As if you couldn’t predict it, Stella English won this year’s Apprentice, but not after a fairly close run final contestant against Chris Bates.
The final task for Chris and Stella was to create a new brand of booze, complete with name, bottle design and marketing pitch. Aftertaste was an afterthought.
And it wouldn’t be The Apprentice final without bringing back a handful of rejected contestants to help with the heavy lifting. But most people noted that Stuart Baggs (The Brand) was missing from the festivities. Clearly his sacking last week was more permanent than he’d bargained for. He was last seen moaning that his links with Lord Sugar had been completely severed.
The truth is probably a lot more straightforward – there was only a certain amount of room for returning candidates, and even people like Sandeesh and Raleigh weren’t invited back. Baggs – despite being one of the most entertaining characters on the show this year – had clearly outstayed his welcome.
On to the tasks. Chris and Stella choose their team members. Stella ends up with a mostly female line-up and last to be picked is feisty Paloma, last seen tearing a strip out of someone in the boardroom before being fired.
It seems to escape Stella that she’s already named after an alcoholic drink, and half the work might have been done for her. So she and her merry team go ahead and create hard liquor for the yuppie generation – coloured, spiced bourbon. Their product name? Urbon. Classy.
Chris and his gang create a wonderful non-gay concoction called Prism, which they package in an eyecatching (and possibly eye-piercing) bottle that’s a very tall, sharp pyramid. It looks like the kind of thing a soap character would use to murder someone, which should at least prompt a bidding war between the producers of EastEnders and Coronation Street.
Both finalists manage their teams fairly professionally. Not perfectly. They have been handed rejects from the show as subordinates. That should tell you everything about their abilities. So there are a couple of hiccups, but no real monstrous feck-ups. Both finalists pitch their new products to a bunch of booze industry people, though Stella’s speech is cobbled together at the very last minute. However, she amuses the crowd greatly when challenged about appealing to the urban crowd. She quips back that if she wins the series, she hopes to move to the country and she’ll definitely be buying Urbon. This raises a laugh, which convinces Lord Sugar that in addition to her successes on the show, she had some pretty persuasive people skills too.
Before hiring Stella, Sugar paid tribute to her, saying:
Over the course of the last twelve weeks, what I’ve seen from you Stella is that clearly, you are a great organiser of people, you do know how to handle your team. You handled the boys team tremendously in the second week. You’re well liked and determined to get on with whatever you are asked to do. I also have taken note of where you have come from. The fact that at an early age you never had any qualifications but you went out of the way to train yourself and get yourself the job that you’ve got. That shows me a lot of determination.
I still thought Chris did very well, but Stella built up an impeccable case for herself week by week, so there was little doubt that she’d win in the end. Was anybody out there expecting Chris to win?