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44 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About “The Apprentice”

Isolation from the outside world, expensive office chairs, and more losers' cafes than you think.

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1) The boardroom scenes are actually filmed in a west London TV studio.

2) Lord Sugar's actual offices, the headquarters of Amstrad, are located in Brentwood, Essex.

3) And the secretary who calls contestants into the boardroom at Lord Sugar's command? She's an actress.

4) Lord Sugar's chair in the boardroom is bolted to a piece of wood, giving him the illusion of towering over his advisers.

5) Although he denies this is done simply to make him appear taller.

6) And if you're interested in owning the same chair yourself, it's going to cost you. £2,700 to be exact.


7) The selected applicants are made to sign a confidentiality agreement, forbidding them from telling more than a few select people that they're appearing on the show.

8) To explain the months they're away, contestants often create cover stories – jury service and foreign aid work being two common alibis.

9) All candidates are paid the same amount, less than £2,000, no matter how long they last on the show.

10) The shared house of the contestants in series 11 is located in Bloomsbury, London.

11) The six-bedroom property was last listed for rent on 30 October 2014 at a staggering £17,117 pcm.

12) During the course of filming, the candidates are locked in the house with no internet, phones, or access to the outside world.

13) The first stage of the application process is open to anybody and simply involves filling out a web-based application form.

14) From the online applications, participants are invited to face-to-face interviews and from this around 75 are selected to progress to a second-round assessment.

15) The second-round assessment involves the candidates working together in teams so producers can judge the applicants on their teamwork ability and business skills.

16) The 75-or-so candidates are then whittled down to a mere 30 before being seen by a psychotherapist and getting their references checked over.

17) Once all the background checks are complete, the final lineup is decided on.


18) The complete series is filmed in its entirety before even a single episode airs.

19) The candidates really are woken unexpectedly at ungodly hours, although it's the arrival of the production crew that first gets them out of bed, not the phone call from Lord Sugar.

20) Each task is filmed by four crews – one for each half of the two teams.

21) Although the tasks are presented as occurring week-by-week on TV, they are filmed back-to-back with little to no break between each one.

22) And simple moments, such as candidates exiting cars, are often filmed multiple times from different angles in order to get the best shot.

23) One aspect you don't see on screen is that researchers have to get permission to film from anyone the candidates plan on trying to sell to.

24) Lord Sugar's on-show advisers only follow the teams for a couple of hours each task.

25) With the exception of Karren Brady, all of Lord Sugar's advisers have worked for him at some point in their careers.

26) Nick Hewer's PR company was hired to represent Amstrad in 1983.

27) Nick's recent replacement, Claude Littner, is the current chairman of the Amstrad-owned IT company Viglen.

28) Whereas former adviser Margaret Mountford had a role as a non-executive director at Amstrad.

29) Random Karren Brady fact: She was once chairman of the music magazine Kerrang!

30) Lord Sugar is given no script by producers for the boardroom scenes, so those terrible jokes are all his own.

31) The show could have been very different; Alan Sugar wasn't the only person approached for the show's leading role.

32) Other businessmen considered to front the show were the retail billionaire Philip Green and EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

33) There are actually two cafes that are used for filming the losing team: The Bridge in Acton, west London, and La Cabaña 2 in Willesden, northwest London.

34) Since being featured on The Apprentice, The Bridge cafe has become a tourist hotspot for fans of the show.

35) And despite looking gloomy on the show, the cafe is well reviewed among regulars.

36) The shots of the contestants walking to their taxi after being fired are filmed for all contestants at the very start of the series.

37) And to avoid continuity errors where a candidate might be wearing different clothing when fired, the contestants are made to wear large coats to cover up whatever they're wearing underneath.

38) The fired candidates are simply driven around the area while filming their exit interview.

39) They're then dropped off at a nearby hotel and head home some time the next day.

40) So the suitcases you see the contestants wheel in and out of the boardroom only contain one change of clothes – just enough for their overnight hotel stay.

41) To keep the identity of the final winner a secret, two endings are filmed.

42) Meaning both finalists are actually told "you're hired" by Lord Sugar.

43) And Lord Sugar doesn't decide on a winner until the day before the final episode airs.

44) So between the completion of filming and the airing of the final episode, the two finalists used to be given jobs by Lord Sugar, working for different departments within his company.


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