Series Eleven of The Apprentice (UK), a British reality television series, began broadcasting in the UK during 2015 from 14 October to 20 December on BBC One; due to the 2015 General Election being held in Spring, which Lord Sugar had ties to, the BBC postponed the series' broadcast until the middle of Autumn. Although Claude Littner featured before as an interviewer for the process, a role he still retained, he was revealed as Nick Hewer's replacement following his departure, making this his first series as Lord Sugar's adviser. Following the previous series, the show increased the number of candidates taking part from 16 to 18, with Sugar promised that those who participated would be older and "more serious". For the 18 candidates who took part, their teams were named Versatile and Connexus, with Joseph Valente winning the series.
The show's schedule was similar to the previous series, with two specials airing alongside it towards its final weeks, both being new editions - "The Final Five" on 9 December, and "Why I Fired Them" on 16 December.
- 1 Candidates
- 2 Episodes
- 2.1 Week 1: Fish Food
- 2.2 Week 2: Cactus Shampoo
- 2.3 Week 3: Cross-Channel Discount Buying
- 2.4 Week 4: Pet Show
- 2.5 Week 5: Children's Book
- 2.6 Week 6: Handy Man
- 2.7 Week 7: Discount Store
- 2.8 Week 8: Party Planning
- 2.9 Week 9: Property Agents
- 2.10 Week 10: Health Snack
- 2.11 Week 11: Interviews
- 2.12 Week 12: The Final
- 3 Criticism and controversy
- 4 Ratings
- 5 References
|Joseph Valente||Plumbing business owner||25||Winner|
|Vana Koutsomitis||Social media entrepreneur||27||Runner-up|
|Richard Woods||Marketing agency director||31||Fired after Interviews stage|
|Gary Poulton||Programme manager||34||Fired after Interviews stage|
|Charleine Wain||Hair and beauty salon owner||31||Fired after Interviews stage|
|Brett Butler-Smythe||Builder||28||Fired after tenth task|
|Selina Waterman-Smith||Events agency owner||31||Fired after ninth task|
|Scott Saunders||Senior account manager||27||Quit after ninth task|
|David Stevenson||Marketing company owner||25||Fired after eighth task|
|Sam Curry||Private tutor||23||Fired after seventh task|
|April Jackson||Boutique owner||26||Fired after sixth task|
|Mergim Butaja||Sales account manager||23||Fired after sixth task|
|Elle Stevenson||Operations executive||21||Fired after sixth task|
|Natalie Dean||Corporate account manager||25||Fired after fifth task|
|Ruth Whiteley||Training consultancy owner||47||Fired after fourth task|
|Jenny Garbis||Business management student||23||Fired after third task|
|Aisha Kasim||Inventor and hair extensions specialist||30||Fired after second task|
|Dan Callaghan||Fragrance retailer director||23||Fired after first task|
- Template:Color box The candidate won this series of The Apprentice.
- Template:Color box The candidate was the runner-up.
- Template:Color box The candidate won as project manager on his/her team, for this task.
- Template:Color box The candidate lost as project manager on his/her team, for this task.
- Template:Color box The candidate was on the winning team for this task / they passed the Interviews stage.
- Template:Color box The candidate was on the losing team for this task.
- Template:Color box The candidate was brought to the final boardroom for this task.
- Template:Color box The candidate was fired in this task.
- Template:Color box The candidate lost as project manager for this task and was fired.
- Template:Color box The candidate left the competition after this task.
Week 1: Fish Food
- Original Air Date: 14 October 2015
- Versatile: Selina (Project Manager), Charleine, David, Gary, Mergim, Natalie, Richard, Sam and Scott.
- Connexus: April (Project Manager), Aisha, Brett, Dan, Elle, Jenny, Joseph, Ruth and Vana.
- Task: Cook and sell products made of fish on the streets of London. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Versatile decided to sell calamari and fish fingers made of coley. While they bargained well for their choice of fish and had good sales, they ran out of fish fingers, while the calamari was of poor quality, with £150 worth lost when its container overheated, making it unsafe to sell. Meanwhile, Connexus went with salad and fishcakes, but got off to a bad start when April purchased the required quota of fish from the first vendor she met, and production of the fishcakes was delayed by Dan and Brett, causing them to miss much of the lunch rush trade and having less than a third of their intended prepared stock. While sales were steady, after they struggled initially from the salad being priced too high, many of their later sales were for reduced prices, effectively costing them the task.
- Result: Versatile had a profit of £200.29, while Connexus had a profit of £1.87.
- Winner: Versatile - By £198.42.
- Reward: Eating fish prepared by a chef from a top Japanese restaurant.
- Brought into the boardroom: April, Brett and Dan
- Fired: Dan - For his poor work in the kitchen, selling nothing, poorly defending himself in the boardroom, and for failing to display any appealing business skills.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Matt Edmondson and Thomasina Miers
- Prior to the start of the task, Lord Sugar reshuffled the teams to be mixed gender near the end of the briefing.
- Although Versatile won thanks to strong sales by Charleine and Richard, good negotiations by Natalie, and Selina keeping costs down, the team had a number of issues on the task: Selina took on the role of PM purely because no one else was willing to; discussions were extremely chaotic; and most of the team failed to work cohesively as a group. In addition, Mergim was criticised for selling fish products to a vegan restaurant, and for not stepping up as PM because it was "too early" for him, after he complained about the rest of the team shying away from the role. As a result, it was heavily indicated that he would have been fired, had the team lost.
- Despite Ruth and Joseph's sales being the highest on the task, the former due to using an effective selling technique, it was overshadowed by their team's profit of £1.87, especially as most of Connexus' products went after their prices were lowered. In regards to this, Karren described the team's efforts as "pathetic", while Lord Sugar described it as "disgusting" and "abysmal", adding that their profit was barely any better than a loss.
- Although she was not fired due to it being the first task, Lord Sugar was critical of April for her poor leadership, accusing her of having been complacent and over-confident. Likewise, Brett was commended for his good organisation of the team's kitchen, but warned over his decision to blindly follow the fishcake specification. While not brought back, Vana was heavily criticised for her miscalculations on the ingredients they used, and for boasting she sold the salad for an average of £5, when she had only sold one batch, making her second-only to Dan as the worst salesperson on the team.
