[Contains bewigged badgers and SPOILERS!!!]
And so the latest series of The Apprentice (UK) has come to an end, and sadly my fave contestant, Frances Bishop, didn’t win a life-changing investment from Lord Sugar… but she did at least survive the gruelling interview round to make it into the final three*, which is pretty impressive considering how many times she unwittingly found herself on the losing team, over the course of the preceding tasks.
Thankfully she returned for the finale, to aid eventual winner Alana Spencer in creating and pitching her mass-market “home-made” cake business… though there were a couple buttock-clenching moments along the way, such as when Frances and fellow final-fivalist Grainne McCoy rang Alanna up towards the end of a long day to throw some indirect shade on her rather blah brand logo design. Their “boss” angrily questioned what they were hoping to achieve by second-guessing her decision, so they backed down… but, of course, the answer is obvious: They were hoping to nudge her towards recognising how generic her logo looked, so that she could tweak/polish it in time for the big make-or-break presentation, and put her own unique stamp on it… which is exactly what she ended up doing, in fact, and it was this timey shift towards an “I am the brand!” attitude which won her the task, and the whole ball of dough.
I also supported Frances’s very wise (and sensitive) decision to withhold the rather mixed/negative feedback they’d received from the public after their faux-product-launch-publicity-drive, since there was nothing any of them could do about polishing the packaging/branding at that point, and it would only have served to shake Alana’s confidence going into the pitch.
So snaps to her for all of that… and I have to say, despite only taking home the metaphorical “bronze medal”, Frances remains my favourite “apprentice” to date, and I’m really going to miss watching her on TV every week…
* And it was such a relief to discover that her business plan involved expanding her current (successful) chain of children’s clothing boutiques, rather than jumping into some crazy new industry… which is where several otherwise promising hopefuls have come unstuck in the past.