From 4am to midnight: This is the exact daily routine for candidates on The Apprentice

They only get a few days off and they spend them… doing washing


Don’t lie, you’ve sat and watched the candidates on The Apprentice mess up what looks like a simple task and thought you could do it better. We all have. But have you ever actually considered what a day in the life of someone competing on The Apprentice looks like, and how their daily routine plays out?

Is it exactly how it looks to us on the TV? Do they get woken up in the early hours, whisked across London, given a rogue task and then either fired or sent back to the luxury house? How long does this process take? When do they eat and do they get days off? There are so many questions.

To answer them all, here is a full rundown of the daily routine for candidates who take part on The Apprentice.

Candidates for The Apprentice are often woken up at 4am, and yes, they really do only get 20 minutes to get ready

The daily routine for candidates on The Apprentice

via BBC

On the show we see candidates woken up during what looks like the middle of the night, and told they have 20 minutes to get ready for a task. The candidates really do only get 20 minutes to prepare themselves in the morning, and the wakeup calls come regularly at between 4am and 5am.

“The key is in the prep the night before, shirts ironed and it’s just pandemonium,” 2023 candidate Reece Donnelly told Scottish Daily Express.

The filming day can go on for up to 18 hours a day

2015 winner, Joseph Valente, has previously said the working day for the candidates can be 18-hours long. Karren Brady added that filming can go on until around 10pm, but candidates have said it can be as late as midnight. “Some days you wouldn’t get in until 12am, and you’d be up again at the crack of dawn ready to do everything again,” 2014 contestant Sanjay Sood-Smith told Cosmopolitan.

Reece Donnelly added: “We don’t finish shooting until half 12 at night so you will notice in earlier episodes just how sleep-deprived people were until they got a bit more used to the swing of things. You are running on only a few hours of sleep, but you do become a pro at getting ready in all of ten minutes. We are all top-notch at getting ready under pressure now.”

via BBC

They do get lunch breaks on the tasks

Reece Donnelly added: “We don’t finish shooting until half 12 at night so you will notice in earlier episodes just how sleep-deprived people were until they got a bit more used to the swing of things. You are running on only a few hours of sleep, but you do become a pro at getting ready in all of ten minutes. We are all top-notch at getting ready under pressure now.”

via BBC

They do get lunch breaks on the tasks

The candidates cook in the evening, and previous contestants have said this is always good when among them is someone with a food or bakery business.

The candidates don’t actually spend a lot of their day with the aides

In the show it looks like Karren Brady and Tim Campbell are glued to the contestants, watching their every move on the tasks so they can report back to Lord Sugar. But, 2019’s Lottie Lion said otherwise. She claimed they are only there around “30 per cent of the time” and it’s “always when you mess up because of the pressure of them being there puts you on edge.”

The daily routine for candidates on The Apprentice

via BBC

And tasks sometimes take longer than one day

It might feel to us as though the candidates get up, do the task, head to the boardroom and go home. But, in reality, the tasks can sometimes take longer than a day. Speaking to Cosmopolitan, 2014 contestant Sanjay Sood-Smith said some tasks take a day and sometimes more.

‘Treats’ take place the day after filming the task

When a team wins, it looks as though they leave the boardroom and head straight out for their “treat” reward from Lord Sugar. The treats are actually done the day after filming the task, whilst the other time spends up to half a day filming the rest of the boardroom scenes.

The candidates live in the house for five weeks

via BBC

To us, the show is spread over a couple of months – but the candidates have no connection to the outside and are working 18-hour days, so in reality the filming is much shorter. Karren Brady confirmed the show wraps in around five weeks.

What do the candidates do in their spare time or days off?

In order to make the show in such a condensed amount of time, the candidates actually rarely have a day off from filming. You might think that the candidates would go wild during their little time off, especially living in a huge mansion in London. However, Reece Donnelly confirmed it’s a lot more tame than that.

“People think its party central but its actually really boring,” he said. “We do washing, we go to welfare, we iron our shirts for the next day and just generally catch up on lost sleep. You get a day off every few weeks. It is really full on, on your day off you literally don’t want to communicate with anyone you are just tired but we always do have some laugh. It’s really not that exciting, it’s a day to just sort yourself out.”

He said the girls tend to wash their hair on days off, as getting ready in 20 minutes doesn’t give opportunity for that, and the candidates also go and get their clothes dry-cleaned. They might also treat themselves to getting their hair done.

The Apprentice is on Thursday nights at 9pm on BBC1. Episodes will also be available on iPlayer

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