The Apprentice S10 Ep4: Video killed the Apprentice star

This week’s Apprentice brought us a succession of firsts: the first task to focus on social media, a first victory for Summit and the show’s first ever triple firing, bringing the casualty count up to eight in just four weeks.

Roisin wisely avoids a face full of food (Image: BBC)

Fitness and food

Videos that won’t go viral

Alan Sugar’s word is final

Steven, Sarah, Ella Jade

Boardroom history is made

The Apprenti-Carriers bring the candidates to Wilton’s Music Hall in London’s East End. Opened in 1859, it’s the world’s oldest surviving grand music hall and remains in use today. It’s also 146 and 122 years older than YouTube and MTV respectively. (Fact fans: the first video ever played on MTV when it debuted in August 1981 was … The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star. You’re welcome.)

Lord Sugar tasks the teams with producing three videos with which to launch their own YouTube channel, with the aim of generating the most views over two days. With Summit losing another two members last week – that’s five in all so far – Sugar moves Jemma Bird across. He then appoints Ella Jade Bitton (who wants to set up a TV production company) and Solomon Akhtar (the technology entrepreneur) as project managers of Tenacity and Summit respectively.

This task was right up Solomon’s street (Image: BBC)

The teams decamp to YouTube’s central London headquarters to start brainstorming ideas.

Tenacity adopt fitness instructor Katie Bulmer-Cooke‘s exercise idea. Steven Ugoalah suggests ‘how not to pump iron’ but they eventually run with Felipe Alviar-Baquero‘s ‘Fat Daddy Fitness Hell’. Ella Jade names herself as director and Sarah ‘Mistress of the Lemons’ Dales as timekeeper – because that’s how much her input is valued.

Summit settle on food with a strong focus on humour, with Roisin Hogan and James ‘any excuse to get my shirt off’ Hill hosting in front of the cameras. As Nick Hewer notes:

James was picked to be one of the presenters because he can act the idiot.

‘Act’ the idiot, Nick?


Summit’s day gets gradually worse. Ella Jade doesn’t take well to Pamela Uddin making suggestions to clarify her own woolly direction. Along the way, their original intention to be both informative and entertaining loses any sense of humour as ‘Fat Daddy’ Felipe becomes more of a figure of ridicule.

Pamela was quick to point the finger at Ella Jade, but not without good reason (Image: BBC)

Lauren Riley, who seems to have become Tenacity’s go-to sub-team leader, heads up the team’s design efforts. Daniel Lassman expresses concern that their concept might be offensive (only about three hours too late). Under Sarah’s steely timekeeping, they run out of time and end up uploading their videos without a catchy title, descriptive tags or anything useful that might flag up their videos with search engines and draw in potential viewers.

They claim they didn’t realise they needed to do that. Mind you, these are some of the same people who didn’t realise solar panels don’t work if you cover them up.

#D’oh. #EpicFail.

There are no such problems on Solomon’s team, whose Dare to Dine concept (Jemma’s suggestion) is well sorted out, with the only point of contention being the selection of a YouTube collaborator with whom to film their final video the following day. Solomon plays the numbers game, opting for the massive following of 19-year-old Oli White over the more credible but smaller audience of Barry Lewis.

Buzzfeed – or buzzkill?

The following morning, Nick remains sceptical about both Summit’s efforts and the intelligence of the YouTube audience:

They all think it’s terribly funny. They may do – they’ve created this thing. Millions have got to find it funny, not just the odd nutcase.

Oh dear, Nick.

Mind you, Pamela doesn’t spare anyone’s feelings with her opinion on Ella Jade’s video masterpieces:

I think it’s very middle of the road.

The thing is: she’s right. And do you know what else you often find in the middle of the road? Roadkill.

Ella Jade steps aside to allow Pamela to direct Tenacity’s final video with their collaborators TheLeanMachines. The result? Clear direction, a more humorous video and a happier team.

The final element of the task requires the teams to make a pitch to be featured by Buzzfeed. Mark Wright, Solomon and Bianca Miller hit the right notes for Summit, but the Buzzfeed team are unimpressed with their videos’ juvenile humour. Bianca notes afterwards:

The guy on the left – I managed to read what he was writing, and he wrote “Kill James.”

