'It's not funny' - The Apprentice's Paul B reveals behind-the-scenes truths of 'gruelling' competition

Virgin Radio

9 Feb 2024, 11:38

Paul Bowen and the men's team The Apprentice

Credit: BBC

The Apprentice star Paul Bowen has opened up about how “gruelling” the entrepreneurial competition can be.

Spoilers for The Apprentice episode 2 below!

Speaking with virginradio.co.uk after being fired by Lord Sugar at the end of episode two, the Bowen Pies businessman shared what it’s really like to take part in the popular show’s famous tasks.

Mistakes like some of Paul’s in episode two are often edited quite comedically, but the former candidate explained how the stakes of the competition always succeeded to supersede any light-hearted feelings on set.

“When [the tasks] start going wrong, at first I always kind of laughed, because that’s just my initial response,” he admitted. “But then actually you’re thinking ‘There’s £250,000 on the line here. It’s not funny,’ and then the stress hits in.

“It’s almost like, you know, anyone that’s been swimming, and you’ve had that bit where you’ve maybe swallowed a little bit of water and you panic,” he continued. “It’s almost like that, there’s sheer panic, which leads to more mistakes, more problems.”

Setting the scene of what the full The Apprentice experience is like, Paul added: “It’s a gruelling process. You are up early doors, it does affect how you think, and yeah… it can be very stressful. Because like I said, there’s £250,000 on the line!”

Elaborating on quite how demanding he found the days he spent in the competition, Paul said: “I run a small business here, a bakery, and I’m up early doors most days. But even that was too early for me!

“When they said ‘You’ll be doing 14-15 hour days’ I thought ‘I do them all the time anyway,’ but they genuinely do 15-16 hour days. They are really long, they really… you’re put through your paces.

“And every credit to everybody,” he added, complimenting the show’s crew. “There is a shift put in.”

Asked what surprised him the most about getting to work alongside the legendary Lord Sugar, Baroness Karen Brady and Tim Campbell MBE, he revealed: “The guy that took me by surprise was Tim. I honestly thought he was quite a direct guy on camera, but off camera he’s got so much energy, he’s so positive, he’s rooting for you.”

“And Lord Sugar,” Paul added. “He is one tough cookie, you know? There’s a reason why he’s got where he is. And that’s because he’s just the man.”

The Apprentice continues on BBC One and BBC iPlayer every Thursday from 9pm.