Posted by Ian
As the man himself barked, there weren’t any phone-ins, there weren’t any panels of judges, and there certainly wasn’t any "text a number". Yet series two of The Apprentice was an astonishing success, a riveting piece of television and another reason why, were the job ever to come available, Sir Alan Sugar would be a bona fide shoo-in for President of the United Kingdom.
Even though several months have since passed, interest in Sir Alan’s decision to award the winner’s trophy to the ostensibly timid Michelle Dewberry over the apparently fearsome Ruth Badger remains feverish. We’re currently running a feature on the homepage about the remarkable popularity of the latest twist in the tale of Michelle, Sir Alan and failed Apprentice contestant Syed Ahmed.
Syed has found his way into MSN’s top 10 search terms thanks to yet another spate of headlines concerning his private life – not, this time, regarding his driving ban, or being questioned by police over money laundering allegations that also involved a former director of Portsmouth FC, but relating to the fact that Michelle is pregnant with his child.
Sir Alan would no doubt declare he knew all along Syed was trouble ("I got your card marked" he informed him on their very first meeting), but the prospect of his Apprentice resting up at home on maternity leave probably didn’t form part of his masterplan.
Still, the third series is about to begin filming, so Sir Alan will be able to comfort himself dreaming up more demented tasks and capricious catchphrases all over again.
Meanwhile here, apropos nothing, are ten of the finest quotes from this year’s series:
1) "We don’t want anything climbing out of plant pots or anything like that. We want something that’s quite contemporary, quite sharp, quite classy."
2) "We could handcuff them together, but we don’t want to look as though we’re handcuffing kids."
3) "I want quickfire, just give me words."
4) "What do they eat in Egypt?"
5) "What’s the difference between 7-Up and Sprite?"
6) "That mozzarella’s just completely blown our budget."
7) "This is not a holiday camp or some college of further education, where dumbkopfs come to learn where to make mistakes."
8) "Don’t forget, I go shopping all the time."
9) "Nicholas!…Nicholas!…Nicholas!…Oh, I thought that was Nicholas."
10) "Everyone who knows me has said to me, ‘I never met anyone like you in my life’, and I’ve never met anyone like me, and I don’t think the world could cope with two people like me."