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'The Apprentice' final: Live blog

By
Karen Brady, Lord Sugar and Nick Hewer from 'The Apprentice'

© Talkback Thames

He didn't want a friend. He wasn't looking for Lord Lucan. What Lord Sugar wanted was a business partner... and tonight, in the Apprentice final, he's going to get one.

From the original 16 candidates, just Tom, Ricky, Jade and Nick are left in the running and will finally, after weeks of selling meatballs and fake tan, get to present their business ideas. They'll be ripped apart by the likes of Margaret Mountford, but it'll be worth it for the person lucky enough to land Sugar's £250,000 investment.

Digital Spy probably won't be as tough on the finalists as the interviewers, but still we'll be here from 8.30pm providing you commentary and updates of the firing and hiring in our live blog.


21:46Well, what an exciting finale! What are your thoughts of the hiring, guys? Is Ricky the perfect partner for Lord Sugar? I'm going to put the laptop away now so I can pay full attention to Dara O'Briain giving Ricky a good mocking. Night night everyone!


21:43Tom and Ricky are invited back in for one last chance to pitch their business. In his final summation, Sugs says that Ricky is the safe choice but admits that he's tempted by Tom because of the "devil in [him]" (see, that was a very nice way of summing everything up, if I say so myself). In the end, Alan keeps it simple... Ricky, You're Hired!


21:41Karren and Nick are acting very much like a devil and an angel sitting on Lord Sugar's shoulders. "Go on Lord Sugar, Tom's business will be electrically exciting. Don't you want one final hurrah?" "No Alan, stick with Ricky, play it safe"... Wasn't that a nice little scene I made there?


21:38It's an all-boy final three! Lord Sugar continues that he doesn't think there's enough money to be made in Nick's business and worries he'll end up doing a ton of work. He's fired! Tom and Ricky are our final two. Thoughts, gang? Who's it going to be? Thor or... er... the guy who beats Thor?


21:36We get our first firing of the evening. Jade is sent out the door because Lord Sugar doesn't want to bother people. Other than Piers Morgan.


21:34I don't feel I can pass comment on the argument that Nick's business might be complicating the process of making dinner. I bought into KFC's business plan a long time ago. He also argues that everyone else's ideas are too "ordinary".


21:31Ricky appears to be blushing a little there as Lord Sugar reads out all the stuff he's said about him. Turns out he not only wants to be like Lord Sugar, he wants to be Lord Sugar. It's all gone a little bit Single White Female.


21:29The interviewers are done (bye Margaret) and the candidates are brought back in to fight their case. Jade is leapt on, with Sugar and co pointing out that her business plan falls apart too easy and that she could run out of money in six months. Lord Sugar is also not too bowled over by Tom's idea... apparently it's too risky because the Chinese might decide one day they don't like wine. Of course.


21:26Everyone's not sure whether Nick's business plan would actually work and they have a laugh at his ridiculous projections. It's not quite "a million units", but still it was a bit stupid. Next it's time to talk about Tom and... oh Lord, Karren's off on the "I was 23 when I started my business" shtick. She says that in response to everyone's doubts that he may be too young to raise enough money for his hedge fund to work, but one of the interviewers does say that Tom's business plan was "one of the best ever written". Which can only be good...


21:23Everyone dobs Ricky in to Lord Sugar about how ludicrous his personal statement was, but Mr Amstrad laughs it off and accepts that perhaps people need to "bulls**t" a bit. Claude admits he's "mesmerised" by Ricky and is impressed with his business plan, as are all the others. Karren points out that he has changed in the process for the better. It's looking good for Thor.


21:21Here's that really clumsy bit where all the interviewers laugh at Lord Sugar's jokes - it's just a big round of backslapping. The gang basically think that nobody wants the company that Jade's pitching and she's still got a few lessons to learn. But at least she's got a good track record career-wise.


21:19Finally, it's all over. The candidates can unclench their buttocks knowing there's nothing more they can do. All that's left is some shots of them looking serious and determined in the back of a car and it's off to their last boardroom.


21:17More slating, who wants some more slating? Tom has raised some eyebrows because he has no experience with hedge funds and no qualifications to do with wine, yet wants to start a wine hedge fund. Yeeeah... we see your point, guy who is not Claude. Also, Margaret's not happy that Jade hasn't stayed in a job very long (well you quit The Apprentice, Mounty, and we still haven't forgiven you for it!)


