The Apprentice stars Baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell MBE have dispelled a myth about the BBC show that viewers may have been wondering about for years.
Lord Alan Sugar’s high-stakes competition returns tonight, with a fresh cohort of hopefuls competing for a £250,000 investment in their business concepts.
Karren and Tim return to the boardroom to present Lord Sugar with important guidance after keeping a close eye on the teams as they strive to demonstrate their business acumen in rigorous challenges.
During a recent chat, the pair were questioned about an iconic aspect of the show: their disapproving facial expressions whenever they saw applicants doing anything very wrong.
From the first episode of season 18, viewers will be able to notice Karren and Tim’s unmistakable eyerolls and head shakes as they witness the hopefuls’ attempts to put on expensive corporate away days fail miserably.
So, are the two bigging it up for the camera, or are they completely ignorant that they are making such emotions on their faces while filming?
— Lynsey James (@LynseyJWrites) October 16, 2019
‘You don’t know when you’re being filmed. This show is not scripted, there’s no retakes. You’re in a room. There’s cameramen around. You don’t know when they’re filming you or when they’re not filming you,’ said Karren, 54.
‘The only time you know when you’re being filmed is when you’re doing a piece to camera when you say, “They made a terrible mistake.” Other than that you have no idea.’
Karren, who has featured on The Apprentice for over 15 years, first as one of the business experts who conducts interviews with candidates during a later stage of the competition, stated that the days can often begin at 4 a.m. and conclude at 10 p.m.
‘And people wonder why your patience starts to wear a bit thin and you get the eyerolls going, but they are genuine, they’re not put on,’ she stressed.
‘Sometimes you’re just like, you cannot believe your ears on some of the decisions they’re making, things they’re doing.
‘You think to yourself, if you just all stopped, took a breath, calmed down, worked out who’s doing what, you’d end up with a much better result. Very often, many of the mistakes are self-inflicted, and when you do roll your eyes or you shake your head, it’s because you cannot believe what is literally unfolding right in front of you.’
Tim, 46, added that all of the contestants are ‘giving 100%’, as The Apprentice is an ‘authentic process’.
‘They understand what is at risk, but also the potential of what they’re going to get on the other side as well. So they’re giving 100%. But they don’t care about anything else apart from winning sometimes,’ he stated.
‘Sometimes that can be great as energy to push through those long hours, but also it can blind them from the obvious, which can lead them down disaster roads.’
The businessman, who won the first ever series of The Apprentice, continued: ‘I think we’d make very bad poker players because of our eyes, because we actually care, we want them to do well. We’re not trying to trip them up – we want them to do well.
‘When they’re making some blatant mistakes, because these are good candidates to have been selected to get into the process. We know they’ve got something about them. They’re so eager to please sometimes, they make mistakes. But they learn.’
Karren then emphasised that it is not only about the candidates’ faults, but also how they recover from them.
‘Sometimes they recover and recover really well. And sometimes it just gets worse and worse and worse. That’s part of how the task unfolds.’
The Apprentice will shortly celebrate its 20th anniversary, having first aired in 2005.
Karren said how ‘extremely happy’ she and Tim are to have been a part of the programme that has ‘changed people’s lives’.
‘It’s the number one show between 16 and 34-year-olds in the country, beating everything on any streaming service, any sporting event, everything, so we’re really proud of that,’ she said.
Hailing the members of the crew who also work on the programme, some of whom have been there since the beginning, she said: ‘Lots of people have tried business shows and most of them fail, and I think that’s probably because of Alan. He is what you see is what you get.’
Tim concurred, adding: ‘Lord Sugar set out on the journey a long time ago to want to inspire people to get into business. It’s inspired lots of people to think about business as an option.
‘I think that’s a very good thing that he doesn’t get enough credit for. So that’s a testament to why the show has gone on so long because people still are interested in business and what it takes to do it.’
The Apprentice airs on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.