Accurately predicting the next batch of candidates on The Apprentice
*extremely The Apprentice music*
The evenings are getting shorter, winter is threatening to come early and spooky season is very nearly upon us. This can mean but one simple thing. The Apprentice is coming.
Typically, the series begins around the start of October each year, which means that in a matter of weeks, we're going to have a fresh crop of candidates to body into oblivion.
Rather than wait for these business hopefuls to make their way into our lives, we have it in our power to predict the calibre of contestant we're going to be subjected to.
Each year, we meet basically the same person a dozen times over, in a variety of different suits.
Let's tempt fate and preemptively cast the candidates from The Apprentice 2019 before it has even begun.
(All of the following images are from iStock, any similarities between them and the eventual candidate announcements will merely be a chilling coincidence).
Area of expertise: Social Media Strategy Implementation (Has 1,000 Instagram followers).
Hobbies: Telling people he uses Crep Protect on his trainers, describing sparkling water as 'regular water that studied abroad for a year', uploading travel vlogs that get an average of 19 views, doing Instagram flat lays of books he will never read, looking at his Facebook profile objectively through the eyes of a recently-approved friend request.
Approach to business: Gadget is really good at looking busy. He's rarely seen without a laptop or notebook as he whizzes through the office taking loud phone calls and leaving power shits in the ladies' bathroom (A power shit is one that you don't flush because you want the next person to see it and ultimately fear but respect you).
Apprentice journey: He will absolutely bottle it during a presentation where he mispronounces 'organism' and accidentally tells the CEO of Google that Yahoo is his favourite search engine because the colour purple makes him feel safe.
Area of expertise: Sales (He has never sold anything, but questions how hard it could really be).
Hobbies: Taking spoken word classes, reluctantly agreeing when people remark that he looks like an exact 50/50 split of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, jokingly describing himself as a 'meninist', insisting that he can catch things in his mouth but missing every time, paying £50 for a very shit haircut, drinking lukewarm milk with his lunch every day.
Approach to business: Truly winging it but has somehow gotten very lucky after his dad graciously created a position for him very high up in his company. They tried to keep it a secret but the same surname, receding hairline pattern and goofy laugh gave it away. Think of Corny as a neglected sibling on Succession.
Apprentice journey: Cornelius will fail to sell any fish and chips during the fish and chips task, describing the clientele as 'uncultured swines' before telling Lord Sugar to get fucked and shouting that Claude Littner "looks like a boiled egg". "Better than a ginger one", Claude will reply.
Name: Essénce (Pronounced Frenchly).
Area of expertise: Influencing.
Hobbies: Punctuating every sentence with 'Ugh, now I have Wanderlust again', setting up WhatsApp groups that nobody actively participates in, putting cheese on everything, still using hotmail, expressing a desire to 'do lunch' with everyone she meets, LARPing, posting about how she's 'really cut up' about every celebrity death, being breastfed until she was 15.
Approach to business: Essénce has never had a job, but feels equipped with the necessary know-how to do anything. She has successfully built an online following of 2,500 people eager to watch her every move and wants to turn herself into a brand before she has to admit defeat and learn how to code.
Apprentice journey: Essénce will voluntarily leave the competition during the first week when her team name suggestion (Essénce Of Self) is shot down by one of the other candidates in a polite and respectful manner. She will disappear from social media completely, then return two years later, citing her time away as 'crucial to heal'.
Area of expertise: Self-identifies as a Creative.
Hobbies: Whistling on the train, taking stand up comedy classes, going to the dentist far more often than is advised just to feel something, offering himself up to do a best man speech despite not actually being the best man, jogging in lycra for aerodynamic purposes, being loud, making fun of Fiat 500 Twitter even though the joke is pretty much over now.
Approach to business: Keith is actually not bad at his job, but his personality is insufferable and makes people want to avoid him at all times. He saw one episode of Impractical Jokers in 2013 and decided to bring that mentality into the workplace. HR are currently reviewing his contract for loopholes that can permit an unfair dismissal.
Apprentice journey: Fired on the spot during the first boardroom meeting for trying to lighten the mood with an ill-timed joke about Brexit.
Area of expertise: Closing Deals (Has never closed or even opened a deal).
Hobbies: Horse riding, exploring the power of holistic healing, writing lengthy social media posts about the importance of buying sustainable fashion, smiling through gruelling gym workouts, telling people she's distantly related to Meghan Markle's dog groomer, reminding school friends that they used to have bad body odour, dissecting roadkill for sport.
Approach to business: She talks a very big talk but has precisely zero business acumen to back it up. Frantic Google searches before meetings have saved Lyndsey's reputation on several occasions, but her desktop screensaver of the 'This is fine' meme tells the real truth.
Apprentice journey: Lyndsey will slip under the radar for longer than intended, eventually crumbling under the pressure of the interview process when Karen asks her how she's feeling.
Area of expertise: People Management (Has previously worked in complete isolation).
Hobbies: Describing lasagne as 'meat cake', wearing muted colours on the weekend, exclusively drinking flat whites, calling her husband 'babe' over the phone, exaggeratedly stretching her neck throughout the day to suggest that she is simply working too hard to retain good posture, performatively snacking on almonds, eternally smelling like lavender, being slender.
Approach to business: She organises meetings that could've been an email and invites colleagues for intense one-on-one lunches where she exclusively talks about work. Her parking space was accidentally taken by a visitor two years ago and Sparkles is still talking about it. Her tolerance for cold air conditioning is other-worldly and she steals stationary.
Apprentice journey: Sparkles will quickly assert herself as a loudmouth, gaining trust and fear in equal measures. It will slowly transpire that she has been an undercover journalist the entire time and there will be an explosive Panorama special about The Apprentice shortly after the series ends.
Name: Champ (Short for Champion).
Area of expertise: Digital analytics (Has used Google analytics three times).
Hobbies: Confusing canoes and kayaks, bitterly watching his old rugby team prosper while he mourns his short-lived career that was halted by a severely infected ingrown toenail, getting angry about how short the evenings become in Autumn, refusing to iron his shirts because it makes him seem 'more common', collecting watches, exclusively breathing through his mouth.
Approach to business: Champ's CV is full of lies but nobody has caught him out yet. He learned a long time ago that if you say you can do something, it's going to take quite a while for someone to work out that you're lying. This fiscal year, he has had 17 jobs, the longest of which was four weeks.
Apprentice journey: Fired halfway through the process for mistakenly misgendering a baby that he was trying to sell tinned fruit to. "Maybe the real tinned fruit was you, Champ", Lord Sugar will say. "Champ, more like CRAMP because you need to stop", Karen will chime in with, but it won't make the edit.
Area of expertise: Keeping an immaculately clean workspace to distract people from the fact that her job was replaced by a computer seven months ago.
Hobbies: Dabbling in the occult, whispering to herself loudly enough for the intended target to overhear, describing Fleetwood Mac as 'Hippy Rolling Stones', relentlessly adding a minimum of eight cloves of garlic to recipes that require just one, sighing every time the train stops at a scheduled stop, knitting, prodding her glands for traces of swelling or abnormalities.
Approach to business: Having been in the same job for 35 years, Ethel is part of the furniture. She marks her territory with coffee breath and an air humidifier that absolutely doesn't work. She makes loud personal calls on company time and heats fish in the communal kitchen microwave every day. Ethel has an 'x days until retirement' calendar that she adores.
Apprentice journey: Ethel will die before the show finishes. The remaining candidates will feast upon her corpse for sustenance.