Series Four of The Apprentice (UK), a British reality television series, was broadcast in the UK during 2008 from 26 March to 11 June on BBC One. Production of the series took place the previous year between September and October, with auditions and interviews reported to had taken place in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Bristol during the first two weeks of July 2007, with a record of 20,000 applications made for participation on the show to be on the show that year. Sixteen candidates took part, and the two teams were named Alpha and Renaissance throughout its run, with Lee McQueen winning the series.
Four specials were aired during 2008 – "The Worst Decisions Ever" on 3 April, "Motor Mouths" on 18 April, "The Final Five" on 2 June, and another edition of "Why I Fired Them" on 8 June.
- 1 Candidates
- 2 Episodes
- 2.1 Week 1: Fishy Business
- 2.2 Week 2: A Dirty Job
- 2.3 Week 3: Cooking with Gas
- 2.4 Week 4: Photo Finish
- 2.5 Week 5: Mid-Series Sales
- 2.6 Week 6: Yours Truly, Angry Mob
- 2.7 Week 7: Marrakesh
- 2.8 Week 8: Wedding Hell
- 2.9 Week 9: Tissues
- 2.10 Week 10: Re-inventing the Wheel
- 2.11 Week 11: Interviews
- 2.12 Week 12: The Final
- 3 Criticism and controversy
- 4 Ratings
- 5 References
|Lee McQueen||Recruitment Sales Manager||30||Winner|
|Claire Young||Senior Retail Buyer||29||Runner-up|
|Helene Speight||Global Pricing Leader||32||Fired in the Final|
|Alex Wotherspoon||Regional Sales Manager||24||Fired in the Final|
|Lucinda Ledgerwood||Risk Manager||31||Fired after Interviews stage|
|Michael Sophocles||Telesales Executive||24||Fired after tenth task|
|Raef Bjayou||Entrepreneur||27||Fired after ninth task|
|Sara Dhada||International Car Trader||25||Fired after eighth task|
|Jennifer Maguire||Marketing Consultant||27||Fired after seventh task|
|Jenny Celerier||Sales Manager||36||Fired after seventh task|
|Kevin Shaw||Bank Manager||24||Fired after sixth task|
|Lindi Mngaza||Business Liaison Manager||22||Fired after fifth task|
|Simon Smith||Senior Satellite Television Engineer||35||Fired after fourth task|
|Ian Stringer||Software Sales Manager||26||Fired after third task|
|Shazia Wahab||Mosaic Artist and Company Director||35||Fired after second task|
|Nicholas de Lacy-Brown||Trainee Barrister, Artist and Property Developer||24||Fired after first week|
- 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.
Week 1: Fishy Business
- Original Air Date: 26 March 2008
- Renaissance: Alex (Project Manager), Ian, Kevin, Lee, Michael, Nicholas, Raef and Simon.
- Alpha: Claire (Project Manager), Helene, Jenny, Jennifer, Lindi, Lucinda, Sara and Shazia.
- Task: Sell £600 worth of seafood at a choice of London market locations. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Alpha quickly decided to set up their seafood stand in Islington, but had difficulty in identifying seafood and correctly pricing them, as customers bombarded their stand before they had even begun. Despite this, the team performed well and managed to sell large orders to groups of people. Meanwhile, Renaissance performed poorly on the task; while they also set up in Islington, the team didn't start until midday and struggled to identify the seafood, with Nicholas pricing some of the item at much cheaper values than they were. In addition, the team sold their lobsters for much less than the recommended retail price, while Michael panic-sold £100 of fish for less than half its value, with their mistakes ultimately costing them victory.
- Result: Alpha made a profit of £153.98, while Renaissance made a profit of £32.69.
- Winner: Alpha – By £121.29.
- Reward: Dinner cooked by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
- Brought into the boardroom: Alex, Nicholas and Raef
- Fired: Nicholas – For incorrectly pricing the fish, poorly defending himself in the boardroom despite his legal background, and for admitting he was unable to get on with "less educated" candidates.
- You're Fired Panel: James Martin, Karren Brady and Rufus Hound
- Sir Alan remarked that both Alex and Raef would have been fired, due to certain matters that occurred during the task. Although Alex primarily stepped up to be PM when no one else would, issues were raised for his lack of sales strategy and for showing no concern over the split in his sub-team. Despite Raef giving a stronger defence, backing Alex up when he was questioned on his education, and stating he would work with someone irrespective of their background or interests, he was held responsible for incorrectly identifying several of the fish as cheaper varieties, and his claim to "get on with Prince or Pauper" backfired when both Sir Alan and Alex felt this statement to be pompous.
- On You're Fired, the panel agreed to Sugar's decision to fire Nicholas, purely because of his poor defence; even Sugar's aide Margaret admitted to being shocked by this, considering his legal background. The panellist did note that he was legitimately right to object to this because of Alex's vague instructions on pricing, and correcting a number of errors on the task that he eventually spotted, but his talk on a "cultural divide" in the team and not wanting to work with those who liked football did little to help him, particularly in regards to Sir Alan's working-class background and the 11 years he spent as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur.
Week 2: A Dirty Job
- Original Air Date: 2 April 2008
- Renaissance: Raef (Project Manager), Alex, Ian, Kevin, Lee, Michael and Simon.
- Alpha: Jenny (Project Manager), Claire, Helene, Jennifer, Lindi, Lucinda, Sara and Shazia.
