The Apprentice review: Jaz Ampaw-Farr is my villain of the week

The Apprentice is back and luckily for me I can watch the show from the comfort of my own home!

The first episode is always a difficult one for the viewers, with so many candidates clamouring to get noticed it's hard to get a real feel for their potential.

Speaking from experience as a candidate you are also in a quandary at this early stage whether to stick your neck on the line or to try and take a 'back seat', something Lord Sugar singled Tim Stillwell out for doing.

This task was a classic series opener - in essence here's a load of 'blaady stuff', to steal a Lord Sugar-ism, now go out and sell it in an impossibly small amount of time... Queue candidates jumping all over each other to notch the first sale hoping that it's enough to take them through to round two and avoid the eternal embarrassment of being the dreaded first out.

For me both team leaders this week failed to cover themselves in any glory. Jaz Ampaw-Farr for the girls couldn't get her hand up fast enough to be team leader. It was that intolerable eagerness coupled with an absolutely dire opening team leader speech, in which she might as well have given half of the class extra homework for not paying enough attention, which lost her the task.

The first task is difficult enough without losing the respect of your whole team by talking to them in a patronising and condescending tone. It has very little to do with business skills or product (we won with some badly painted London Bus tote bags last year) and more about keeping people on side, working hard as a team and trying to sell as hard and as fast as you can.

On the boys' side one sub-team managed to grasp this, in spite of rather than resulting from the leadership of the softly spoken and intellectual Jason who unsurprisingly struggled to maintain control of his team. That responsibility was gladly taken on by domineering sub-team leader Neil - in a moment which gave me a weird flashback of being on the Southbank at 9am when Stephen Brady decided to deliver our team leader's speech in our first task. 

With a few wasted hours running past boarded up Oxford Street shops, Chinatown and bizarrely buying batteries for a casino - the teams were called into the boardroom and the boys won with a small margin over the girls.

And with small margins come drastic changes in opinions and interpretations of strategy. What was only a few minutes a go a marvellous first sale, is now castigated as a lost opportunity to bargain harder for a better deal. Only this week it really did feel like the writing was on the wall for one person in particular - PM Jaz.

After a similar result in this year's opening task, Jaz brought back in to the boardroom Sophie and Uzma, who were both accused of sitting on their hands during the first week. This of course sealed Jaz's own fate, as we all know you get at least a one-week bye if you do nothing in the first task!

Villain of the Week: 

Jaz - She had it wrong from start to finish. The way she spoke to the other members of the team completely alienated them. A lack of thought, coupled with some blundering selling tactics deservedly sealed her fate.

Hero of the Week:

Leah - She came across as mildly competent in the first week which is no mean feat I can tell you!

Tom's been busy since the show finished last year. He's founder of Cult Wines, check out his business here.

 

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