When the British Apprentice TV Show Tried To Make Comic Books For Kids Aged 8-12

The British version of the TV show The Apprentice ran its second episode of the current series last night. In which Lord Sugar summoned the candidates to the House of Illustration, described as the UK's only gallery dedicated to graphic art, which manages to ignore The Cartoon Museum and the Putney Cartoon Art Museum in London alone. But anyway.

And hilariously, Lord Sugar appeared in Augmented Reality form as a business superhero, VAT Man telling them for this task they had to create a new comic book for 8-12-year-olds, including a new comic name, main character, original story and an AR-enhanced cover. Created in one day and printed overnight.

So this was clearly going to be a comic book masterpiece.

The women's team created a rapping monkey called MC Gogo to help kids learn languages, with AR to match, while the men's team went for an outer-space explorer called Benji, that seemed more suitable for a four-year-old.

The Women won (despite forgetting their French, and having more spelling errors than, well, Bleeding Cool) with 10,000 orders from WH Smiths while the Men lost for lack of diversity and poor appeal – just 950 copies ordered.

The highlight may have been actual comic book creator, publisher and teacher Kev F Sutherland's Miranda-style look to camera in ridicule when confronted with Benji. I may make that a gif.

We also saw other Beano cartoonists  Nigel Auchterlounie, Emily McGorman-Bruce and a little Hamish Steele.

But most entertaining of course was the reaction of comic book professionals online. Including a comic store that was used for the filming – and who told a local comic creator to leave his banner there after a signing, in order to get a little PR on the BBC…. and the note that WH Smiths would never order so many copies of a comic like that unless it had a free toy on the cover and was an existing IP license…

Those in the UK can watch The Apprentice Series 14 episode 2 'Comics' right here.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.