- Task: Using an industrial laundry machine, set up a washing service. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Renaissance's execution of the task was virtually flawless thanks to Raef and Simon; the team targeted large companies and got several orders by going door-to-door, making big earnings in both areas, while finishing their washing and pressing on time before the laundry closed and not losing any articles of clothing in the process. Meanwhile, Alpha's performance was dogged by problems; while they managed to secure work from businesses with dirty laundry, they had little luck going door-to-door. The team also started their work late, meaning they did not finish by the end of the first day, and lost two items in the process for which they were fined. As a direct result, the team effectively lost the task.
- Result: Alpha had a profit of £195.55, while Renaissance had a profit of £328
- Winner: Renaissance – By £132.45.
- Reward: Tea at The Ritz.
- Brought into the boardroom: Jenny, Lucinda, and Shazia
- Fired: Shazia – For leaving the laundry early and allowing items to get mixed up, an error Sir Alan deemed unforgivable.
- You're Fired Panel: Michelle Mone, Gerry Robinson and Claire Balding
- One of the key points mentioned in Alpha's sales pitches was their "24 hour hotline," which would allow their customers to check on the progress of their order. The idea was scorned by Sir Alan in the boardroom, as he felt that nobody, especially domestic customers, would ever be concerned enough to need such a service. The team's strategy of pressuring their customers into giving tips also came in for heavy criticism, and was not particularly successful because of the various mix-ups by the team.
- Although he did not hold her responsible for Alpha's loss, Sir Alan raised doubts about whether Lucinda was emotionally strong enough to continue in the process, after Jenny turned hostile against her by the halfway point of the task on the belief that she wasn't working fast enough, berating Sara when she stood up for her, while remaining hostile throughout the boardroom.
- While Jenny was lambasted for her many errors, including her lack of involvement in the pricing strategies, Sir Alan spared her from firing due to his believing Shazia to be more directly at fault, and because Jenny defended herself strongly in the final boardroom. However, her appalling behaviour towards her teammates, particularly to Lucinda, earned her a warning she would be fired if she acted in this way again.
- Both Lindi and Jennifer narrowly avoided being brought back to the boardroom because of Jenny's decision to bring back Lucinda. Sir Alan felt that both should have been brought back, as Lindi was responsible for many of the errors in Alpha's strategy and openly dismissing any criticism of her performance, while Jennifer was accountable for the bad sales pitches, despite acknowledging her mistakes.
- Almost the entire audience of You're Fired disagreed with Sir Alan's decision. While the panel agreed that Shazia had performed poorly in the boardroom, giving Jenny an opportunity to save herself, her actual work on the task was felt to have been competent, especially since the laundry mix-up only occurred after she left.
Week 3: Cooking with Gas
- Original Air Date: 9 April 2008
- Renaissance: Ian (Project Manager), Alex, Kevin, Lee, Michael, Raef and Simon.
- Alpha: Sara (Project Manager), Claire, Helene, Jenny, Jennifer, Lindi and Lucinda.
- Task: Devise and run a themed food day in a pub with no previous history of serving food, using listed wholesalers for supplies. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Renaissance decided upon an Italian theme, but spent too long with their brand and pricing for the themed day that they could not buy from the wholesalers, thus forced to buy from elsewhere and resulting in increased food costs. Although their income was high and their services smoothed out after a shaky start, the team suffered from a lack of supplies that resorted to them cutting prices in half on their pizzas, with their expenditure being much higher due to their high cost overruns. Meanwhile, Alpha chose a Bollywood theme, yet while they managed to arrange all their printing for free, they were forced to cancel their lunch service due to the food not being prepared properly. They soon turned things around by focusing on a sales strategy of selling admission tickets for £5 that were redeemable against dinner, which proved to be a decisive idea as they secured a healthy profit, even before they had served a meal.
- Result: Renaissance had a profit of £301.97, while Alpha had a profit of £604.27.
- Winner: Alpha – By £302.30.
- Reward: Cooking lessons at the Eckington Manor Cookery School in Eckington, Worcestershire.
- Brought into the boardroom: Ian, Kevin and Simon
- Fired: Ian – For his almost non-existent leadership, having no strategy with pricing and profit margin, denying the occurrence of Kevin's pep-talk, refusing to admit any fault for the loss, and for failing on a task he was qualified to lead.
- You're Fired Panel: John Torode, Jo Brand and Mark Frith
- For this task, Sir Alan chose the project managers – Ian because of his early experience when working in his family's pubs, while Sara was chosen to prove she could lead a team to success.
- Renaissance's performance was deemed as one of the worst seen by Sir Alan (at the time), who felt no one had proper knowledge of running a profitable business after it was revealed that their expenses were three times that of Alpha, despite their income being greater. Although Lee and Michael repeatedly voiced concerns early in the task about the need to think about profit margins, both Ian and Kevin paid little heed to this. Michael was later heavily criticised for deciding on the prices without any knowledge of the team's costs, but defended himself against this by pointing out that Ian had consistently refused to give him this information, and that the team would have otherwise missed the deadline for printing their menus.
- Although Sugar praised Alpha for their focus on lower costs and marketing that proved decisive in their victory, he raised a number of issues in regards to Claire, who proved difficult to work with during the task after her initial idea for an English theme was shot down, and then later attempted to blame Sara when the lunch service was cancelled.
