In a choice which I’m sure surprised a lot of people, Sir Alan Sugar has named Simon Ambrose as the winner of series 3 of The Apprentice. Having described him two weeks ago as Teflon Simon, it was a result I was half expecting – from the fact that Sir Alan let him off back then strongly implied that he was one of the favoured candidates.
Even as he was making the decision it was clear he could see the relative merits of each candidate. He clearly recognised that Kristina was experienced, in fact pretty well what Sir Alan said he was looking for four weeks ago when he fired Ghazal. He even commented in the final boardroom that he was wondering whether he wanted to be the headmaster again. He disagreed with Simon’s assertion that he was a good leader, and yet in the end he decided to take the risk.
To be frank, even during the final task, Simon didn’t look like a winner. As in previous years the two finalists got a selection of the fired candidates to choose from. He ended up with a mixed bag with some volatile combinations. Alongside Tre he got Rory – fired in week 2 after spending the bulk of the task fighting with Tre, and Jadine who also proved to be volatile at times, rounding the group off was Lohit. Kristina’s team also had problems on paper in that alongside Naomi and Natalie had Paul with whom she had had a run in back in week 6, and Adam who went in week 7 and seemed to have issues with various of the other candidates.
The difference in what happened was marked. Whilst Tre and Rory were kicking off, and Rory was giving people no doubt that he was there to prove that he shouldn’t have been fired in week 2, over with Kristina although Adam was getting grumpy, Kristina kept him under control. Paul was being pragmatic and professional about the whole thing too. Kristina divided the team and allocated out tasks, whilst Simon and Tre went off leaving the rest of the team at a loss for what to do.
The main point of the task was to come up with a conceptual design for a building to replace the IBM Building on the South Bank in London. Both teams were given a firm of architects to work with their ideas, and both produced eye catching and radical designs. Both teams then had to present their concepts to an audience of property experts, and put on a presentation. This proved to be the biggest source of arguments between Rory and Tre as for some bizarre reason Rory decided that dancing girls would be a good addition. Quite why I don’t know, and I think the reason escaped the rest of the team too, but dancing girls they had. I have to say that when he came up with that I was rather disappointed that Rory got the push so early, as this particular wacky idea added to the entertainment tonight.
By the end of the task, having seen the presentations, Kristina seemed to have managed her team best, delivered a professional presentation and held it all together, whilst Simon’s team had come up with a presentation almost in spite of themselves. Based on the editing of the programme, even the directors thought Kristina had it all sewn up. Then he gives it to Simon…
On You’re Fired Kristina looked visibly upset, as did her son in the audience. Indeed some in the audience gave her a standing ovation when she came on, and the Telegraph and Mail report that some of the other candidates wanted to walk out in protest at the decision. Despite being shown the selection of Katie snipes from the series she declined to retaliate with any comments back, rising above the backbiting as she had throughout the entire series. Sir Alan was asked directly about Katie on the programme, and fell very much into line with what Michelle Mone had said, saying that having seen what she had said over the series he wouldn’t employ her, nor would anybody else. He then said that Katie had the skills to do the job and that she didn’t need to do what she had done for the attention – but then it was all about Project Katie for her.
Perhaps on reflection this was the best resolution for both of them. In terms of the on screen action, Simon will probably be best remembered for the infamous trampoline scene – perhaps not the best thing to take to a potential employer. On the other hand look at Kristina who has consistently proved that she is a safe pair of hands to take on a task – I’d be surprised if there aren’t even now a queue of top companies eager to snap up her up. Even if Sir Alan decided that he wanted Simon for the final job, for us like many of the viewers, Kristina was the one who truly won the competition, and proved herself to be the best of the candidates.