10. Solomon Akhtar (Series Ten)
Solomon wasn’t a significant candidate until he met Claude Littner for an interview that would go down in Apprentice history as the worst of all time. Claude declared Solomon’s business plan, which consisted of two pages full of pictures of boats, a ‘bloody disgrace’, before sending him out of the room without allowing him to defend himself. Solomon then started walking towards the window, in what could only have been a recently formulated plan to throw himself out of it.
Best quote: “I went for the window… I went like… I didn’t know where to go. I was getting out of there as quick as possible because he was so angry.”
9. Sarah Dales (Series Ten)
Sarah was the anti-feminist. Once in charge, she advised her female colleagues to wear short skirts and bullied them into putting on more make-up – rather than rely on their well-honed business skills. Along with her dated attitude towards women, she also thought ‘decadence’ was a classy team name that in no way denoted rot and decay. But the triumph of her short time on the show was when she tried to sell London Zoo a bucket of toilet brushes for £250. She only lasted until week four.
Best quote: “Bring some nice make-up.”
8. Susan Ma (Series Seven)
Susan Ma had all the credentials of a winner, but she eventually finished runner-up. Ma’s flawless persona became a tad unstuck when she was faced with new concepts she didn’t feel familiar with, such as the British Museum. Or the French. This provoked some of the most idiotic quotes to come out of The Apprentice, like “What’s at the British Museum? Just, like, dinosaurs and stuff?” and “I don’t even know any French people! I know nothing”.
Susan is laughing now though, as Lord Sugar got involved in her skincare company after the show.
Best quote: “Do the French go camping? Are the French very fond of their children? Do a lot of people drive in France?”
7. Michael Sophocles (Series Four)
Michael’s greatest catastrophe was his claim to be a ‘good Jewish boy’ on his CV – it was, in fact, the first thing he wrote. Perhaps he was trying to align himself with Lord Sugar and his Jewish heritage. However, it was soon exposed that Michael had no idea what kosher was, nor any knowledge of ‘l’chaim’, a common Hebrew expression.
He has since admitted to being a sex addict, working as an escort to cover gambling debt and, of course, always ‘a good Jewish boy’.
Best quote: (Of his fellow contestants) “They’re all just dumb-dumbs!”
6. Jordan Poulton (Series Nine)
Jordan was freaking weird.
Lord Sugar berated him for his bizarre celebrations in the board room, which were often very vocal and included him hammering his unusually short arms on fellow contestants as well as the table. But the real scandal came in the interview stages, when it transpired that Jordan’s business plan wasn’t even his own. He had seemingly leeched on to some poor guy’s idea and persuaded him to let him become a ‘partner’. It sounded weirdly manipulative, and no-one knew if this ‘partner’ was a free man or being held captive in Jordan’s basement.
On the list of Claude’s horrific interviews, Jordan comes a close second to Solomon after fittingly being labelled a ‘parasite’. Shivers. Then he released sordid details to the tabloids about having sex with another contestant in a cupboard. More shivers.
Best quote: “From the age I can remember, I’ve always felt like I’m more intelligent than everyone else.” *Psycho music*
5. Jim Eastwood (Series Seven)
‘Jedi Jim’ was nicknamed for his ability to persuade people to do his bidding. When team leader Leon Doyle tried to bring him back into the boardroom, Jim retorted: “You need to change your decision.” Miraculously, Doyle changed his mind.
Jedi Jim did go on to do well, landing an £800,000 sale with Asda among other accolades. He was shown up, however, in the interview process – when he was asked to describe himself without any clichés, he responded with “I am what it says on the tin”.
Best quote: “I’m not a show pony, or a one-tricky pony. I’m not a jackass or a stubborn mule, and I’m definitely not a wild stallion that needs to be tamed. I am the champion thoroughbred that this process requires.”
4. Ruth Badger (Series Two)
Badger had to be on this list, firstly for being the most deserving winner who didn’t win and, secondly, because her surname is Badger. She was unquestionably a very capable candidate, flogging a whopping six second-hand cars in week six. Moreover, she reportedly made more money in her final task than her opponent, Michelle Dewberry. Michelle was then shockingly chosen over Ruth by Sir Alan – presumably because he realised The Badge would totally steal his empire.
Best quote: “I’m the apprentice. End of.” (Awkward)
3. Katie Hopkins (Series Three)
Yes, yes, I know she is the manifestation of pure evil, a hypocrite and a psychopath, but now everyone’s gone and made her famous haven’t they? Love her or hate her – probably hate her – Katie Hopkins is perhaps the most infamous product of this show. Can we appreciate that in The Apprentice, before she turned to writing bullshit statements about fat people to make money, she actually had some serious and admirable sass?
Best quote: (About Kristina Grimes, one of her many enemies) “She’s a snake in the grass and, frankly, too orange to be taken seriously.”
2. Jason Leech (Series Nine)
Oh, Jason – forever immortalised as the nicest candidate The Apprentice has ever had, and also the man you’d most like to bring home to your grandma. It was cruel of the producers to choose Jason and throw him into the snake pit. That said, he managed to get to week eight on his well-mannered merits. Plus, no-one had the heart to bring him into the boardroom – Lord Sugar couldn’t even bring himself to fire him properly.
When we saw Jason leave the “chair design” task and nearly knock himself out on the door frame, we all knew he couldn’t survive the process. It was the humiliation of being the only candidate ever to be bullied into abdicating as project manager that struck the final nail in his coffin. Jason proved that nice guys never win – and still only come second in popularity lists.
Best quote: (When Lord Sugar compared his project management to a sinking ship) “Well, my first concern would be for the women and children.”
1. Stuart Baggs (Series Six)
Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs was the epitome of everything The Apprentice stands for: blind optimism, unrelenting self-belief and, above all, ridiculous quotes. After proving fairly incompetent in tasks and lying massively on his CV, Baggs still managed to talk his way out of the worst situations with his infamous lines. His ‘field of ponies’ rant undoubtedly makes him the most quoted candidate of all time – although ‘everything I touch turns to sold’ was equally cringe. He never lost faith in himself and believed his fellow contestants were below him, which is everything a good candidate needs.
Sadly, Baggs died on 30 July this year after an asthma attack. You will always be our number one, Stuart.
Best quote: “I’m not a one-trick pony. I’m not a ten-trick pony. I’ve got a whole field of ponies, and they’re literally all waiting to run towards this job.”