- Despite making several basic errors in calculating ingredient quantities and orders, particularly considering his bank manager background, Kevin survived mostly because he was the only person who tried to organise and motivate the team for most of the task. While Sir Alan felt that Simon had mainly shown proficiency at physical tasks and thus was an unconvincing possibility to win the competition, along with never giving any solutions to Ian's decisions that he complained about, he ultimately spared him because of his loyalty and dedication. Before he left, Simon offered to put himself forward as PM for the next task.
- The majority of the You're Fired audience and two of the panellists agreed with Sir Alan's decision. Torode, who disagreed, thought that Kevin should have been fired instead of Ian. On Why I Fired Them, despite having serious concerns with the three candidates in the final boardroom, Sir Alan noted that Ian's fate was sealed by the complete arrogance he displayed. This was due to him making the bizarre lie that Kevin had not held a motivational talk with the rest of Renaissance outside the pub towards the end of the day, which was contradicted by both Kevin and Simon, along with the fact that it had been recorded by the film crew following them.
Week 4: Photo Finish
- Original Air Date: 16 April 2008
- Renaissance: Simon (Project Manager), Alex, Claire, Jenny, Michael and Sara.
- Alpha: Helene (Project Manager), Jennifer, Lee, Lindi, Lucinda, Kevin and Raef.
- Task: Run a photography business in the Bluewater shopping centre. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Alpha hired a David Beckham lookalike for their business, but suffered from communication issues between the shop floor and the production room that caused them to lose some orders, while they had problems operating the software, mostly from Lucinda lacking the technical know-how to work with their computer after being assigned to it. Despite Helene's leadership causing additional problems, the team managed to complete the majority of the orders they took. Meanwhile, Renaissance opted for a "glamour and beauty" theme, yet suffered from problems; they had communications issues as well that resulted in orders being lost, though the damage was more severe, while Simon clashed with his team on ideas, effectively causing them to take in few orders and lose the task as a direct result.
- Result: Alpha had a profit of £145.10, while Renaissance had a loss of £73.81.
- Winner: Alpha – By £218.91.
- Reward: Dinner aboard a luxury yacht, on trip to the Isle of Wight.
- Brought into the boardroom: Simon, Alex, and Claire
- Fired: Simon, with regret – For coming up with a poor theme, not being able to control the strong personalities of his team, poor communication with the production team, and because Sir Alan felt he was out of his depth.
- You're Fired Panel: Terry O'Neill, Kirsty Allsopp and Trevor Nelson
- During the task, Claire was particularly insubordinate, showing little respect for Simon, ignoring his orders, and constantly butting heads about his ideas. In the boardroom she continued to berate Simon and did not take any responsibility, even going so far as to interrupt Sir Alan while he was trying to give his final deliberations. An infuriated Sir Alan ordered her back to the house for her rudeness, and told her that she would lead the next task, strongly implying that she would be fired if she lost.
- Despite Alpha's victory, Sir Alan was not happy with either team's performance, and in particular had heavy criticism for Helene's leadership, even questioning whether she had deliberately tried to make her team lose to get rid of Lucinda, something that Helene insisted was untrue. Lucinda repeatedly told Helene she was not prepared and asked if someone could switch, but Helene refused and accused Lucinda of being lazy, resulting in Lucinda snapping at her. The panel on You're Fired pointed out that the members of Alpha admitted they had little confidence in Lucinda's abilities, effectively undermining her contribution; it was agreed that had they lost, Helene should have been fired.
- Simon initially appointed Alex as sub-team leader, but later appointed Claire to the role after Alex shirked the responsibility, accusing Simon of deliberately trying to abdicate responsibility by "diluting his position". Although he was not blamed directly for the loss, Margaret berated him for stepping so far back that he was "practically out of the room", while he also received allegations of being a backstabber when he tried to gang up on Claire alongside Simon.
- The majority of the You're Fired studio audience, combined with two of the panellists, disagreed with the decision, feeling that Claire should have been fired for her complete lack of respect, although Simon himself said that he deserved to be fired. Sir Alan would later go on to say that he kept Claire as she still had more potential, even if her attitude was lacking.
Week 5: Mid-Series Sales
- Original Air Date: 23 April 2008
- Renaissance: Claire (Project Manager), Alex, Jenny, Kevin, Michael and Sara.
- Alpha: Lucinda (Project Manager), Helene, Jennifer, Lee, Lindi and Raef.
- Task: Develop three new flavours of ice cream at specialised farms, then choose two to sell directly the trade market in London. Most profit made, wins.
- Task Review: Alpha decided on "Avocado and Chili" and "Toffee Apple" flavoured ice creams after a focus group meeting. While they got orders from a group of pubs, both Jennifer and Lindi caused problems; not only did they waste time arranging appointments with ice cream shops that made their own product, they also violated the task's rules by agreeing to an exclusivity agreement with a cinema chain. Meanwhile, Renaissance opted to go for "Very Berry" and "Cider and Elderflower" flavours of ice cream, the latter nicknamed "Scrumplelicious", after being late for the focus group and thus taking their market research from two customers at a local pub. The team struggled to get in orders, but a secured a large amount from a designer restaurant at the last minute, that effectively won them the task.
- Result: Alpha made a profit of £1,273.64, while Renaissance made a profit £1,455.45.
- Winner: Renaissance – By £181.81.
- Reward: A helicopter trip to Bowood House in Wiltshire.
