Archives for the month of: May, 2011

Week 4 dawns with the candidates summoned to the British Museum (Susan “What’s there? Dinosaurs and stuff?”, Vincent “I’ve a feeling Tom looks like he knows about the British Museum”). They file past all our stolen ancient treasures to the statue of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, flanked by the walnut faced god of grumpiness LordAlan, who tasks the candidates to choose and buy two beauty treatments (and associated products), learn how to do the treatments and sell both to unsuspecting members of the public. Seeing as London is saturated with poncy Spas, Lord Alan dispatches them to Birmingham, a city that knows little of beauty.

Zoe’s called to task over her promise to take on more responsibility and is moved over to lead Venture, which now consists of Glenn, Susan, Leon, Helen and Edna.

Felicity’s moved over to manage Logic (Jim, Vincent, Ellie, Melody, Natasha and Tom).

Susan struggles to contain her excitement at this task, given she’s worked selling skin care products for three years (not that she cares to mention it much more than a thousand times throughout the day). This boosts Zoe’s hopes no end (“just another of this team’s reasons to win sky high”).

Team Logic has a more fractured outlook on the remit, with Vincent of course oozing confidence (“I know my cosmetics”), but Northern Ellie rather less sure of herself (“I’m not what you’d class as a polished woman. I work on a building site”).

Melody sets herself up as an expert on Birmingham so suggests the team choose a location in the centre of the Bullring, which would leave them with only one treatment room in a department store some distance away from the sales stand. Tom rightly points out that this doesn’t sound right, and starts frantically leafing through the extremely rough guide to Birmingham, until he’s put in his place by Felicity who tells him to drop the book and stop saying things that sound intelligent.

Meanwhile everyone in Venture backs Zoe’s decision to focus on the captive audience in the West Midlands biggest shopping mall, outside of central Brum.

So the teams get the chance to see the various products pitched and demoed. Firstly Tom is the recipient of a “chocolate facial” (goes down a treat at Lib Dem conferences and BNP rallies). This would go down nicely with “Wavy Gravy” (a hair curler that Su’s brave enough to allow Glenn to try out on her). There’s a weird solution that’s soaked into bandages and wrapped tightly around a bikini clad model for that Egyptology/ burns unit chic. Next up is a bizarre “fringe” hairpiece called a “whinge” (RRP £23), which reminds me in many ways of ex England football manager Steve McClaren and his coy little forehead hamster. Leon’s forced to resignedly submit to the application of “discreet men’s cosmetics” (“I can’t sell this. I’ve got a girlfriend”). There’s a cold stone foot massage thing, which Zoe plumps for and a hot “lava shell” massage er shell (a lump of plastic with chemicals in to make it go hot), which Tom likes for its gadget status (and he works out there’d be a large profit margin if it paid off), so Felicity selects it.

Both teams are left chasing the final product, a spray tan kit, and Zoe cannily hints to Susan that she mentions her background in beauty. It takes very little persuading for Susan to start gushing on, but it seems to strike the right chord with the suppliers. Logic on the other hand sit there coldly scribbling in their notepads and scowling, until Felicity curtly dismisses the spray tan people. “I feel that will be our winner” Felicity tells her team. Tom agrees having worked out the profit margin per minute is the best of all the products they’ve seen. Felicity’s in full on patronising mode towards anything the hapless Michael Sheen lookielike says (“Thank you. I’m happy you worked that out”) Boo! She smugly calls back the supplier who inform her that the other team showed way more passion, so they’d rather Venture flogged their spray tans. Logic have to pick a different product and whilst Felicity likes the self mummification kit, everyone else goes for the “whinge” (Felicity “I just wanted to be sure I had everyone’s backing” – well now you know love).

The teams also get to pick and purchase extra products to sell (but spending is deducted from their takings). The “whinge” comes with a series of not very nice supposedly Lady Gaga bows and hair extensions for example. Venture appear to have to pick some colours of nail varnish (to go with the pedicure thing? I’m lost with this stuff) and Glenn proves a surprising expert on nail colour. They have to decide how many products to buy (the main profit should theoretically come from treatments) and both Felicity and Susan work out that they should be able to sell three products per hour. The difference being, Susan’s not team leader and Zoe’s having none of her “let’s spend £800 on 70 products. I can sell them… did I mention I’ve worked in selling beauty products”, arguing down to buying only 35 (Susan “I think we’re making a mistake, we can sell a lot more”).

Next it’s time to learn how to administer the treatments and Tom unashamedly and intently gets his hairy hands all over Jim’s back. It’s like bi curious porn. Leon is rather less keen to get physical with the spray tanning practice on a male muscle bunny, until the girls beast him into getting his hands dirty. He has all the personal touch of a broken robot (“If you want, if you have boobs I can put you in a paper bra and pants” – Leon I think male models don’t do pectoral tan lines, unless they pose for specialist publications).

Whilst Jim admires the splendour of the Bull Ring and Nat works on her comedy brummy accent in the car, Tom’s still running figures through his bat computer brain (“I think the best case scenario is just under £2000”, Vincent “Sorry, I wasn’t really paying much attention.”). Whilst Logic indeed have a prime sales spot on the main concourse, the treatment room is upstairs and miles away and tiny so the hair treatment and massages have to double up in there at the same time. Well that would be if there were any treatments done, as whilst Felicity, Vincent, Jim and Natasha flog products downstairs like tomorrow the whole of Birmingham will be as hairless and achy as Duncan Goodhew’s bollocks, Ellie (exiled as Felicity thinks she’s “not a natural salesperson” – read “scary Northern dyke”), Melody and Tom mooch around idly in the treatment room, awaiting victims.

In the out of town shopping complex, Venture have a three room beauty salon, plus a retail unit just next door to it. Zoe and Helen have that spooky Stepford Wife patter that identifies all beauty professionals down to a tea (especially in their surgical whites), in fact whilst Zoe wows a weary middle aged shopper with her foot massage bullshit, Helen reassures a waiting client that Zoe “always gets really involved with clients and gives them the best experience” whilst little fembot cogs click and whirr behind her lovely cold, blank face. She only appears human when she tries to give a spray tan and complains that the machine isn’t working, only to realise she hasn’t plugged it in (that should fill her client with confidence).

Zoe gives Susan some motivational sales talk on the products stand (“you wanted to buy double so selling this lot should be easily achievable”), getting her boardroom ammunition neatly in place. Susan doesn’t start well, pitching the benefits of the tanning lotion at machine gun pace and quickly resorting to desperate offers of discounts until her potential customers run away (“nobody’s got any money! Everyone must be poor round here”) and Karen winces in disbelief (“If you set yourself up as something you’re not, you’re in for a big fall”).

Leon seems equally uncomfortable, trying to encourage a young woman to take the tanning treatment (“We can do two things for you – either get you naked and spray you ,obviously I won’t be doing that – a girl will…”) in front of her boyfriend, who is comically unthreatened by this suggestion, coming as it does from Leon. Bless. Glenn has a more cocky approach, but is just as clueless (“I can’t say what they are.. I just know they’re pretty. And you’re pretty. Oh go on, I’ll give you them for a tenner.. come back!”).

