‘Mad scientist’ Tom Pellereau made a late run from the back of the pack to win The Apprentice last night. Lord Sugar decided to go into business with the entrepreneur despite the fact that he had been on the losing side eight time during the series – an show record.
Tom was criticised for being ‘too nice’ during the gruelling interview stages, but after initially criticising Tom’s business plan – a chair which would help prevent back-pain – the straight-talking Amstrad boss warmed his idea when he realised it was probably the best on offer. Nick Hewer also chimed in towards the climax with an assessment that Pellereau had “some great ideas and a very personable demeanour – which is a powerful thing..”
Fast-talking Jim Eastwood was first out of the door last night after receiving some Stuart Baggsesque dressings down in the interview stage. When asked to describe himself without using cliché by Margaret Mountford, Jedi Jim explained that he “was exactly what it said on the tin..” He also attracted much criticism after Sugar’s panel accused him of pandering to the electronics boss with an e-Learning business which would “help the children”. Nick Hewer described the business plan as “one long love letter” and Sugar cast the Irishman from the boardroom.
Susan Ma was next to go, but probably had a better business plan than Helen Milligan who sailed through to the final with a record number of task victories. Lord Sugar told Helen that he “struggled to put his disappointment into words” after reading her business proposal and despite her last-ditch efforts to change tack she was fired to leave Tom as the victor.
The change of format certainly helped Tom and the collection of hard-nosed interviewers agreed that while Helen would be an excellent employee and a shoe-in for victory had a job been the prize, she had little or no “entreprenurial flair”. Indeed her concierge service was tangibly woeful and her interrogators highlighted the fact that people would be unwilling to pay a company to book their dentist appointments for them. Besides, those who desire such a service simply have a one-stop shop in a PA. As a PA herself, she might have guessed as much.
Tom’s pitch was hardly perfect (none of his sums added up..) but ultimately Sugar’s head was turned by the fact that Pellereau had previously managed to get one of his inventions into the mainstream market. As such he secured the £250,000 investment and for the first time in seven series, The Apprentice was won not be a ruthless back-stabbing business chatterbox, but a nice guy with a rather personable attitude.