The Apprentice: The funniest ever disasters in Lord Sugar’s search for a business partner

Cast your mind back over some of the show’s most cringeworthy moments.

As 18 new candidates press their suits and pack their cases ready for the UK’s toughest interview process, we’re gearing up for some of the most embarrassing TV moments of the year.

The Apprentice is notorious for engineering situations in which over-enthusiastic contestants come crashing back down to earth after a disastrous task performance.

[Read more: The Apprentice is back - Meet this year's candidates]

We look back at some of the funniest things ever to have gone wrong in the previous 12 series of the programme.

Too much gin

In the most recent series, a challenge to make and brand a new alcoholic drink was a disaster from start to finish for Frances Bishop, Trishna Thakrar and Grainne McCoy.

First, they ruined perfectly good gin by adding orange colouring. Then, they decided that Colony Gin was an appropriate name, without apparently seeing any negative connotations that it might hold – despite illustrating the label with a map of Africa.

But Thakrar and McCoy went one step further down the road of disaster when they decided to enjoy a few sips of the gin themselves and were so affected by its potency that they managed to miss 19 phonecalls from project manager Bishop.

The team unsurprisingly lost the task and Thakrar was fired.

[Read more: The Apprentice: When does it start?]

Howling with laughter

Series one offered one of the funniest situations a team has had to deal with when the candidates were tasked with selling a selection of items on a shopping channel.

Returning to show teammate James Max their wares, Saira Khan unveiled a fleece jacket decorated with wolves in a snowy landscape, causing hilarity for both of them.

As Khan and Max took turns trying on the fleece and attempting to come up with a convincing sales patter, they collapsed in screams of laughter.

Pants Man fails to save the day

Was series five harbouring a frustrated popstar? Phillip Taylor was incredibly proud of his Pants Man creation, a superhero who was the face of a children’s breakfast cereal.

Taylor felt more than a little smug as he managed to record Pants Man’s theme tune in one take – although Lord Sugar wasn’t quite so impressed with the concept of a man whose main skill was wearing his pants over his trousers being the selling point for the cereal.

Assistant Nick Hewer accused Taylor of "taking logic and torturing it until it screamed", leaving Taylor’s team the unsurprising losers that week.

Octi-Kleen – the world’s worst ad?

The advertising task claimed yet more victims in series six with an enormously sexist campaign for a cleaning product.

Octi-Kleen was being marketed on the premise that women apparently wanted to be able to get all of the housework done more quickly so that they could spend more time “attending” to their husbands, using the slogan “eight hands are better than two”.

A presentation left a group of potential clients in fits of giggles thanks to the advert’s wooden acting and use of an octopus costume, but amazingly the team won the task when the competition filmed children handling hazardous chemicals for their ad.

[Read more: Lord Sugar returning for a new series of The Apprentice]

Breakfast’s off the menu

A baking task proved that Shibby Robati was unable to take the heat from the kitchen in series six.

He had negotiated a deal with a fancy hotel to provide them with 1,900 breakfast rolls, uttering the doomed words “We guarantee to fulfil that order”.

Of course, the team fell woefully short of the requested number and sent an extremely angry chef just 16 rolls to feed his hungry customers.

Adding further insult to an already tense situation, Robati advised the chef: “Tell your guests to go on the Atkins Diet”.

Do the French like their children?

Susan Ma could win the prize for the programme’s silliest-ever contestant thanks to her musings on the habits of the French during a task in series seven.

Her thinking out loud went: “Are the French eco-friendly? Do the French go camping? Are the French very fond of their children? I know nothing about the French or their culture. Do a lot of people drive in France?”

The look on assistant Karren Brady’s face as she made her notes said it all, but she later hammered home the point by calling Ma’s behaviour “beyond stupid”.

The Apprentice returns on Wednesday, October 4 at 9pm on BBC One.


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