Back at the Bullring, Nick’s despairing of Logic, who are shifting the products but haven’t done a single treatment, so are missing out on the bigger profits. Ellie’s getting frustrated reading “Take a Break” in the treatment room and asks Felicity “Have you sent people up”. “Yah.. we’ve been sending quite a few” breezes Felicity dismissively (lying get), before sending Tom (of all the options) down to pitch treatments to punters, their disturbed eyes drawn to his hairy wrists as he shows off his hot shell massage action moves. Before too long he’s switched over to selling Lady gaga bows, sounding about as in touch with modern culture as a Stewart Lee routine pretends to be (“You look like… I don’t know her name.. one of the pop stars”). Nicks unimpressed (“Tom knows all the figures..what’s he doing? Selling bows. Why? Cos it’s easier!”). It takes Melody to eventually lose her cool and come downstairs demanding of a dithering Felicity what to do (Nick “I wouldn’t stand here gassing about it, I’d get on with it”) for some positive action, and before long Melody’s escorting punters upstairs for a “free” 3 minute massage with any extra minutes costing £1 (if you pay £50 Ellie will give you the full “Avram Grant”). At first, Ellie’s a bit strong and silent as she kneads her first female punter’s shoulders. “I haven’t had a massage from a woman before” confides the client. “Have you had it from a bloke then?” Ellie summons up some basic banter. “Yes. It normally leads to something else”. Ellie harrumphs and slaps down the hot shell vigorously, “It won’t do this time!” Next up are two shifty student lads, clearly enticed by the offer of a free 3 minute rubbing from a real woman. They’re a little disconcerted by Ellie’s gruff exterior, but hey she’s still female. To their horror, Jim wanders in, in his Holby City Masseuse outfit, cracking his fingers in preparation with a manic gleam in his eye like a psychotic Father Dougal. “Four hands are better than two” he bellows gleefully. Approximately 2 minutes and 59 seconds pass before the students make their excuses and leave, a cloud of dust kicked up in their wake. Now everyone on Logic is finally focused (is it too late?) on selling the treatments and the spa room’s business is stretched to breaking point. Vincent floats around harrassing women (“Hey! You’ve got nice hair, why don’t you go and have a free market”, but Nick clearly thinks if they do manage to win, it will be a “close run thing”.

Leon has blossomed in his selling role, bigging up the scent and “warm olive glow” of the tanning lotion, and using his own creepily camp but effective Jedi move “the finger trick” to abduct young female shoppers into the treatment rooms (Leon (holding up finger):”Do this”, giggling woman copies him, Leon wraps his finger round her raised finger and drags her away – try it guys. Not everyone will mace you).

Zoe checks on Susan’s progress and finds it wanting, so gets all passive aggressive school marm on the ex Avon Lady’s arse. “You said you wanted to push 60 products.. we trusted you”. Susan’s all “You’re not my mother! This is so unfair”. “No it’s not, you made your bed, you have to lie in it” harps Zoe, maternally, with Helen backing her up. “Why have a go at me” whines Susan. “This is not good for team morale”. Whilst she has a point, curiously she seems to slow down and sell slightly better after her Stepford bollocking.

Trading finishes at 7pm and the candidates traipse forlornly into the boardroom the next morning. “The beauty part is done, now you have to deal with the beast side, which is me” crinkles Lord Sugar.

Team Venture all back Zoe’s leadership, although Leon suggests she could have been more motivational. Zoe generously states she’s heard that Leon did “excellently” once he got over the fact he was selling girls things (ugh!). Unsurprisingly both Zoe and Helen lay into Susan’s rubbish supposedly expert advice, and Zoe regrets compromising and ordering more products than she’d wanted to.

Logic are equally supportive of Felicity, although they rue losing the spray tan product (Lord Sugar “It looks like Vincent had one before you lost it”, cue overload laughter). Ellie rather pathetically claims that all the girls on Logic are not “Girly girls” in comparison to the women on Venture, and Natasha, Melody and Felicity all think “speak for yourself you builders bitch”.

Anyhow, Venture spent £734 and made a profit after sales of £203.01. Logic spent £924 and made a LOSS of £246.28. Even with a rubbish result considering the potential sales margins, Venture have thrashed the arse out of this one and get a suitably metrosexual prize of dance lessons with Strictly pro dancers Katia and Robin.

Jim’s face is a thunderous study in disbelief as Lord Alan notes his induction into the world of fail (“Welcome to team Titanic”). He’s rather more prosaic in his reception of Tom and Vincent on their return to Losers Corner (“We need to stop meeting like this. You’re like a couple of stalkers.”).

Tom’s not happy in the “Sad Café” (“I’m personally getting pretty fed up of this place”) and all of a sudden Melody’s not so keen to be described as an “expert” on Birmingham.

Back in the boardroom and predictably the main criticism is that Logic focused on less profitable peripherals, although rubbing salt into their wounds (probably costs £1 a minute) Lord Sugar points out that by missing out on the Spray Tan they lost the product that made most of Venture’s money. The fact it took so long for the penny to drop about shifting treatments (Ellie et al were left doing sweet fuck all in the treatment room from 11am til 3.30pm, which Lord Sugar sees as “hiding”) also comes in for some stick, as does Tom wimping out from pushing the massages and choosing to sell poncy hair bows.

“The big problem was location” starts Tom. “Stop going on about location” snaps Melody.

Natasha makes her corporate jargon gambit “There was no sales process implemented. Nobody identified a strategy on how to focus on the treatment, and when they did it was very Last Minute Dot Com”.

Jim plays the hero again (“I felt like I was the cavalry”), but Nick deflates his dander, revealing that Jim means he took two people up for cheap massages (“that was

£14 you hauled in so bravely”).

Felicity keeps passing on all responsibility to the team (“as a team”), as though that’s not going to piss off Lord Sugar. Has she ever watched this show? (Probably not). Anyhow she easily selects her first candidate to take in, and unamazingly it’s Ellie, cos this is CLASS WAR. “Oh this is so hard” Felicity sighs. “Just take me in” snaps Ellie. “No not about you, I don’t think you’ve ever been a team player” slams back Felicity, who does that annoying pompous eyes and neck rolling thing that posh people do in lieu of poking someone’s chest with their index finger. After a five minute Mavis from Coronation Street impression, Felicity finally decides (“I’m going to be decisive”) to also bring in Natasha. “I sold more than Jim” complains Nat. “But the job I gave you was to drive sales” explains Felicity. Yes – you can’t “drive sales” by selling. Erm.

Karen warns Lord Alan that Natasha is a snake in the grass (“It’s all talk”), and the three come back to the firing line. “Any idea what you’re doing here?” Lord Alan quizzes Ellie. She knows; “Yeah II want to be your business partner… and my mummy and daddy gave each other a special hug.. Oh! You mean in the boardroom!”

Natasha and Ellie both feel that Felicity sidelined them during the task, and promoted for examples from their struggling Project Manager they cite Felicity’s poor decision making on spending. “I thought three items per hour was do-able” argues Felicity and Ellie slam dunks her (“Lord Sugar, I wouldn’t go into business with someone who can’t work out profit and loss”).

Predictably Natasha goes all revisionist: “I asked on a number of occasions what was going on. I said ‘Hello! Where’s the strategy?”” Felicity points out that five minutes earlier everyone was saying she’d been a good leader. “I only said that to be nice” bitches Ellie. “You’re only saying that because I brought you back in bitches Felicity right back”.

Felicity wrongly decides to attack Ellie, claiming she just moaned all day long (Christ, she must have been loud), but Ellie justifies her work on the task with the rather unsavoury image of her “carryin out massages, sweating all day”.

Lord Alan’s not convinced that Natasha sussed out where the task was going wrong, and still can’t believe Ellie sat on her arse for over three hours doing nothing, but ultimately he blames Felicity’s inability to lead and make decisions for the task failure and she’s duly fired whilst the other two get some major card marking. Natasha necks her water shiftily, knowing she’s gotten away with this one. Ellie snubs Felicity in the exit lounge of shame, but I wouldn’t take that too hard as if Ellie really disliked you, she’d probably give you a Bradford Kiss.

Felicity is a bad loser in the taxi of doom (“They stabbed me in the back and said I was a bad Project Manager, which was going against what they said earlier” – maybe they told the truth the second time round) – but has nothing positive to say about her skills.

Back at the house and Tom’s talking tough about Felicity (“She would have been in trouble had she bought me back in” – presumably he would have invented a posh seeking missile), and the remaining candidates all seem pleased to see Natasha and Ellie return. Although as Susan points out “this is business now, there’s no room for making friends”.

