‘The Apprentice’: the lost lockdown series

We all know that no series of The Apprentice has aired since the pandemic began. But that’s not because one wasn’t filmed…

With exclusive access to leaked BBC footage, this blog reveals what Team Immunity and Team Asymptomatic got up to when filming series 15-and-Three-Quarters of The Apprentice!

Episode 1 (filmed November 2019)

Lord Sugar flies sixteen new candidates off to test their sales skills in an unfamiliar environment. Landing in Wuhan, China, the teams enter the food business. Each team is given a stall in the city’s famous wet market. Team Asymptomatic’s pancakes fall flat, but Team Immunity bat away the opposition with their unusual meats. After Team Immunity enjoy their treat – a skiing trip to northern Italy – fifteen candidates return home, ready for the next task.

Episode 2 (filmed March 2020)

In a favourite format, the teams are given a list of ten items to buy while spending as little money as possible. Team Immunity gets a good price on pasta and toilet roll, but a calculation error leads to them buying a quantity 5 million times greater than Lord Sugar demanded!

Episode 3 (filmed April 2020)

In an unprecedented draw, the entire task is an unmitigated failure: despite working their socks off, the candidates fail to sell any theatre tickets whatsoever. But as Lord Sugar furiously tells the teams in the boardroom: “Business isn’t about accepting constraints. If I gave up the first time I ran into a problem, I’d have nothing. You get a problem? Solve the bloody problem!”

Episode 4 (filmed early May 2020)

The teams head to the North East, to set up a tourism enterprise in the historic market town of Barnard Castle. While Team Immunity focus on river tours, Team Asymptomatic’s plan to advertise in local GP surgeries, pharmacies and opticians leads them to success.

Episode 5 (filmed late May 2020)

Tasked with coming up with an advertising gimmick for the government’s ‘covid secure’ strategy, Team Asymptomatic focus on encouraging people to follow the rules, but Team Immunity completely wow the PR executives with their “Stay Alert, Stop the Virus” campaign.

Episode 6 (filmed June 2020)

Welcoming the remaining 11 candidates to Bucharest, Lord Sugar explains: “I’ve brought you to the ancient city of Bucharest because it’s in Romania. The word ‘Romania’ begins with an R, and this task is all about the R-number. Your mission is to go all the way back to the UK and reduce the R-number as much as you can. The team that has the biggest impact will win, and on the losing team, one of you will be infected.”

Episode 7 (filmed July 2020)

Entering into the world of food and drink wholesale, the teams have to come up with a marketing ploy to sell scotch eggs. Team Asymptomatic’s decision to sell them in airport departure lounges doesn’t quite take off, but Team Immunity scores a big win by securing an endorsement from Michael Gove.

Episode 8 (filmed early March 2021)

Personal brand representation is at the heart of this week’s task. Team Immunity and Team Asymptomatic are each given a client – Prince William and Prince Harry respectively – and set about doing what they can to improve their public image.

Episode 9 (filmed late March 2021)

Thrust into the pharmeceutical industry, the teams are tasked with marketing vaccines across Europe. Team Asymptomatic has a shot at selling Pfizer to the French, while Team Immunity has rather more difficulty persuading the EU to buy up AstraZeneca.

Episode 10 (filmed later March 2021)

Six candidates left, and it’s full steam ahead to the series finale. First, though, they must enter into the shipping business. Each team is given a container ship, which they have to fill, navigate and unload before the goods perish. Team Immunity confuse port and starboard, but it’s choppy waters for Team Asymptomatic as they choose to take their ship on a shortcut through the Suez Canal.

Still to come

Next week, it’s the interviews. Pitching a range of business plans from PPE wholesale (“I have very close connections with the Health department, I know I can make this work!”) to package holidays around Brazil and South Africa, which of the candidates will survive the final boardroom?

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