If you’re a fan of The Apprentice – like we are – then you might want to look away now…
Why? Because everything you thought you believe about the show might just be shattered by what former aide of Alan Sugar Nick Hewer has to say.
Now, only the most naive among us would ever think people remain on the show week after week based entirely on their business acumen and skills.
After all, the amount of idiots we’ve seen muck tasks up has been astonishing. And yet we love it.
But now super dry Nick has let slip that the producers behind the show tend to have a habit of meddling in the show , especially when it comes to choosing people who might be visually appealing.
Speaking to the Sun, Nick has claimed that there was once a time when producers asked him and Lord Sugar to not fire a pretty blonde contestant.
“I’d say to [Lord Sugar], ‘Oh, by the way Alan, the blonde: he or she is as thick as a fridge door, and I urge you with every fibre of your being, get rid of them, because they’re going to let you down’.
“And the producers will say, ‘Do you think you could find it in your heart to not get rid of the blonde just yet?’
“He will say ‘the blonde will go when the blonde deserves to go’.”
Nick also told the newspaper that sometimes the producers would even select candidates based on how good looking they were during the original selection process. Er, big surprise, right? It’s TV!
This could explain why some of them are so rubbish at winning tasks that actually are based around the skills they claim to have made them a fortune!
“There was a time when all the young ladies who came on wore black pencil skirts and very high heels, with their hair done up in a chignon,” Nick recalled.
“I suspect that the producers go for different looks or people that can be differentiated visually — that would make sense, wouldn’t it? But again, you need the characters don’t you?”
Every series viewers – including us at Entertainment Daily – sit in front of their tellys shout at the screen when one of the candidates does something totally stupid.
But Nick says, producers have actually selected potential business partners who might not exactly be business brainboxes.
“You might say, ‘Are these the brightest people with the best prospects?’, and I would say ‘No, not necessarily’.” Nick explained.
“If you really got the brightest kids the danger is that no one would understand what they’re doing.
“What would happen — because this is how it happens — is it would be on BBC 14 at 3am, with six viewers, and the commissioning editor would be taken out of his office, led by the elbow to a brick wall, where he would be machine gunned.
“It’s all about the viewers. If you don’t deliver the numbers, you’re out. Which is why it’s been running now for twelve years.
“Why is it important, also, that they look like dum-dums? Because everybody’s got to know that they could do a better job.
“The guy on a squashy sofa, clutching a can of Stella in Strathclyde or wherever he is, who hasn’t got a job, and frankly is going to struggle, can say with absolute certainty that he could do better.”
So if you’re Stella from Strathclyde on that guy on the squashy sofa (God, how did Nick know about that?), here’s Nick’s big tip on how to get on the show.
One, make you CV sound ridiculous! “The big key, to anyone thinking of applying, is make sure on your CV, you say something so outrageous that the producer goes straight to you and says, ‘That’ll do’.
“‘I am the best salesperson in the northern hemisphere’ – bit boring, but that’ll do.
Nick also let slip a couple of the show’s secrets.
Once contestants are picked, they are shoved into sixteen separate hotels so they do not meet straight away, just like Big Brother.
But when they start shooting the show they undergo a very strict security check.
“They get to the studio, which is in Hanger Lane,” Nick explained. “they’re searched by the army: they take their phones, credit cards, the boys have their eyeliner removed, and they go into what is effectively a cauldron for up to 12 weeks. It’s absolute murder in there.”
But the biggest secret Nick has revealed, is the fact that the ‘taxi shot’ which is shown after a contestant has been ‘FIRED’ by Lord Sugar is actually shot at the START of the series!
“It’s a question of time,” Nick said. “They have a series of things to do. They have ‘the walk’ across the wobbly bridge. They also have the the ‘exit shots’, they’re called.” Nick revealed about shooting schedules.
“They always wear the coat and scarf, so you don’t know what they’re wearing underneath.
“You’ll also notice that they all wear the same clothes in the boardroom….I can’t remember why they do that.
“But they’re all going to take a taxi ride, apart from one, so you might as well get it over with.”
Well, folks, we hope we haven’t shattered your illusions and spoilt your fun. If so, soz! We did warn you to look away!
The Apprentice continues this Thursday at 9pm. And this week’s episode is a corker.