Broadcast on BBC One on Bonfire Night, it was no surprise that this week’s episode of The Apprentice contained more than its fair share of fireworks and explosions.
The task involved putting together a Coach Day Trip from London and saw the candidates select a top attraction around which they could create a package for tourists. Team Summit chose Hever Castle & Gardens, best known as the ‘Childhood Home of Anne Boleyn’, for its proximity to London and combination of colourful history, award-winning gardens and attractions. Team Tenacity chose Blenheim Palace. It was then up to the candidates to negotiate group discounts in a bid to maximise their own profit.
Filming took place over two glorious sunny days in May. Day 1 saw contestants James, Sanjay and Jemma arrive at Hever Castle with the film crew in tow to recce the attraction and negotiate a group price while their team members, Bianca, Roisin and Solomon, had to select a lunch option and sell their daytrip to tourists back in London.
On arrival, the three candidates met with Hever spokesperson Sarah Cole who escorted them to the Castle forecourt where they wanted to discuss prices for their group. “It was a difficult task given that group travel organisers usually plan and book their coach trip well ahead,” said Sarah. “Sadly I felt the candidates wasted too much time trying to negotiate entry prices when it was apparent that I wasn’t going to go any lower and James’ request for an 80% discount was simply farcical!”
Castle co-ordinator Anna Spender then gave them a guided tour of the Castle. “Having taken James, Sanjay and Jemma on a whistle-stop tour of the Castle I was concerned that the short amount of time allocated was not enough for them to learn the key facts. It was a big undertaking for them to remember it all for their own tour the following day. Jemma managed her group reasonably well but gave an ‘interesting’ tour of the Castle. She pointed out the ‘photo’ of Henry VIII, and failed to explain that Anne Boleyn was beheaded suggesting that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn simply grew apart.”
On Day 2, the coach arrived much later than expected, leaving less time for the group to enjoy their visit. Although the film crew captured the highlights of the trip perfectly as shown on the programme, the gardens, lake and attractions remained undiscovered to all but a few visitors. When it was time for the group to leave, the contestants sprinted from the Castle grounds in true Apprentice fashion.
Team Summit lost the challenge and sparks flew in the Boardroom where Jemma Bird was for the chop for her sketchy knowledge showing visitors round Hever Castle, while James Hill – who subjected the passengers to an excruciating sing-along on the coach – narrowly avoided the axe. Hever Castle has a long established reputation for offering excellent service to group travel organisers and the travel trade. With discounted admission for groups of 15 or more and a host of group benefits, extras and packages, Hever welcomes over one thousand coach trips a year bringing visitors from all over the world.
For further information on Hever Castle, please visit www.hevercastle.co.uk or Tel: 01732 865224.
The Apprentice featuring Hever Castle can be seen on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer