Ten facts you didn’t know about The Apprentice from £2k pay to Alan’s ad-lib jokes

BBC reality TV show The Apprentice is finally back on our screens this week after a break of two years and we can’t wait to see what Alan Sugar has in store!

Coronavirus put a stop to the much-loved competition in 2020 and 2021. But it’s back with a bang as 16 new plucky candidates fight for Lord Sugar’s approval to win a £250,000 investment in their business.

Lord Sugar and his aide Karren Brady are back to judge the candidates’ skills (or lack thereof!) and Tim Campbell – winner of the first series – takes Claude Littner's place as he recovers from an accident.

Ahead of the first episode, we’ve unearthed a few surprising and downright shocking facts about the show…

Disgraced Topshop boss Philip Green could’ve been in charge

Alan Sugar has been head of the hit show since the beginning, but things could’ve been very different.

Apparently Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary and disgraced Topshop boss Philip Green were approached for the job, too.

Candidates use ‘jury service’ to keep the secret

The chosen 16 candidates are ordered to sign a strict confidentiality agreement which allows them to tell just a few people about their exciting opportunity.

Jury service is often used as an excuse when people get curious.

Tasks actually happen back to back

There’s no rest for the eager business people. While the tasks appear to take place on a weekly basis, they’re actually filmed one after another!

The relentless schedule includes up to three tasks being filmed per week.

The profits are real too, and are given to charity.

Lord Sugar’s phone call doesn’t wake them

It’s true that the candidates often have just 20 minutes to make themselves presentable each morning.

They also have no internet, mobile or TV access in the house.

It seems like Lord Sugar’s phone call wakes them, but it’s actually the job of the production crew who arrive on site to film the action.

Candidates don’t see Lord Sugar’s boardroom

After each task, Lord Sugar gives each team a dressing down in the boardroom, but it’s not his real office.

The scenes are actually filmed in a West London studio. His real headquarters are actually located in Brentwood, Essex.

Lord Sugar goes unscripted

When it comes to firing folk, Alan Sugar needs no script.

He’s an ad-lib master, dishing out cheesy jokes and puns right off the top of his head.

The scenes take a whopping three hours to film and lucky editors get to pick the best bits to fit into 20 minutes.

The suitcases only hold one outfit

That’s right, when a candidate is fired it looks like they go home without their possessions.

But it’s not true. While the suitcases they take to the boardroom only hold one change of clothes, the unlucky folk fired by Alan stay at a hotel overnight afterwards and get to go home with the rest of their stuff in the morning – phew!

Their walk of shame is pre-recorded

Sorry to burst the bubble, but it’s not live!

After being fired by Alan Sugar, we see losers walk out to the taxi – and it’s all pre-recorded.

The scenes are actually filmed at the start of the show’s production. Each candidate dons a big coat to stop eagle-eyed viewers spotting that their outfits differ from the boardroom.

Each candidate is paid £2,000

No matter how far they get in the process, the payment stays the same.

Whether you’re first out or last in the firing line, each candidate is paid a sum of £2,000.

The winner is decided at the last minute

Talk about cutting it fine, Lord Sugar doesn’t decide the victor until the day before the final episode!

Two endings are filmed and it’s for a good reason – to keep the identity of the winner a secret.

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