Apprentice star Ryan-Mark Parsons has said the coronavirus pandemic came as a “blessing in disguise” for last year’s candidates.
Filming was halted on a new series of the BBC One show this year due to the virus.
And Ryan-Mark has exclusively told Entertainment Daily that it means the 2019 stars have been able to stay “in the spotlight” as a result.
Opening up during our interview, ED! asked if he was sad The Apprentice had been cancelled this year – or if he was pleased the new Best Bits show gives him another chance to shine.
What did Apprentice star Ryan-Mark say?
Ryan-Mark revealed: “I’m really friendly with Thomas Skinner, we speak all the time, which I never thought would happen.
“But I was telling him that yes, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise because we are sort of in the spotlight in a way, where there’s not another 16 candidates coming on to the screens again.”
Apprentice star Ryan-Mark added: “I think it’s a good thing to be honest. And it will come back next year as well.”
The new series of The Apprentice was cancelled this year, with filming deemed unsafe during the pandemic.
Yes, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise because we are sort of in the spotlight in a way, where there’s not another 16 candidates coming on to the screens again.
But tonight (October 15), viewers will be able to see the best of the show’s overseas task, including that safari task of Ryan-Mark’s.
During the task, the boys were seen pointing out a rhino and telling paying guests on their tour that it was an elephant.
However, Ryan-Mark is adamant he’s known what an elephant is all along.
He revealed: “I’ve always known the difference. It was, what’s his name again, I can’t remember his name, the guy sitting next to me on the bus.
“He had no idea that they were rhinos. It was pretty obvious that they were not elephants but somehow he thought they were rhinos and he embarrassed himself,” Ryan-Mark said, speaking of fellow candidate Riyonn Farsad.
First impressions of Karren and Claude
Ryan-Mark said it was “surreal” arriving in South Africa to film the show’s first episode.
He said: “It was so surreal because that was the first episode and then we had Karren Brady just randomly sitting in front of me on this truck. It was so crazy.”
Asked what Karren’s like, it appears Apprentice star Ryan-Mark is more of a Claude Littner fan.
“She is very professional throughout and doesn’t really show much emotion. She has a few of those moments where she judges us. But in terms of actually speaking to us, it doesn’t really happen.
“But with Claude, he’s the total opposite. He’s so down-to-earth. He is amazing,” he told us.
The episode also featured the infamous poo spitting scenes, and Ryan-Mark said he thought Souleyman Bah only took part in the game for airtime.
“I just thought, what on earth are you doing? I know you’re doing this for the cameras, you don’t have to put poo in your mouth to get airtime. But he did.
“I was like: ‘Oh my goodness, how are you doing this, literally putting poo in your mouth?'”
‘Lord Sugar would pick on me off camera’
So what’s Lord Sugar like away from the cameras – and have the pair spoken since Ryan-Mark’s unceremonious firing?
“He would pick on me sometimes off camera,” Ryan-Mark revealed.
“But apart from that he is very… he doesn’t mess around. I even answered the door to him one day and even then he was pretty much not talking to anyone.
“He opened the door and said: ‘Hi, you alright?’ And just went off to the kitchen. Off camera he doesn’t really speak to any of us.”
The pair have spoken since though, with Lord Sugar responding to Ryan-Mark’s pleas for business advice on Twitter.
“I do speak to him actually. He follows a few of us on Twitter. I’ve messaged him a few times about things, asking him for business advice. But I do speak to him from time to time.”
However, he doesn’t think the two will ever work together, with Ryan-Mark calling the business guru “cold”.
“I admire him in business, that’s the whole reason why I did the show. I just feel he doesn’t really… he’s just very cold I would say.
“Even Thomas Skinner, who he really loved, he has a really great business that’s established and I think Thomas has mentioned him on Twitter saying: ‘Lord Sugar, do you want to invest in my business? It’s doing well.’ But he hasn’t entertained that.
“If he’s invested in a business from the show, in a series that you’ve been on, he won’t go further than that.”
What would happen if Lord Sugar leaves the show?
Ryan-Mark is a Lord Sugar fan, though, and revealed that he doesn’t think the show would survive without him at the helm.
“I think there was a poll recently and Piers Morgan was voted as the favourite to replace Lord Sugar,” he said.
“I was just like no way, that can’t happen. Lord Sugar is so synonymous with the show that he’s pretty much irreplaceable. The BBC will really struggle to keep it going as soon as he leaves.”
Ryan-Mark added: “But Piers Morgan and Lord Sugar are so funny. I think they had a bitter row over the coronavirus and Piers has blocked Lord Sugar. I think it got really serious.
“They’ve always had this banter but then they’d be seen in the South of France together. But recently it escalated and Piers blocked Lord Sugar, so I think the friendship is over.
“Whatever they had, it’s all gone,” he stated.
Next up for Ryan-Mark
So what’s next on the agenda for the candidate viewers loved to hate?
He’s just finished filming a new BBC Three show, but he’s remaining pretty tight-lipped about it.
All he will say is that he “thinks” it’s coming in January and it’s “a lot more personal compared to The Apprentice”.
He added: “It’s all about my life. It’s not a TV show about me but it’s focusing on a part of my life. I think that’s as much as I can say about it but it will be fun. It’s definitely fiery.”
One show we won’t see him on, though, this year at least, is I’m A Celebrity.
“I don’t think I would even if they asked me to do it this year.
“You only have one shot of doing it and if I can raise my profile and I get offered to do it, I’d rather do it in Australia versus Wales any day,” he said.
The Apprentice Best Bits continues tonight at 9pm on BBC One.
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