All the evidence that proves The Apprentice is staged AF

This is worse than the tooth fairy

The Apprentice is well and truly back – providing us with some painfully awkward boardroom moments and hilariously questionable business decisions. The show is supposedly a very serious search for Lord Sugar’s next business partner, although very often it’s just some wannabe business owners making fools of themselves. But is what we see even real, or is The Apprentice staged?

From if the sales are even real, to the pre-filmed firing scenes and the scripted Lord Sugar speeches, there is plenty going on behind the scenes to suggest that The Apprentice is largely staged. We’ve compiled all the evidence to find out once and for all – is it really? Here’s what we know:

Each firing is filmed in advance

Have you ever wondered why the candidates leave the boardroom in huge coats and scarves after being fired? It’s to cover the fact their clothing doesn’t match what they would have just been wearing – because the two scenes aren’t filmed back to back. The candidates exit scene is actually filmed before the competition even begins.

Navid must have really started the show with some serious sass then.

According to Claude, “all the firings are done before the show starts. [The candidates] are wrapped up for ‘continuity’ not to show that the clothes are not those worn when fired”.

Apparently though, every series also records an alternate ending in order to avoid any leaks or spoilers. The winning candidate only ever finds out the day before the final airs.

Lord Sugar’s jokes are apparently pre-written

In a shocking twist to absolutely no-one, former contestants have admitted that Lord Sugar’s one-liners are fully scripted. Series 15 candidate Lottie Lion claimed in a revealing TikTok that, Lord Sugar “doesn’t write any of them”. She said, “They’re all scripted and he has a piece of paper that he marks off as he says them”.

That being said, Claude Littner has stated that each of Lord Sugar’s side-comments throughout the series are completely made up on the spot. According to the BBC: “He does not wear an earpiece, so the production team cannot interrupt him or feed things to him in the boardroom. Everything he says and all the decisions he makes are his own”.

Some of the sales are real, but most of the big orders aren’t

So a big part of the show is that the contestants are making deals and selling their products, right? Well it turns out sometimes the sales are completely fake and purely for the entertainment of the show.

When we see items being sold by the candidates on the street, these sales are real and the profits go to charity. The sales where they pitch to huge businesses and high street stores are most likely fake.

For example, when the candidates made toothbrushes and apparently high street retailers ordered 10,000 of them, you can’t actually go out and buy the product. In a report, from when B&Q had appeared on the show, someone from there said the orders were “hypothetical” and didn’t actually mean anything. Another store manager added: “No actual transaction took place”.

The boardroom scenes actually take HOURS to film

Whilst we see a short 30 minute clip (if that) of the contestants getting roasted in the boardroom, it turns out that the whole scene takes about four to five hours to film.

Some particularly keen-eyed viewers picked up on this after noticing a very minute detail – Lord Sugar’s watch. They noticed that hours had passed between the beginning and end of the scene, suggesting there is plenty going on behind-the-scenes in between.

The aides are only with the candidates for around 30 per cent of the time

In the show it looks like Karren Brady and Tim Campbell are glued to the contestants, watching their every move on the tasks so they can report back to Lord Sugar – as his trusty advisors, of course.

via BBC

But, 2019’s Lottie Lion says otherwise. She claims they are only there around “30 per cent of the time” and it’s “always when you mess up because of the pressure of them being there puts you on edge.”

Producers do test runs of the challenges

You’d think the candidates are thrown in at the deep end with how much they seem to stress and mess up the challenges, but the producers actually do test runs of the tasks to make sure they are doable.

Karren said: “They do a dry run to make sure tasks are possible – that you can go out and buy those items and how much you should be getting them for. There is an enormous amount of work that goes into each task”.

With this in mind, it says a lot about the supposed drama of the contestants and their reactions.

The boardroom is just a set

One of the worst-kept behind the scenes secrets of The Apprentice is that the boardroom isn’t real, it’s just a set.

Take from that what you will.

If cameras don’t pick up your sale, it didn’t happen

At the end of the tasks, the contestants go back to the boardroom and usually the team who made the most sales, and therefore the most profit, is handed the win of the week.

However, 2019 The Apprentice candidate Lottie Lion says this isn’t always calculated fairly, as sales which are made behind the scenes during the day aren’t even counted towards total sales.“If it didn’t happen on camera, it didn’t happen at all,” she says. “For example, if you make a sale and it’s off camera it will not be counted towards your team winnings or your personal effort. It just didn’t happen – even if it was like £80,000.”

However, production insiders insist everything else is real

2014 contestant Sanjay Sood-Smith debunked the myth that the phone calls were fake and planned with candidates in advance. “When the phone goes off in the morning, it genuinely is a surprise”, he told Cosmopolitan. “[Who picks up the phone first] is not a decision – it’s who wakes up first to get it”.

Series 15’s Ryan-Mark Parsons backed up Claude’s point that Lord Alan’s spontaneous comments were totally unscripted. “Being at the receiving end of many of Lord Sugar’s jokes,” he said, “I can assure you they’re not scripted”.

The Apprentice is on Thursday nights at 9pm on BBC1. Episodes will also be available on iPlayer

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