Next week it’s the wonderful advertising task, and they have to make, brand and market pet food. There’s a lovely clip of Vincent trying to tell a growling dog to “Chill out”. Good dog.

Liking: Tom, Susan, Leon

Warming to: Ellie, Jim, Glenn

Meh: Zoe, Edna

Disliking: Helen, Natasha

Still laughing at: Vincent

Really annoyed by: Melody

Bye bye: Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward

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It’s week 3 and Melody takes the 6am summing them all to the Savoy Hotel. 30 minutes in the car, Vincent’s feeling determined (“There is no option but to win”).

As the finishing touch to the Savoy’s 3 year, £200million refurbishment, the teams are tasked with a shopping task to buy the 10 items that will add those much needed finishing touches, namely:

7.5kg of prime Aberdeen Angus fillet steak

A top hat

500 loo rolls

Chandelier bulbs

4.5kg loose leaf chamomile tea

An unknown quantity of ice

Some organza silk

A brass sign for the wine cellar

A 10 inch cloche (?)

And something else I didn’t quite catch. Thistelus?

As usual the shopping task is designed to show the candidates negotiation skills (and ability to find items using only a stack of Yellow Pages and the oft ignored map of London), with the team spending the least by 5pm from their £2000 budget winning (the penalty for incorrect or missed items is the hotel’s guide price plus £50); oh and to make the show dizzyingly difficult to blog off as it spins off following sub-teams throughout every suburb in London.

It’s time to mix up the teams with Venture now comprising Susan, Leon, Jim, Glenn, Edna, Felicity and Helen, who decides that this task requires someone organised as Project Manager. Step forward Susan, who could barely organise her own thoughts whilst brainstorming apps last week. Susan claims she made a £70K profit at the age of 18 whilst attending a top class University. She’d make a great poster girl for the Coalition. She makes a great start by assigning items to team members and points out that things are usually cheaper in the East of London (apart from the Olympics) and they’re immediately phoning for leads like there’s no tomorrow. Nick’s impressed by how well Susan’s managing “fairly egotistical people”.

Of course for “insanely egotistical people”, you have to go to Logic, which now consists of Melody and Vincent plus Zoe, Ellie, Natalie and Gavin, who finally unequivocally elects himself PM, only for Vincent to vaguely waft his hand in the air muttering “I’d do it, but I suppose you’d be best”, and everyone to vote for Gavin. Gavin starts with the best of intentions, it’s almost as though he’s lead his team down the corridor to peer in at what Venture are doing and he’s said “Do that”. So of course they all utterly ignore him and it’s a massive shambles. The phone-calls lead nowhere (Vincent: “Is that the special fish and er meat place? I want fillet steak.. No not fish.. I want meat!”) and Natasha tries to steal a leap by demanding that the procurement manager of The Ritz hands over all their hard earned supplier contact details, whilst Karen winces at the foolish cheek of it all, and Gavin begs Natasha to “end the call now”. Logic’s “logistics aren’t working” moans Vincent, prompting a comedy “calm down calm down” moment from Gavin, who sensibly suggests that they get familiar with all the items, as nobody knows what a cloche is. Long after Susan’s team have discovered it’s a poncey dish, team Logic are none the wiser. By the time they randomly hit the streets at 11.25am, team Venture have already been out for a couple of hours (and with 8 items already pinpointed bar the haggling).

For all Susan’s organisation, it seems as though she’s fallen into the well worn trap of trying to get as many items as possible without considering prices. And thus her sub-team (Susan, Leon and Felicity) end up in the poshest top hat shop in the whole of London, which is surely infinite poshness. This hat shop are the official suppliers to Lord Snooty from the Beano. They hand middle class people plums to put into their mouths on the way, like the posh equivalent of a babelfish. They try to get the miserly milliner to drop his Top Hat price from £365, but he’s not playing, not even by just one penny (“This is St James Street”). Nick Hewer namedrops the King of Tonga who he apparently saw the last time he visited this shop to find a hat that matched his scowl. “The King of Tonga doesn’t come in here looking for bargains” Nick says knowingly. Felicity is rather less than regally outraged by the “greedy” shopkeeper.

Jim leads his Venture sub-team of Helen, Edna and Glenn to the butcher he’s arranged to buy steak from. And he does his Derren Brown mindbending negotiation again, haggling down the butcher (whose top line was £200) with baffling ease to £180 . And just when you thought Jim couldn’t get any more terrifying, he manages to play the butcher’s accountant against the shop owner (“Bob, the accountant says £170, as long as it’s OK with you”), to get an extra tenner off. The man is a fucking witch.

Logic are in disarray still, with hardly any items found and Gavin desperately trying to motivate a team that looks and sounds like it’s on mogodon. He apparently OKs Melody going to Teddington (13 miles away) to follow up her lead on chandelier bulbs and gets a sulky Vincent to co-ordinate the other sub-teamm of Natasha, Zoe and Ellie, which immediately perks Vincent up as he can play at Charlies Angels. “You have to phone back every hour on the hour” instructs Gavin, but Vincey boy is too busy checking his rohypnol supply.

Vincent’s leadership style is like David Brent (“I can be in charge of three strong laydees”) badly pretending he’s fucking D’Artagnan (“Yeah just call em and say ‘what is that bloody erm thing?'”). It’s charming how he lets his laydees do all the work sourcing things and then steps in at the last minute to help them out before their pretty little minds explode. He first shows off his patronising bellend skillz on Natasha’s behalf, as she attempts lamely to cut the throat of the brass plaque seller (Natasha:”£20″, Brass Man: “I can’t do it for £20″, Natasha:”£40″, Brass Man:”No”, Natasha:”If we can close for £50″, Brass Man:”No”, Natasha:”If we can just close for £60″, Brass Man:”No”, Vincent “£80 all in”, Brass Man: “Including VAT? OK.”).

Venture are still trying to get a bargain top hat from the second most posh top hat shop in London (“Price is price..We don’t negotiate… if you can get it cheaper may I suggest you try somewhere else”. Susan’s getting sick of top hat shops and begs him to drop just a penny off the price, which he grudgingly does – doing the deal at £349.99 whilst Nick grimaces. Mind you Melody tries mind control to haggle down a Top Hat salesman later and still pays £360. Never trust anyone who sells top hats.

Logic are still struggling to identify the “cloche”, with Tom using his inventor skills to invent things it might be (“A bell? A tiny greenhouse”) prompting Gavin’s Logic sub-team to plot routes to church towers and garden centres, whilst the edit shows Glenn purchasing a catering cloche for £8.50 (saving all of 44p) for Jim’s Venture sub-team

Vincent shows his angels how it’s done by getting 25% off the steak at a butchers in Highbury. He pays £240, but thinks it’s still a result as this steak is usually £45 per kilo so the butcher says (making Jim seem all the more powerful).

Lost in the suburbs of Shepherd’s Bush, Gavin is falling apart and hallucinating that the grimy “Top Hat Dry Cleaners” could have anything to do with aristocratic headgear, which only bemuses the ironically bald dry cleaner (“I’m guessing you er dry clean these kind of items” “No”). Karen just shakes her head sadly. Melody senses imminent Scouse meltdown and raises the fact that she knows a “cloche” isn’t a gardening centre purchase, prompting a row about whether or not she voiced her concerns earlier. “I don’t know what the hell is going on” Melody confides to camera, “Gavin’s not listening, he’s just stressing out”. Sadly, like a disoriented gravedigger, Gavin has indeed lost the plot, which becomes apparent when he calls Vincent for help and advice.

Susan is seeking silk, that treasure of the East in the budget stores of um Mayfair. “It’s actually for a very important wedding” she tells the shop woman. “Why would that matter to me?” snorts the snooty silk seller, “That part doesn’t make any difference to me.. what I paid for it does.” Fair point, and Susan’s forced to pay near to full whack and regrets not actually going to East London, although further West in Shepherd’s Bush, Gavin has one result, eventually haggling down an unconvinced silk salesman down to a quarter less than Susan paid.

