The Apprentice 2024 launch loses 1.2M viewers compared to last year after fans slammed the ‘stale’ launch with ‘carbon copy’ candidates

The Apprentice has suffered a drop in ratings of more than 1.2million viewers compared to last year, as the new series kicked off on Thursday.

The BBC show returned to screens with a new team of hopefuls bidding to earn Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment, with Oliver Medforth becoming the first candidate to get the sack.

According to overnight figures, the launch saw an average of just 3.6 million viewers tune in, down 1.2 million compared to the same time last year.

While it’s likely the show will see a boost in ratings through viewers catching up on BBC iPlayer, it still remains one of the lowest ratings in the show’s history.

It comes after Thursday’s laucnch was branded ‘stale’ and ‘past its sell by date’ by bored viewers. 

The Apprentice has suffered a drop in ratings of more than 1.2million viewers compared to last year, as the new series kicked off on Thursday

Viewers urged BBC bosses to change up the tired format as episode one saw the men and women divided into two teams and head to the Scottish Highlands to host an away day. 

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, those watching said: ‘I think the problem with this programme is that the format is exactly the same as it was 10 years ago…bit stale. Need to change it up.’ 

‘I really need to stop watching the Apprentice every year it begins. It is bad. it is really really bad. Tonight’s opener serves to show everything wrong with the program and how if you did that in the real world, all the team is getting sacked!’

‘Utter joke. Not watched this for years. Sacking decision made just for TV effect. What mugs the BBC take us for. Pathetic programme well past its sell by date.’

While some viewers said they were ‘hooked from start to finish’, others complained the show felt tired, with candidates ‘carbon copies’ of stars from previous years as they complained about the dated colour block wardrobes. 

‘I swear The Apprentice candidates are carbon copies of each other… the one girl looks like Harpreet, the other like Victoria with glasses, another one like Marianne from 2019 and Ollie a cross between Ryan-Mark and Annoying Orange’. 

Another wrote: ‘Why on The Apprentice are the girls all wearing a totally different colour from each other? I feel like this happens most series?’ 

Sales executive Oliver Medforth was the first candidate to be fired from the new series. 

The BBC show returned to screens with a new team of hopefuls bidding to earn Lord Sugar's £250,000 investment, with Oliver Medforth becoming the first candidate to get the sack

The BBC show returned to screens with a new team of hopefuls bidding to earn Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment, with Oliver Medforth becoming the first candidate to get the sack

Karren said seeing the candidates make mistakes is one of the reasons viewers love to watch the show and entrepreneurs even learn what to avoid when running their own businesses

Karren said seeing the candidates make mistakes is one of the reasons viewers love to watch the show and entrepreneurs even learn what to avoid when running their own businesses

The Yorkshire businessman was sacked by Lord Sugar after the men’s team suffered a disastrous £506.40 loss. 

It was Oliver who ultimately faced the chop after aid Tim Campbell, 46, revealed clients had requested a 52% refund, bringing the total loss to £506.40. 

Karren Brady revealed the girls won, but their profit margin was only a tiny  £122.43 after 40% of paying customers requested a refund. 

Project manager Virdi Singh Mazaria nominated Ollie and Management Consultant Steve Darken to come back into the boardroom. 

During the challenge, an embarrassing cockup in the kitchen resulted in one team garnishing fish cakes in sweet crumble instead of breadcrumbs as the rival group served up cold food 45 minutes after it had left the oven.

The mistakes didn’t go unnoticed by Lord Sugar’s trusted aids Baroness Karren and Tim, who shuddered with pity over the contestant’s shambolic efforts.

Split into men and women’s teams, Karren, who oversaw the females, said the fish cakes were one of the worst things she had ever tasted.

She added: ‘It’s obviously crumble on a fishcake… it is disgusting.’

Lord Sugar, who’s been at the helm of the BBC show for the past 18 years, said the useless display from the candidates is the reason why he doesn’t oversee the tasks himself. 

The billionaire remarked that watching the mistakes from the under pressure contestants unravel was like ‘seeing your mother in law drive your Ferrari over a cliff.’

Viewers urged BBC bosses to change up the tired format as episode one saw the men and women divided into two teams and head to the Scottish Highlands to host an away day

Viewers urged BBC bosses to change up the tired format as episode one saw the men and women divided into two teams and head to the Scottish Highlands to host an away day

Another wrote: 'Why on The Apprentice are the girls all wearing a totally different colour from each other? I feel like this happens most series?'

Another wrote: ‘Why on The Apprentice are the girls all wearing a totally different colour from each other? I feel like this happens most series?’

There were even more failings in the kitchen from the men, who despite being led by pie company owner Phil Turner, served up stone cold sausages.

Sales executive Oliver appeared to shock himself after forgetting to include the flour while making a batch of brownies for dessert – having to start over again.

Instead of their ‘welcome drink’ being a glass of bubbles, they gave guests tap water.

And time overran during the abseiling part of the task to such an extent that project manager Virdi left his paying customers with just four minutes to enjoy a half hour long Scottish country dance lesson – because they had to get the train home.

