Archives for the month of: June, 2011

Imagine you’re spending a relaxing Sunday evening at home (or working the treadmill if you’re constructed of muscle and raw ambition like Helen), when a big black car looms out of the darkness to deposit a walking bearded walnut at your threshold. Tom answers in his protective bodywarmer and immediately has an attack of edgy campness as he corrals the candidates to the kitchen to greet Lord Sugar. Melody’s been caught napping, but somehow manages to switch from comfy dressing gown to power hoody in 60 seconds. Lord Sugar sets the task of developing a unique new brand of biscuit, including packaging, then pitching it to Asda, Sainsburys and Waitrose, with the most orders winning.

The teams are again randomised, so Venture is Jim, Helen and Natasha, whereas Tom, Zoe, Susan and Melody form Logic.

Helen’s prior biscuit knowledge running food outlets gets her elected as Venture’s Project Manager.

Susan is keen to lead Logic, what with all her ingredient of mixing ingredients together for er soaps and body scrubs (not even biscuitty body scrubs), but Zoe’s having none of it and gazzumps Susan brutally (“I work with food and with respect your last pitch was pretty dodgy”), and Melody backs Zoe as Project Manager (Tom sneakily abstains on the vote: surprise surprise). Nick sees Zoe’s managership of Susan as “like slapping down a yapping puppy”.

Venture have an initial brainstorm, with Melody instantly keen on the idea of a heart shaped biscuit that can be shared with loved ones, but Susan thinks biscuit-based relationships are too “niche” and Zoe agrees as she hates Melody with a vengeance. Given her background in drinks manufacturing, Zoe’s keen to go to the development lab in Swansea, but is talked out of it by Susan who thinks branding and packaging is more important (“The best biscuit in the world won’t be bought if the packaging’s no good”), so despite thinking “a good product should sell itself” Zoe sends inventor Tom and human self advertising klaxon Melody to Welsh Wales, the land of the biscuit boffins. Partially Zoe’s “happier working with Susan” (because she can easily talk down to her, and oh yeah, because she fucking hates Melody).

Logic find being a candidate down makes them more decisive, so after some initial talk about a kids product (Jim: “Munch Men?”, Helen “Mini Munch Men?”, Natasha “That sounds rude!”), Jedi Jim’s sent off to the factory in Swansea, where a kindly old biscuit Yoda teaches him in the ways of crunchiness (“Never say never in the biscuit world”) and he learns how to shape biscuits like stars and put space dust on them.

Tom sketches out Heath Robinson-esque plans for crazy biscuits that are actually inside other biscuits, like a tardis that goes nice with a cup of tea. (I love this idea as it would enable me to eat twice as many biscuits in a sitting). Melody’s unimpressed (“I think big, but Tom just works out little details then tries to fit them into plans”), especially as she’s come up with the future of popcorn in messy biscuit form so you can pour more concentrated levels of fat and sugar down your gullet whilst watching TV.

Back in London, Susan’s hoping that she and Zoe will be able to work “on the same level” despite on a personal level, Zoe being “one of the most bitchy and backstabbing people” she’s ever met. Yes that attitude should help you work on an equitable footing. Susan’s so determined to be taken seriously by Zoe that she seems to speak over contradict and interrupt her throughout their market research (Susan “£1.99’s quite expensive, it’s a high end biscuit – what colours do you think?”, Zoe (slowly) “Errr creams and orange”, Susan “PURPLE is good!”), but bizarrely Zoe just seems to accept it all, even adapting Susan’s interjected blurtings as her own idea.

Jim actually does well at his focus group of kids, listening to their ideas (they like flapjacks, but not with raisins, they all think stars are good, especially shooting stars (Jim “I’ll take credit for that one!”)) and correctly relaying that information back to Helen, who decides to go for star shaped flapjacks based on the positive feedback, despite mutterings and dire warnings from Natasha. Helen asks her team for a tag-line and Jim plucks the sinister “Any time is treat time” out of the air. Natasha again is unconvinced, rightly pointing out that if it’s meant to be an after school snack then any time is NOT treat time, but Helen basically tells her to stick it if she can’t think of anything better.