And isn’t that something most of us could agree on?

Steven uttered many words without actually saying much of anything (Image: BBC)

Steven is super-keen to lead Tenacity’s pitch, which he crams full of generic gobbledygook to the extent that even the rest of his sub-team are bored. In the pitch meeting he waffles endlessly without actually saying anything. I’ve heard filibustering politicians who are less verbose. Buzzfeed are even less impressed with their cringeworthy videos, summing up the problem with a concision utterly lacking in Steven’s presentation:

I don’t think I would share it on an overweight friend’s page to say, “Hey, look, this is you. LOL.”

It comes as no surprise when neither team receives any promotion from Buzzfeed.

Boardroom Brouhaha

Sugar is unimpressed with Summit’s videos but Solomon receives the universal backing of his team for his performance as project manager.

Tenacity, however, get a rougher ride. Their videos are criticised for being a mish-mash of funny and serious. Steven is criticised for his rambling, content-light pitch. (He disagrees loudly.) Pamela sticks the knife into Ella Jade for her lack of decisiveness and leadership.

It’s all set up for the big reveal of a landslide win for Summit. Only it doesn’t quite turn out that way. Summit do register their first victory but only just, with 3,532 views to Tenacity’s 3,314. As a reward, they’re sent to Iceland to bathe in a hot volcanic lagoon.

Tenacity are in a different and far less pleasant kind of hot water. Pamela, who already has a history of blaming others, pins the responsibility on Ella Jade, who in turn points the finger at Steven and Sarah.

Back in the boardroom, Sugar quickly brushes aside all the excuses, pointing out that their Fat Daddy idea had plenty of scope for comedy which never materialised in the final videos. He notes:

The only way you lot are going viral is if you kiss someone with the bloody flu.

Steven expresses (loudly) that he was ignored. Sarah is blamed for everything that went wrong in the sub-team, even though it was Lauren who led it. More persuasively, Katie brings up Sarah’s performance as PM on the opening task – where her sales strategy involved short skirts, high heels and lipstick – as the reason no one trusts her.

Predictably, Ella Jade opts to bring back Steven and Sarah with her. (Steven disagrees loudly.) Karren Brady offers equally scathing observations on both of them. First she nails the problem with Steven perfectly:

People ignore him because it’s actually far easier to ignore Steven than to spend so long listening to him get to the point.

And then she cuts through Sarah’s protestations about being marginalised and ignored:

The question is: does she have anything worthwhile to say?

The final boardroom disintegrates into an unseemly bitching session. Ella Jade comes under fire for her lack of business experience. Sarah still claims to have been a great PM in week one, and her ‘expertise’ of the online dating website business she wants to set up is brutally shot down by Ella Jade, who points out that her only experience is as a member of such sites rather than actually running one.

Steven (loudly) ignores all criticism, continuing to talk even when Sugar interrupts him. A bad move – and his last move too, as Sugar declares him “a lost cause in this process” and fires him.

He’s only just getting started, though. He points out to Sarah that there’s no smoke without fire and there’s a reason her teammates don’t have any confidence in her. She’s fired too – as much for her abominable performance in victory on the opening task as anything else. In truth, she’s been a dead duck ever since – an easy target for others to isolate and pick off.

Ella Jade begged a lot. It wasn’t pretty (Image: BBC)

Sugar still isn’t finished. Ella Jade, who can see the writing on the wall, begs for forgiveness repeatedly and continues to plead even after he dismisses her – the show’s first ever triple firing! – to the point where it becomes more than a little embarrassing. Project managers have got away with worse in the past, but my overall impression of Ella Jade was of someone who lacked both directness and experience and was found out badly in a task that should have suited her well.

So, you wait an entire week for a Taxi to Obscurity and then three show up at once. First we get Ella Jade:

When I saw Steven and Sarah leave I thought I might have been given a chance to prove myself. I was in complete shock to be fired as well.

It’s a little harder to take Steven’s parting words seriously:

I think my passion got misunderstood by Lord Sugar as not being able to get along with other people. In reality, I’m very easygoing and I’m very easy to get along with other people. Unfortunately that didn’t come across.

No, indeed it didn’t.