Vince and his angels are stuck in traffic in North West London so have to call the ice suppliers that Zoe found (which are in South East London) to say they’ll be late. Meanwhile Ellie is able to hold a phone at the requisite 90 degrees and speak to a loo roll supplier in comprehensible English, but is just about to get unladylike and do a deal when Vincent gallantly rescues her (“Can I speak to him? .. I just wanna get it done”). Swoon! Ellie’s not that impressed though (“He certainly doesn’t charm me much.. in my industry we’d call him a bit of a wide boy. He’s full of bullshit.”), but fortunately she manages to argue the loo roll company down to below cost price before Vincent can jump in and “save” her again. They then realise it’s 12 miles to Zoe’s ice supplier. Zoe, as always, sits silently looking out of the car window, chewing pensively on her lip. Vincent will like that. That’s the contribution of a laydee. Of course now it’s getting really late and the shit’s hitting the fan, Vincent finally decides to phone Gavin, who informs him they only have five items. Vincent suggests they only focus on either ice or tea and forget everything else. Hang on – there’s TWO sub-teams aren’t there? What’s wrong with checking who’s closest to which leads and sending them there? Gavin seems much too pale and beaten by this point to do anything but meekly agree with Vincent.

Having effortlessly sourced toilet rolls, Jim moves on to the chandelier bulb. “I’m desperate” he grins at the jaded cockney milf in the lightbulb shop. “Are you desperate for bulbs or a good deal?” she leers, before succumbing all too easily to his Irish sorcery. “Thank you so much for dropping the price to hardly anything” winks Jim. “It’s only your smile wot’s done it”, she deadpans huskily.

The last item on Susan’s list is the chamomile tea. Now when mad inventor Tom bought tea for Logic, he ran, arms flailing up the stairs of a tea shop where a man opened an ornate box of chamomile tea and he haggled 30% off the price, paying £120. Susan’s showing us the pro tea buying method, having pre-arranged a meeting with the woman from “The Rare Tea Company” at the front of a pub, where, somewhat presumptuously the tea is already giftwrapped and tagged. “So how much do we owe you” smiles Susan. “£990 for 4.5 kilos of the most beautifully crafted tea”, chirrups the tea lady (crafted?! FFS!). Susan’s smile nearly shatters into a thousand pieces as her chin hits the floor. Everyone pinches themselves just in case they’ve fallen asleep and ended up in that Harry Enfield “I saw you coming” shop, as the loony tea purveyor continues “It’s the rare tea company.. I only do the finest teas”. Maybe that’s why she’s wrapped it – this tea is so fucking rare will burn up on contact with air. Susan aims for a discount, and the tea lady offers them a £700 bargain; it’s only when Felicity tragically splutters “But we only have £410” that there’s any sign of relenting. “Done!” snaps the tea lady, who pockets the cash and disappears, like a tea leaf in the night.

Susan’s team get back to base first and full-handed, but she’s still worried they’ve made a mistake or missed an item (Leon “We can’t have”), whereas Gavin’s mob limp in knowing they only have 6 items (which given their start is a result).

So back in the boardroom, Venture all congratulate Susan and Jim for good PM and sub-team manager skills, but LordAlan lays into them for poor research on the top hat, silk and tea shopping (“A clever business person won’t go to a top class poser shop”). “But it was the best quality tea in the whole of London” sighs Susan all misty eyed. “If it was that bladdy good, how come they gave it to you to £410?” rejoins LordSugar.

In contrast, when LordAlan asks Logic their opinion of Gavin as leader there’s tangible tumbleweed. “We were not as successful as we would have hoped” mutters Gavin, before he’s torn apart for leaving the hotel at 11am, going to Top Hat Dry Cleaners and not knowing what a “Cloche” is. “We found out it was French for ‘bell'” elucidates Tom, who adds “I suppose it being stainless steel we should have known it was catering”. “Why did you want to go to a garden centre then?” smiles Karen archly.

Apparently both teams didn’t get all their products- although I missed why Venture screwed up. Venture got 9 items and after a £202 fine spent £1381. Logic only got 6 items but their fines were relatively minor (£312) but still lost by £8 by spending £1389. It surprises me that after years of seeing this task, nobody figures out that they should focus on pricier items and risk smaller fines. Anyhow Venture get sent to a Cabaret Show in Covent Garden where they get to enjoy cocktails and snacks whilst women in Esther Williams swimming cossies contort above them on trapezes.

Meanwhile in the café of despair, dark clouds are the only thing hovering over the steaming mugs of blame. Vincent thinks that Gavin will try to blame him, whereas Gavin is resigned that his team will let him “sink and drown”.

Back in the boardroom and Gavin blames the quality of his leads, before pointing out that he tried to manage his team and set groundrules. “Nobody took any notice of you” points out Karen. Vincent complains that they spent 60% of their time in the hotel room, but Gavin accurately points out that the maths don’t work, adding that Vincent said at 1.30pm that they had lots of items sourced, with this vision only drastically changed just before 4pm. “You had nothing then” Vincent rallies “Only Tom saved you” (with his tea).

Vincent then claims he put himself forward as project manager, with Gavin pointing out in an ironic pastiche of week 1 that it was “Only half heartedly”. “I bet you wish you had been Project Manager” wheedles LordAlan and Vincent agrees. “He couldn’t run a bath!” splutters Gavin.

Ellie lays into Vincent for taking the call from her mid-call (“I was insulted.. he just talked down to me”). “I just wanted to win” whines Vincent. Natasha blames him for messing up her amazing sign negotiations (even though he merely followed her technique of adding £20 to the previously rejected offer), but she only opens herself up for criticism for phoning up the rival hotel. “I just thought I could get information by calling people like the head chef” she fibs furiously, but Karen dobs her in “You were calling the procurement manager”.

Gavin chooses however to bring back Vincent and silent Zoe, who’s finally given the chance to speak, but has such a dull voice I miss most of what she says. Something about not having a chance to prove herself, even though she “went through several phonebooks”.

“I think you’ve got a voice” observes Karen gently (yes a boring one), but “I don’t think you’ve found a way of getting it across”. This is stretching girl power to the limits. LordAlan’s not so easily fooled and points out that she could have spoken up about the distance between companies, but sat back and watched. “Why should I be punished for being professional?” asks Zoe, proving she doesn’t just have a boring voice, she also has an annoying one. LordAlan’s not impressed “It’s not professional – if the ship’s sinking I jump in!” (The Robert Maxwell Business Model).

Gavin’s criticised for not being able to control his team. “I told them what needed doing. They chose not to.. Some of the phone calls were unbelievable” gripes the specsaving Scouser. “Why did you allow them to do it?” leaps in Zoe shrilly. Yeah love, you’ve found your voice. Now shut the fuck up.

Gavin blames Vincent for the failure of the task because, er, he’s a sleazebag. Vincent starts to oil his response, but he’s pulled up short by LordAlan’s talk to the hand gesture. “I’m sick of all this. I know you’re Belgian.. that’s were the waffles come from” growls the bearded walnut (and he thought “Slang a tang” was offensive!). Vincent then claims he got the steak (true) and the toilet rolls (Liar pants on fire!). “You reckon you’ll be remembered long after you’ve gone?” smirks LordSugar. “I hope so”. “Let’s see if I remember you.”

In the summing up though, it’s Gavin who comes out worst (“You let it run riot”) and sadly he’s fired. They always fire the ones I like. Zoe’s card is well and truly marked (“It’s up to you to show something”). In the taxi of doom a gutted Gavin reckons Lord Sugar’s made a mistake (“If he’s looking for someone like Vincent, then good luck to him.” – to be fair it’s probably the producers who are keeping Vincent in – to keep us all shouting at the telly).

