Shropshire Star

Lord Sugar nails pronunciation of 'Shrewsbury' - but is baffled by Shropshire Fidget Pie - as county takes centre stage on The Apprentice

Lord Alan Sugar nailed the pronunciation of Shrewsbury - but was baffled by the concept of Shropshire Fidget Pie - as the county took centre stage on The Apprentice.

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Shrewsbury Prison is one of the venues featured in this week's episode of The Apprentice.

Shropshire featured heavily in the latest episode of the hit BBC One show, with wannabe business moguls taking on a tourism challenge.

The hopefuls were at Shrewsbury Prison and Blists Hill Victorian Town, tasked with hosting immersive events at the popular attractions.

They were woken at the crack of dawn and told to pack an overnight bag, before being whisked from London to Shropshire for their latest test.

The Apex team, led by Mark, were sent to the prison, while the Affinity team, for whom Avi was project manager, were given the Ironbridge venue. They had to sell tickets, book entertainment, and organise food and drink. The team making the biggest profit would win, while one of the losing team would be fired.

On a glorious summer day, Avi, who was project manager for his team, was in The Square, Shrewsbury, megaphone in hand urging Salopians to "step right up" and buy tickets for his team's immersive tour.

Mark's team were also touting in town centre, but Shropshire folk were not having the £110 ticket prices, telling them to drop them to £20. Lord Sugar's aide Karren Brady lambasted their strategy of asking potential customers how much they would be willing to pay.

Plenty of stunning overhead shots of Shrewsbury's picturesque town centre and Ironbridge's scenic beauty were laced within the programme as candidates tried to appeal to peoples' adventurous sides.

At Shrewsbury Prison, venue boss Joel Campbell drove a hard bargain as hopefuls tried to haggle him down on food prices, eventually shaking hands on providing the "governer's burger" meal for £24 a head down from £35.

But over at Blists Hill, the team agreed to feed their guests with the Shropshire classic of Fidget Pie, with rice pudding for £9.25 a head, giving themselves more chance of saving profits.

At the prison, a guard barked orders at Megan and Simba as they were marched around in orange jumpsuits, learning what it takes to play the role of prison officers when guests arrive for the experience. In Ironbridge, the opposing team prepared to put on a mining challenge

Sales were proving disastrous for the Apex team, who went to Wace Morgan solicitors in St Mary's Street, Shrewsbury in search of a bulk deal to get the staff on a team bonding session at the prison. But Chris Detheridge, MD at the firm, gave a masterclass in deal-making as he got the team down from £75 a head to £60, leaving them with barely any profit margin to work with.

The Apex team found that low tickets sales and high catering costs left them operating at a loss before their day had even began.

Megan and Simba revelled in insulting and shouting at guests, with their behaviour drawing raised eyebrows. The team members selling tickets failed to warn guests properly what to expect. After a bumpy start, visitors did seem to be enjoying being berated, sniggering under their breath.

Meanwhile, there were laughs at Blists Hill, as naughty schoolboy Avi received the caning across the backside in a silly skit to entertain guests, who then donned their Victorian attire.

Both teams faced food service disasters, with the Blists Hill team handing out meat to vegan customers and guests at the prison singing "why are we waiting?" as their bellies rumbled.

Back in the boardroom, Mark accepted their price was too high for folk in a rural county like Shropshire. "We're not in Dubai and this isn't Alcatraz," he said.

Lord Sugar lamented their negotiations with a magician for their show, who wouldn't budge from his fee of £300. "It looks like he made your profit disappear," he remarked.

When discussing the food at Blists Hill, Lord Sugar appeared not to have heard of the Shropshire delicacy Fidget Pie. "What, did it keep moving around or something?" he quipped.

The prison team made £121.50 in profit, but the Blists Hill team thrashed them with a profit of £858, winning a trip to the Crystal Maze Live experience in London.

There was a clear divide in the losing team, who bickered in front of Lord Sugar over who was to blame.

Due to the team starting their task in the red on the day of the event under Mark's leadership, Lord Sugar fired him.

The episode was the second major involvement for Shropshire this series, with Whitchurch councillor Gregory Ebbs a contestant who was fired earlier in an earlier episode.