As for Sarah, well …:

I think Lord Sugar looked at all of us today and thought we’re not suitable business partners. Which is fair enough – I don’t think Lord Sugar is a suitable business partner for me.

To her credit, she utters that final sentence with a straight face. However, I shall refrain from further comment at this point. What else is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

Task analysis

This was one of those deceptive tasks where 90% of the effort goes into creating the least important element that contributes to overall success: namely the creation of the videos. Don’t get me wrong, having quality content is critical to success in the real world – there’s a reason the mantra ‘content is king’ is so commonly heard around social media – but in an Apprentice task where the teams had barely a day in which to create a new channel, come up with three ideas for videos and shoot them, quality was never going to be a determining factor.

So what was key to winning the task? As small start-ups in a highly competitive arena, bringing viewers to their channels was vital. Search engine optimisation – using common search terms – is a good start, something Tenacity failed to do. Having an engaging title that then encourages people to click on their video is also important – again, Tenacity fell down here.

And yet, looking at the numbers, Tenacity lost by about 200 views but their collaboration video fetched around 800 less than Summit’s – meaning their other two videos must have generated around 600 more hits. So they must have done something right (or Summit made an unseen mess of things somewhere).

It was the collaboration video where Summit won the task. As Solomon knew, this was a pure numbers game. Oli White had around double the followers of TheLeanMachines, so it’s no surprise that Summit generated twice as many views as Tenacity.

However, the real clincher would have been for either team to be promoted by Buzzfeed, which offered the biggest opportunity to drive the high volume of shares that would have sent them viral. If one team had succeeded here, they would have won by a landslide.

Despite the eventual closeness of the result, there’s no doubt that the right team won. Summit had a clearer vision which translated itself into the comical elements of their videos, they selected a good collaborator and, though unsuccessful, they pitched well.

Ella Jade undoubtedly brought back the right two teammates. Sarah and Steven were both abrasive, poor team players and had far more in their negative column than they had positive contributions.

Sarah sowed the seeds of her own downfall as early as task one (Image: BBC)

Steven was a confident talker but was never able to put his point across persuasively and his volatile temperament made him unreliable. Sarah either had a good act going or was utterly self-delusional, and while she made for good entertainment she showed a lack of basic commercial sense on too many occasions. Both were ultimately fired for digging themselves into a hole in week one which they were never able to climb out of.

The only one who was at all unfortunate was Ella Jade. She did commit a fundamental error in being unable to translate her vision clearly, resulting in a confused set of videos and an alienated team. She was let down by a lack of business experience and the maturity to deal with disparate strong personalities.

So, after four tasks we have just one candidate with a 100% record: Jemma, who Sugar singled out at the beginning of the task for a lack of visible contribution. Here she came up with the Dare to Dine name and said she was responsible for managing the relationship with Oli White, which seemed to mostly consist of being nice to him and asking him to tweet a link to their videos. Is she being set up for a fall in the next week or two, or are we seeing the gradual emergence of a potential finalist? With a lot of the chaff now ruthlessly dispatched, it’s time for the genuine contenders to come to the fore.

Is Jemma deliberately keeping a low profile? (Image: BBC)

Next time: The teams must create their own coach tours. Remember the London sightseeing tours task from season six, with Stuart Baggs at his blagging best and Jamie Lester telling tourists, “The river Thames is … the second largest river in London”? That.

NOTE: Ella Jade’s father died a week before You’re Fired was filmed. As a result, she did not appear on the show.

The Apprentice season 10 reviews

Ten years of selling

Wearable technology

Home fragrance

18 Comments on The Apprentice S10 Ep4: Video killed the Apprentice star

  1. Hi, Tim, spot on as always. Sorry I’ve not been able to give my thoughts earlier, and thank you for your comments on my blog in previous weeks. I felt this week was the nadir of the current format (though we are still top heavy with candidates, so multiple firings may continue) and its hard not to conclude that some of the (extra) candidate this year are there as cannon fodder. Add to this the fact that Sugar is clearly aware of their business plans this year, something that was not so obvious before, and some firings seem even less justified if based solely on the current task. I agree that Ella Jade was unlucky, but Sugar does not trust educated candidates without real life experience.