Back at the house and Ellie leads the girls in a Vincent slagathon, so it’s no surprise that when he enters, like some posing Christ, everyone rushes to give Zoe a hug.

Next week it’s the world of beauty. Here’s hoping Vincent gets a pubic waxing. On his face.

Liking: Tom, Susan

Warming to: Ellie, Felicity

OK: Glenn, Leon

Scary witch man: Jim

Meh: Helen

Zzzzzz: Zoe

Disliking: Natasha, Edna, Melody

Lordy but he’s a nob: Vincent

It’s episode two of the first week and the next shortest person in the Apprentice household is presumably cacking their pants.

The candidates all called into the kitchen at 5am to watch a pre-recorded Lord Sugar video on their laptop, like the guiltiest porn ever. Today it’s a tech task, something Sugar reckons reckons he knows “a thing or two about” (maybe he’s been doing evening courses since Amstrad?). The teams have to design a “world class” smart phone app which will go live online for a day – with the team with the most downloads winning.

“We have to put ourselves on the map and prove why we are here” rally rouses Glenn. “Are we fast app roaching where we need to be?” , before the boys slide into the murky mire of “app” puns. It’s Vincent’s chance to prove that not only is he a suave kind of good looking guy, but hey he can rock the world of comedy too. “Do you have an app le?” he smirks. A tumbleweed cloud engulfs the car in stony silence.

Logic continue their laddishness with a tussle for the role of PM, with Leon putting himself forward first (“I created an app for my business”). Gavin’s still being dour and scouse, claiming “I’m just interested in getting the right person”, without actually nominating himself, but he opens the floodgates for Vincent (“I’m experienced in software writing” – hair flick), Jim “I can lead”, Glenn “pick me!”; everyone in fact except Alex, who’s just so damn respectful he thinks that although he “could lead, there are probably people better placed”. After all this faffing around, Leon is duly selected to lead.

There’s little argument amongst the Venture ladies when Edna elects herself as team leader. “I’m a chartered business psychologist at the top of my game.. I don’t suffer fools gladly..” (hmm great psychology!). She’s immediately issuing calls to action, ordering a pogrom on people with limp handshakes and sending out Felicity’s sub team to do market research (they discover that people who use apps like them to be “idiot friendly” – well of course).

The boys brainstorm their apps. Gavin’s idea is cyber bubble paper (think it’s been done). Inventor Tom gets more scientific, with an app that can tell you what the temperature was on this day a year ago (handy if you’re a Time Lord with a limited wardrobe). He’s got another idea though. “Traffic lights”. It sounds promising and everyone turns to him to hear more. “I er didn’t think it through more than that” he falters sheepishly. Glenn comes up with the idea of a “simple, cheeky, easy little app” that gives out regional accent insults, and all the boys, addled by years of flicking through “Zoo” and “Nuts” on the toilet, fall hopelessly in love with the very idea of laughing at difference using their phones! Jim comes up with the name “Slang-a-thang” and Vincent’s is the only voice of mild dissent (“I think we have to be very careful that we don’t insult people”), but they all hate him, so ignore him, whilst probably plotting to do a Vincent voice on slang-a-thang (like an effete Tony Tiger). “We’re going global” they all crow (what with regional accents?). Gavin also says he wouldn’t have chosen the app, but only to camera.

Evil Edna’s flip chart is looking relatively empty, mainly because everyone seems too scared to make a suggestion. Susan’s not going to be intimidated though “I’ve got an idea.. I think it’s a brilliant idea.. and er.. ok.. you’re me and i’m you and er ok…”. Whilst everyone’s eyes go into orbit she bravely soldiers on “Like, where do you think we are.. er…”. (Perhaps Susan has mistaken the word “app” for “map”?). Edna looks like she wants to squash Susan like a bug and suggests it sounds “too complicated”, but Susan’s indefatigable “You type the answer and it gives the question?”, but Edna’s had enough and won’t let her wibble on for another hour, so Susan goes into a teenage sulk (“It’s SO frustrating!”) and decides Edna is just an old hag jealous of her youthful vitality (sadly nobody is dumb enough to join in her ageist bitch fest later; Melody in particular doesn’t want to get involved – boring!) . Nobody else has any ideas, until Felicity’s recce group returns and she suggests an application of noises to annoy people. Everyone turns to the strange hairless social media technician boy who’s been sitting in on the brainstorming, and as soon as he Y-chromosome approves it (“It’s very feasible”) they all agree it’s the best (only) idea they have. Natasha has some valuable input by suggesting a completely shit name (“Ampi App” – it sounds strangely remedial)

The boys press-gang a bloke on the street to be the “face of Slang a tang” and photo him in front of a flip chart, the idea being, for each accent that emanates from the app, his poor face will be topped with a different stereotyping hat. Glenn, Jim, Vincent and Alex then get busy doing outrageous accents, with Vincent getting slapped down any time he dares to mutter anything like “that’s a bit stereotypical”. Alex contributes a Welsh farmer voice and Jim does a rubbish scouse (“Eh? Mate? Ow’s your wife an my kids?”) – Gavin will be impressed. Poor Nick Hewitt just doesn’t get it. “It’s bland and meaningless to me unless I’m missing something.. Maybe I’m too old.. I’m very perplexed” he sighs. No Nick, you’re just not a shallow tosspot.

Cut to the girls and they’re having a massive bitchfight! Bah it’s just being recorded by a long suffering soundman for “Ampi-app”. Along with whining and screeching and other normal girl noises they also record animal sounds (Melody does a mean retarded cat). Susan’s not convinced (“I think we could be heading for a blooming disaster”).

It’s time to write a punchy description for the app. I’m learning so much in tonight’s show. I’ve never even seen a fucking app. I can probably get down wid da yoot now.

Jim writes a pun laden missive (“Slang a tang gives you the app ortunity to listen to hilarious local folk from around the world”). Meanwhile Felicity pens a dull “does what it says on the tin” actual product description.

Helen, high on her power hairspray, dares to challenge Edna’s authority by nominating Melody to pitch to the evening shebang at Earls Court erm app-exhibition thing (“She works in the youth sector”), but Edna Business Psychology senses warn her to brutally jackboot to death any sign of insurrection (“I’ve looked at your strengths and your limitations in my opinion and decided I will do the pitch. Any questions? Any queries? No? OK good”).

Still the idea of even pitching Ampi Apps to three online mags is starting to look daunting to Venture, as most of the team worry about how random and unconnected the noises are, but Felicity urges them to present the randomness as a positive.

On the way to the techie mag pitches, the boys are cheered to learn they already have 50 downloads. This should be a cinch.

It doesn’t start so well with Leon’s pitch. “Have you thought about marketing?” asks techie mag journo. “Um we were hoping you could facilitate us with that.” Pause. “I see.”. Silence.

Mind you Melody could have done the research, managing to insult her first online mag by telling them they get 37,000 hits a month (“Actually it’s 1.7 million. That’s a big difference”). The randomness factor is picked up on too. “Is that the picture of an elephant and the sound of a dog?”, “Er yes. It’s meant to be like that. We are in fact crazy.” “Do you have the sound of an elephant?” “Er no”. Natasha gets all inspired and structuralist: “The elephant is meant to symbolise noise!” I like that the elephant is becoming the girl’s elephant in the room.

It’s Vincent’s turn to pitch next (“I’m gonna go in and give them my usual … charismatic attitude”) and blimey it’s a shocker. Vincent’s desperation to impress people with his cool makes him the least cool person on the planet and he stumbles through his pitch (literally knocking into the visual display), stringing together nervous coughs meaningless soundbites that Edward left behind in the voice of a paedophile geography teacher until he totally dries up and Jim (of course) barges in to rescue the pitch with sentences and facts. Even Nick notes there’s something a bit too good to be true about Jim (“He always takes charge when things go wrong”).

Outside Vincent is all giggly and embarrassed: “I couldn’t think of the word.. Jim went in.. he went BANG!” (there you go with the Irish stereotypes). “Was it OK?” he asks nervously, but everyone sees something really interesting on the floor rather than respond.

