The Apprentice

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I blame The Traitors. They started this castle in the Highlands business. Not to be outdone, The Apprentice, now on series 18, ancient in television terms, had to show it was down with the kids too.

So it was off to Scotland and another ancient pile for the candidates vying to be Lord Sugar’s business partner. Their task? Devise and host a corporate away day, price to include lunch.

A massacre ensued. A cultural massacre, the likes of which we shall never speak of again after today. The mob that travelled from London did not take our freedom, thank god. But just look at what they did to our fishcakes.

Before they set off for Scotland the candidates had introduced themselves in the traditional manner: striding along the street, dragging their tiny suitcases, while boasting of their alleged abilities on voiceover.

Read more: Cawdor Castle: Scotland hosts The Apprentice in stunning new series

“I don’t need Lord Sugar - Lord Sugar needs me,” said one.

“I am going to change the world and create a legacy that reverberates through time,” boasted another.

“This remains one of the toughest processes around.”

That last one came from Lord Sugar. He does like his little jokes, though given he is handing the winner £250,000 of his own dosh, he probably does take it seriously. The rest of us, not so much.

Among the usual gaggle of recruitment consultants and sales advisers were a doctor, a dentist, and a pharmacist. Good to see all those years of hard work paying off.

Base camp was Cawdor Castle and the lads and ladies were suitably impressed.

“Look at this gaff. Unbelievable,” said one.

The teams, men versus women, chose which activities to offer. There was a Loch Tour (gorge jumping and waterfall) and a Land Tour (how to light a fire and abseiling). Project manager for the “girls” was Onyeka, a chartered company secretary. She went for the Land Tour because she couldn’t swim and it would be safer. She was out-voted. This lot are not messing about.

Boys’ team leader Virdi (music producer) knew exactly what he wanted and opted for the Land Tour. After that he was woefully vague on details, including what the budget should be. He did, however, go big on his personal business philosophy.

“One thing I really go by: under-promise and over-deliver.”

The girls added a Highland Games, with Onyeka talking the uninitiated through the kind of things on offer.

“Caber tossing - it’s like a giant piece of wood that gets, like, tossed.”

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The packages were pitched to the two clients, the Crerar Hotel Group and DF Concerts and Events. Tough crowds to please, and Lord Sugar had warned the teams that refunds would be paid if requested. What could possibly go wrong?

One half of the girls’ team set off for the waterfall with their clients. The other half stayed to cook lunch - fishcakes followed by rhubarb crumble. All the ingredients were supplied, leaving the team the task of assembling the two very simple dishes. Again, what could go wrong?

Allow Aunty Karren, back as a judge with previous Apprentice winner Tim Campbell, to explain.

“The girls have been using crumble, which is sweet, on the fishcakes because they thought it was breadcrumbs,” Brady confided to the camera. “The client wants a five star experience. I don’t think you can give any stars to crumble on a fishcake.”

Heston Blumenthal could probably do something with it but he was not, alas, on the girls’ team.

For the boys, Ollie (alcohol sales exec) made a batch of brownies and forgot to put the flour in. The main problem with this lunch was that the clients arrived an hour later than planned. Not their fault - the abseiling had overrun.

The lady from DF Concerts and Events was unhappy with the rock hard sausages in her cold toad in the hole. “Has this been microwaved?” she asked. Then more bad news: the group had a long drive back to Glasgow and would have to leave, missing the Scottish country dancing.

The lads went ahead with the dancing anyway, for all of two minutes.

“At least we put a smile on your face at the end,” declared one of the boys. The coupons on the Glaswegians said it all. One cheeky chap asked for a tip. Frankly, the Apprentice lads were lucky to get out of there alive.

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Back in the boardroom, it was time to calculate profit (girls) and loss (boys). Lord Sugar was furious.

Ollie, the brownie bungler, was fired. Perhaps in time he’ll think of his time here as just a dream.

As for Scotland, we will recover. I can’t help thinking we brought this on ourselves. We gave the world the word numpties, and the world gave us numpties right back.