- Brought into the boardroom: Lucinda, Jennifer and Lindi
- Fired: Lindi – For her poor sales tactics, refusing to accept responsibility for her faults, violating the task rules with the exclusivity deals, and failing to live up to her many claims.
- You're Fired Panel: James Averdieck, Carol Thatcher and Mark Price
- One suggestion for Renaissance's ice cream was based on cocktails, such as "Vodka and Coke" and "Sex on the Beach", but this idea was vetoed after Michael expressed concerns about how these would be received by families, thus making it impossible to secure any cinema deals.
- This was the last time that Renaissance won a task. This was also the last time that Lee or Lucinda were on a losing team, both remaining on Alpha for the remaining tasks.
- Sir Alan openly stated his disapproval of Alpha's sales to the cinema and pub chains being done on an exclusive basis, stating that their deals were supposed to open up new markets for farmers and thus he would have disqualified them if they had won, while he also criticised the team for choosing shops that made their own ice cream, feeling it showed a lack of strategy. Lindi's refusal to admit that this was a poor strategy played a major role in her firing, as Sir Alan felt that this, along with her similar denials of fault in Week 2, proved she could not take responsibility for her errors. On You're Fired, the panel notably mocked this mistake.
- To determine if criticism against the women was justified, Sir Alan appointed both as project managers for this task. Claire, who reined in her aggressive side in response, earned praise from her team and Nick, while Lucinda received surprisingly good feedback about her leadership, even impressing Margaret. Of the two, Sugar held reservation that Lucinda lacked force of character to put her foot down, after she backed down from a suggestion to have manufacturers on both of Alpha's sales teams, hoping they could convey enthusiasm, when she was met by silence from Jennifer, Lindi and Raef.
- While Jennifer spoke against the positive feedback on Lucinda's leadership during the results, she was openly challenged by Lee in the 'losers' cafe' for not voicing any concerns during the task, while Sir Alan did not hold Lucinda responsible for the team's loss, pointing out that both Jennifer and Lindi had made many of the mistakes in the tasks, including their poor judgement in sales tactics. While Jennifer was not fired, mainly because she had contributed more in the past four tasks than Lindi had done, she was warned that she was now on her last chance.
- On You're Fired!, just over half the audience were against Sir Alan's decision, with the panel feeling Jennifer should have been fired instead, and that Lindi had merely been unlucky since she had been second-in-command on the task.
Week 6: Yours Truly, Angry Mob
- Original Air Date: 30 April 2008
- Renaissance: Kevin (Project Manager), Alex, Claire, Jenny and Sara.
- Alpha: Michael (Project Manager), Helene, Jennifer, Lee, Lucinda and Raef.
- Task: Create a new "occasion" for a range of greetings cards, then pitch them to three prospective retailers. Most orders received, wins.
- Task Review: Alpha came up with the idea of a "National Singles' Day" to be held on 13 February, and produced a range of cards intended as an alternative to Valentine's Day cards for single people. While their first two pitches were relatively unsuccessful due to objections over the date, thus earning them low orders, their third earned them a considerable amount after Michael removed the date from it. Meanwhile, Renaissance went with an environmental card, suggested by Jenny and forced onto the team after she refused to research any of the other ideas they made. However, the card's environmental theme was questioned by the retailers, with Kevin's aggressive pitching causing two of them to make no orders. While he reined this in and ensured they got orders from their third pitch, it proved too late to prevent the team losing the task.
- Result: Alpha received 22,500 orders, while Renaissance received 6,000 orders.
- Winner: Alpha – By 16,500 orders.
- Reward: A private piano recital from Myleene Klass.
- Brought into the boardroom: Kevin, Sara and Claire
- Fired: Kevin – For his awful sales pitches, refusing to allow Claire to pitch (despite her experience), allowing Jenny full control on creating the card, taking no responsibility for the loss, bringing Sara back in the boardroom in an attempt to scapegoat her instead of Jenny and for his overly arrogant attitude throughout the process.
- You're Fired Panel: Jessica Huie, Nick Hewer and Lorraine Kelly
- During the task, Michael spent 3 hours debating how to correctly spell "National Singles' Day", including where to put the apostrophe, and even went so far as to attempt to contact the editor of The Daily Telegraph for advice, which was later mocked by Nick on You're Fired. In the boardroom, he was strongly castigated by Sir Alan for over-celebrating after Alpha's victory was announced.
- Jenny was heavily criticised by Sir Alan and Margaret for not only coming up with a poor idea for their cards, refusing to take any responsibility for the loss, and blatantly trying to scapegoat Sara, but also for suddenly declaring during one pitch that she no longer bought greetings cards because of their environmental impact. Sir Alan was appalled that she could not see the inherent contradiction in her words in regards to the team's product.
- While Sir Alan accused the team of ganging up on Sara, and Kevin's ignoring a strongly-implied warning not to bring her back into the final boardroom all but guaranteed his dismissal, Sara was nonetheless given a final warning to step up on the next task. Despite not considering her at fault for the loss, Sir Alan agreed that she had contributed little throughout the process, outside of her role as project manager on the Week 3 task.
- When questioned over why she did not step up to do Renaissance's pitches, Claire answered that she would have been happy to have done so at the start, but felt she was set up as a scapegoat after Kevin was initially dead set on doing so, but asked her later on in the task to take over. Sir Alan doubted any pitch of hers could have been worse than Kevin's, after noting that the theme had doomed the team and that Kevin should have recognized from the start that she was more qualified to deliver the pitches than he was, but advised her to step up if a similar situation arose again.