The teams then go somewhere where da kidz hang out to market their apps. The boys go to town dressing as the cast of Mind Your Language, with Glenn the ringleader, encouraging the punters to roll up roll up (“If you can’t ride it, park it!” – eh?) like Suggs doing another advertising voiceover.

The girls waste this opportunity to make a visual impact. Nobody even thinks of dressing up like an elephant.

Jim pitches to the biggest online magazine, but is disappointed by their square attitude towards stereotyping, claiming that Logic were deliberately “sensitive” with their content and that “stereotypes can be positive”. When challenged on the Australian hat, he blankly says “that helps illustrate he is an Aussie” (in a way that the accent alone, a crocodile on his head or skin cancer can’t), but it’s clear that the mag-men remain unmoved in their politically correct stance. That doesn’t stop Jim hi-fving the team outside (“Oh that bit about stereotyping.. that was just them making sure we were comfortable with what we were trying to achieve”).

As Venture make their way to Earls Court, Melody tries to be “positive”: “The pitch is only as good as the product”. They all look haunted.

They fill time by checking if they have any mentions on the online mags. Slang-a-tang gets “app of the day” on two and there is much rejoicing from Logic. Then “Ampi App” gets the accolade from the big “kick stereotyping out of apps” mag.

Edna’s pitch is terrifyingly awful. Dressed in dominatrix gloves like some Nazi baddy from an Indiana Jones film she delivers empty patronising platitudes in a sing-song voice and everyone in the room shuffles around worried that they’re somehow meant to be finding this all fascinating. Damningly she fails to give any information about the app or how to access it, but at least she’s given us as much insight as we need regarding Edna.

The boys split the pitch with Gavin being sensible and Alex playing it for laughs as a Welsh gumby. Glenn does a great job of bribing the audience with free doughnuts for the first 50 people to download the app there and then (having explained how to do so) and Logic lap up the applause.

Edna waltzes back stage like she’s Grace Jones, wearing the biggest shit eating grin possible. “I think we were all thinking we might just have been thrashed” sighs Melody, voicing everyone else’s thoughts, and Edna’s grin freezes dramatically.

So it’s back to the boardroom, and LordAlan plays along with Logic’s furious backslapping orgy, even giving kudos for the fact that Leon planned in ways to make money out of the app by selling updates. However he points out that the girls won app of the week in the big magazine. “We were confused about that – we didn’t know why” whines Vincent, looking a little lost. Jim’s adamant that Slang-a-tang is not as offensive as the sound of Ampi App (although that is kind of the point of Ampi App too).

The girls show slightly less faith in their product, with 5 of them admitting they were not happy with it (Edna “That’s the first I’ve heard – it’s quite shocking”).

Those crazy Apprentice editors mix it up by giving the download scores after only 6 hours first, and the boys then had a storming lead with 3000 compared to Venture’s 1000. Of course when the overnight global figures are included (or as Karen put it “the world woke up”) the effect of millions of children with trendy phones and the rather localised appeal of Slang-a-tang conspire to make the boys taste an enormous fail. Overnight they only got an extra 951 downloads whereas the girls got 10667. “How strange folk can be” muses Lord Sugar.

The girls get to dine chez Michael Roux Jnr and are spoiled silly with kisses and blueberry soufflé in probably the most envy-inducing Apprentice team prize I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile the boys are spoiled with mugs of coffee and vitriol in the Bridge Café. Alex has already started blaming Leon, who rather haplessly sits there meekly pleading “was anyone not pulling their weight?”

Back in the boardroom, Tom thinks failing to impress the big magazine was a key factor, and blames Jim, whose shackles are up (“I personally delivered and fielded difficult questions”). Lord Alan warns them not to assume it’s because of the website, and Tom gets brave (“I know it’s a very dangerous game to disagree with you”) by claiming the bloke at the magazine had it in for them. It’s all a red herring though, and Gavin’s the first to suss (“We should have considered in hindsight that it wasn’t a global app”).

Lord Sugar’s other point of contention is Jim’s smartarse wording for the app description, as opposed to Felicity’s more immediate information. Jim admits to drafting the words “in it’s entirety” but blames everyone else for saying he’d hit the nail on the head with it, especially his project manager.

Alex leaps in to point out what a valid contribution he made (not anybody can pretend to be Welsh badly) and attack Jim for his ad wording (“You had the final say on it” – er no). There’s no way Jim’s losing to this oik and he comes out fighting “You clapped your hands as much as anyone else.. its not about being a passenger.. “. Alex goes all sneery and petulant “You might have saved a pitch, but you saved a small pitch… you didn’t get the big one did you?”, only for Jim to deliver the coup de grace (“Your contribution is Nada”).

Leon decides to bring in Alex and Jim. Until Jim does his Jedi Mind Trick and tells Leon straight out that he’s wrong and he can change his decision. Which Leon does, picking Glenn. Holy fuck! Smelling a massive fish, Glenn decides to play a bout of team leader tennis, suggesting that Leon is wrong again (Glenn: “What do you think Jim?”). Brilliant. Leon is a bunny in the headlights until LordAlan warns him to cut the crap and he sticks with his latest two choices. Weak.

Both Glenn and Alex understandably lay into Leon for his poor decision making (no shit!). “Does the PM have to make the final decision?” reasons Leon (er yes). “Can’t it be a majority decision?” He’ll be bringing in AV next.

Alex continues to shout and over-react his way into trouble, telling Leon “You should have had the guts to stand up to Jim!” Leon regains some composure and points out he’s got way more experience than Alex, who is a bit useless (“I guarantee you’re not going to make it to the final”). “I’m only guilty of not demonstrating what I can do!” retorts Alex. “Right” says Lord Sugar. Oh dear. Alex completes his lovely deep hole by telling Lord Sugar what to do (“Make me project manager next week.. you fire him now because he’s failed”. So it’s not really a surprise when Alex is fired.

Leon’s card is, however, marked for having already been in the boardroom twice (“there won’t be a third chance”), although Sugar is obviously impressed by Leon’s previous business record (given Leon’s inability to assert himself I am frankly astonished at it). Glenn’s also marked out as a concern for being a “technical man” (eh?) – which usually means no business skills.

Alex is predictably bitter about Leon’s weakness in the boardroom as he bounces home in the taxi of rejects. Equally predictably he doesn’t take the opportunity to say anything about what he could have done. Div.

Back at the house and Leon tries to spin events (“I had to quickly switch tactics”), but Glenn has his number (“You bottled it mate, I’ll tell you that for free”). Jim merely sits back and gives the tiniest of winks. Oh my god – he IS Satan!

Next week it’s the buying task and the teams mix up. And there’s only one episode. On Wednesday. I’ve enjoyed the last two nights – but thank fuck!

Liking: Tom, Gavin

Warming to: Glenn, Felicity, Natasha, Leon

A little disappointed by: Susan

They mean nothing to me: Helen, Zoe, Ellie

Almost feeling sorry for: Vincent

Frightened by: Jim

Still needs a slap: Melody

But needs a bigger slap (with elbow length gauntlets): Edna

Adios: Alex, Edward

Disappointment of the week. The opening credits montage of firings. There’s nothing along the lines of “You’re a lightweight” – just “I don’t think I can go into business with you” – unless that’s because the candidate being dismissed is a former war criminal I’m not impressed.

It’s Week One (Day one) and the helicopter soars high over Canary Wharf from the top of which you can almost see the boardroom in Brentwood. The latest 16 besuited bellends saunter stiffly in for LordAlan’s Big Society Business lecture on how it’s just as possible to start a business now as it was in 1967 with just a few nicker in your pocket, a cheeky smile and a barrow. “I’m sick and tired of the moaning culture” he growls, “all you need is a concept, hard work and determination” (and idiots with money who want to buy crap email phones). This series LordAlan isn’t looking for an employee on a 6 figure salary, presumably because he got stung so badly on maternity leave in the past. Nor does he seek bladdy sales people (“I want someone with a brain”).  Instead he’s giving the winner £250K to start a business in “uncivil partnership” with him (“Don’t expect me to be doing all the work; I’m not looking for a sleeping partner, so to speak. I’m not Saint Alan, the patron saint of bladdy losers”).