- On You're Fired, two of the panel disagreed with Lord Sugar's decision, believing that either April or Brett had been more deserving of being fired. On Why I Fired Them, Lord Sugar revealed that, apart from his performance on the task and being responsible for the miscalculation in the kitchen as well, Dan's fate was sealed when he claimed that he was more used to selling online than to the public, as a criteria for being the winner was to sell regardless of environment.
Week 2: Cactus Shampoo
- Original Air Date: 15 October 2015
- Versatile: Richard (Project Manager), Brett, David, Gary, Joseph, Mergim, Sam and Scott.
- Connexus: Aisha (Project Manager), April, Charleine, Elle, Jenny, Natalie, Ruth, Selina and Vana.
- Task: Create an advertising campaign for a brand of cactus shampoo, including a TV advert and a digital billboard, and then pitch it to industry experts. Best campaign wins.
- Task Review: Connexus went with a brand called "Desert Secrets", aimed at the over-50s, yet the team had little knowledge of their target market, while Ruth had to star in their billboard advert due to Aisha's models being deemed unsuitable for it. The team's pitch was considered to be dreadful, as Natalie's presentation was dull and disjointed, while their TV advert was deemed to be poor. Meanwhile, Versatile went with a brand called "Western", aimed at men in their own age range. While Scott stumbled in his pitch, and their billboard advert was considered to be poor for not including the product frequently or the end result, the experts approved of their TV advert, and praised the design of their bottle for being smart and simple. Based on this feedback, Lord Sugar effectively declared them the winners.
- Winner: Versatile - For a campaign that was more cohesive and generally better executed.
- Reward: Gravity yoga class
- Brought into the boardroom: Aisha, Natalie and Vana
- Fired: Aisha - For her dictatorial leadership, constantly side-lining Charleine despite her experience, refusing to listen to her team, and for bringing Vana back for personal reasons instead of Elle, April or Selina.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Grace Dent and Zaid Al-Zaidy
- Following the last task, Lord Sugar had the teams reverted back into single-genders.
- Although Versatile worked well together, due to Richard allocating each member some responsibility during the task, Karren felt that he merely was listening to everyone's suggestions on the brand, before pushing strongly for his ideas to be used. During the reward, David accused him of unduly taking sole credit for the team's win.
- While Connexus lost, their billboard advert was considered to be the only positive element in their performance, as it got near-unanimous praise from members of the public. Although Ruth got minor criticism for her performance in it, Lord Sugar credited her for stepping up after she objected to Aisha's choice of models. Aisha was further criticised for the brand's logo involving a cactus flower, implying that straightforward branding would have been preferable.
- Despite Charleine being sidelined by Aisha during the task, who ignored her suggestions for a different brand and refused to involve her in the pitch, she was credited for her contributions on the task, and for raising criticism against the poor TV advert. When she returned to the house, all of Versatile admitted that had she led, her hair salon experience would have likely led to Connexus winning.
- Aisha attempted to pin the blame for the defeat primarily on Vana's suggestion of the over-50 target market, and claimed that the team would have been better off not having any specific target audience at all. Lord Sugar was baffled by this, pointing out that none of the industry experts had highlighted the target audience as an issue, and that if anything, not having any particular target audience would have caused them to lose even more decisively.
- Although Natalie narrowly avoided being fired because of her performance in the previous task, Sugar did accept her explanation that her lack of enthusiasm for Connexus' brand had affected her presentation, with Karren taking exception to the suggestion that their target market would be "scared" to try new things. Finally, Elle, while not brought back, was heavily criticised for her constant negativity in the task, without giving any constructive feedback.
- On You're Fired, only one panellist disagreed with Aisha's firing, believing that Natalie should have been fired for her lack of enthusiasm and her poor presentation, while Aisha admitted in hindsight, she should have brought back Selina for the poor TV advert she directed.
Week 3: Cross-Channel Discount Buying
- Original Air Date: 21 October 2015
- Versatile: Joseph (Project Manager), Brett, David, Gary, Mergim, Richard, Sam and Scott.
- Connexus: Vana (Project Manager), April, Charleine, Elle, Jenny, Natalie, Ruth and Selina.
- Task: Purchase a set list of nine items, half in England, half in France, negotiating for low prices. Least amount spent, after addition of fines, wins.
- Task Review: Versatile's performance was mixed; while the sub-team in England fared well, even getting a low price for a child's inflatable boat that met the list's specifications, the sub-team in France negotiated poorly, buying nearly all the needed items for high prices, while failing to find the snails. Meanwhile, Connexus' execution of the task was poor; while the sub-team in France suffered from in-fighting, the sub-team in England suffered badly from Elle's indecisiveness, causing them to revisit the same shop several times, and overspend on an inflatable boat. This, along with their failure to buy the mussels and mirror, and buying a block of cheese that didn't match specifications, proved to be costly mistakes that ultimately lost them the task.
- Result: Versatile's total spend was £409.21 (including fines), while Connexus' total spend was £725.90 (including fines).
- Winner: Versatile - By £316.69
- Reward: Wine tasting
- Brought into the boardroom: Vana, Elle and Jenny
- Fired: Jenny - For failing to buy the mussels, not making a single purchase, making no significant contributions within the three tasks, and for making various lacklustre excuses in the boardroom.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Claude Littner and Frances Dickens.
- The teams had to find the following items around both Kent, England, and Calais, France: an inflatable boat, manure, an anchor, mussels, Leavers lace, a Louis Philippe mirror, snails, one whole Maroilles cheese, and seven crystal champagne flutes.
- Despite Joseph leading his team to victory and making a decision to helped Versatile secure the mirror for a good price, Richard openly criticised his leadership for being indecisive and disorganised, as he made his sub-team wait for a shop to open rather than seek out other items, paid more for the flutes, was forced to buy the lace on the ferry back, and failed to find the snails; Brett's last-minute attempt to source them in Kent proved to be fruitless. However, Lord Sugar took a dim view on Richard's criticism of Joseph, later stating on Why I Fired Them that he "still had his head in the clouds" since his performance as PM on the previous task.