    Anyway, you can read my thoughts at

    All the best

    • Hi Mark. For sure, Steven and Sarah were fired more for their failings in previous tasks than anything they did this week – although Steven’s pitch sounded like he’d cobbled it together from those really naff motivational posters you see in workplaces.

      In truth, this wasn’t a great task – although it was basically the traditional advertising task with a quantified result. A positive result from Buzzfeed would have skewed the result, and as I outlined in the post the reality is Tenacity did better with their untitled, untagged videos than Summit did – which just goes to show how random some task outcomes can be.

      We’re now more or less back on track – if we stick to the traditional format, there is scope for no more than one more double firing, and we don’t even need that. 20 candidates has been too many, I think – most viewers remain confused as to who everyone is. Hopefully now that will get easier as things settle down and the editors can focus on sharing out the airtime rather than showing us why this week’s multiple firees deserved to be fired.

  2. In your opinion Tim. The twenty minute notice between fast asleep and all of the apprentices preened and ready for launch.

    Is that mythical or legendary? In other words do you truly believe that they all get up showered and dressed in twenty minutes?

    • Mythical, done to create a sense of urgency. In ’20 minutes’, they’re expected to get up and get ready (with only one bathroom each available for boys and girls) – we even occasionally see someone ironing – while the camera crews buzz around them showing how busy they are and filming soundbites for insertion into the final edit. I suspect they have more like an hour.

      • Louisa Radice // October 30, 2014 at 10:56 am // Reply

        Last year’s Luisa Zissman has stated that the arrival of the camera crew was usually enough to wake up the housemates. The girls had an advantage in that their bedroom faced front so they usually heard the front door open before the boys.

        Re Jenna – the tabloids have portrayed her as the candidate with the most colourful private life (as they did with Luisa). Do they know something else we don’t?!

        • John Irwin // October 30, 2014 at 11:13 am //

          That makes sense…the camera crew will be there well before the call so the ironing and hair drying are possibly before the call! And it ties in with something that Sarah said on You’re Fired (not broadcast) about 3:30 starts which is significantly earlier than the call.

          Glad that is cleared up.

        • 3:30 starts? I can believe that. It also helps explain why some candidates look so tired (remember Maria nodding off in the car last year?) and, of course, early starts and long days lead to frayed tempers and the kind of blow-ups that provide so much of the ‘entertainment’ portion of the programme.

        • We’ve already had revelations about Solomon (sex video) and James (assault convictions and fling with Lauren during filming), so who knows with Jemma? It’s all pretty standard tabloid clickbait muck-raking, though – nothing we haven’t seen before.

          Regarding mornings, as you say the candidates will be aware when the camera crews enter. And it will take them a few minutes to set up ready to shoot all the standard components of the episode start. The standard shot of having a candidate racing to answer the phone is set up rather than spontaneous, then there’s all the shots of people getting ready, chatting about the previous week’s task or speculating where they’re going and what this task is – all the stuff that is made to look organic on TV but doesn’t just happen on its own. In reality, as I’ve said, I imagine it’s probably a full hour rather than the 20 minutes that ‘the magic of TV’ would have us believe. I mean, I’d struggle to get myself ready in 20 minutes in the privacy of my own home without having to fight over a bathroom with up to nine other people and a camera crew wanting to capture a witty soundbite!

  3. I think that neither group appreciated the You Tube audience. My daughters watch it as a tv channel and follow a number of contributors and they are 17 and 20 so based on a typically unrepresentative Apprentice style market research sample I think that Summit targeted too old and ended up too young and Tenacity were just way off the mark. Having said that, fitness videos do attract people but I hate to suggest that it requires sexiness to sell and that was missing and would probably not have been permitted even if they did have the people to do it!

    One of the differences this series is the early focus on business plans. After being convinced that Lord Sugar would not get involved in cosmetic surgery I hesitate to comment on these but I think it was always unlikely that he will go for the care home business or the dating website business. I struggle to see how there is room for another dating website and what new USP Sarah can bring to it. Apparently it is to go live this year and will include some kind of three minute Skype “pre-date”. This is interesting but also something that can be replicated by the big players in the business very easily. I think that Sarah also demonstrated appalling lack of sensitivity firstly with her short skirt comment (and she was not in the least bit contrite about it) and secondly when she asked one of the You’re Fired panelists if they had used a dating site! Well saved Dara.