The first task is therefore a task of how well they can do with a £250 investment. The teams (girls v boys) are instructed to buy and produce food stuffs, with the one making the most return on the money winning.

First there’s the small matter of coming up with team names.

Brittle ice-queen Helen Milligan (who bizarrely works for the CEO of Greggs) has prepared two suggestions; “Galvanised” and “platinum” (I get the feeling she read these words on the back of her various eye make-up products). Everyone recoils, and the instant irritant that is Melody Hossaini leaps in with the slightly less awful “Venture” which gets a half hearted majority vote, backed up by Edna Agbarha the scary (“I seek pain rather than pleasure”) “business psychologist” with a superiority complex (“Weak people are a waste of space.. a limp handshake in business is unforgivable”) . Melody smugly claims to have founded a global youth consultancy and to have been trained on climate change by Al Gore, as well as taught by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. So she presumably has a website somewhere called KidzTalk (or “Venture”) and has attended a few lectures, but is an exceptional bullshiter.

Sales manager Vincent Disneur has already won the public over (into unanimously declaring him a dick) in the pre-show trailers, with his slimy mix of arrogance and delusion (“I have plenty of charisma and.. hey… I’m not bad looking”). His team name suggestion “ability” suggests he has hidden depths of idiocy and closet fascism, in fact I’m surprised there aren’t more takers. Perhaps if he prefixed it with “Mixed”? Edward Hunter the cuddly self hating accountant, who, in a film of this episode would be played by Danny De Vito, is not impressed. “I don’t like ability” he whines. Clearly. There’s worse cockery to come though, from Leon Doyle (who apparently started up a £1million online takeaway business; if it’s one I use then thanks Leon!), who looks like a bit like Orlando Bloom wearing a young Stephen Fry’s hair and has come up with the even more “self-effacing” and fucking stupid “Leontrenpeur”.  I think Glenn Ward (design engineer, looks a bit like a streamlined version of last year’ cute but annoying Jamie) comes up with “Logic”, which has huge potential to haunt the team horribly every week. He’s backed up by Jim Eastwood, an apparently normal (for now) Irish Sales & Marketing Manager. And the vote is cast, but Vincent blithely ignores it. “So who likes ‘Ability’ then?” he grins limply. The reaction is oddly reminiscent of that to Rick in the Young Ones here 

With that settled, there’s a little time to “oooh” and “aah” at their new luxury Richmond pad. I do enjoy inventor Tom Pellereau getting flustered at finding himself in the girl’s room and promising “that’s the last time I come in here”. Tom looks like actor Michael Sheen crossed with a geeky ex of mine, so I instantly find him adorable, but he warns us “Underneath these glasses is a core of stone”. Maybe he should have a word with Scouse online optician Gavin Winstanley (“The fear of failure drives me every single day” – supporting LFC does that to a man).

Next they have to choose Team Leaders for this task. Edward volunteers to lead Logic, and everyone looks nervously at their shoes until Gavin pipes up asking what sort of experience Mr “I’m not an accountant honest” has.  Leon scents an opportunity to land Gavin in the position of doom too (“OK. Then do you want to be leader?”), but he patiently points out that isn’t what he’s saying, he’s just trying to make an educated decision. Sadly nobody can understand his accent, so Edward gets all feisty (“If you wanna lead then lead it” and shouts himself all the way into winning the leadership vote. Edward describes himself as “a wheeler dealer who accidentally became a finance professional and I want out.”, so much for leaving yourself a safety net mate.

Susan Ma, a “natural skin care enteprenur” (Avon lady), makes the product decisions, aiming to capitalise on the breakfast market with a health giving fruit salad and the lunch market with a suicide inspiring vegetable pasta. I like Susan, who is keen to tell us that there is more to her than seeming “short, sweet and smiley” yet spends the rest of the episode using those very virtues to her advantage. The girls appear to be doing vaguely sensible things like working out how much they need to buy and make, and what the pricing structure should be. I said appear.

Edward is keen to maximise efficiency with easy products like juice and soup. “You can’t get soup wrong.. they may not buy it again but they won’t be sick.. er anyone know how to make soup?” Edward “ain’t got time to show off by working out profit margins”. He’s a maverick accountant on the edge. “Just mash it all up as soon as possible and sell it all. That’s my vision for this task” he blusters.

And so it’s off to the fruit market. And when Edward and Vincent have finally worked out what an orange looks like (at least they don’t ask the colour) they buy 1400 of them, with Edward’s pitiful attempts to haggle met repelled by a disdainful grocer (“That’s £9.50 a box”, Edward “How about £9.25 a box?” Grocer “I can see you don’t know about this, so I’ll tell you £9.50 is the bottom line”, Edward “OK £9.50 a box, you’re on!”, Grocer “Yeah, that’s what I said!”). Edward’s all about the immediate process, he’s “not concerned with sales right now” , he’s buying fucking oranges. Unfortunately his zest (oh suit yourself) leaves Jim, who’s been appointed “Soup man” only £40 left to buy all the ingredients for a soup. Edward doesn’t give a shit (“We’re not after Michelin stars”), yet somehow, astoundingly Jim manages to make a soup that looks edible. I think he just bought red dye.”We are gonna make soup like we’ve never made soup before” he motivates. “Yeah cos we’ve never made soup before” notes Alex Britez Cabral (an estate agent, being almost funny).

As usual the girls play on the by now famous predilection of male market traders for power dressing female twenty-somethings flicking their hair in pencil line skirts. However, every time Melody or Susan manage to negotiate a bargain on boxes of fruit, Edna pounces to try to put the kibosh on them spending money, as she’s been put in charge of the purse strings (“I’ve been given a very important task”). “How can I keep control when they do deals?” she moans. It’s almost like they’re trying to do business you dopey mare. Edna’s idea of return on an investment would be handing Lord Sugar back his £250 plus any pennies the team had managed to find on the street. Predictably they run out of fruit half way through preparing their stingy fruit salads, but Edna’s not parting with that last £80 for no-one, especially not when Susan asks, and Melody doesn’t have the balls to argue, so the even more reduced fruit salad is packaged up, missing more cherries than a school disco in Hartlepool. Susan and theatre luvvie Felicity Jackson still manage to flog these overpriced molecules of vitamin C to breakfasting fools at Canary Wharf (whilst recruitment consultant Natasha Scribbens takes a busmans holiday by standing around looking feeble and letting them do all the work).

Whilst Jim is capably churning away his magic soup, Leon is made chief juicer due to his foody credentials (um he deals with ordering and distribution), but is urged by Edward into over-working the groaning electric juicers to death so the team have to hand squeeze the remaining 1000 oranges. The boys have already missed the breakfast crowd, but Edward becomes insanely obsessed with completing this step, but Glenn is understandably getting impatient to send out sales teams to flog what they have and starts doing a motivational “lets get selling” speech to erm everyone in the kitchen. “I feel like I’m doing your job for you” he complains to Edward, who’s busy doing the washing up. Glenn’s on the verge of shouting “For Fucks Sake!” and Edward starts insisting that he’s treated with “repect”. Thankfully, there’s a man in the kitchen who can pour soupy oil on these troubled water, and Jim strides over like Kofi Annan. “I’ll defuse the situation” he declares before leading Glenn away, allowing Edward to repeat Glenn’s motivational “lets get selling” speech as though he’d just thought of it.