- During the task, Richard had been attempting to buy cheese without being aware that a vendor was attempting to con him into paying a higher price than was stated on a label for it. He only managed to avoid this when his team-mates pointed this out to him. In the boardroom, Claude criticised him for failing to realise he was being misled by the vendor.
- Although Elle avoided being fired due to her defence, Karren felt there had been a lack of strategy in her sub-team, while she was roundly condemned for her indecisiveness, returning three times to the same shop that the anchor was bought from, before overspending on the boat; in comparison, Claude remarked that Gary's purchase of a £10 boat from a toy shop, had been a big risk. Likewise, despite Vana finding a glassware specialist at her sub-team's hotel and aggressively negotiating a good price for the team's flutes, along with admitting to her mistakes in the boardroom, she was criticised or not elaborating on her failures and showing no respect to the members of her sub-team.
- On You're Fired, while the audience disagreed with Lord Sugar's decision, it was in direct contrast to the panel, who all agreed, yet adding that they anticipated Jenny to be a success in the future. However, Claude remarked that Elle had been lucky, implying that she could have easily been fired as well for her performance.
Week 4: Pet Show
- Original Air Date: 28 October 2015
- Versatile: David (Project Manager), April, Charleine, Joseph, Mergim, Richard, Sam and Vana.
- Connexus: Scott (Project Manager), Brett, Elle, Gary, Natalie, Ruth and Selina.
- Task: Select and sell products at the London Pet Show. Most sales made, wins.
- Task Review: Versatile went with animal-themed balloons and T-shirts, along with dog bed sofas for their high-end item. Although the high-end team struggled and only managed to sell five dog beds, the accessory team made considerable sales, though these were primarily on the balloons being popular and leading David to focus his sub-team on them, rather than the more valuable T-shirts. Meanwhile, Connexus went with an electronic cat toy and cat seat warmers after losing out on the balloons, along with large, customisable cat beds for their high-end item. Although they sold their accessories reasonably well, their high-end team had trouble; both Selina's unenthusiastic sales technique and Ruth's talkative approach hampered sales, with the majority of the four they sold being done by Scott. Ultimately, their sales figures effectively lost them any chance of winning.
- Result: Versatile had sales of £4,051.62, whilst Connexus had sales of £3,028.40
- Winner: Versatile - By £1,023.22
- Reward: Training session with Mo Farah
- Brought into the boardroom: Scott, Ruth and Selina
- Fired: Ruth - For selling nothing despite her work background, and for having a personality that was unsuitable for Lord Sugar's investment.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Susan Calman and Natalie Ellis
- For this task, Lord Sugar had April, Charleine and Vana move over to Versatile, and Brett, Gary and Scott move over to Connexus.
- The items to select were: Low-End - Hi-Viz Chicken Jackets, Animal-branded T-shirts, Pet Fragrances, Eco-Friendly Poop Bags, Animal-Themed Balloons, Cat Seat Warmers and Interactive Cat Toys; High-End - Luxury Dog Sofas, Rabbit Hutches, Thatched Chicken Houses and Customisable Cat Towers.
- Whilst Karren commended David in the boardroom on his enthusiasm in selling, noting that it had been a contributory factor to Versatile's victory, she criticised him for focusing on the balloons, as it was pointed out that the T-shirts higher sale price would have brought in more money. Similarly, Charleine was critical of Richard for choosing the dog sofas, but he defended his choice by stating that the figures quoted by the vendor were more realistic to work with, than the ones from the vendor of the cat beds which he deemed misleading.
- Although Brett was praised for improving the team's accessories sales by making a pitch on the pet show's main stage, Lord Sugar noted that his aggressive negotiations for the animal balloons was the key factor behind Connexus not securing them. Likewise, while Scott was deemed least responsible for the team's loss out of the final three, and was commended for his enthusiasm and his good sales, Sugar advised him to be more ruthless in future.
- While Ruth explained that Scott's High-End team lack of sales was down to not talking with customers a lot, while he was explaining his decision about bringing in Gary to help, both Claude and Lord Sugar heavily criticised her for talking too much to customers who were not interested, rather than moving onto new ones. In her taxi interview, Ruth admitted she deserved to be fired as a result of her performance in the task.
- On You're Fired, two of the panellists and the majority of the audience, disagreed with Lord Sugar's decision. While Calman believed that Ruth had just been unlucky with the task, as she had been an otherwise good candidate, Romesh noted that Selina's only sale had required assistance from Scott; prior to the final boardroom, Claude, along with Karren, believe she should be fired with Ruth, pointed out this fact along with stating that he had been unimpressed with her lack of enthusiasm on the task.
Week 5: Children's Book
- Original Air Date: 4 November 2015
- Versatile: Charleine (Project Manager), April, David, Joseph, Mergim, Richard and Vana.
- Connexus: Sam (Project Manager), Brett, Elle, Gary, Natalie, Scott and Selina.
- Task: Create and sell a children's book aimed at 3-5 year olds. Most sales made, wins.
- Task Review: Connexus chose to use a dragon character for their book, but Sam's indecisiveness in creating a storyline resulted in their script being finished late, forcing the audio version to be rushed. While the focus group found the book's words to be too complex for the age range, the team struggled with selling it; Sam delivered poor pitches to two of the retailers, while the team struggled to sell to trade, with Natalie failing to sell anything and wrecking a pitch she made. Meanwhile, Versatile focused on a story about a bee going on a journey to find honey, though despite friction between Charleine and Richard, the team were able to complete the written and audio versions without issues. While its literary quality was considered poor and Charliene sold only 25 books after struggling to pitch to two of the retailers, the book received otherwise good praise, with the team selling well and getting a last minute sale for 125 books, which proved decisive in securing victory.
- Result: Versatile had sales of £690.10, while Connexus had sales of £587.25.
- Winner: Versatile - By £102.85
- Reward: Magic tricks in a library
- Brought into the boardroom: Sam, Brett and Natalie
- Fired: Natalie - For her terrible sales pitches, lacking the necessary maturity to go into business with Lord Sugar, and for her generally weak track record in the previous five tasks.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Gaby Roslin and Cressida Cowell.
