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Five Inspirational Apprentices From Fiction

March 10, 2017

It’s the UK’s National Apprenticeship Week and over the years Fifteen has taken on many talented apprentices, some of whom are still with us having become key members of the team.

Apprenticeships can come with a certain reputation for offering only dull and menial work, but the master-apprentice relationship has provided film, TV and literature with some of their greatest characters and storylines. As these five famous fictional apprentices prove, it’s not all about making the tea…

Mickey Mouse

At that awkward age where he hadn’t yet found his direction in life, young Michael found himself as the ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ in Disney’s Fantasia (1940). The film’s most famous sequence was set to music by Paul Dukas (1865 -1935) and based on a poem by Goethe (1749-1832).

Not the first or last apprentice to tire of being given all the demeaning jobs, things got out of hand for Mickey when he used his master’s spells to conjure brooms and buckets into life – it turned out they didn’t like being bossed around either and the hapless mouse nearly drowned but for the sorcerer’s timely return. This all being pre-Health and Safety directives, clearly.


Hired as an apprentice by Death himself, the scrawny country boy – whose only previous employment was as a failed scarecrow – soon proved himself so useful at guiding the deceased of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to the afterlife that the grim reaper took the day off to go fishing.

Death once told his protege, There is no justice, there’s just me. But for a while, there was the aptly named Mortimer too.

Anakin Skywalker

From Tatooine slave to the Emperor’s right-hand man, becoming an apprentice – or padawan – to a Jedi Knight was a fine career move for the future Darth Vader.

The prodigious Anakin worked alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi for many years before switching to the Dark Side for their superior health plan.

Tiffany Aching

Another of Terry Pratchett’s creations, Tiffany’s promising career as cheesemaker was abandoned when a chance encounter with fairy folk brought her potential to the attention of Discworld’s witching community aged 13.

Studying under such senior witches as Miss Level, Miss Treason and the legendary Granny Weatherwax, Tiff soon found out that real witchcraft involved clipping toenails more than stirring cauldrons, but nevertheless excelled as the ‘Hag of the Hills’ and eventually took on apprentices of her own.


With his poetry career going nowhere, William the Bloody Awful became simply Bloody when he was ‘sired’ by the sensual-but-sociopathic vampire Drusilla back in 1880.

The pair went on to become two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s most troublesome adversaries, though a microchip in his head and an obsessive crush on Buffy turned Spike into one of the good guys by the end.

Another success story for the apprentice scheme then!




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