Viewers of The Apprentice didn't waste any time in having their say as the hit show returned to screens. Lord Alan Sugar kicked off his search for his next business partner on Thursday night (January 5) as the opening episode of the seventeenth series aired on BBC One.
The billionaire boss is back looking for the best person to give his quarter-of-a-million-pound investment to with the help of former winner Tim Campbell and Baroness Karen Brady. However, the first episode saw Claude Littner return as Lord Sugar's right-hand-man as he eased his way back into his TV work following a shock bike accident last year.
In the opening episode of the BBC reality show saw the new 18 candidates tasked with creating and selling excursions to tourists in Antigua as they were split into two groups – men and women.
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However, it wasn't long before fans of The Apprentice were flocking to social media to express their annoyance as they claimed the show was more like Love Island than the business show they have known and loved for almost two decades.
@Miss_staggs4 tweeted: "Why do they look like love Island contestants in suits?! Bring in interesting people not just pretty people!! #TheApprentice." @maisier1616 complained: "When did #TheApprentice become a show for influencers, seriously gone down hill in the last 5 years..." @RolandMillward echoed: "These are not business people. Just TV wanna-bees. I don’t bother watching it since it switched to the so-called “influencers” who make it onto #TheApprentice."
But that wasn't the only issue they had. @glove_island tweeted: "Who signed off on my TV license money taking these people to Antigua? #TheApprentice." @lucierayner complained: " Starts the programme mentioning the cost of living crisis & then sends the contestants to Antigua #TheApprentice."
@st_ua_rt wrote: " Lord Sugar: We're in a cost of living crisis so we're all looking for good value. Also Lord Sugar: I'm sending you to the Caribbean! #TheApprentice." @therealwannieb added: " In uncertain times with cost of living speech, blah blah blah...You are off to Anitgua in episode 1 @bbcapprentice #TheApprentice."
The first episode also saw the first candidate axed as the group returner to London for their first post-task briefing in the boardroom. And it was senior account executive Emma Browne who became the first contestant to be fired by Lord Sugar after the girls came out as the losing team.
The 35-year-old found herself butting heads with her team during the first task as they disagreed on the best place to sell tickets for their tours. After ending up in the boardroom with project manager Victoria Goulbourne and Marnie Swindells, Emma was the first to hear those dreaded two words - You're Fired!
But Emma, from County Kildare in the Republic of Ireland, said she had an “outstanding and profitable business idea” and did not think she could have done anything differently after she was sent home in a taxi. She added: “I got the most sales. I was accurate in saying the beach wasn’t a good location.
"I brought a lot of energy to the girls’ team, which I think was seen as well and highlighted. I am a very positive person, and I remained positive throughout." She also said that while there were "clashes" on the show there were "no hard feelings".
Fans of The Apprentice, however, think Lord Sugar kicked off the series by making a 'mistake'. @layla91.xo said: "Wrong decision to fire Emma!" @nova.turient.x wrote: "He’s made a massive mistake. Emma is a bossssssss."
@nathanocarroll complained: "I normally always agree with who goes first but I’m FUMING. So the whole failure of the task is Emma being disruptive when she was defending herself against Marnie’s moaning? Bulls**t! #theapprentice."@Emmmma82 added: "I usually agree with who is fired but the fact Emma was fired for defending herself! Whhaat? She would’ve been a great candidate and was used as a scapegoat! #theapprentice."
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