The Apprentice mogul Lord Sugar has revealed the last-ever task he will set for his business candidates will be to plan his funeral.
The 74-year-old Amstrad magnate has previously spoken about quitting the show after 20 series, and has hatched a plan for his final set of candidates to pitch what his coffin could look like before he bows out of the programme.
Ahead of the debut of series 16 on Thursday, the star said: ‘I’m not going nowhere and the programme is going nowhere.
You’re Pyre-d! The Apprentice mogul Lord Sugar has revealed his last-ever task for his business candidates will be to plan his funeral (pictured with the 2022 candidates)
‘I really want to make it 20 seasons. This one is 16 so I still have four more to go. I’ve already worked out the final task in one of the series is to arrange my funeral.
‘I want to see how well they arrange it and what kind of coffin they will get for me.’
When asked whether Piers Morgan would be able to fill his shoes and carry on the witty banter and one-liners, Lord Sugar laughed: ‘You’ve got to be joking, he’s got as much humour as a lead balloon.’
Sugar also shut down the idea of a celebrity series of The Apprentice made up of members of the government, claiming politicians, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wouldn’t even pass the auditions.
Say what? The 74-year-old Amstrad magnate, has previously spoken about quitting the show after 20 series, and has hatched a plan for his final set of candidates to pitch what his coffin could look like before he bows out of the programme
He said: ‘They wouldn’t pass the audition test, including our great leader Boris, that’s just for his hair alone. They wouldn’t get through the stringent audition process.’
Discussing this year’s candidates, Lord Sugar said: ‘Your initial reaction to some of the candidates are, “Bloody hell. How useless is that one or how useless is this one.”
‘But, and it goes without saying, every single year, the cream rises to the top.’
The new series marks the eagerly anticipated return of the show after it was forced off-air for two years due to the pandemic.
A former rugby player, eco warrior, a ‘witch school’ graduate and the self-dubbed ‘Asian version of Lord Sugar’ lead the diverse 16-person group who will be battling it out in the boardroom in a bid to nab Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment in their business.
This year’s group features eight women and eight men from a wide range of business backgrounds, with specialists in online pyjama sales, the retail industry and the food and drink market set to make their screen debut when the series launches on Thursday.
The contestants – who BBC bosses insisted were all double vaccinated before taking part in the series – are set to face the toughest challenges ever due to many businesses across the UK having been negatively affected by the pandemic.
It’s back! The Apprentice will return for its stellar 16th series on Thursday with Lord Alan putting his trust into aides Baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell to watch over the candidates during challenges
Lord Alan is joined by longtime ally and advisor Karren Brady and series one winner Tim Campbell, who is replacing Claude Littner for the series while he recovers from multiple surgeries following a serious E-Bike accident.
The hit BBC show is now in its 16th season, having began in 2005 as a groundbreaking show which featured some of the country’s best young business minds hoping to secure a job with the then Sir Alan.
However the programme has slowly turned into a more reality TV-inspired fare, with big personalities gloating irreverently about their skills in business.
Over the years, Lord Sugar has invested close to a staggering £3million into winning pitches and this year’s ambitious entrepreneurs will be doing their utmost to prove they mean business as they fight it out for the life-changing investment opportunity.
THE APPRENTICE 2022: MEET THE WOMEN
AMY ANZEL, 48
Occupation: Owner, beauty brand
Key information: Starting her beauty business a little later in life, Amy has now found what she really loves doing after previously working in sales, showbiz and jingles.
She says: ‘I can be nice when I need to be, but when I unfortunately have to be a b***h, I will…’
BRITTANY CARTER, 25
Occupation: Hotel front of house manager
Key information: Brittany is looking to break away from her hotel role and launch the first alcoholic protein drink, with Lord Sugar’s help.
She says: ‘My motto for life is ‘always look on the bright side’
FRANCESCA KENNEDY-WALLBANK, 26
Occupation: Owner, sustainability company
Key information: The eco-conscious, mathematics graduate is looking for investment in her next venture, providing a product carbon footprint service for businesses with a simple equation of her own creation.
She says: ‘There’s two types of people in the world- people that say they are going to do things and people that actually do them and I’m a doer’
HARPEET KAUR, 30
Occupation: Owner, dessert parlour
Lives: West Yorkshire
Key information: Describing herself as a born leader, fearless and funny, Harpreet plans to ‘level up’ her successful, six-figure coffee and cakes business to become a leading brand in the UK.
She says: ‘I’m definitely not in business to make friends. I’m here to make money, and I’m sure Lord Sugar isn’t looking for a new mate.
