After being delayed by the General Election, the new series of The Apprentice is finally making a return to our television screens. The cut-throat competition and tense boardroom stand-offs that have come to characterise the series will be back with Lord Sugar at the helm.
This series has attracted another 16 candidates hungry to join Lord Sugar’s empire. However, this time Lord Sugar is keen to reflect the cruel realties of the recession.
"The economic situation has seen many people being made redundant or seen their businesses fail through no fault of their own," explains Lord Sugar.
One of the candidates, Alex Epstein, is an unemployed communications head, while Raleigh Addington is a university graduate who has yet to find work.
Lord Sugar "They're very capable people and we thought we'd look for a few of those people and give them an opportunity.
"Failure is part of a learning curve and these people need a chance. We tried to prove it can be possible to come through it and be a winner."
Still, the no-nonsense entrepreneur still expects the best from all his hopefuls, irrespective of their circumstances. He still does not suffer fools gladly, recalling when one of the latest candidates tried to win him over with over-zealous praise.
"If you schmooze, you lose, in my boardroom," he declares, adding that a lot of their bravado and excuses are "a drone you ignore".
The new series was filmed last year and due to the General Election, screening was put back until now. However, Lord Sugar is not worried about the suggest that The Apprentice will now find itself lining up against The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, saying "it's like comparing EastEnders to Match of the Day".
"We're a business programme. Simon Cowell's got that great show which has an old-fashioned format going back many years and has been jazzed up nicely."
The Apprentice begins on Wednesday 6 October on BBC One at 9pm.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016