A BLAST of Prokofiev, a parade of business numpties who make Liz Truss look like Andrew Carnegie and Alan Sugar’s excruciatingly duff dad jokes. It can only be The Apprentice, back for its 367th series.

Not really: this new one is series 17. But the show can feel at times as though it has been around since Adam was sent to fetch a tin of tartan paint.

Maybe that is why the launch episode sent the 18 candidates for Lord Sugar’s 250k investment off to Antigua in the hope of stealing some of that new-fangled Love Island glow (not to mention those 16-24 year old viewers).

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Some things are sacrosanct though, including the traditional declaration of idiocy at the start of each series. This year’s chicken nuggets of wisdom included: “I’m the James Bond of the business world”; “I’m the Kim Kardashian of the business world”; “I will bite and I will sting”; and “I’m a disruptor”. Relax: that last one was not Dom Cummings: even The Apprentice has its limits.

In the boardroom Lord Sugar was on fire with his jokes. “You’re in the pest control market,” he said to one chap. “Got any tips on how I can deal with Piers Morgan?” I wouldn’t say the smiles of the apprentices were strained but some of the guys looked like they were giving birth.

There has been some bumping of gums this year over how many of the hopefuls are social media “stars” with thousands of followers. As if previous candidates were shy, retiring types not at all interested in bagging a 2am presenting slot on a shopping channel.

There was good news for Scotland. We didn’t make it to the World Cup, but we do have a candidate in The Apprentice. Reece Donnelly is his name and he runs the Theatre School of Scotland. His ambition is to be the first Scot to win The Apprentice and in doing so prove, it says here in the media notes, that “Scotland is filled with forward-thinking entrepreneurs and that we are not in fact a haggis-eating, kilt-wearing nation”. Why one should preclude the other he doesn’t say.

The task in Antigua was to set up a bespoke tour. The “boys” opted for rum tasting and military stuff, the “girls” for a catamaran trip and pottery. The women spent most of their time bickering, much to the dismay of judge Claude Littner, making a welcome return after his cycling accident. It hasn’t been the same without Claude, the Iceman to Lord Sugar’s maverick, the Statler to his Waldorf, the Ernie to his Eric.

On the men’s team there was much sniggering at Gregory for his geeky demeanour and “personality like Siri”. But it was his encyclopaedic knowledge of cannons that shot the men’s team to victory. Gregory, who earlier confessed to being a LibDem councillor, looks set to be one of this year’s stars. Claude’s fellow judge Karren Brady is already a fan.

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Our man Reece showed he had the gift of the gab, cheerily pressing two of his fellow Scots, in Antigua on holiday, into buying tickets. It was just as well since some of his teammates had the sales patter of a wet towel.

Back in the boardroom, the women reacted to defeat by rejecting tired anti-feminist stereotypes and embracing each other as the sisters under the skin they were. Who are we kidding? They bickered even more. Lord Sugar suddenly looked very, very tired. “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say,” he sighed. Get a grip mate, there are 11 more episodes to go.

Project manager Victoria chose to bring Emma back “for the disruption” and Marnie was hauled into the firing line for her “lack of leadership”.

Marnie wanted Emma to be sacked, as did Victoria. “I’d fire both of them,” said no mucking around Emma.

“My ears are ringing,” said Lord Sugar as he prepared to send someone packing. Who would be first to take their wheeled suitcase full of crumpled dreams into the taxi of shame, never to be heard from again till the last episode when everyone comes back for the final?

My lips are sealed in case you have yet to see the episode. Let’s just say this series has the look of a winner about it in that most of the hopefuls seem adorably clueless. Then again, when was the show ever that serious about finding the next generation of entrepreneurs? The Apprentice is all about business, show business, and long (but not too long may it carry on trading.