An octopus, a spontaneous trip to Malta, and a smile that could ‘charge a national grid’- what more could we expect from Lord Sugar and his latest crop of contestants?

The Apprentice is back with its fourteenth series; the first episode of which aired last Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One. After the finale of last series, where he invested in both finalists, I was unsure if Lord Sugar was still capable of surprising viewers and candidates with his decisions. However, he soon shocked us by sending all 16 candidates to Malta on the first task- usually they go overseas in a much later stage of the series.

As always, there were a large variety of characters crammed into that initial boardroom meeting. The Apprentice is one of the few programmes where it’s easy to know the contestants early into the first episode; they definitely proved that egocentric entrepreneurs provide the best entertainment. I’d have to say the best line must be from Kayode, a professional speaker, with his spin on a well known saying: ‘I don’t just grab the bull by the horns, I put him in a headlock and squeeze every opportunity that comes out of him’. The art of a great Apprentice line is clearly combining cockiness with a nonsensical idea, also shown with David’s description of himself: ‘I might look like a business cuddly bear, but if you cross me I’ll knock your stuffing out’.

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The entrepreneurs all distinguished themselves in different ways, some more negative than others. Khadija started the first, albeit inevitable, cat-fight when Sarah took her sale from her. One frustrating thing about the first few episodes is the stereotypical behaviour that come from the men and women. Rick made the first sexist comment on women with his take on women vs Malta: ‘Oh, my make-up’s running, I’m doing my hair.’ Kurran also stood out from the crowd with his ambitions to become an Oscar winner, something that being on the Apprentice seems extremely useful for.

The job of project manager was handled very differently on each team. Jackie proved within 10 minutes how to nominate someone for the job of PM when they really didn’t want it: Jasmine had to take on the task. However, Kayode showed himself as the most enthusiastic Apprentice candidate by pitching himself for PM. I felt like his speech, ‘If we all come together as one team, one family, everybody achieves more’ was sadly wasted when no one else wanted the role of PM anyway.

Lord Sugar was also on top form with his put-downs and puns in the boardroom. When the women accidentally bought two sets of blinds he commented on ‘the blind leading the blind’ *cue forced laughter from the candidates*. Claude and Karen were also as blunt and exasperated as ever; both correcting the candidates if they ever tried to bend the truth in the boardroom.

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The stand-out moment must be when the men misunderstood what the octopus was that they were meant to buy. Instead of buying the diving equipment required, they bought a whole octopus assuming the hose was just a part of its body.

From the first episode The Apprentice has shown that it still has all the ambition, cockiness and bickering that it has always brought out when a £250,000 investment is offered.

The Apprentice is on BBC 1 every Wednesday at 9pm. (Catch up with the first week on BBC iPlayer).

Featured image credit: ©BBC