Melody and Tom meanwhile meet with the oldest people in Swansea, in order to bamboozle them with their many concepts and beg for advice on everything. Firstly Tom shares his emergency biscuit idea (“Emer-crunchy”) and one lady seems to like it, but she’s clearly diabetic (“Like when you put the phone down and need sugar?”). Everyone loves the idea of the biscuit within a biscuit which gets unanimous hands up (and immediate emergency biscuit consumption due to the exercise).

Next Melody presents her blobby biscuit “popcorn”, which everyone stares at aghast, confused and strangely insulted. Tom’s name suggestion of “PopSquit” probably doesn’t help matters. They quite like her bland idea of the split love hearts (“Could be good to make up with the wife”) and Melody looks triumphant, commandeering the phone to tell Zoe “They all thought hearts were better than any other shape and said it was the best product” (Ooh you little liar!). I rather like Zoe feistily automatically eliminating the hearts, despite Melody’s protestations and demanding to speak to Tom. Tom reports that the double biscuit got a great response and Zoe decides to go for it, despite Melody continually whining “I don’t like that idea” repeatedly over their conversation.

Whilst Helen and Natasha try to convince the branding professionals in Windsor that “Any time” is actually “After School Treat Time” (Natasha gets particularly philosophical “Once the school bell’s gone it becomes any time”), Jim and Biscuit Yoda actually make some reasonable looking biscuits (although Natasha’s not enamoured of the pictures and thinks they’ll be “sickly”).

Meanwhile, something magical happens whilst Tom attempts to recreate his double biscuits with Melody’s “assistance” and after she seems to help him produce some tattered lumps of dough, suddenly they’re doing Melody’s idea of sharing half chocolate biscuits (although round, rather than heart shaped). Now how did that happen? Melody may as well have decorated these “bixmix” as she calls them with Tom’s balls (“bolloxbixmix”). Quickly the tagline becomes “Snap and share”, just to confuse matters.

On the way back from Wales, Melody’s already planning a “role play” as part of the pitch (“We’d be silly not to”) and Tom plays along. “Oooh do you want a bixmix?”. “You’ve got to be more natural”, chides Melody, “oooooh do you want a bixmix?”, adding “You and I Tom, are going to be lovers tomorrow, so get your act together”. Hmm, maybe that’s how she managed to utterly steamroll Tom’s idea, as he looks mightily happy with that idea. I don’t think it’s down to Melody’s charm, just the idea of doing nude prod games with ANY woman.

BixMix arrive at 9am, in Quality Street-esque boxes, with Zoe tasting them and happily declaring them “proper old school biscuits” (have they got weevils in?). She now has to deal with the return of Melody however, and the latter immediately starts honkingly patronising Zoe for having too wide a target market (Melody “Go clearly into what the product is and then do the details”). As Zoe writes her pitch, Susan asks if she’ll take Melody’s advice on board. “I don’t give a shiny shit about Melody!” snaps Zoe, “She’s doing my head in!”. Well said.

Natasha gets to stand alone in a supermarket attempting to entice people with “Special Stars” (the packaging makes them look like peanuts or mini cheddars), but ends up having to resort to enticing children over like a skanky drug dealer, much to Karren’s disdain.

Tom excels at chosing the largest most unwashed woman with large unwashed children in the supermarket for his taste test and charming the stained velour jogging bottoms off her (“Maybe you could share it with your…. husband”.). She likes the biscuits, although I think she accidentally eats the packaging too. An old boy is more discerning (“Mmm…it’s a bit dry”).

With Zoe insisting on leaving the target audience open, the pitch to Sainsburys starts excruciatingly with Melody and Tom’s role play one of the worst things ever on television. I’m not sure which is worse, Tom cringingly playing along (“because I love you, you can have the chocolate bit”) or Melody’s “acting”, but the “bemused look on the buyers faces” is probably worn by anyone watching this catastrophic charade. Arguably the pitch is already fucked, although Melody’s bound to be smug that Sainsburys slap Zoe on the wrist for not being clear at who they’re aiming at despite the packaging being “very feminine”.