- Following the task, Sara became the subject of a heated debate at the house between several candidates over her perceived laziness – primarily Lee, Jenny and Alex – with only Raef jumping to her defence in the argument and Claire pointing out that Kevin had been to blame for her team's loss; Lucinda also defended her, though this was not included as the final edit of the episode. In the You're Hired special at the end of the series, Lee expressed regret over comments he made in this debate after being heavily critical of her, despite Sara baring no ill-will towards him after the next task.
- On You're Fired!, both the audience and the panel agreed with the decision to fire Kevin, who even admitted himself that he deserved his fate. On Why I Fired Them, Sir Alan strongly implied that had Jenny been brought back, Kevin would have just only received a final warning, but this mistake was the last straw.
Week 7: Marrakesh
- Original Air Date: 7 May 2008
- Renaissance: Jennifer (Project Manager), Alex, Claire, Michael and Jenny.
- Alpha: Lee (Project Manager), Helene, Lucinda, Raef and Sara.
- Task: Purchase a set list of items in the marketplaces of Marrakesh, Morocco, negotiating for low prices. Least amount spent, after addition of fines, wins.
- Task Review: Alpha wisely spent their time sourcing items before setting off, but had initial difficulties when they arrived at the market. However, they managed to collect all ten items without penalties, with Helene and Raef bargaining well for the cow hide and obtaining a second-hand Santos orange juicer in the last few minutes, despite buying it for a fair price. Meanwhile, Renaissance's execution of the task was a shambles, as Jennifer paid little attention to the dossiers, deciding to straight to the market and thus resulting in the team being disorganised and making mistakes, such as buying the wrong colour of mosque alarm clock, while Jenny and Michael attempted to bribe a sports store so to sabotage Alpha's efforts. The team effectively lost the task due to a combination of these mistakes, and the fines they received for purchasing unbranded tajines and a halal chicken instead of a kosher chicken.
- Result: Renaissance's total spend was £603.59 (fines included), while Alpha's total spend was £413.61.
- Winner: Alpha – by £189.98.
- Reward: Hot air balloon flight around Leeds Castle
- Fired (during internal review): Jenny – For lying about the Kosher fiasco to try to get Michael fired, attempting to sabotage Alpha's efforts, her terrible attitude towards the other candidates, and for her generally average-at-best track record throughout the competition, despite her promising CV.
- Brought into the boardroom: Jennifer, Claire, and Michael
- Fired (during final boardroom): Jennifer – For her poor and disorganised leadership, not paying attention to the dossier, and rushing to the marketplace.
- You're Fired Panel: Michelle Mone, Alvin Hall and Vanessa Feltz
- The list of items included a green mosque alarm clock, a Santos orange juicer, a set of tajines, a kosher chicken, a berber bed spread, tennis rackets, a blue cactus and a cowhide.
- Claire, hoping to speed up Alex's negotiations for a rug, complained about being tired and wanting to return to the hotel, to pressure the seller into dropping the price faster. This idea backfired, as Alex was forced to buy it when the price was frozen instead. Sir Alan indicated that had Renaissance lost the task by a narrower margin, he would have fired Claire for this.
- Sir Alan felt he could no longer put up with Jenny's exceptionally dishonest behaviour in recent tasks, especially after the bribery attempt she and Michael tried to instigate was exposed for what it was to the rest of the team, with both Nick and Margaret adding that their opinions of her had changed due to her dishonesty and poor attitude. Sir Alan subsequently fired Jenny when she returned to the boardroom, after she attempted to change the story on the Kosher chicken incident a second time so as to shift the blame on Michael and get him fired.
- While Alex was deemed responsible for purchasing the unbranded tajines, Sir Alan felt that this was the least serious mistake that any of the team members had committed, and sent him back to the house after Jenny's firing, thus leaving Jennifer, Michael and Claire to face the final boardroom.
- Although questioned at length about his role in the bribery attempt, and his claims of being "a good Jewish boy" on his application form despite neither displaying knowledge of Kosher, or recognising the Hebrew greeting L'Chaim, Sir Alan decided to keep Michael, stating that Jenny had been the main instigator in the bribe and that he could recognise an element of "youthful exuberance" in him. Jennifer, angered by this, effectively gave an ultimatum to be fired if he would not fire Michael, which enraged Sugar, but did not influence his decision to fire her as he had put that down to her poor leadership.
- The audience on You're Fired unanimously agreed that Jenny deserved to be fired, but were more divided on Jennifer. While the panel decided that she deserved her fate, they also agreed that dismissing Michael would have been justified. While Jennifer was not shown to be fired with regret on the main episode, it was revealed on You're Fired that she was.
- This episode featured a number of firsts in the British version's history: the first time a candidate was fired outside of the final boardroom; and the first time a project manager did not have a choice on who to bring back to the final boardroom. In addition, after the world economy experienced a severe downturn following this series, Sir Alan admitted that it would be inappropriate for the series to continue to be filmed in exotic locations. Production staff subsequently filmed later series within the UK, and within the European Union on rare occasions, up until filming began for the ninth series.
Week 8: Wedding Hell
- Original Air Date: 14 May 2008
- Renaissance: Helene (Project Manager), Alex, Michael and Sara.
- Alpha: Lucinda (Project Manager), Claire, Lee and Raef.
