Is this the most hopeless line-up of Apprentice candidates ever? BBC show’s premiere sees a hapless team mistakenly use crumble to make fish cakes – as the other group suffers a financial LOSS on the first task

Lord Sugar is looking for his next ‘big time’ business partner and someone who will make him millions.

And after sifting through thousands of applications and holding nationwide auditions, the tycoon, 74, was horrified to discover his latest recruits had made him a financial loss during the show’s first task.

The 18 candidates are challenged to host a luxury day away in the Scottish Highlands, but the paying customers are far from satisfied.

An embarrassment in the kitchen led to one team decorating fishcakes in sweet crumb instead of breadcrumbs as the competing group served cold food 45 minutes after it left the oven.

The mistakes did not go unnoticed by Lord Sugar’s trusted aides, Baroness Karren Brady, 54, and Tim Campbell, 46, who shuddered with pity at the contestant’s shambolic attempts.

Lord Sugar is looking for his next 'big time' business partner and someone who will make him millions

Lord Sugar is looking for his next ‘big time’ business partner and someone who will make him millions

After sifting through thousands of applications and holding nationwide auditions, the tycoon was horrified to discover that his latest recruits had made him a financial loss.

After sifting through thousands of applications and holding nationwide auditions, the tycoon was horrified to discover that his latest recruits had made him a financial loss.

The 18 candidates are challenged to host a luxury day away in the Scottish Highlands, but the paying customers are far from satisfied

The 18 candidates are challenged to host a luxury day away in the Scottish Highlands, but the paying customers are far from satisfied

An embarrassment in the kitchen led to one team decorating fishcakes in sweet crumb instead of breadcrumbs

An embarrassment in the kitchen led to one team decorating fishcakes in sweet crumb instead of breadcrumbs

Divided into men’s and women’s teams, Karren, who supervised the females, said the fish cakes were some of the worst she had ever tasted.

She added: ‘It’s obviously icing on the cake… it’s disgusting.’

Lord Sugar, who has been at the helm of the BBC show for the past 18 years, says the useless display of the candidates is the reason why he does not oversee the tasks himself.

He said: ‘I’ll leave it to Karren and Tim… it was a tough one but if I was there I’d probably have to step in and do the cooking.’

The billionaire remarked that watching the mistakes of the contestants unravel under pressure was like watching your mother-in-law drive your Ferrari over a cliff.

There were even more failures in the kitchen of the men, who despite being led by pie company owner Phil Turner, served stone cold sausages.

Sales manager Oliver Medforth apparently shocked himself after forgetting to include the flour while making a batch of brownies for dessert – he had to start all over again.

Instead of their ‘welcome drink’ being a glass of bubbles, they gave guests tap water.

And time ran out so much during the abseiling part of the task that project manager Virdi Singh Mazaria left his paying customers just four minutes to enjoy a half-hour Scottish country dance lesson – because they had to catch the train home.

Sales manager Oliver Medforth appears to shock himself after forgetting to include the flour while making a batch of brownies for dessert ¿ he had to start over

Sales manager Oliver Medforth appeared to shock himself after forgetting to include the flour while making a batch of brownies for dessert – he had to start all over again

Karren says seeing the candidates make mistakes is one of the reasons viewers love watching the show and entrepreneurs even learn what to avoid when running their own businesses

Karren says seeing the candidates make mistakes is one of the reasons viewers love watching the show and entrepreneurs even learn what to avoid when running their own businesses

Contestants including yoga company owner Onyeka Nweze, Maura Rath, Noor Bouziane, Raj Chohan and Sam Saadet (top row L-R) compete for Lord Sugar's £250,000 investment

Contestants including yoga company owner Onyeka Nweze, Maura Rath, Noor Bouziane, Raj Chohan and Sam Saadet (top row L-R) compete for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment

The female team was triumphant, leaving one of the male contestants in danger of being fired by Lord Sugar

The female team was triumphant, leaving one of the male contestants in danger of being fired by Lord Sugar

The most tantalizing moment of the show’s first episode, which airs on Thursday night, came from recruitment director Jack Davies having the audacity to ask disgruntled guests for a ‘tip’, which went down like a lead balloon.

But Karren says seeing the candidates make mistakes is one of the reasons viewers love watching the show – and entrepreneurs even learn what to avoid when running their own businesses.

She said: ‘There is no script in this show and everything that unfolds unfolds, it’s authentic, it’s real.

‘A lot of people watch this show to see what to do in business and what not to do. As it unfolds, the viewers see it … there are no retakes.’

Once Lord Sugar picks out the weak from the strong contestants, they begin to thrive and eventually put money in the bank.

Karren revealed that this year’s crop deserve the ‘biggest win in terms of value’ as they manage to impress the boss, who is giving away £250,000 of his own money to the winner.

She said: ‘I’m talking about millions… so some of them really come to the top.’