- To even out the teams, Lord Sugar had Sam move over to Connexus and elected as their project manager, due to his writing background.
- During the task, Charleine refused to hear feedback on the market research from Richard, despite appointing him as his sub-team's leader, causing hostilities between them that then worsened when she refused let him make the pitches to the retailers. While this decision was criticised as bad management during the initial boardroom, Claude praised Charliene on her major sale towards the end of the task, though Richard later felt she was lucky because of it, as he dubbed her a poor PM.
- Apart from Natalie refusing to pitch to a retailer on the grounds that she could come down with a coughing fit, Lord Sugar demanded an explanation from her for the poor pitches she did at two of the shops her sub-team visited, after Karren described one as being disastrous due to her lack of information and her failure to engage with the shop's owner. Natalie's attempt to blame Brett for not supplying the relevant figures was countered by him revealing that he had done so before the pitch.
- Despite not being fired due to his strong defence and being least responsible for the team's loss, Brett was criticised for his sub-team's low sales and his inability to gain the support of his colleagues. In comparison, Lord Sugar felt that while he had shown good potential, Sam had been a weak leader, given poor sales pitches, and should have brought back Selina for hastily selling a small number of books to a retailer. In addition, he was warned about his indecisiveness in the task, with Sugar adding that he couldn't accept his explanation for using complex words in the team's story, which both Selina and the team's focus group had been critical of.
- On You're Fired, only one of the panel disagreed with Lord Sugar's decision, as Romesh felt that Sam should have been fired for his poor performance as PM, though agreed that if Versatile had lost, Charliene would have been fired if she hadn't made her last-minute sale. When reviewing the books, the panel felt that Connexus' book was well made despite the complex words, but that Versatile's was quite dull and more aimed at a younger age group, believing that an initial idea by Charliene had been superior to Joseph's and would have made the team's victory more decisive.
Week 6: Handy Man
- Original Air Date: 11 November 2015
- Versatile: Elle (Project Manager), April, Charleine, David, Joseph, Mergim and Richard.
- Connexus: Brett (Project Manager), Gary, Sam, Scott, Selina and Vana.
- Task: Set up and run a handy-man business. Largest profit made wins.
- Task Review: Connexus secured a major contract to service a football stand at a local stadium, earning a substantial amount despite Brett's sub-team wasting time cleaning up gum and failing to complete minor paintwork. While Scott's sub-team wasted time using flyers to find work, they eventually secured a few highly profitable jobs, despite Vana having to renegotiate one due to Scott's overambitious first pitch. Meanwhile, Versatile secured a contract to remake a theatre's wardrobe department, though Elle delegated control of her sub-team to Joseph, while David caused problems with measurement errors. However, Mergim's sub-team suffered badly; despite securing work on both days of the task, they were forced to use makeshift flyers thanks to Elle, and conducted poor quality work that forced them slash their low prices even further. Their performance, along with the whole team unwittingly agreeing to paint a large storefront for a very low price towards the end, effectively cost them any chance of victory.
- Result: Connexus had a profit of £1,050.08, while Versatile had a profit of £530.01.
- Winner: Connexus - By £520.07
- Reward: Visit to a Russian spa
- Fired (during internal review): Elle - For her non-existent leadership, failing on a task she was more than qualified to lead, constantly admitting her performance was poor, and for her awful track record throughout the previous six tasks.
- Brought into the boardroom: Mergim, April and David
- Fired (during final boardroom):
- Mergim, with sincere regret - For lacking the experience and maturity to go into business with Lord Sugar, being primarily at fault for the low quality of his sub-team's work, and for bringing David back into the boardroom instead of Charleine.
- April - For setting the sub-team's prices unreasonably low, barely contributing to tasks, showing none of her business skills in the task, and for her poor leadership in the first task.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Joe Lycett and Lara Morgan.
- For this task, Lord Sugar had both Brett and Elle become their respective team's project manager, due to their experience in the construction and DIY industry, while rebalancing the teams by moving Vana over to Connexus. Furthermore, the contracts offered to the teams in this task were at the stadium used by Isthmian League club, Dulwich Hamlet, and at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
- Although Scott reasoned in the initial boardroom that his use of Connexus' flyers was to get his sub-team booked out on the second day of the task, Claude described their use as merely pointless "market research". In contrast, while April attacked Mergim for using makeshift flyers, deeming them unprofessional, Lord Sugar disagreed, believing the idea had been the best option after Elle had made them miss the printing deadline to get proper ones.
- Karren felt that Elle's heavy reliance on others in the team, particularly from Joseph, made her leadership virtually non-existent. Therefore, upon hearing her openly admit that her performance had been poor throughout, Lord Sugar fired her immediately after the results, the first time in the show's history that an unsuccessful PM was fired before being brought back for the final boardroom. Mergim was then told that, as sub-team leader on the task, he would be taking her place and told to decide on who he would be bringing back, making it the first time that a non-PM candidate chose who was brought back to the boardroom.
- As Joseph received universal praise from both Karren and the rest of Versatile over his contributions, particularly with the theatre job, Lord Sugar assured him that he wouldn't be fired as a direct result. He also felt that David deserved to stay due to his track record, despite being brought back by Mergim due to Joseph's criticism on his contribution and his measurement errors.
- On You're Fired, there was unanimous agreement with Elle's firing, with Elle herself believing she would have been leaving the process as soon as she was appointed as project manager. However, while the audience agreed to April's firing, they were split with Mergim's, with one panellist in each case feeling that the decision was wrong - Lycett felt that David should have gone instead of Mergim; while Romesh felt that Charleine was just as deserving as April. It was also revealed on the show during a segment by Lord Sugar, that while he felt that Mergim had come onto the main show too early, he held deep respect for his background and hoped to stay in touch with him.
Week 7: Discount Store
- Original Air Date: 18 November 2015
- Versatile: Gary (Project Manager), Charleine, David, Joseph and Richard.
