GOSH, it’s been a long week. So now for some good news.
Are you ready? The first Celebrity Apprentice for ten years is back. It’s coming soon . . . and it’s going to be ruddy marvellous.
You’re in for a treat with Celebrity Apprentice for Comic Relief — it’s worth the ten-year wait
I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say there will be some big personalities trying to work as a team. And that’s always seriously entertaining.
But also, the thing about The Apprentice is that none of the celebs realise when they sign up that it is probably the single most full-on thing they will ever do in their life.
How do I know this? I was a contestant in 2007 (but also, I’ve now sat in almost every chair in that boardroom — candidate, interviewer and now Lord Sugar’s aide).
And when Lord Sugar asked me if I would be on the Comic Relief show, I honestly thought: “How hard can it be?” How wrong I was.
The girls asked me to be their project leader and we all quickly found out that you don’t know how much you will do for charity until you are part of an event raising money for Comic Relief. There is almost no limit.
Also, it’s hard to do justice to the exhaustion. We were on the go from 5am until midnight. I was surviving on about two hours’ sleep a night.
Probably my most vivid memory of the 2007 show is cleaning two tonne of squid — what we misguidedly decided to serve at the fun fair we were organising. I was the only one who knew how to clean squid.
As well as bringing money to a brilliant cause, it’s highly entertaining viewing
Plus, as project manager I decided to take most of the rubbish jobs myself. And cleaning squid is very messy, as each one squirts ink.
Just when I was pretty much covered in the stuff, I got a call from Trinny Woodall, who’d gone home to put her kids to bed.
She said there was a party at PR guru Matthew Freud’s house and I had to join her to canvas the room for donations. While she turned up looking — and smelling — divine I had to rush there straight from the kitchen, stinking of fish.
But boy was it worth it — we raised £1million. Oh, and let the records show that £856,000 of that was raised by the girls — with the help of some very generous friends.
As well as bringing money to a brilliant cause, it’s highly entertaining viewing. And this year is going to be top notch, with some amazing players.
The girls’ team consists of Amanda Holden, Ayda Williams, Kelly Hoppen, Rachel Johnson and Tameka Empson. The boys’ team is Omid Djalili, Richard Arnold, Russell Kane, Rylan Clark-Neal and Sam Allardyce. Their task is a cabaret-themed event.
Sam Allardyce, former England football boss, was also my football manager at West Ham for several years and he was very, shall we say, authoritarian. But during this process he had on a hairnet and was making canapes — and, ahem, wore a bright neon dress with panache.
I can reveal Claude Littner had a much better time than me overseeing the girls’ team. They were unbelievably dynamic, organised and focused.
Meanwhile, the boys were all wandering around saying, ‘Er, what do we do?’ Believe me, it took all my willpower to hold my tongue and not try to get them organised.
While the girls struggled to hold their ticket price, the boys stood firm and Simon Cowell put huge pressure on Ayda and Amanda with a surprise demand for the girls.
But at the end of the day, one major donation to either team means anyone can win, organised or not.
There is a jaw-dropping moment when one of the boys “entertains” the audience with balloons strategically placed to hide his, ahem, “three-piece suite” as Lord Sugar puts it. And when the balloons pop . . . you won’t believe what you have just witnessed.
After the task, back in the boardroom, Claude was full of enthusiasm about how fantastic the girls were and what a brilliant time he’d had.
I said nothing. When Rylan asked if I had anything to say, I said: “Plenty — and none of it good.”One thing I will say, though, is they were all tremendous sports.
They would have done anything for the charity. And I mean anything. I could hardly watch at one point. It really is laugh-out-loud funny.
Boy is this show going to be worth the ten-year wait.
Celebrity Apprentice for Comic Relief is on BBC1 on March 7 and 8.
PA:Press Association Sam Allardyce had a hairnet on while making canapes during an Apprentice task
Elle is big hit in her knits
ONLY Elle Macpherson could manage to look a million dollars while wearing cosy winter warmers.
She arrived as a special guest at Vienna Opera Ball in Austria wearing a grey knitted polo neck and white, wide-leg trousers – yet somehow managing to look the very definition of effortless chic.
Alpha Press Elle Macpherson was a special guest at Vienna Opera Ball in Austria
I am particularly envious because although I know I can brush up well, when left to my own devices my look is either bag lady or corporate stiff.
Try as I might, I still have no idea how to do “smart casual”.
