Raef’s hair and eyebrows

This year’s crop of candidates on The Apprentice went to the wrong auditions.

They probably meant to try out for “Britain’s (Not) Got (Any) Talent” or “Make Me A Nancy” and got lost along the way.

Or, maybe they failed in those other auditions and turned to The Apprentice as a last resort?

This seems the most plausible explanation as they clearly don’t have a business brain cell between them. Having said that, I am already prepared to make a bold prediction about who Sir Alan will hire as his next apprentice.

Raef’s hair will win The Apprentice after forming a breakaway alliance with his eyebrows.

In the penultimate week Raef’s hair will stab his eyebrows in the back – metaphorically-speaking – and romp to an unlikely but deserved victory.

The reason for my confident prediction is quite simple – after just two episodes it is clear the only genuinely outstanding, charismatic and unique element in the show is Raef’s hair. His eyebrows come a close second, providing more glimpses of personality than the remaining candidates put together (Raef Bjayou, the man minus the hair, included).

I thought last year’s crop of wannabes were serial no-hopers. But this year’s bunch are even more clueless, cringe-worthy and calamitous.

The show’s formula is looking as tired as the blessed Nick and Margaret’s furrowed brows, while Sir Alan himself seems like he’s vacuum-packed between shows to try and keep him looking fresh.

More than ever, the Apprentice candidates are looking like pygmies in a land of average height people. They are consistently losing out to those they are supposedly trying to make money off – never a good trait for an aspiring millionaire.

It started in week one with the lawyer who was allowed to pay just £50 for a box of fish with a price tag of £130. Such inept negotiating skills are not exactly rare on The Apprentice, but it does seem that this year’s gaggle of gormless gurners are taking it deep, deep down to a whole new laughably shocking level.

Each and every candidate is more than capable of talking themselves and their abilities up at the drop of a hat, trotting out the ubiquitous and mainly meaningless phrases we have come to know and loathe on The Apprentice – “ruthless, natural born salespeople who give 110% (no 150%!) and are just like Sir Alan and will fight tooth and nail to become his apprentice and will never let him down” shouldn’t be this shite, should they?

I stick by last week’s view that The Apprentice does not attract the cream of British business talent because they are too busy doing it already to appear on a reality TV programme.

Raef’s hair is the honourable exception, obviously.

Week two proved just as entertaining as the opener – although for all the wrong reasons if you happen to be looking for someone to give £100,000 a year to so they can help run part of your business empire.

But we had more non-negotiating skills on show as the teams set up a laundry business.

The team of women went from one extreme to another – a £5,000 quote for an order worth a few hundred pounds; just £15 to wash and iron two bags full of clothes. Basic concepts, such as finding out the market rate for washing dirty linen, seemed beyond them. To compound the folly, they pushed ridiculous ideas such as the 24-hour hotline and then grubbed around for a few pounds in tips in a futile attempt to boost their profits.

The men won the task but also failed to sparkle – they went in with a £500+ quote, was told the usual price was closer to £200 and they gleefully grabbed the customer’s hand to seal a deal without any attempt to negotiate. Ex-squaddie Simon Smith looked the most likely lad, organising the team into finishing the task, although the owner of Raef’s hair took a lot of the plaudits for leading them to a win.

In a travesty of a finale, Shazia Wahab got fired when the world and his wife felt certain appalling project manager Jenny Celerier would be booted out of the boardroom. But Jenny lived to bully another day.

Jenny had clearly set out to stitch Lucinda Ledgerwood up, but got a bonus in persuading Sir Alan to point the finger at the stronger candidate.

The women’s team as a whole failed miserably, reflecting the lack of ability of their leader. Sir Alan has possibly not done himself any favours in allowing a bully to survive on the show, but it makes great TV and ensures we’ll all keep watching.

Does Sir Alan really want an obvious bully as an apprentice? Probably not, but the ratings do.

So it is Raef’s hair to win and all the others to carry on living in an unreal world where 24-hour laundry hotlines are a good idea and successful negotiating means costing your own company money.

I can’t wait for next week. 


12 responses »

  1. I reckon they should do a YTS version. Give some genuinely talented and ambitious young people the chance to actually learn – to be a real apprentice. Rather than provide a platform for all mouth and no trousers wannabe’s to arse about for 4 months on our telly.

    I also reckon the BBC are missing a great opportunity in terms of it’s role as a public service broadcaster to actually teach us something useful about business. Why don’t they have informed discussion and demonstration of how the tasks could best be approached and a proper analysis of failings in strategy and team dynamics?


    I’m disgusted that the producers, aides and Sugar allowed an obvious bully to continue to have a prescence on our screens. Genuinely disgusted.

    This series of the apprentice is getting rather distasteful. It’s doing a poor job of convicing me that it has anything at all to do with business. It’s a smart glossy version of those Japanese quiz shows where they run brainlessly around doing ridiculous things to win a prize – in this case as a salary instead of a cash lump.

    Can I get some cashback on my licence fee?

  2. Ursula says:

    As I am wiping my own brow, please do calm yourself, Paul. I don’t even know which one Raef is, never mind his hair. There is a dreadful sameness about them all this time (and I am a sucker for a well chosen tie). I admit to shaking my head the whole time I was watching the programme. It was excrutiating. What is so dastardly disappointing is that already I don’t care about any of them.


  3. bootlegmarkchapman says:

    Compulsive viewing, although of course as you say it’s utterly flawed as a way of finding our brave new business leaders of tomorrow. I see a finale showdown between Jenny’s chin (supported by her hideous neckerchief) and Raef’s hair, which will be joined for the final task by Nick de Lacy Brown Huffington Smythe XVIII’s Musketeer goatee. All bets are off at that point.

  4. Paul Groves says:

    MsCreative – it has fallen into the trap of so many other “hit shows” in that it hasn’t attempted to move on and has been seriously compromised as a result. If I contributed anything towards our licence fee, then I would also demand a refund.

    U: How can you not realise who Raef is?!? I’ve added a photo to help you. It is right that you don’t care about them as they are not worthy of your time and trouble. Good telly though.

    bootleg: Jenny is shaping up to be this year’s Katie (Mad Stare) Hopkins, with her furious chin jabbing at her team-mates. I had some genuine belly laugh moments, that can’t be good for a supposedly serious programme.

  5. Ursula says:

    Thanks Paul (for the photo). I am one of those awful people who need to be introduced to the same person at least twice before the name anchors to the face.

    Mind you, I never had that problem with Tre Azam. I was completely enamoured with that arrogant swine and wearer of the perfectly fitted suit. You will, no doubt, have already come across his dissection of the current series: Tre’s column at http://www.bbc.co.uk/apprentice/column.html.

    PS You may call me Ursula

  6. Paul Groves says:


    This show really needs a few Tre-isms. The man wound me up last series and still does, as such.

  7. Swineshead says:

    If they changed the format, Paul, we’d be up in arms – admit it! I’m glad it’s the same old battered vehicle. You know where you are with it (hell).

  8. Paul Groves says:

    Swine: Fair point, well made. Could we at least have a bit more of Sir Alan’s PA though?

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