- Connexus: Scott (Project Manager), Brett, Sam, Selina and Vana.
- Task: Set up a Discount Store in Manchester, selling wholesale purchased items. Most assets (cash & stock), wins.
- Task Review: Connexus decided for their store to focus mostly on selling electronic items, despite worries that the market for them was too niche, with the team selling well on the first day. While their second day started off poorly due to arguments on the store's layout and products, sales soon picked up after a reshuffle in sales staff. Meanwhile, Versatile opted to sell a mix of items in their store, and also sold well on the first day. While Gary's lack of direction caused problems on the second day, from struggling initially with high prices and not restocking until near the end of the task, reducing their prices and offering specials helped to pull in sales, with their remaining stock ultimately winning them the task due to their high value.
- Result: Versatile had total assets of £1,511.07, while Connexus had total assets of £962.04.
- Winner: Versatile - By £549.03
- Reward: Champagne reception at the top of The Shard
- Brought into the boardroom: Scott, Brett and Sam
- Fired: Sam - For selling very little, failing to work out the required calculations, and failing to step up despite his warning in the fifth task.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Matt Edmondson and Karren Brady.
- Although Versatile won, both Lord Sugar and Claude felt that Gary's leadership had been quite poor, criticising his decision to begin the second day with high prices and for leaving the restocking until close to the end of the task. They also had equal concern in regards to the attempt by Joseph and Charliene to secure a huge 50% discount with the wholesaler, given such businesses work with very small margins; Gary tried unsuccessfully to laugh this off as informal negotiating.
- During the task, Selina constantly complained to Scott after he reshuffled the team during the second day, believing she would be fired if she wasn't involved in sales after he assigned her to work with him on canvassing for customers and restocking the shop. While Karren described her complaints as "non-stop droning", the decision to have Brett and Vana take over sales actually helped to improve business, leading the latter to criticise her in the boardroom for being purely negative and damaging morale. However, Selina argued against this, stating she had listened to Scott far more than anyone else in Connexus.
- Although Scott was not fired, Lord Sugar felt he had lacked consistency in the task, while Karren backed up disagreement to the claim that Brett had used threatening language against him, by remarking that, despite the two men clashing both during the task and the final boardroom, he was simply reacting to the intolerance he had with the way that Scott had spoken to him. This was also Scott's second loss as project manager. Likewise, despite not firing Brett, Sugar felt his blunt manner was often alienating, while sternly warning him for attempting to use the price scheme of "Was £'x', now £'y'" during the task, which Karren stopped him using, pointing out that it could only be legally used when an item had been on sale at a high price for at least 28 days, not "28 seconds".
- Throughout the boardroom, Sam drew major criticism for making calculations errors once more, while his attempt to counter feedback on his poor sales by saying he had given out a positive attitude, was argued against by Scott, who then outraged him by accusing him of not being serious in his business ambition. Neither men acknowledged each other as a direct result, when Sam was fired, but later made up with each other via Twitter, following the episode's broadcast.
- On You're Fired, while the audience was split evenly, two of the panel disagreed with Sam's firing; Edmondson believed that Brett should have been fired, while Romesh felt that Scott was more deserving because of his bad leadership.
Week 8: Party Planning
- Original Air Date: 25 November 2015
- Versatile: Gary (Project Manager), Charleine, David and Joseph.
- Connexus: Selina (Project Manager), Brett, Richard, Scott and Vana.
- Task: With a budget of £2,000, plan and run a children's party. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Connexus offered a mini-Olympian party, acquiring several activities at a reasonable discount. Despite the client's kids having fun, the team had issues; Selina failed to have the client's contact details taken down and thus gambled on providing party bags that the client refused to take, while delays in the kitchen, caused by Vana and Richard, led to food being late and the cake's decorations being rushed through. Meanwhile, Versatile offered an outdoor activity party, yet preparations were hampered by miscommunication on decorations, and David struggling on negotiations for a wall climb. Further problems then arose during the party - the client's kids had no fun until later in the day; Gary mistakenly claimed their cake had nuts which made the client's wife nervous, as she had a nut allergy; and the team ruined the printed T-shirts they planned to offer, and had to reduce the price on the poor quality party bags they offered. These mistakes effectively cost the team any chance of victory.
- Result: Connexus had a profit of £614.21, while Versatile had a profit of £396.20.
- Winner: Connexus - By £218.01.
- Reward: Snowboarding lesson with Jenny Jones.
- Brought into the boardroom: Gary, Charleine, David and Joseph.
- Fired: David - For his poor contributions on the task, his costly errors with the T-shirts, and for lacking the tenacity and passion demonstrated by other candidates.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Gabby Logan and Anabel Fielding.
- For this task, Lord Sugar had Selina and Gary appointed as their respective team's project manager, due to their experience in events and planning, while allowing Selina to take a candidate from Versatile to join her team, leading to Richard moving over from Connexus. Before they left, both teams were warned that their clients could demand a refund if they were unsatisfied with their party.
- While Connexus won the task, Lord Sugar was unimpressed with Selina, remarking that the gamble on the party bags could easily have been avoided if she had had the client's contact details, with Richard further criticising her for making an unreasonable request on him to personalise a bag during the party, as it went against his tight schedule and his efforts to keep costs down. The team also received negative feedback on the delays with their food, which was caused by Vana voicing concerns on the team's cake repeatedly, to the point that Richard had to maintain strict control on her in their kitchen; Vana later remarked he had been irritating to work with, feeling he had been on a power-trip in the task.
- During the task, Gary effectively wrecked the party for the wife of Versatile's client, as he was unaware of her suffering from a serious nut allergy, when miscommunication with her caused him to mistakenly say that the team's cake used hazelnut spread. In the boardroom, Lord Sugar criticised him for this gaffe, as it left her frightened and wanting to distance herself from the party, causing the client to lose confidence in the team, and costing them £100 as a direct result.
- Karren remarked that David's decision to remove the pre-agreed items from the party bags, despite Joseph's criticism, could do nothing to remedy the fact that their quality had been overstated to begin with. When David argued that they could have salvaged things by selling the unspoilt T-shirts, Karren disagreed by arguing that the client would have never bought them unless there were enough for all the kids attending their party.
