Saturday, February 25, 2006

WHAT'S GOING ON?

So sorry about this. I guess by the time we actually get to post anything any interest will have gone and we'll be onto the next episode. And there is so much to tell you.

I thought Ben came across very well on both the You're Fired programme and on his many interviews and TV appearances! He is a nice, genuine guy and came across as such.

I was surprised to see Lorriane Kelly's piece in The Sun today calling all the women 'cheap tarts'. A bit harsh, I think. There seems to be a lot of discussion of neck rubs and massaging in the papers. Did I miss that on the programme? Granted, I did watch it from behind a pillow but don't remember seeing that.

And, oh dear Syed, what have you said on your CV? There is no doubt that we've all thought about exaggerating a bit on application forms but realise pretty quickly the repercussions should we get caught. Usually being outed by a national newspaper isn't one of them....

I was interested to see Mani shouting at Syed on the preview clip. He is a laid back guy so to see him lose it like that was a bit of a shock. That is why these programmes are just as interesting for the people who are in them as those of you watching. We only get to see what happens in our bit of the task...bring on episode 2.

Friday, February 24, 2006

GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME....

Sorry folks, but there is still no word from the Talkback lawyers as to whether my blog is free for release. In the meantime, thank you all for your comments. There were some really positive ones and others that I will take as constructive criticism!!

Lots of people are asking why we went for the 'sex sells' approach when Sir Alan made it quite clear that he was having none of it. Firstly, please remember that this is a TV programme which has been edited from about 3 days of filming to produce that 1 hour of aired-programme. Secondly, there was never any intention to go to the market and blag freebies. It just happened when we got there. The reason I ended up paying for some of the fruit was that I wanted to make sure that we were within the rules of the competition and actually bought something!

I really can't say much more at the moment as it is all in my blog which I really hope I can get clearance for by the end of today!

Do keep commenting. It is so interesting to know how we all came across on the television. It's not always what we are like in 'real life'!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'M SORRY

Well, folks, I was hoping to be able to give you the full account of what really happened in task one but we have been constrained by the legal bods at Talkback. As soon as my blog is 'cleared' I will have it posted and ready for comment.

In the meantime - please let me know what you thought by pressing the comment button and telling all!!

EVEN SAIRA BELIEVES THE HYPE

I was gob-smacked to see Saira giving the girls a good slagging on GMTV this morning. Of all the people to believe what the pre-view to a BBC show says I thought she would be the last. And doesn't she have a short memory? It was less than a year ago that she persuaded a businessman to part with a digi-box for nothing by claiming she and Raj were 'team-Asia'.

There has been much made of what happens in tonight's show and that the women are somehow to be chastised for their 'behavior'. There is almost universal criticism of the way we were dressed (please read my last post for my response to that!) and the way we conducted ourselves.

It's all a bit to easy really! There is nothing but praise for Paul (and quite rightly so) when he manages to persuade a large number of people to part with large-ish sums of money for an apple. He doesn't have a low-cut top on (praise the Lord) but he does use his charm and a bit of flirting with the ladies. And has that even been mentioned? Of course not, it would seem a bit ridiculous to mention it and it simply wouldn't make interesting reading.

I'm not going to spoil anything but I would urge you all to remember that this is a TV show first-and-foremost and that a lot of what actually happened is going to end up on the cutting-room floor.

Of course, you will decide for yourself but I'll hopefully be able to tell you what really happened tomorrow.

Karen x

Monday, February 20, 2006

THE KNIVES ARE OUT!

Some weekend! The weekend supplements were full of many, many television and business critics having a real go at The Apprentice the programme and, more particularly, the apprentices themselves. I guess it would be naive in the extreme to expect the papers to be full of sweetness and light but I wasn't expecting what we were given. A particular 'favourite' of mine was in The Observer Business Section on Sunday and was written by Simon Caulkin, the Management Editor (although, quite what he manages is not clear). If it wasn't for his photograph at the top of the page I would have sworn this was written by someone who had been keen to be one of the apprentices but who had fallen at the first hurdle - there was a certain amount of bitterness detected by this reader.