    Steven’s verbosity dried up when talking to Dara. No surprise really as he demonstrated his limitations in the pitch. Care home with Lord Sugar? I wonder whether on top of the performance criteria on each task we also have a clearer and more visible focus on some possible projects underlying the firing process? With Tom Pellereau he very craftily purchased an existing product that required further development into a range and although there are loads of new projects on line from a highly creative inventor who essentially failed at The Apprentice so the business plan does end up as the most important factor. However, Lord Sugar’s surprises include Ricky Martin and a recruitment business as well as Dr Leah’s cosmetic surgery so it is difficult to see what he will go for.

    • Agreed on all points, John. How Lauren’s sub-team could have claimed they didn’t realise they had to add in titles and text is beyond me. They’re all in their 20s or early 30s – it’s not as if they had never seen YouTube before!

      Without meaning to do down any of the winners, on at least one occasion I do feel that Sugar has ended up with the ‘least bad’ option. That’s not to say that they are bad businesses per se, more that they do not have the right kind of market and/or risk profile to suit the kind of investor Sugar is. As he’s so fond of reminding us, he’s a products rather than service guy, with experience in electronics, health and beauty, property and a couple of other things.

      So, as you say, a care home or a TV production company? No. Both new areas for him, both highly competitive and difficult to make profitable on a small scale. (There are more than a few TV production companies out there …)

      As for a dating website – even if Sarah has found a genuine gap in the market, any advantage she has will soon be replicated and it’s hard to see how any start-up could gain traction, awareness and scale against the likes of without being quickly squashed. Of course, it’s possible. But the big question is what does Sarah bring to the party? An idea where there is no intellectual property to protect her from competition. She’s not a web designer or a coder, so those skills would have to be brought in. She’s not a marketing expert. And we saw on more than one occasion that she cannot sell. So what exactly would Sugar be paying for?

      Compare that to Leah last year. A market (albeit a risky one) that Sugar at least understands. High value and high margins – so if it works, payback arrives quickly. A credible face to the project with credible expertise. And, perhaps best of all, a strong business plan that understood the importance of having an exit strategy where both parties can cash out with a healthy return.

      Luisa’s bakery distribution idea was a safer one, at least on paper. But a distribution business typically works on slim margins and relies on high volume to be profitable. In terms of returning on investment, the payback is almost certainly a slow one with no clear exit strategy (even if successful, there wouldn’t be a long queue of buyers waiting to snap up the business). That’s not to say it doesn’t make sense as a business – but many start-ups will never achieve the scale to justify someone making an external investment in it.

      You also make a great point about tasks being more aligned to candidates’ business ideas where feasible, which is surely more design than coincidence. This task was a good test of the skills that both Solomon and Ella Jade would bring to their business ideas. Task two also looked like a good test of Robert’s ability to develop and sell a fashion-led product – despite his protests to the contrary, this task was tailor-made (ho ho) for him. After that experience, however, it’s no wonder he did more than ‘suggest’ who the PMs should be this week.

  4. God knows how any of them have energy to have a fling! Lauren must have been attracted to James’s intelligence and sense of humour. I found this week’s a little frustrating and the result seemed rather arbitrary. I also agree that Lord Sugar is firing more on their plans than the tasks. I also mourn that two of the funniest (unintentionally, of course) candidates have left the process. Still struggling to find one candidate I like. Maybe Roisin, Katie or Jemma. Still don’t know who Mark and Sanjay are as people. great review as always Tim! Mine is in the usual place…

    • I don’t think that it is an accident that there are tasks that are “arbitrary” or subjective in outcome. This one seemed to have some numerical value but 200 views and £14.77 are clearly not enough to describe the loser as a disaster without implying that the winner was pretty bad as well. The benefit to Lord Sugar of subjectivity is the amount of wriggle room it gives him as the margins are usually tight enough as shown above, that he can get the result he wants and the edit subsequently supports that view.