Whilst half of the boys sell juice and soup from Alex’s van at Liverpool Street Station, Vincent sex pests his way around offices forcing women to put their lips around something orangey (I’m hoping his spray tan doesn’t extend that far). Karen Brady grimaces “Vincent thinks he’s a ladies man.. strangely enough they seem to be quite impressed and they’re buying from him”. His sales pitch is less rohypno-rapey than Edward’s though (“It’s juice, it just sells itself. There’s no point me talking.. JUST DRINK IT!”)

The girls have sent their satellite team to Euston station, where Helen pops up trying to terrify commuters into buying vegetable pasta from Ellie, who can’t even spell “veg et able”. Ellie (think a Yorkshire Atkins from Bad Girls) is described as a “Managing Director”, but struggles with shifting pasta to Northerners departing London and hoping to take some of the glamour of the capital home with them “for tonight’s tea”.

Over at Canary Wharf, Melody’s running out of scraps of fruit, so plucks up the courage to call Evil Edna and ask where the extra stock is. “It’s not been sent, it’s being made as we speak” deadpans Edna medaciously, “I’m trying to make sure I get the numbers right”. Melody manages to hold in a torrent of obscenities by saying she’s “disappointed”, but there’s no way she’s going to win against Edna who uses her business psychology to pull off the Jedi Mind Trick of being an Obstructive Cunt (“Melody, we’re going over old ground .. I’m trying to sell here… Oh her phone mustn’t have a signal…” So with an hour to go, Melody drags her succesful team to Euston to pick up fruit salads and sell them as part of a meal deal for mentals along with the now bargain bucket pasta; it’s not only Edna saying “WHY?!”

Back in the boardroom, LordAlan’s looking for a return on his investment.

Glenn and Tom question Edward’s randomness and lack of organisation. Karen points out that if Jim hadn’t bought all his red dye in the market with the paltry £40 left to him then there would have been no soup. Edward is spectacularly immodest and clueless, claiming that he “hand picked Jim as I knew he was the man to lead the soup team.” It all starts to unravel when Edward’s asked about his buying and pricing strategy. “I didn’t want to speculate.. that part was production. Selling can take care of itself”. “You were trained by the leading accountancy organisation in the UK” sighs LordAlan despairingly. “I don’t fit the mould” retorts Edward. For Christ sake don’t mention accountancy to Edward or he’ll start talking like an autistic Yoda. “It’s all there” he adds mystically, as though he’s reading out the lyrics to Nik Kershaw’s “The Riddle” in the style of William Shatner. This takes precisely 0.05 seconds to piss LordAlan off. “Stop talking to me in semaphore. We’re not sending bladdy text messages!”

Melody’s not backwards when it comes to promoting herself and the fact her team name “was voted the most popular”. “I definitely have the style of leadership that takes into account other people” she trills, to much eye-rolling from Susan and open sneering from Edna. Edna’s financial over-thrift is raised, and Melody is equally as quick to divert any blame for herself (“Edna volunteered for that role”, Edna: “I was volunteered, but I didn’t shirk away”.)

Anyhow here’s the profits (there were some – wow!):

LOGIC boys made £339.20 on juice and  £92.93 on soup giving a total of £432.13 (that missed breakfast cost them).

VENTURE girls made £37.28 on pasta but a stonking £555.05 on overpriced fruit salad making them the lucky winners by miles.

Once it’s established they’ve won, luvvie Felicity starts some vomit inducing sucking up to Melody, but Susan admits she didn’t think Melody was that great and Evil Edna has a face like a slapped arse.

In the cafe de fail, one bright spark pipes up (I bet it was Vincent) “I think the problem lies in the fact we didn’t produce enough orange juice”. (Wrong, you didn’t produce orange juice quickly enough Einstein).

And we’re back in the boardroom, where Edward’s lack of planning is coming under fire, and he’s muttering more crazy gnostic bullshit (“I knew 10p an orange could make 500 drinks”), until it transpires that he kept all his sums in his head rather than admit to anyone that he had maths skillz in case he got laughed at and wedgied. The rest of the team admit no knowledge of Edward’s “plans” (“It was a ‘need to know’ basis” mutters Jim darkly).

Tom plays a blinder suggesting that Edward’s lack of planning cost them the task due to “Edward trying so hard to show us he wasn’t an accountant that he left all the good parts of accounting out”. Even LordAlan’s impressed “That’s the most sensible thing I’ve heard all night.”

Leon’s briefly under scrutiny for breaking the juicers with his big sausagey fingers when LordAlan does the math for Edward and works out they had enough oranges to make 470 bottles but only made 146. Alex, similarly, is outed by Karen of being overly van proud and only ever cutting bread or mopping up rather than selling (“A van is a good place to hide” suggests Nick mischievously.). Despite this latter massive glaring hint by LordAlan’s henchies, Edward tightens the noose around his neck by bringing back Leon and Gavin.

The rest are free to return to Richmond towers, but still Tom manages to almost undo all his good work for me tonight by uttering a cringing “Sorry Lord Sugar” on the way out. I’ll put it down to nerves and politeness, but his card is marked.

Meanwhile Edward tries to blame Gavin for the task failure, because Gavin didn’t put himself forward to lead as vehemently as he could have. Oh grow up. Gavin points out that Edward told the team to go away when they tried to get involved with decision making. “I’m not gonna sit here and be made to feel THAT big” whines Edward. “Well that’s how big you are” slams back Gavin (sore point), “You wanted the leaders hat but you didn’t fulfill the role”. Unfortunately for Edward, Gavin sold the second highest number of units, so is safe.
Edward, however is in meltdown, it’s just not fair: “I’m the youngest” he wails. “Well done” snaps Gavin, causing Edward to play his trump card (“I’m the shortest” – oh dear).

Whilst Lord Alan’s not so bedazzled by Leon, it’s no great surprise after that that Edward’s fired, and despite some sterling advice (“Don’t be ashamed at what you’re best at doing”) he manages to throw Sugar a “talk to the calculator, fucker” face before flouncing off to an unreflective yet aphoristic taxi ride (“Lord Sugar got it wrong.. the world is my oyster.. roll the punches”).

Vincent, who’s already incorrectly predicted that Leon would be fired, tries another desperate ploy to appear popular by getting everyone to raise a toast to Edward. Everyone puts their hands on the floor.

Quote of the night: “Edward reminds me of a slow internet line” (Lord Alan)

Liking: Gavin, Susan, Tom (with reservations)
Warming to: Glenn
Not Sure About: Natasha, Ellie, Alex, Jim
Probably Irrational Dislike for: Helen, Leon, Felicity, Edna
Laughing at (not with): Vincent
Already want to slap: Melody
Was she even in it? Zoe Beresford – she’s listed on the BBC site but I’m buggered if I noticed her.

Bye bye Edward

Welcome to the new home of my blog.  Due to Myspace having transformed their hitherto usable and legible blogging tool into a bastardized Facebook as imagined by Helen Keller in a K hole, I’ll be moving as many as possible of my old TV & travel blogs over to this site in the next few weeks. I also plan to keep providing my typically angry reviews of BBC’s The Apprentice here.

The Guardian have helpfully provided a list of the latest bunch of stripy suited shits in the city who will be providing the cannon fodder to our favourited angry beknighted walnut face over the next few months.

Guardian Apprentice Preview

Don’t they look delightful? My own personal hate-dar has been sent a-twitching already by Ellie, the hard-faced (think Shirley the David Bowie lookalikie on Eastenders, but with a bigger Adam’s apple) hater of dolescum (disliking posh kids does not make her any more likeable); Jim (” ‘I’m not a show pony, or a one-tricky pony. I’m not a jack-ass or a stubborn mule, and I’m definitely not a wild stallion that needs to be tamed. I am the champion thoroughbred that this process requires’) – crap equine analogies are so LAST year dahhling – and Vincent – who thinks he’s good-looking although he resembles a poundshop Robert Carlyle presenting Spanish Language news.

Anyhow see you here next week when the bile will flow freely.