- Lord Sugar was highly irritated that Gary took considerable time deliberating on who to bring back alongside David, whom he knew he'd bring back for his multiple errors, that Charleine's hasty attempt to leave when she hadn't been dismissed by him, made him take the unprecedented move of having the whole team return for the final boardroom. While she was not fired, Charleine earned serious disapproval for the disruptive manner she displayed when David tried to defend himself prior to his firing, and was strongly criticised for her rudeness as a result.
- On You're Fired, both the panel and the audience disagreed with David's firing, with the panellists all feeling that Gary should have been fired instead for being a poor leader despite his field of experience.
Week 9: Property Agents
- Original Air Date: 2 December 2015
- Versatile: Joseph (Project Manager), Charleine, Gary and Selina.
- Connexus: Richard (Project Manager), Brett, Scott and Vana.
- Task: Sell mid and high-range properties in London for developers, and earn a commission for each sale. Most commission made, wins.
- Task Review: Connexus represented and sold flats at a high-end development in Canary Wharf and a mid-range development in Clapham. Although the high-end team had no floor plans to use and opted not to use an incomplete show flat, the enthusiasm of Richard and Vana led to good sales from clients, yet in comparison, Scott hampered the mid-range team's sales, as he stumbled in pitches and demonstrated no information about the development's site. Meanwhile, Versatile represented and sold flats at a high-end development in Stratford and a mid-range development in Lewisham, the former having to be taken due to the poor approach by Joseph and Selina with the developer of the other high-end site. While the mid-range team sold well thanks to Charleine's contribution, both Joseph and Selina made only one high-end sale, as they struggled due to a failure to acquire information about their show flat or the development itself. Their performance effectively led the team to losing the task.
- Result: Versatile's total commissions were £29,560.25, while Connexus' total commissions were £76,626.78
- Winner: Connexus - By £47,066.53
- Left (after the result): Scott - For feeling he was unsuitable for Sugar's investment, alongside receiving heavy criticism for his performance in the task, despite being on the winning team.
- Reward: Speedboat trip on the River Thames.
- Brought into the boardroom: Joseph, Gary and Selina
- Fired: Selina - For selling nothing, refusing to take any responsibility for her failures, her immature and negative attitude towards the other candidates, and for her poor track record throughout the process.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Greg James and Allyson Stewart Allen.
- For this task, Lord Sugar evened out the teams by having Selina move over to Versatile. On Why I Fired Them he claimed that this had been deliberate, mainly to test to see how good she and Charleine worked together on the task.
- The high-end developments featured were Manhattan Loft Gardens in Stratford, and Maine Tower in Canary Wharf; the latter had an incomplete show flat at the time of filming. The mid-range developments featured were a converted printworks in Clapham, and a former office block in Lewisham.
- Although Karren felt that Vana and Richard had been on a "charm offensive" with clients, due to a lack of floor plans and taking the risky move not to use the incomplete show flat for Versatile's high-end development, she complimented the pair for working much better than they had in the previous task.
- After facing heavy criticism on his performance from Karren and Lord Sugar, despite being on the winning team, Scott announced his intention to leave the process following the results, which left both teams stunned; his departure continued to be talked about during Connexus' reward. This marks the first time in the show's history that a candidate of the winning team chose to suddenly depart from the show. It was later revealed on Why I Fired Them that Scott would have been fired, had his team lost.
- A key factor behind Selina's firing was the criticism she received on her negativity throughout the task, which had been a recurring issue on the last two tasks. None of her teammates came to her defence, disagreeing with her claims that she had been sidelined and that Charliene was manipulating their perception of her, with Gary highlighting that she had made a distasteful comment about her during high-end sales, despite Selina claiming she was merely reflecting the view of the Canary Wharf developer. Prior to this episode, Selina refused to appear on You're Fired, due to her criticism against The Apprentice over her portrayal on the programme.
- While they were not fired, Lord Sugar criticised Gary for his poor sales and for having yet to lose his "corporate" image, while he criticised Joseph for his poor manners to the Canary Wharf developers and for hastily stepping up to be PM, stating that his performance could have been construed as evidence that he may have entered the process a little too early in his career.
- On You're Fired, both the audience and two of the panel felt Scott should have been fired had he not left, as it was noted that he had lost the energy and spirit to continue following the seventh task. Scott revealed that he felt he was no longer suitable for investment and thus didn't want to impede the chance of the others, though admitted he should have handled his departure better, after it was revealed that Lord Sugar had been impressed with his overall performance and helpful attitude with the others, but had been quite surprised by his attitude when he announced he was leaving.
Week 10: Health Snack
- Original Air Date: 9 December 2015
- Versatile: Charleine (Project Manager), Gary and Joseph.
- Connexus: Brett (Project Manager), Richard and Vana.
- Task: Produce a new health snack and pitch it to retailers. Most orders received, wins.
- Task Review: Versatile went a range of healthy snack bars branded "Rejuvenate," yet its received poor feedback in the consumer testing, in regards to its brand, along with the texture and taste of the snacks. The retailers were just the same when it was pitched to them, who were also concerned that their packaging lacked nutritional information about the snacks; Charliene had failed to provide any for the team to use when producing the samples. Meanwhile, Connexus went for a range of vegetable crisps that branded "V's", which received good feedback in consumer testing for the flavours they offered. While one retailer liked its concept, it was criticised in the pitch for the packaging containing no reference of the dehydration process used to make the crisps, deemed the snack's USP, while another retailer disliked Vana's overuse of olive oil in their production. Both teams lost the task, as none of the retailers gave them any orders.
- Result: Versatile received 0 orders, while Connexus also received 0 orders.
- Winner: None - Lord Sugar declared both teams to had lost the task
- Reward: None, due to the result
- Brought into the boardroom: Brett, Charleine, Gary and Richard
- Fired: Brett - For his poor leadership and sales pitches, failing to question Richard's mistakes on the task, and for showing limited business skills.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Anthony Fletcher and Ruth Jones.
