Review: The Apprentice Final 2017 | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: The Apprentice Final 2017

Comment editor Kat Smith gives her thoughts on The Apprentice final, as the business reality TV series wraps up another year

SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the final of The Apprentice, as well as from the series in general

For a few weeks each year, for as long as I can remember, Lord Sugar and his group of hopeful candidates treat us to a stream of hilarious yet cringe-worthy moments. Amongst gasps and expletives, ‘how are these people so successful?’ is a phrase commonly uttered by my viewing buddies, with the calibre of potential apprentices becoming more and more questionable each year.

Just in case you’d already managed to forget, this year’s finalists were James White and Sarah Lynn. A recruitment company versus a service sending sweets like cards or flowers. They both won, despite sounding equally as underwhelming in the semi-final. However, that was probably due to clever editing… after all, it is a reality TV show.

It’s important to acknowledge that the show is undoubtedly more about entertainment than serious business
To just point out the obvious, it’s important to acknowledge that the show is undoubtedly more about entertainment than serious business. Sugar must have known Sarah’s business had more potential than was shown in the semis, he must have known from an earlier stage that he didn’t want Joanna as a business partner because of her ‘lack of experience.’ It makes it fun yet also frustrating to watch, especially when the vivacious and highly successful Michaela Wain got fired after the interviews.

The final partially redeemed the rest of the series. In spite of the countless laughs, I was growing tired of the demonization of Joanna while Bushra and Elizabeth acted far more aggressively.  My shock at Michaela being fired in the semi-final only contributed to my disillusionment and a final with two pretty average candidates was something I watched out of principle rather than one I anticipated with excitement.

Thankfully, Sarah came across completely differently in the final. I was surprised she’d made it that far; although she was, overall, inoffensive and seemed pretty smart, Lord Sugar’s not known for picking the wallflowers. The glimmer of emotion shown in the final seemed contrived and thrown-in when the producers realised that no one really knew about the Londoner, but I couldn’t help but feel like she’d been overlooked the whole process. Her presentation was stellar and her business plan was far superior to the meagre cups of sweets presented to her in her interviews. She must have been doing something right to beat Michaela (I won’t let this go) and if any of my pals are reading this, I wouldn’t mind getting one of those sweet boxes in the post.


Although it’s been branded as a ‘cop-out’ by many viewers (my house group chat went wild), I had an appreciation for the shock ending, with both candidates each earning an investment of £250,000. While it’s a competition and naturally, you’d only expect one winner, in the setting of business and investments, this was actually somewhat realistic. Lord Sugar’s net worth is estimated to be about £1.25 billion. As sickening as it is, a £250,000 investment is not a lot of money to him. That added in with a show that’s been running since 2005, I don’t think the ending was that much of a surprise as it has been received.

It’s not like he hired breakdancing Jeff
It was a nice turn of events when Sugar’s mention of a gamble didn’t lead to hiring the riskier White but instead investing in both. Yes, it probably helped to boost viewers and buzz around the show, but so what? It’s not like he hired breakdancing Jeff, although that would have been hilarious.

So, well done The Apprentice. You’ve given us another year of physical cringing, anger and laughter. It probably would have been more amusing if they had both been fired due to how bad both of their businesses were, but we’ll let you off. It must be said, it’s going to be hard to top this series in 2018.

Opinionated second-year Philosophy student and houmous enthusiast. (@katlouiise)


24th December 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

BBC and Express