- Task: Select and sell wedding dresses and accessories at a wedding exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Most sales made, wins.
- Task Review: Alpha opted to sell dresses by high-end designer Ian Stewart on Raef's recommendation, which helped them to secure bridal lingerie as their accessory. Although the team had difficulty selling the dresses to begin with, customers eventually returned to make purchases near the end of the day, with three dresses and a good amount of lingerie sold as a direct result. Meanwhile, Renaissance went with a mid-range supplier for the dresses at Helene's insistence, and chose to sell wedding cakes after losing out the lingerie to Alpha. While Alex single-handedly sold five of their dresses, none of the cakes were taken, mainly due to Michael and Sara using highly aggressive sales techniques, ultimately costing them victory.
- Result: Alpha had total sales of £5,752.99, while Renaissance had total sales of £1,925.
- Winner: Alpha – By £3,827.99
- Reward: Luxury spa visit.
- Brought into the boardroom: Helene, Sara and Michael.
- Fired: Sara – For her aggressive manner towards customers, her inability to listen to others, not selling any cakes, and her general lack of contribution throughout the previous tasks.
- You're Fired Panel: Mary Portas, Mark Frith and Jane Moore
- While Sir Alan acknowledged that Alex had clearly been the best performer on Renaissance, having single-handedly sold five of the seven dresses that the team sold, he criticized Alex's having been in the losing team for all but two of the tasks thus far.
- Although Sir Alan felt she lost the task right at the start by deciding to go for cheap dresses, and Margaret was extremely critical of her leadership, Helene was given a second chance as Sugar felt she had been impressive on most of the prior tasks.
- After Sara's firing, Sir Alan appeared to be on the verge of firing Michael also. However, Michael was allowed to make the case for his survival, and Sugar agreed to let him continue, before sending Michael and Helene back to the house. Lee was, at this point, the only candidate who had not appeared in the final boardroom.
- In spite of the choice of high-end dresses turning out to be a correct decision, Sir Alan and Nick expressed the view that Raef had been fortunate that it had turned out that way, since his choice had not taken into account any business justification outside of the high price.
- On You're Fired!, both the panel and the majority of the audience disagreed with Sir Alan's decision, with the general consensus from the panel being that either Helene or Michael should have gone instead of Sara, though she herself admitted that she deserved to go.
Week 9: Tissues
- Original Air Date: 21 May 2008
- Renaissance: Raef (Project Manager), Claire, Helene and Michael.
- Alpha: Alex (Project Manager), Lee and Lucinda.
- Task: Create a new brand of tissues along with television and print advertisements, then present them to a panel of advertising executives. Best brand and campaign made, wins.
- Task Review: Renaissance created a brand "I ♥ my tissues" that included a smart aesthetic design for their tissue box, with Claire providing a professional presentation to the executives. However, while Michael and Raef directed their TV advert well and even hired weather forecaster Siân Lloyd to appear, it was found to run for too long, and led to most of the material showing the product itself being removed in order while it was being brought down to the required length. Meanwhile, Alpha created a brand called "Atishu!", but both their tissue box design and advert were deemed relatively poor, with Lee being ill-prepared for the team's presentation. Despite these issues, their brand name was praised, with their advert and campaign being deemed as attention-grabbing and giving a clear message about the product, effectively earning them victory.
- Winner: Alpha – For a better brand name and advertising campaign.
- Reward: An after-hours shopping spree at Harvey Nichols (London).
- Brought into the boardroom: Raef, Claire and Michael
- Fired: Raef – For losing focus on the requirements of the task due to his creative flair, editing out the close-up of the product in the commercial and because Sir Alan felt he got as far as he had through luck.
- You're Fired Panel: Louise Redknapp, Nick Howarth and Jo Elvin
- During the reward, all three members of Alpha admitted that they had expected to lose the task. Their advert, which involved parents discussing the use of the tissues for their ill child, was later discussed on You're Hired as being humorously flawed on a number of points – the child being sent to school when she was ill; one parent pinching the child's nose and thus likely to spread their illness; the mother appearing dazed; and the product appearing to have been chucked out of the back of the car and into a flower bed.
- Siân Lloyd's involvement in Renaissance's advert was criticised for having little relevance to the product or the events in the advert, along with her brief appearance in the edited version. Lloyd herself admitted on camera of being unsure why she had been cast as a mother, considering she was single at the time of filming and has no children. Renaissance's brand name was also criticised by Sir Alan, who said he could not imagine anyone "loving their tissues", with Nick Hewer commenting that it would probably have worked as a tagline, but not as a brand name.
- Before firing him, Sir Alan respectfully told Raef that he conclusively thought he was nothing but "hot air". Michael and Claire were both given final warnings afterwards; Claire for not attempting to help with the editing, and Michael for his third consecutive appearance in the boardroom.
- The majority of the You're Fired studio audience combined with the panel disagreed with the decision to fire Raef, and also with Alpha winning the task. The panel felt that Michael most deserved to be fired out of the three in the final boardroom, and that all three members of Alpha would have been equally deserving of being fired; Alex for being unconvincing as project manager; Lee for his terrible presentation; Lucinda for contributing little and being uncooperative.
Week 10: Re-inventing the Wheel
- Original Air Date: 27 May 2008
- Renaissance: Michael (Project Manager), Claire and Helene.
- Alpha: Lee (Project Manager), Alex and Lucinda.