- Because neither team got any orders in the task, Lord Sugar declared that they had both lost the task, making it the first time in the show's history that a task was failed by both teams in the process. After the candidates were made to attend the boardroom, both Brett and Charleine were told to choose one member from their respective team who would be joining them for the final boardroom.
- While Versatile's product was found to be terrible due to the unappealing snack bars and badly conceived branding, along with the black marks on the packaging after a nutritionist disallowed them using "High in Antioxidants" upon it, much of the criticism focused on the wild claims that Joseph had made about the product containing superfoods, in his attempts to give it a unique selling point. Likewise, Lord Sugar disapproved of the high quantity of olive oil Vana used in Connexus' vegetable crisps, with Claude disapproving of the notion that the retailers had accepted it as a good product despite the taste, while Brett described her error as a "mad scientist" moment.
- While Charleine broke down in tears in the boardroom over her failure to make a good product, along with Karren being critical of her contribution in the task, she was noted as being someone who wouldn't give up easily, along with Lord Sugar stating he hadn't come across many people like her. Meanwhile, despite not firing them, Sugar criticised Gary for his lack of entrepreneurial spirit and his track record over the previous, while heavily criticising Richard for his poor work on the branding, taking no responsibility for his mistakes, and for earning a reputation for being slippery and conceited, despite his track record and Brett claiming he had done a good job on the task.
- On You're Fired, the panel, along with a narrow majority of the audience, disagreed with Lord Sugar's decision. Jones felt that Richard had been more deserving of being fired, while Romesh felt that Connexus had done better on the task, and thus felt someone from Versatile should have been fired instead.
Week 11: Interviews
- Original Air Date: 16 December 2015
- Semi-Finalists: Charleine, Gary, Joseph, Richard and Vana.
- Task: The five remaining candidates undergo a gruelling interview process from four interviewers - Claude Littner, Mike Soutar, Claudine Collins, and Linda Plant. Lord Sugar decides on which two proceed based on the feedback on their CVs and business plans.
- Candidate Reviews: Joseph received the best feedback for being strong, ambitious, and possessing good background expertise, while his proposal was felt to be good, despite concern it had financial issues and thus would struggle. In her interviews, Charleine was praised for her determination and hard work, along with proving her sales abilities throughout the process, yet the interviewers felt her proposal for a hairdressing academy would struggle to become a large franchise and that she needed more experience in the long run. Although Vana's plan for a "gameified" dating app was seen by strong and having massive potential, its concept was questioned, with serious worries the investment would be used up before any profit was made. While Richard was seen as a good candidate with his marketing background, his proposal for an outsourced marketing department was seen by Mike as not being unique, as it conflicted with a previous company of Richard's, with Claude and Linda struggling with the plan's concept. Gary was unanimously deemed the weakest candidate of the group, as his plan was found to have issues with its USP, and the interviewers also took issue with his persistent "corporate" image, with Mike finding his CV to contains claims that had no supportive evidence to back them up.
- Decision: Charleine was the first to be fired, due to the issues with her business plan, with Gary being next for presenting a plan that was deeply flawed and incomprehensible, thus making him unsuitable for investment. As Joseph secured his place in the final, due to his background and determination, and Lord Sugar opted to gamble on Vana's proposal despite its financial plans, Richard became the last to be fired, due to his failure to address the concerns on his business plan.
- Charleine, with regret - For raising concerns that she would struggle to scale up her planned business, and having expectations too high to achieve with her current experience.
- Gary - For providing an unsound business plan, and for failing to amend his "corporate" persona.
- Richard - For coming across as evasive in the interviews, proposing a business plan with several issues, and for admitting he would not focus exclusively on his proposed business.
- You're Fired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Ricky Martin and Susan Calman.
- Despite Mike feeling uncertain in the truth about Joseph's claim that a book concerning the life and background of Lord Sugar had inspired him to set up in business, he was impressed in his interview by how much he could recall from its content. However, Gary failed to impress Mike during his interview, as his claims he had handled large budgets, including one for a billion pounds, was considered to be exaggerated and unsupported in his resume, while he revealed his claim of managing around 600 people at one point in his career was false, as he actually handled a reduced, "special" team of just three.
- Although Charleine was considered to be one of the strongest candidates alongside Joseph, both in her determination and hard-working attitude, it was felt her expectations were too high and she had virtually no experience outside of her own salon. Despite noting these sentiments persisted outside her interviews, Lord Sugar respected her good work ethics, with both he and Claude advising her to focus on developing more salons from those she was managing.
- While Vana's proposal was accepted alongside Joseph's, it did not meet approval in the interviews, as Claudine was concerned that potential customers would want out, after wasting time to find out that a nice person they gamed with was totally unsuitable, while Mike had more serious concerns on its financial model, believing it would use up Lord Sugar's investment within six months before it had even had a chance to turn a profit, despite Vana's claims to the contrary.
- None of the interviewers were impressed with Richard for being evasive with their questions, who admitted to Claudine that he had been "waffling" in their interviews. Along with the fact his reputation still persisted at this stage of the process, and Mike had found he used a graphic already associated to a previous company of Richard's, the final contributing factor behind his firing was his admittance that he couldn't offer up his previous company as his brother owned half the shares in it, and that he wanted to retain his half and remain a silent partner in it, leaving Lord Sugar to remark that it was the first time he had been honest about himself.
- On You're Fired, the audience unanimously agreed with all three firings, though in each case, only two of the panel shared the same opinion. Despite agreeing with her firing, Ranganathan felt that Charleine would go on to be a success, based on a remark by Mike Soutar, who was in the audience, that both he and Linda had been impressed by the good qualities she demonstrated.
Week 12: The Final
- Original Air Date: 20 December 2015
- Finalists: Joseph and Vana
- Joseph's team: Brett, Elle, Gary and Mergim.
- Vana's team: Charleine, Natalie, Richard and Ruth.
- Task: Finalists launch their businesses, creating a digital billboard, promotional video and advert, before pitching it to experts. Lord Sugar decides on who is his business partner, based on feedback on their plan and their overall performance.