He is happy to call the show a 'travesty' and refers to the fourteen of us as 'gabby, over-assertive, unsufferable young men and women' - I'll take the over-assertive and gabby and welcome the 'young' with open arms.

He also claims that 'true to form' the girls tarted themselves up in the first episode.

I was wearing an old pair of jeans, walking trainers and a green T-shirt. I had no idea that was what the young tart on the street was sporting these days - it's back to fishnets and a mini skirt for me when I take Cameron to nursery - don't want the other mums to get the wrong idea.

The main thrust of the article suggests that in business it is all about competition but with a healthy dose of co-operation; and that The Apprentice is simply down to 'individual plausibility' rather than 'learning and teamwork'.

Mr Caulkin, I was there and I can guarantee that none of the tasks could or would have been carried out without all of the remaining apprentices being focused 100% on the task. But, yes, in the back of all of our minds was what we were ultimately aiming for...and, frankly, isn't that how people succeed in all walks of life. There is an element of working with and for the team but with an ultimate goal of either personal satisfaction or success.

I'm no Management Editor and I am no great business success story but I have little respect for anyone who writes, what is meant to be a serious business article, with the title 'In the end, the biggest a**hole always wins.'

Mr Caulkin, on this ocassion, you appear to be the winner.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"MY ONLY WEAKNESS...."

Are there times in everyone's lives when they wish they hadn't said something? I'm sure that will be repeated many times over the coming weeks but it seems that there has been a particular sentiment that I shouldn't have felt it necessary to share with the rest of the UK!

"My only weakness is that I don't think I have any weaknesses."

Yes, I said it and it has been quoted in every article about The Apprentice (certainly North of the border - and misquoted by The Herald as "My only weakness is that I don't have any weaknesses"!).

It is currently my 'low point' on Celebdaq (ony £2.04 a share at the moment - bargain, get buying).

But, honestly, is it that bad?

What I was trying to say, and perhaps not terribly well, is that I recognise that my somewhat over-inflated impression of myself can sometimes be my downfall; that I can see that thinking that you are almost always in the right can actually get up people's noses a bit.

So - it is a weakness and it does make sense.

But, to be honest, I really wish I hadn't said it!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

AND SO IT GOES ON

So it's the Sunday after the big press launch and my life hasn't suddenly changed into a whirlwind of red carpet premiers and free gifts arriving at every turn! The weirdest thing is that I forget that not every person is as obsessed with the coverage and trailers as I am. I scared the living daylights out of my poor son on Friday when I saw the trailer and shouted for his dad at about 100 decibels. And I am only in it for a fleeting moment!

James Max did a piece in the Sunday Times which was nice but a bit bland. He has really done well out of the whole experience, it seems. There is no sign of Miriam (who was my favourite) but I understand that Paul is about to become a TV star.

There are some ABSOLUTE characters this time around. It is up to the public to decide whether they are credible busines people but there is no doubt that it is going to be entertaining.

I understand that the book is out next week - now there's something to look forward to!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

IT'S ALL A BIT SURREAL

I don't know how much of the coverage you have all seen but it has gone a bit mad in Scotland. I came home on Tuesday night, after the Press release, to find a Daily Record reporter at my door. It felt very 'Posh Spice'.

I think this blog is going to be a bit self-indulgent! It is really cathartic to be able to write down all the things that are going through your head as the date for the programme starts coming ever closer. There are some absolute stars on the show. I am going to put up profiles of everyone - with my own little additions - but I won't spoil it. I'll wait until after the first episode - and it's a corker!

Would love to get any feedback on the site, the blog and the programme in general.

THE STORY SO FAR

I always wondered how the Apprentices were chosen. This is how it happened for me:

11 July 2005

I had filled in the longest ever application form as soon as I heard that they were looking for new candidates for the second series of The Apprentice. I had loved the first series and got totally hooked on it and Jennifer, my sister, had started the whole interest by telling me about the series in America. I had been looking at my email every day for weeks waiting to hear if I was in line for an interview.

