Fruity task for Apprentice hopefuls

The next generation of business high-flyers are sent back to basics in the new series of The Apprentice.

The contestants, including one who claims to have been trained by the Dalai Lama, are armed with £250 by Lord Sugar to invest in fruit and vegetables and told to come back with a profit.

The men's team plan to make and sell fresh orange juice and soup to London's hungry commuters but soon hit problems when they struggle to identify an orange and then realise none of them knows how to make soup.

Project manager Edward Hunter advises his team to "roll with the punches" as they struggle to squeeze more than 1,400 oranges by hand.

Dapper salesman Vincent Disneur hits the streets trying to sell the product while another team including inventor Tom Pellereau, who boasts "underneath these glasses is a core of steel", set up their stall outside Liverpool Street station.

Meanwhile the women's team led by Melody Hossaini, who claims to have worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, start selling pasta and fruit salad to commuters.

Her team includes teenage market stall worker-turned-business psychologist Edna Agbarha, who boasts: "I seek out pleasure, not pain."

The ultimate prize for the business wannabes when the BBC1 series returns next week is a role as Lord Sugar's business partner.

And he has already warned they cannot rely on his business acumen to succeed when he pumps £250,000 into their start-up venture.

"Don't expect me to be doing all the work because I'm not looking for a 'sleeping' partner," he said. "I'm not Saint Alan, the patron saint of bloody losers - you can look at it as a bit of an uncivil partnership, so to speak."

This year's wannabes include sales and marketing manager Jim Eastwood, 32 and from Northern Ireland, who began his career working in his father's chip shop and was All Ireland cycling champion in his teens.

Another contestant - Felicity Jackson, 23 - trained as an actress and set up a company to help other budding drama stars with career development and networking.

They are among 16 hopefuls taking part in the seventh series, which begins on May 10, tackling 12 tasks.

Lord Sugar is joined once more by Karren Brady and Nick Hewer as he whittles down the team to one final winner who will benefit from the cash investment, rather than a role at one of his companies, as has happened previously.

Over the series, the contestants will be set tasks such as designing a mobile phone application, creating a new pet food and launching a magazine to prove they have the cut-throat abilities to succeed.

There is also a return for an old favourite - Stuart Baggs - who will give his views on the show on its website every week.