- Task: Rent out a set of luxury sports cars. Most sales made (by rental), wins.
- Task Review: Alpha decided to rent out the Aston Martin and the Pagani Zonda, the latter a risky move due to its rental price of £2,750 for one day. While the team struggled to find sales, with Lucinda faring the worst due to sales not being her natural area, things turned around after Lee made a few deals, followed by Lucinda making one sale after shadowing him, and Alex striking a couple of large deals on the Zonda, one made just before the task's deadline. Meanwhile, Renaissance decided to rent out the Ferrari and Spyker, but earned less sales; although Claire and Helene attracted customers to the Spyker, only the former made sales, while Michael had a fruitless search for customer for the Ferari, just missing out a sale from one. Their overall performance effectively ended any chances of winning the task.
- Result: Renaissance made sales of £2,114, while Alpha made sales of £11,815.
- Winner: Alpha – By £9,701
- Reward: Wine tasting at a Mayfair hotel.
- Brought into the boardroom: Michael, Helene and Claire
- Fired: Michael – For picking a poor market location, failing to deliver on his promises, his consistent attempts to take advantage of the others, appearing in the final boardroom four times in a row, and for his generally poor track record over the past ten tasks.
- You're Fired Panel: Vicki Butler-Henderson, Trevor Nelson and Ruth Badger
- Six luxury sports cars were featured in this task, which the teams were given time to review before making their choices – the Koenigsegg CCX, Pagani Zonda S, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Spyker C8, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Ferrari 360 Spider.
- While Lucinda won, she was criticised for her minimal contribution, particularly as the only deal she made brought in £65. Meanwhile, despite being brought back, Claire was told that she was in no immediate danger of being fired, as she had been responsible for the majority of her team's revenue.
- Helene came perilously close to being fired due to her failure to make any sales, along with suspicions by Sir Alan and his advisers (particularly Margaret) that she had consciously decided to take a backseat due to her having the least sales experience of the three members of Renaissance, but was saved by the fact that Sir Alan felt she had been one of the strongest candidates prior to her three-week losing run, and decided to give her a chance in the interviews. The You're Fired panel, while agreeing with Michael's dismissal, felt that firing Helene would have also been justifiable.
- On Why I Fired Them, Sir Alan reflected that he probably should not have given so many chances to Michael and that he was drawn in by his youth, even acknowledging that he did not always get it right.
- Both teams set records following this episode in regards to their performances throughout the series, and still retain them to date – Alpha holds the record for the team with the most wins, while Renaissance holds the record for the most losses.
Week 11: Interviews
- Original Air Date: 4 June 2008
- Semi-Finalists: Alex, Claire, Helene, Lee and Lucinda
- Task: The five remaining candidates undergo a gruelling interview process from four interviewers – Paul Kemsley, Claude Littner, Karren Brady, and Bordan Tkachuk. Sir Alan decides on who proceeds based on the feedback.
- Candidate Reviews: Claire was accused of being too talkative but otherwise got the best reports from the interviewers, with Karren even offering to employ her if Sir Alan did not. Lee was considered to be a good all-round candidate, but got caught off-guard when asked to do a humorous impression by Paul, which backfired when he was told this demonstrated he did not seem to take the interview seriously, while he was also reprimanded for exaggerating on his CV, lying about his length of time at university. Helene was also considered to have a good set of skills, but faced criticism for not having demonstrated any progression in work outside of her current company, and was accused of having a poor attitude after she repeatedly made personal attacks on the other candidates. Alex continuously came under fire, with his CV being highlighted as boring; while he argued that this was because he was only 24 years old, both Karen and Paul insisted that this was not an excuse, stating that they had achieved more than him by his age. However, he did earn some praise for his accomplishments as a salesman, particularly the fact that he had managed to earn a living purely from sales commission. Lucinda got the worst reports, as she was praised for being intelligent and an excellent team leader, but heavily criticised for being a "handful", with the interviewers questioning her motives for wanting the job, and feeling that her teamwork skills were weak.
- Final Decision: In the end, Lucinda was the only candidate everyone agreed was totally unsuitable for the job, but there was no clear consensus on who else should be fired. As a result, Sir Alan fired Lucinda and put all of the other four candidates through to the final.
- Fired: Lucinda, with regret – For being "too zany", having a degree unrelated to business (in aromatherapy), and for giving doubts over how much she desired the job.
- You're Fired Panel: Rachael Robertson, Michael McIntyre and Claire Balding
- Only one candidate was fired, despite the fact that Sir Alan had previously said that three people were going to get fired. This was because he felt that he could not separate the four finalists based on what he had seen so far, so he chose to have them face one last test to help him with his final decision. While Lucinda was not shown to be fired with regret, it was shown on Why I Fired Them that she was.
- After the end of one of her interviews, Lucinda started to question whether she really desired the job. In the boardroom, Alex picked up on this and brought it up in the boardroom, damaging Lucinda's chances of remaining in the competition. He was accused by the You're Fired panel of being a snake, and was mocked for his extremely defensive responses to the interviewers' questions, with Michael McIntyre also mocking his CV.
- On You're Fired, two of the panellists and the majority of the audience agreed with Sir Alan's decision, with Lucinda herself admitting it was fair and the right decision to make.
Week 12: The Final
- Original Air Date: 11 June 2008
- Finalists: Alex and Helene, Claire and Lee
- Alex and Helene's team: Jennifer, Kevin and Raef.