When the message came, its address was ‘apprentice-no reply’ and my heart sank. When I opened it, it was actually letting me know that I wasn't to reply to the email! The message said that there would be an interview in Glasgow on the 11 July 2005. And there it started – the obsession with what to wear, what to say and how to say it.

The interview on the Monday was everything I expected and I felt really up for it. I was due there at 0900 but arrived a bit early and got to watch all sorts of people walking in…some very odd ones to be honest. I eventually went up to the floor where the interview was on and sat down…with lots of very quiet people. I couldn’t bear the silence so started talking to some people and found out the kind of person who applies for this kind if thing. There was a guy in full Scottish kit who was handing out his business cards and reading The Apprentice book. Mmmmm, fairly sure he was out after the first stage.

I was called into the first interview and just had a quick chat with a guy about why I wanted to be on and what I could do for Sir Alan. I felt really comfortable and confident and was off to the second stage after a bit of a wait. The second stage was much like the first but a bit more in-depth.

I then had to wait in a room with 3 guys and we were taken into a room and asked to debate a question – ‘What is the best British brand?’ Yeah, went fine and I felt like I handled myself really well. It was then an interview with the two producers, a quick screen test and I was off again. What a drama.

So we were all waiting to hear whether we were going to go any further. There was loads of great chat on the Internet Forum and people spoofing each other constantly. Finally, the call came on Thursday 21 that I was going to be going to London for the next stage of the interviews –ARRRGGHHHH!!!

25 July 2005 God! Just two weeks later and I was on a plane and off to London for the next stage. I met the lovely Ruari and Alan at the airport and we spent the next few hours talking almost only about the Apprentice and how desperate we were to work for Sir Alan. We went to the interview and found that we were in a room with 7 other people all as keen as us. And let the games commence!!! Basically a big shouty, noisy session of debates, discussions and tasks. I can honesty say that I didn’t really enjoy it and I didn’t think that I had put myself across that well. So we spent the next couple of hours talking about how badly we thought we had done. It was definitely time for a pint of Stella – or two.

Back home and I knew that I had it bad. There was not a moment that went past over the next couple of days when I wasn’t thinking about how I had done and whether I would get the call. I had convinced myself that I definitely wasn’t in one minute and the next that I definitely should be in and if I didn’t get the call something was wrong. I really was torture. I have never felt that bad about anything and just couldn’t bear it! I know it sounds really stupid to get so worked up about it but I had reallt set my sights on this and I was determined that I was going to get it!

On the 28 July, I got the call I had been waiting for. At 1600, just as I was leaving work, I got a call from the lovely Katie to say that I was to go to London on the Monday for a psychiatrist’s interview (to make sure I wasn’t mad?) and to sign some paperwork. And so the adventure began.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Hitting the Headlines


Series two of the Apprentice is now beginning to hit the headlines:

Visit my blog again soon for more updates!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Welcome to Karen Bremner's Apprentice blog

Welcome to my blog - I can't believe I am even using a word like that - I am pretty IT-illiterate but here I am with my own website.

I decided to set up a blog because, when I watched last year, I was so desparate to understand what was really going on with the tasks and the people who were doing them!

The second series of the BBC's Apprentice begins on 22 February 2006 and you will be able to follow my adventures with the other 13 contestants as we battle for the prize: a £100,000 a year job with Sir Alan Sugar. And, believe me, there are some serious battles. I don't know if the programme is better than last year but it is certainly entertainment - there are some massive characters which you will grow to love (and probably hate!).

I intend to be as honest as I can, so if you are looking for the 'party-line' you would be better off on the BBC 2 website!


This is the BBC press release about the show: "Following the huge success of the first series, The Apprentice is back for a 12-week run on BBC Two starting on Wednesday 22 February at 9.00pm. The critically acclaimed show returns to challenge a new group of aspiring tycoons to test their skills in this unique business entertainment series. Competition this year was fiercer than ever with more than 10,000 people applying for the six-figure salaried job with Sir Alan Sugar. These applications were whittled down to the final 14."

Who is to say how they chose the final 14 - you'll need to decide once you've seen us all.