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