WITH the cost-of-living crisis biting at the heels of British households, many of us have accepted a trip overseas might be off the cards this year.
Earlier this year I revealed the BBC had sent the new crop of business hopefuls on a luxurious-sounding excursion to Antigua in the Caribbean.
But now it has emerged that producers also arranged for the group to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, known for its extravagant shopping, ultra-modern buildings and lively nightlife
It means each candidate racked up a total of 17,034 air miles and likely costs of £2,000 for the plane tickets alone.
A source said: “It seemed fairly excessive to whisk the apprentices off to Antigua, especially during tough times and budget cuts.
But now adding a second foreign business trip to proceedings feels inordinate.
“It must be the most luxurious year for challenges the show has ever seen.
“Clearly, no expense has been spared since the pandemic.”
I revealed in May that a group of Apprentice hopefuls were spotted in Antigua approaching British tourists as part of a sales task to sell tours, and now an insider has told of the second overseas trip.
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Winner Harpreet Kaur and her rivals travelled to Portsmouth for a task on board a stationary cruise ship, then North Wales on a tour sales task.
Outside of the pandemic, contestants were asked to sell cheese to the French, sausage-flavoured crisps to Germans and had other trips to Belgium and Malta.
Next year’s series — the 17th season — is due to be broadcast on BBC One in January.
Perhaps this time the challenges include flogging holidays.
THE NEXT WIG THING FOR PARIS
PARIS HILTON is looking to the future despite her cooking series being canned.
The socialite dressed up in a space-age outfit complete with sci-fi shades and a blue wig.
She is out of work after Netflix cancelled her reality TV show Cooking With Paris earlier this year after just one season.
But it doesn’t seem to have bothered the heiress as she posed for husband Carter Reum on a hotel room balcony in Portofino, Italy.
Paris married the US venture capitalist in November, and said earlier this year: “I love being a wife.
“Being married is a great new chapter for both of us.”
She does look out of this world.
BARING TO GO, SAYS ED
ASKING Ed Gamble to join Pointless might turn out to be quite the, er, gamble for the Beeb.
Radio 2’s Claudia Winkleman asked Ed – who is one of a series of new co-hosts – for three adjectives to describe how he will attack the new gig.
Ed replied: “The problem is, Claudia, you say adjective and I am not quite sure what an adjective is.
“Maybe I go with: ‘Disrespectful . . . showing . . . and naked.
“I am trying to mix it up. I am filming mine in September and I’m very, very excited.”
At least he’s given the Beeb fair warning.
THE Rap Game UK is back, with six new and unsigned performers competing for a £20,000 prize alongside a mentorship deal.
Krept, Konan and Dj Target will be presenting the BBC Three show, which has been dubbed the “rap Olympics”. It returns to screens tomorrow at 9pm.
EMILY IN FESTIVAL LECTURE
Emily who famously grilled Prince Andrew in his car-crash interview in 2019, will deliver the flagship address of the 2022 Edinburgh TV Festival.
It has previously been given by broadcast veterans such as Ted Turner and Jon Snow.
Her piece for the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture will cover modern journalism.
Emily, who left Newsnight last year, said: “It is a massive privilege but also a responsibility.
“We are good at documenting intimidation of journalists around the world, but sometimes slow to recognise it closer to home.”
I can’t imagine anyone intimidating Emily.
Bridgerton takes the lead
BRIDGERTON leads the 2022 TV Choice Awards nominations with three nods. It is up against Outlander, Death In Paradise and All Creatures Great And Small for Best Drama Series.
The event will take place in person for the first time in three years this November, after Covid forced it online
THE GLIT CROWD’S FIRED UP
SHIRLEY BALLAS inspires fierce competition wherever she goes – even on gentle jewellery-making show All That Glitters.
The host, who will return for a new six-part series of the BBC2 show, revealed: “It was a very tense challenge for the jewellers, who were all desperate to have their piece worn on an episode of Strictly Come Dancing.”
She added: “There are some real gut-wrenching moments this series, where pieces break at the last minute or the jewellers don’t finish in time.
“When it goes wrong it’s awful, but it does make great TV.”