The most mortifying moment of the show’s first episode came from recruitment director Jack Davies who had the audacity to ask disgruntled guests for a ‘tip’, which went down like a lead balloon. 

But Karren said seeing the candidates make mistakes is one of the reasons viewers love to watch the show – and entrepreneurs even learn what to avoid when running their own businesses. 

She said: ‘There’s no script in this show and everything that unfolds, unfolds, it’s authentic, it’s real.

‘Lots of people watch this show to see what to do in business and what not to do. As it unfolds, the viewers see it… there are no retakes.’

Once Lord Sugar has plucked out the weak from the strong contestants, they begin to thrive and finally put money in the bank.

Karren revealed this year’s crop earn the ‘greatest win in terms of value’ as they manage to impress the boss, who’s giving away £250,000 of his own money to the winner.

She said: ‘I’m talking millions… so some of them really come shining to the top.’

THE APPRENTICE 2024: MEET THE CANDIDATES

Amina Khan

Occupation: Pharmacist and Business Owner

Location: Ilford

Amina has been a qualified pharmacist for over a decade, in which time she has created a successful skincare and supplements business.  

Flo Edwards

Occupation: Recruitment Consultant

Location: London

Flo revealed that she started her own consultancy, making her ready to tackle Lord Sugar. 

Foluso Falade

Occupation: Project Manager

Location: Manchester

Foluso brands herself the ‘Mary Poppins of business’ and revealed that her aim is to run the first Social Enterprise to win Lord Sugar’s investment.

Maura Rath

Occupation: Owner, Yoga Company

Location: Wexford

Maura is taking the edge as a yoga teacher into her appearance. 

Noor Bouziane

Occupation: Owner, Jewellery Company

Location: Liverpool

Ambitious owner of a premium jewellery company Noor professed that she will generate a wealth of cash for Lord Sugar thanks to the unique nature of her business. 

Onyeka Nweze

Occupation: Chartered Company Secretary

Location: London

Onyeka revealed her plan is to be the first tech business investment made by Lord Sugar in eighteen series.

Rachel Woolford

Occupation: Boutique Fitness Studio Owner

Location: Leeds

Business-minded from a very young age, Rachel has plenty of experience managing her work independently. As well as her hard work in the office, she also shares her fitness triumphs on social media including running the New York Marathon in 2019. 

Raj Chohan

Occupation: Mortgage Broker

Location: Leamington Spa

Raj admits that while she is a grafter, she is determined to have fun while working – as illustrated on her fun-filled Instagram account. A self-confessed ‘dog with a bone’ when meeting her targets, she wants to hit a gap in the market and will do whatever it takes for success.

Sam Saadet

Occupation: Pre and Post Natal Fitness Coach

Location: Essex

Sam revealed her friends call her a real Del Boy for being ‘part-wheeler dealer’ as well as her eye for a bargain. An online fitness coach with a focus on mums and mums-to-be, she’s hoping to prove her business brain to Lord Sugar.

 Dr. Asif Munaf

Occupation: Owner, Wellness Brand

Location: Sheffield

Asif boldly describes himself as ‘Beauty, brains, body and business’ on his CV. The qualified doctor’s business plan focuses on vitamins and supplements.

Jack Davies

Occupation: Recruitment Director

Location: Bristol

As well as his work as a recruitment director, Jack also acts as a food reviewer, meaning he is ready with diverse knowledge and skills for challenges.

Oliver Medforth

Occupation: Sales Executive

Location: Yorkshire

Oliver’s background in selling at markets has him looking forward to the famous sales tasks. He is often seen plugging his wares on social media – particularly his gin range. 

Paul Bowen

Occupation: Director, Pie Company

Location: Lancashire

One of two pie company experts entering the process, Paul prides his business on big name clients such as Manchester City Football Club.

Dr. Paul Midha

Occupation: Owner, Dental Group

Location: Leeds

Paul started his practice using every resource he had. Used to extensive learning from studying as a dentist, Paul is set on Lord Sugar’s investment and all that he can teach him about the world of business.

Phil Turner

Occupation: Owner, Pie Company

Location: Bognor Regis

Phil was awarded ‘Supreme Pie Champion’ in 2020 for his family-owned pie business, which dates back to the 1930s. He’s hoping to prove himself to Lord Sugar and start making him some real dough.

Steve Darken

Occupation: Management Consultant

Location: London

Steve claims that he shares Lord Sugar’s sharp mind and sense of humour. Consulting for ‘some of the biggest companies in the world’, he’s ready to take on the boardroom.

Tre Lowe

Occupation: Music & Wellness Entrepreneur

Location: London

Tre has had his previous tastes of fame, including in the UK garage band named Architechs. His Instagram account is a who’s who of the showbiz world, including snaps with Simon Cowell and Emily Ratajkowski. 

Virdi Singh Mazaria

Occupation: Music Producer

Location: Leicester

DJ Virdi wants to introduce Lord Sugar to world he’s yet to invest in – music. His life is certainly filled with luxury as he shares frequent snaps on flash holidays and in front of pricey motors. 

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