There's no business like show business

Karren Brady, Alan Sugar and new boy Claude Littner are back in the boardroom for a new series of The  Apprentice

Karren Brady, Alan Sugar and new boy Claude Littner are back in the boardroom for a new series of The Apprentice

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If it’s Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights, then it must be The Apprentice (BBC1, Wednesdays, 9pm) rearing its hair-gelled head once again.

Surrallan (sorry, Lord Sugar) is once again searching for the least offensive Gordon Gekko wannabe to take his £250,000.

This series kicked off with a double bill. The first episode saw the teams (Versatile and Connexus – because it’s like Latin, and it, like, ‘connects us’, geddit?) go to Billingsgate market and buy fish, which they then had to turn into stuff to sell London-types for lunch.

One team went for the lowest-priced squid they could find and then left it in the sun all day – which must be a winner in anyone’s book. While the other team made salade nicoise and tried to charge punters £9 for it. I know it’s London, but £9 for a salad!?

Anyway, Dan (“I can’t sell, I can’t do maths, so shoot me”) was fired and the rest lived to cock up another day. Thursday’s task was the, by now, traditional advertising farrago.

They had to come up with a brand identity for a new, cactus-based, shampoo, and shoot an ad.

The men’s team targeted their own demographic and came up with, astoundingly, a decent brand and a decent ad – discarding their first idea, Manly Moist. The women’s team didn’t, and project manager Aisha got the boot.

The thing with the Apprentice now is that it has become so formulaic. We know that walking Nuts magazine Mergim (“I’m thinking sexiness... slow motion women looking at his... face) will turn out to have been supporting his entire family since the age of seven.

We know that Negative Nancy Elle will turn out to have been born in an orphanage and earned her pocket money selling lemonade to miners.

We know that – in at least one task – the team which appeared comically inept will turn out to be the winners.

It doesn’t stop it being entertaining, though. And you will end up rooting for someone by the end.

All together now... dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-DUUUMMM...