature of the beast I guess, and you know what you sign up for when you go on the show. But we should remember that they are normal people who are on our screens because they have great talent and are successful business people.

Some 2016 highlights

It’s hard to look past ‘The Big K’ Karthik for some of 2016’s best moments. The self-titled ‘billion dollar unicorn’ was hilarious viewing from start to finish. The fact that he managed to get himself sacked without even entering the final boardroom was quite an achievement, but catching sight of himself in the mirror and saying ‘I love you’ was a top moment.

Frances found herself unintentionally delivering one of this year’s top lines when, on the buying obscure items task around London, she asked Paul ‘is this the Ghetto?’

Samuel on the crowdfunding task riding his imaginary bicycle was something to behold, as was Rebecca filming the pavement rather than the singing choir!

Grainne bigging up the event at the aquarium by believing that their ‘mermaid’ performed underwater while holding her breath for minutes and minutes, while in reality she just sat and sang in a costume, was a hilarious sequence.

And finally, just about everything Jessica did was a highlight. What a character!


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