21:14I've been expecting you, Mr Martin... Claude rips into Ricky's personal statement, asking him if he can really stand up to his claim that he "is the best business partner on the planet" and why he describes Lord Sugar as "an old dog". Oh my! It's not all bad though. Apparently the business plan was really impressive... for "an arrogant fool", at least.


21:11Oh wow. This. Is. Incredible! Jade put down on her CV that she owns a domain name that actually belongs to the guy interviewing her. Honestly, the only way she's going to get £250,000 now is if she goes on Deal or No Deal.


21:10Oh my, this is turning into such a brilliant farce! Someone finally brings up how Ricky has exactly the same name as the Latino performer (why has this not happened every week?) and we're forced to deal with the mental picture of him in Lycra. Blurgh! Also Nick was some kind of hobbit person when younger, Tom was a BNOC and Jade got an N in her business degree (we're not sure what that stands for, but it's eight letters after F so we assume it's not good).


21:07Nick is really getting it in the neck tonight. He agrees that he needs to focus on being more focused (ha!) and has to defend his suggestion that people plan meals days in advance. Apparently this is a ludicrous thought... not so, there's a meal plan taped to my fridge right now (tomorrow, chili con carne!)


21:04Oh God, putting your father down as reference? Tom, Tom, Tom. And now it's being suggested that his dad helped with the business plan. That's worse than Lee McQueen lying on his CV. But then again, he did go on to get hired. If Tom pulls out a reverse pterodactyl, he's got this in the bag.


21:02Meanwhile, Nick is getting chewed over by Claude, who thinks that Mr Floppy Hair's idea is ridiculous. Nick later describes it as "like being in a war zone". Who knew the world of online groceries was so cut-throat?


21:00Thor?! Oh my goodness! Just when we thought Ricky couldn't come out with any more amazingly cheesy ways to describe himself, he likens himself to the God of Thunder. We'd rather have Chris Hemsworth ourselves.


20:59Claude isn't happy that Jade is planning on cold calling him during dinner time. I can't imagine she's got many supporters left at home after that revelation.


20:58Well, so far so good. Claude thinks Jade is pitching a "grubby" business and Matthew Riley is literally disgusted by Ricky's idea. Good luck guys!


20:57Yay, Margaret's back! Wait, how can Nick get away with opening the door and calling out "Margaret!" but Stuart Baggs gets crucified for it?


20:55The candidates all have their business plans ready and waiting. Lord Sugar asks them to explain what they're pitching. Nick has developed an online platform that will revolutionise the online grocery market (hmm, fascinating). Tom is working on a hedge fund for fine wines (English sparking?), Jade wants to open a telemarketing call centre and Ricky has dreamt up an ethical and professional recruitment organisation. Yeah, we're not going to pass comment. Like Lord Sugar we couldn't understand half of the words spoken by anyone.


20:51Everyone's on their laptops, which means they're obviously hard at work. All four candidates give a little speech to the camera about how they're obviously the best candidate, they've got their heads screwed on, etc, etc. And waaaay, we have the return of the outdoor breakfast womb (ie, that weird thing Ricky was sitting in). I want one of those!


20:49So, we begin with Nick and Jade coming back to the house and toasting to the final with what I hope is English sparkling wine. Lord Sugar gives them a call telling them to brush up on their business plans. Phone calls, ominous thuds, establishing shot of a big house in the dark... is this the Apprentice final or a horror film?


20:47What we won't miss though is this ridiculously long recap before every episode. We all flippin' saw the last task, move it along!


20:45Here we are. It's finally time for The Apprentice finale! I can't believe this is the last time we're going to hear that legendary music this year. I think tomorrow I'll gather up some mates and walk with them across the Millennium Bridge to cope with the show's departure.


20:42N'aaaw, that was kind of heartwarming wasn't it? Right, time to see people getting shouted at and called blaaahdy idiots!


20:40What I have discovered from this Gary Barlow documentary though is that the Queen and Lord Sugar have almost exactly the same scowl. What I wouldn't give to see an Apprentice spinoff with 16 people fighting for a job cleaning up after Liz at Buckingham Palace.


20:37Evening all. I hope you've all been enjoying the Jubilee weekend. Unfortunately those rowers on the Thames this afternoon must have slacked off a little bit because instead of Lord Sugar we've still got Gary Barlow's face on our screen. Shouldn't be too long now, but while we're waiting for The Apprentice to start, we'd love for you to tell us which of the candidates YOU'D hire in the comments box below!

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