- Claire and Lee's team: Jenny, Michael and Simon.
- Task: Finalists develop an original fragrance for men, and then market it at an industry event. Best concept wins; Sir Alan then decides on which of the winning pair is hired, based on their performance.
- Task Review: Helene and Alex's team went with a brand called DUAL, which evolved from a bottle design provided by their product designer while they had struggled for name ideas. The team struggled on the first day, with Helene constantly arguing with Alex and Kevin being left to make most of the key decisions. Their dynamic greatly improved on the second day, to the point that they pulled together in time for their presentation. While the fragrance of caramel and chocolate was loved, the bottle's design was seen as expensive to produce and therefore not fitting of its retail price, despite it being seen as innovative, especially with the feature of a detachable smaller bottle. Meanwhile, Claire and Lee's team named their fragrance R0ULETTE, playing on associations with gambling and James Bond, even using a '0' to give it a connection to a roulette wheel. While the team had no major issues and worked well together, their presentation saw the brand being criticised as likely to be unpopular with women buyers due to the gambling connotation in it, with the fragrance being described as boring in terms of experts regarding it as "retro 50". However, while Sir felt that the theme of the brand was an issue, he declared them the winners of the task, as Helene and Alex's bottle design had proven to be fatally flawed.
- Task Winners: Claire and Lee – For a concept that was not heavily flawed, despite the theme's issues.
- Fired: Alex and Helene – For a costly bottle design, plus the following additional reasons:
- Alex – For his overly defensive nature, failing to show other skills than selling, and for having the least impressive track record and CV of the final four candidates.
- Helene – For her highly negative attitude throughout the process, taking a backseat during the first day, and for trying to shift responsibility for the bottle's price onto Alex.
- Final Boardroom: Left with Claire and Lee, Sir Alan contemplated on who had done better, and eventually made his decision based on his views of the final two:
- Runner-Up: Claire – For giving doubts about employing her in the long-term, despite Sir Alan complimenting her on the improvement she had shown over the course of the process.
- Winner: Lee – For being "very resilient" and "very convincing" and for improved his presenting skills by "100%".
- Helene spent her exit interview badmouthing Alex, accusing him of being solely responsible for the loss because he was the one who accepted the bottle design; she subsequently retracted her remarks on the You're Hired special that followed the episode. By contrast, Alex, who had his own taxi, was tearful and didn't say much beyond lamenting that he had been "so close, but so far."
- To date, Lee is the only candidate in the show's history to make it to the final and win, without being brought back to final boardroom after the series of tasks; although Paul Tulip from Series 2 was never brought back, he was fired during the Interviews stage, while Courtney Wood from Series 12 made it to the final while never being brought back, only to finish the series as runner-up. Lee previously held the record for being the most successful winner of the show until it was beaten by series fifteen winner, Carina Lepore.
- This is the first time two candidates were fired simultaneously, as usually Sir Alan would fire one candidate and then proceed to fire a second candidate; only the nature of this final created the situation for doing so. Consequently, Alex and Helene appeared on You're Fired! together instead of being introduced separately, though the latter was interviewed first.
- Lee went on to phone in sick on his first day.
Criticism and controversy
Alleged effects on candidate's health
Following her appearance on The Apprentice, Helene Speight made allegations against the programme, claiming that it had a bad influence on people who took part, stating that participating on the fourth series had been the worst mistake she ever made, after it "made her life a nightmare" and caused her serious health worries. These allegations were made, after it was revealed that she had collapsed with stress during filming of the series and had to be rushed to hospital, before later being diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome after the producers took her to Princess Grace Hospital in London's West End to be checked over, when she began feeling sharp abdominal pains during filming of the eighth episode. In an interview she made, she noted that:
"The doctors said it was all due to the pressure of the show and the diet I was eating. Hours later I was getting a boardroom grilling from Sir Alan after the wedding task. I was shaking with nerves convinced I was about to throw up all over Sir Alan and his sidekicks, Nick and Margaret."
Death threats to candidates
After their participation on the show, two contestants claimed that they had received death threats. The first to reveal such threats, Nicholas De Lacy Brown, claimed that they had come from the show's viewers, with the messages threatening to either harm him or give explicit intent to kill him, with one message reported to read as "If I see you, I'll hurt you". However Nicoholas commented that he remained defiant and that he wouldn't be intimated by such messages. The second to receive threats, Alex Wotherspoon, was reported to having one of them, an e-mail, being investigated by the BBC.
Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.
|1||26 March 2008||6.73||8|
|2||2 April 2008||6.73||9|
|3||9 April 2008||7.32||6|
|4||16 April 2008||7.43||5|
|5||23 April 2008||7.85||5|
|6||30 April 2008||7.28||5|
|7||7 May 2008||7.17||5|
|8||14 May 2008||7.11||6|
|9||21 May 2008||5.73||9|
|10||28 May 2008||6.84||6|
|11||4 June 2008||7.94||4|
|12||11 June 2008||9.29||1|
|The Worst Decisions Ever||3 April 2008||2.07||15|
|Motor Mouths||18 April 2008||1.73||25|
|The Final Five||2 June 2008||Template:N/A||Template:N/A|
|Why I Fired Them||8 June 2008||Template:N/A||Template:N/A|
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- "The Apprentice – Let the boardroom battle commence!", BBC Press Office, 18 March 2008
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- The Apprentice Magazine, June 2008
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