- Task Review: Joseph worked to pitch his idea for the creation of a new gas plumbing brand called "Prime Time Plumbers", though the company's name and its billboard were not well received by the public, with the team being critical of his logo's design. However, the experts felt that, despite a couple of minor issues, his proposal was quite good, thanks in part to the strong advert shown in his presentation. Meanwhile, Vana worked to pitch her idea of a dating app in which people found someone suitable by playing games with them called "Date Play", which received good feedback on its billboards, advert, and logo from dating website experts. However, despite her efforts to conceal the poor market research for it, and the concerns that it would struggle in a competitive market, its financial concerns still persisted, as the experts agreed that it needed more money than was being offered in order to succeed, despite liking her proposal.
- Decision: Lord Sugar felt that, despite the good feedback on her concept, the financial issues of Vana's dating app were too great to be ignored, thus deciding that Joseph's venture, which was strong and stable, was the more secure option of the two, effectively making him Lord Sugar's new business partner.
- Runner-Up: Vana - For having a riskier concept that would require a far larger investment than was being offered, and for having the weaker track record out of the final two.
- Hired: Joseph - For his strong track record, his enthusiasm and strong leadership skills, and sticking to an industry he was already an expert in.
- You're Hired Panel: Romesh Ranganathan, Grace Dent and Allyson Stewart Allen
- Due to the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award slightly overrunning its timeslot, the Final was broadcast a little later than scheduled.
- During the task, Karren didn't approve of Joseph's choice of candidates, believing those with creative, marketing backgrounds would have been more useful; on You're Hired, he revealed his choice was based mainly on the skills and backgrounds he deemed useful. Furthermore, he initially intended for his proposal to have a strong emphasis on renewable energy technologies, but upon learning that it was yet to be viable, went for "smart boilers" controlled by mobile apps due to their increasing popularity.
- Neither Natalie or Ruth relayed clear answers, sounding almost conflicted with other when stating only the launch cost for Vana's proposed app instead of marketing costs, following their meeting with the app developers during the task. Vana was not surprised by this, as she felt they had sounded confused by what the developer had told them, while Charleine described their both feedback as "scatterbrained" in regard to their feedback.
- Although Vana knew she would need further investment to make her app become profitable, by the time she pitched her proposal, Lord Sugar stated in the boardroom that he was unsure a working model from his investment money would have been enough to get a venture capital firm to provide the additional funds. On You're Hired, he revealed that the key factor for not choosing her was his belief that the £250,000 he was offering was not going to be enough for her proposal, but felt her dating app had some potential if she could find a "tremendous investment" for it.
- On You're Hired, Lord Sugar believed that Joseph's efforts to turn his personal life around and the hard work he did as a result, had more than earned him the right to win this year's series. In addition, Joseph revealed on the programme that prior to the Interviews stage, he felt that his overall appearance made him look like a "second-hand car dealer", hence his decision to shave off his moustache and change his image, before he met the interviewers.
Criticism and controversy
Throughout October, several media articles raised questions over the handling of problematic candidates during and after filming of a series. This came after reports came out that Selina Waterman-Smith had been involved in a physical altercation with Charleine Wain and received a warning over this from the show's producers, had sent out several critical tweets about the show making her out as a "pantomime villain", and had mocked Claude Littner and Karren Brady on social media. She later refused to take part on You're Fired following the episode featuring her dismissal; in a tweet she later deleted, she stated she had "broken contract" with the show, because of how she had been treated. The following year, Waterman-Smith accused the BBC of treating the candidates harshly when they took part in the show, but this accusation was dismissed by Series 12 candidate Oliver Nohl-Oser, who stated the complete opposite by commenting that candidates were "wined and dined" and not deprived of anything, adding that candidates know it "was always going to be tough" and that they would only come across tired if they were "determined and thick-skinned and work hard".
Richard Woods' health
Questions were raised over the checks made by production staff about the fitness of candidates taking part in the show, when it was revealed in an interview, released to the media on 16 December 2015, that Richard Woods had not disclosed his medical information when applying for the show, over concerns that this would have made appear "weak" and "stressed". Prior to submitting his application, Woods did not inform the producers that he had suffered three mini-strokes, and that he had delayed a procedure to his left eye, aimed at improving his eyesight, in order to avoid wearing an eyepatch, but later admitted that this decision had left him at risk of losing his sight and suffering a further stroke that could have potentially been fatal. A spokesperson for the show denied that there was any risk to Woods, pointing out that candidates had access to good healthcare, and that the show's doctor had seen no issues for Woods to take part in the series.
Week Three's Result
Following the broadcast of the third episode, Daniel Lassman, a candidate on the previous series, heavily criticized Lord Sugar on Twitter over his decision to allow Versatile's purchase of a toy rubber dinghy. His criticism was directed toward the controversial nature of the decision, in comparison to one made by Sugar in the tenth series, in which he had disallowed a purchase made by Lassman's team of a paper skeleton, for not being the real thing despite the team's interpretation of the specifications not stating this to be the case. Lassman considered the decision to be a joke, and was among several viewers who accused Sugar of having double standards. On that week's You're Fired, however, Claude Littner pointed out that the only specification the teams were required to meet was on the size of the dinghy, and that even had Versatile's dinghy been disallowed and the team fined, it would not have caused them to lose the task.
Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.
|Airdate||7 day viewers
|28 day viewers
|1||14 October 2015||7.93||8.03||3|
|2||15 October 2015||7.22||7.41||7|
|3||21 October 2015||7.70||7.86||3|
|4||28 October 2015||7.25||7.39||3|
|5||4 November 2015||7.23||7.40||5|
|6||11 November 2015||7.57||7.67||4|
|7||18 November 2015||6.97||7.12||6|
|8||25 November 2015||6.65||6.92||6|
|9||2 December 2015||6.77||6.98||6|
|10||9 December 2015||6.91||7.07||5|
|11||16 December 2015||7.39||7.47||3|
|12||20 December 2015||6.52||6.61||10|
|Special||Airdate||7 day viewers
|28 day viewers
|The Final Five||9 December 2015||Template:N/A||Template:N/A||Template:N/A|
|Why I Fired Them||16 December 2015||Template:N/A||Template:N/A||Template:N/A|
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