      • Spot on, John. As I noted in the review, it was clear that on the first part of the task (the two non-collaborator videos) Tenacity did quite a bit better than Summit despite their titling/text cock-ups, which rather suggests Summit didn’t do as well as was implied in that area. In fact, it’s a common thread so far this season (and, indeed in the majority of historic tasks) that tasks have not been so much won by the better team as by the less bad team, with the margins of victory being paper-thin.

        There’s no doubt that Sugar has the ability to manipulate the result in a number of tasks (advertising is the most obvious example). And, of course, the final task, which is always judged on a non-measurable basis, with the broadcast edit being cut to align with his final choice. Nothing wrong with that, really.

    • In truth I don’t think this was the greatest task but it did result in a spectacular boardroom, even if there was something of a disconnect between performance on this specific task and who was fired. At least the result was based on a quantitative measure – this was very similar to the advertising task for me, where Sugar gets advice from experts and then makes up his own mind regardless so he can rig the result if desired.

  5. Nice review!

    I admit I would not want to go into business with Sarah either but she was right about essentially being handed a non-job and patronised to. Lauren should have been in the final boardroom instead for the disastorous sub team she led (and I say this as someone who thinks Lauren is far better, though far less entertaining.)

    Good riddance Ella Jade. Her snide comment that Sarah is only a patron of online dating was the most unnecessarily nasty thing on this show since Dr. Leah called Luisa – and by implication everyone her field – a purveyor of ‘edible tubs of glitter’. Ella Jade also did herself no favours at all in the manner of her leaving.

    A good week for Pamela. Being Irish and biased I’m rooting for her or Roisin.

    • Thanks Ross. Sarah was put into a corner for sure, but she did bring that upon herself with some appalling performances and general behaviour in previous tasks. She struck me as one of those people who just expects other people to listen to her, and her appearance on You’re Fired confirmed my suspicion that some of her outlandish behaviour wasn’t an act for the cameras – she genuinely seems to believe some of the rubbish she spouted. What she would no doubt call ‘confidence’ I would call arrogance and a refusal to listen to anyone about anything.

      Personally I can forgive Ella Jade her comment to a large degree – it was put across somewhat immaturely (in line with much of her behaviour when under pressure in the boardroom) but at the same time it was a great take-down of Sarah and her ridiculous claims to credibility.

      The Leah vs Luisa thing last year was, I think, an ongoing war of words that Luisa started right back in week 1, where she said something along the lines of “you’re a doctor, how can you be any good at business”. I remain surprised that Luisa had so many fans during the series. Yes, she was entertaining and she did also have some good business instincts, but she also had a nasty streak and for me, was always more interested in fame than fortune.

      • Heh, I can understand that. I’ve always found it strange Leah had so many fans herself with her jawdropping arrogance (even if unlike Sarah she had the business chops to back it up.) I also have a hard time holding Luisa’s interest in fame against her; when you get down to it they all agreed to be on a reality televison show. I supose, while I agree she had a nasty streak I also thought Leah had one – and found Luisa’s peppy, what-you-see-is-what-you get persona much more entertaining that Leah’s haughtiness especially since I can see Luisa mellowing while Leah seems like she’ll become more herself.

        But back to this year, I have a hard time being as sympathetic to Ella Jade as you are. Maybe because I dislike Sarah a lot less than most but Ella Jade’s poor performance in the task and throwing Sarah to the wolves rather than Lauren (who absolutely should have been in the boardroom) really stung for me. She’s seems such a petty immature person that I am glad she is gone.

        • Ella Jade was more immature than petty for me. I think she was genuinely at a loss as to what to do with Sarah, who had by this point happily gone into victim mode. When I think back to myself as a 23-year-old with little practical business experience, I’m not sure how anyone can be expected to handle a character like that who refuses to play by the norms of acceptable business behaviour.

          I was no fan of Leah either – it was her superior business plan that brought me down on her side, nothing more. The problem I had (and continue to have) with Luisa is that she plays the innocent – she’s all “I’m famous? Me?” – without ever having convinced as being such. Her latest diatribe against this year’s contestants being supposedly fame-hungry ( is a case of pot and kettle. She was only ever in it for the fame – I don’t necessarily hold that against her, as the show stopped being an even vaguely serious business test round about season three or four, but it’s the fact she’s clearly playing the game and denying it that I find laughable.

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