Clamp on abusive partners
NEW figures showing how dramatically domestic violence has risen in London are truly sickening. There was an appalling 63 per cent increase in offences between 2011 and 2018.
The sheer quantity is horrific – in 2011 there were 48,422 domestic abuse crimes recorded by the Met Police, compared with 78,814 in 2018.
Clare’s Law means people will be able to check if their partners have been domestic abusers
These figures are for London but – obviously – it’s happening all over the country.
I can’t help thinking that if it was revealed that 78,814 MEN had been attacked, assaulted and hurt by the women in their lives, more would be done to stop it.
But what I really want to know is: Why are so many men intent on hurting women?
The good news is that Sadiq Khan, London mayor, announced an extra £15million of funding for support services for domestic violence victims, saying cuts had left them at “breaking point”.
Also, Clare’s Law means people will be able to check whether their partners have been domestic abusers.
The legislation was named after Clare Wood, who was murdered and set on fire by her partner, who she did not know had previously served a three-year prison sentence for harassing another woman.
These changes are positive.
But isn’t it terrible that either thing is needed in the first place? Any domestic abuse whatsoever is shocking, tragic – and unnecessary. And we need hardline action to make it illegal.
That involves stronger sentencing and an absolute zero-tolerance approach, until anyone guilty of it becomes a social outcast.
Invest in BritainPENNY MORDAUNT has drawn up plans to take more control of how we help countries around the world.The International Development Secretary demanded the overhaul so less of our £14.1billion yearly aid budget is handed out through staff working at international agencies.
She wants the cash to fund specific projects chosen by us – with more oversight to make sure the money is not squandered.
I’ve got an even better idea. How about we don’t spend ANY money on foreign aid – except emergency disaster relief – and use it instead to fund our own hospitals, schools, housing and mental heath care?
We must prevent gang sex
NINE men were jailed in Bradford this week for a total of 140 years for grooming and sexually abusing vulnerable teenagers.
A harrowing impact statement from one victim was read in court saying she was “nothing but a toy to play with”, which is vile.
PA:Press Association Nine men from Bradford were jailed this week for sexually abusing vulnerable teenagers
I want to know when we’re going to stop reading about these gangs of men who prey on and abuse young girls, ruining their lives.
What is needed is prevention. Action must be taken in the care system to protect vulnerable young people and in society so people can speak out when they suspect someone is being groomed.
Sentences should be stiffer to make people think twice – even if their moral compass is skewed – for fear of the consequences.
This story makes me despair, though. What has happened to our community values to stop us looking after those who need it most?MPs all in the same vote…
HERE is your one-minute Brexit update for the week.
There will be three key votes in Parliament.
Alamy Live News MPs don’t want to leave the EU with Theresa May’s deal and they don’t want to leave with No Deal
The first is a vote on Theresa May’s deal – her agreed terms for leaving the EU. It’s a “yes or no” question.
We can only assume the answer will be no . . . again.
Then the second vote – to leave Europe with No Deal.
This is another “yes or no”. That, too, will surely be a no.
So, MPs don’t want to leave with Theresa May’s deal and they don’t want to leave with No Deal.
Then there will be another vote on delaying Brexit while they work out the terms on which we DO leave.
That one could run for years and years.
‘PLEASE, PLEASE STAY AWAKE’ Teen’s haunting plea after girlfriend stabbed in back at park SAY CHEESE! People are throwing cheese at their babies in a bizarre new internet craze BULLY BOSS Millionaire baseball CEO drags wife off park chair as she screams ‘oh God, help’ HELL HOLE Disgusting house which ‘reeks of urine and poo’ home to 5 kids and pregnant mum ‘AM I AN A******E? Man charges obese plane passenger £100 for taking up his seat space CLEANING UP Cleaner finds £300k in a brown envelope on a London bus… and then hands it in
Cash not the cure
MY heart goes out to the mother whose daughter’s stillbirth left her terrified she would lose her two healthy sons. It really is a tragedy.
And it must be unbearable for her that the NHS Trust admitted negligence.
Getty – Contributor A mum’s stillborn daughter left her terrified she would lose her healthy sons too
If she had a child who needed expensive care as a result of NHS negligence, it would make sense to sue the trust. But asking for £6million compensation when the sad truth is all the money in the world won’t bring back her baby is a blow to an NHS already on its knees.
In fact, its financial woes may even have contributed to the lack of care that caused this tragedy in the first place.
Lord Alan Sugar is back with Celebrity Apprentice 2019