KATHRYN LOUISE BURN, 29
Occupation: Owner, online pyjama store
Key information: Kathryn has worked a wide range of jobs from mortgage advisor to events manager. Describing herself as ambitious, kind, and often ‘savage’, she says she’s there to win, not to make friends.
She says: ‘My dreams in my head are absolutely huge and I believe I can achieve them.’
SOPHIE WILDING, 32
Occupation: Owner, boutique cocktail bar
Key information: Describing herself as ‘magical and enchanting’ Sophie even has a witch school qualification. She previously worked in sales and has huge renovation plans for her bar.
She says: ‘Failure is not an option. Winning is part of my DNA.’
STEPHANIE AFFLECK, 28
Occupation: Owner, online children’s store
Key information: With her East-London roots, the blonde is hoping to bond with Lord Sugar and match his no nonsense attitude towards business. She’s looking for funding to develop her designer store and be part of the growing pre-loved fashion industry.
She says: ‘I’ve got grit, determination and I’m determined to be successful.’
SHAMA AMIN, 41
Occupation: Owner, children’s day nursery
Key information: Shama already has a busy work life running her children’s day nursery as well as juggling life with five children at home. She is ready to prove she has the ‘skillset that is required to be one of the best, successful businesswomen in the early years sector.’
She says: ‘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 out there.’
Comedian, writer and actor Tom Allen returns as host of The Apprentice: You’re Fired, which will air each week on BBC Two straight after the main show.
Casting a wry eye over each week’s events, Tom will be joined by a host of celebrity fans and business professionals to dissect and debate the candidates progress through each task.
Two special episodes, The Final Five and Why I Fired Them, will also return to reveal the stories behind the series before the finale.
The Final Five reflects on the journey of the candidates who make it through to the interviews, before they battle it out to secure their place in the final. Before the series finale, Lord Sugar will also reveal a further insight into his boardroom decisions in Why I Fired Them.
The Apprentice starts this Thursday, January 6 at 9pm on BBC One, followed by You’re Fired on BBC Two. Watch live and on-demand on BBC iPlayer.
THE APPRENTICE 2022: MEET THE MEN
AARON WILLIS, 38
Occupation: Flight Operations Instructor
Lives in: Chorley, Lancashire
Key information: Having served in the RAF for 12 years as Flight Operations Instructor, Aaron has set out to start his own security business.
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.’
AKSHAY THAKRAR, 28
Occupation: Owner, Digital Marketing Agency
Lives in: London
Key information: Referring to himself as a man who believes sleeping is a ‘waste of time’ he also claims his first word as a newborn was ‘profit’.
He says: ‘My friends call me AK 47 because I’m a killer salesperson.’
CONOR GILSENAN, 28
Occupation: Sales Executive and former Professional Rugby Player
Lives in: London
Key information: Hard working and ‘hyper motivated by money’, ex rugby player Conor describes himself as a ‘corporate panther’ with a record for getting deals done and who will win this series.
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.’
NAVID SOLE, 27
Lives in: London
Key information: Qualified pharmacist and Nicki Minaj superfan Navid aspires to create a successful pharmacy business with the help and expertise of Lord Sugar.
He says: ‘Nothing intimidates me because I just feel like I’m a strong character, strong person, strong mindset.’
AKEEM BUNDU KAMARA, 29
Occupation: Strategy Manager for a Financial Firm
Lives in: London
Key information: Akeem considers himself a people’s person who loves being around others, however as a ‘numbers guy’, his analytical ability often causes him to think carefully about his every move, as he claims he will come in with a ‘calculated point of view.’
He says: ‘My growing up has made me who I am, I’m able to converse with everyone, but also able to show that financial, business side to myself.’
ALEX SHORT, 27
Occupation: Owner, Commercial Cleaning Company
Lives in: Hertford
Key information: With big goals for his commercial cleaning business, Alex is driven, focused and is ‘not going to stop’ until he gets where he wants to go.
He says: ‘I would compare myself to a Ferrari, shiny on the outside but under the bonnet, there is a lot of fire and I’m coming for you.’
HARRY MAHMOOD, 35
Occupation: Regional Operations Manager
Lives in: West Midlands
Key information: Inspired by the kindness of his grandparents, Harry wants to help and support people.
He says: ‘Everything I’ve looked into achieving, I’ve achieved I’ve literally done everything I’ve put my mind to.’
NICK SHOWERING, 31
Occupation: Finance Manager
Lives in: London
Key information: After ‘working in the shadow of his family’s business’, qualified accountant Nick hopes to make a name for himself in the drinks industry with his line of flavoured water.
He says: ‘In business I’m a bit of a force to be reckoned with 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’