Next Helen pitches “Special Stars”, “the oatmeal based flapjack aimed at children for after school”, which of course prompts another debate around the meaning of the words Time and Any. Natasha tries to help with her notion of the effect of school bells on the time space continuum, but everyone gives her the evils, and afterwards in the car Helen demands that Natasha only speak when spoken to if absolutely necessary, and Jim agrees. “So I should just shut up?” suggests Natasha. “Yeah” smiles Jim.

Waiting for the Asda pitch, Melody now tries to get Zoe to pitch bixmix as a “Girl’s Get Together Treat”, stating that this was her idea from the beginning. Eh? Again Zoe calls her out on her frankly insane levels of fibbery (“That’s really naughty”). “I don’t want to have a full blown argument” parps Melody. “Well don’t wind me up then!” snaps Zoe. Doubly embarrassingly, the meeting “room” is an Asda café table with a clear view of the area where Venture were bitch fighting AND Melody gets to do roleplaying again, this time with poor Zoe. There’s concerns about the product being a bit crap from the stern Asda procurement team (“If I was having digestives on a girl’s night in, I’d feel a bit cheated”), with Susan pointing out eagerly “You can snap it!” to the sound of tumbleweed.

Melody whinges to Tom “Zoe lashed out at me in public” and garners some possibly (hopefully) fake sympathy, “She’s had a problem with you the whole time”, before the penny drops out loud to Tom “maybe she doesn’t want to work with you”.

Helen delivers the Special Stars pitch to Waitrose, who get high and mighty with their “health & welfare” message (“It’s too sugar based”). “We want a treat to be a treat” Helen reaches desperately. No dice sister.

Thankfully Logic appear to have dropped the roleplay for Waitrose, who like the idea, packaging and pitch. “The only thing we’re disappointed in is the biscuit”. D’oh!

Helen decides to give Jim a chance to pitch to Asda (maybe it’s a subliminal insult – I hope so), and he promises them everything but the Moon on a Stick, including TV ads (“strategic marketing, above and below the line” – eh?), endorsements and a Harry Potter tie in, whilst Karren has to pinch herself to remember that it’s only fictional money he’s throwing away.

Back in the boardroom and Tom doesn’t back Zoe as Project Manager as he wasn’t clear on the product’s USP, whereas Melody damns her with faint praise (“Zoe has strengths”) and less faint slating, “but I think her weaknesses let her down.”

The roleplay gets a mention with Melody claiming it’s a “respected technique to get impact” and Lord Sugar suggesting it would get him banned from Dixons. Jim’s equally modest about his pitching technique (“It was clean and crisp and received pretty well”) but Lord Sugar gives him the “Biggest bullshitter in the world” award, before reading the results himself off a piece of paper, which makes me hope that nobody’s sold anything, but sadly no, Asda fell for Jim’s unlimited budget blarney and ordered 800,000 units with an exclusivity deal. So Venture get to ponce around in a Luxury Country Hotel (given the success of their bullshit I’m saddened it doesn’t turn out to be a Premier Inn).

There’s no biscuits in the Bridge Café. “It’s erm really disappointing” sighs Melody. Zoe’s convinced that the actual product was the problem, but Melody covers by saying there was no clear target audience. Back in the boardroom and Zoe gets stick for not knowing her place as a manufacturer and going to the development lab. “I wish I could have split myself in half” she complains, helpfully giving Sugar his obligatory “You split the biscuit in half” line. The main issue must be that Melody imposed her idea over Tom’s and he happily acquiesced, but sadly Zoe’s missed this. Lord Sugar suggests that splitting the biscuit in two with only one half having chocolate on could lead to wars and things. Tom’s quick to then repeat what Sugar said as though it’s what he was thinking all along (“Had we created a complete chocolate biscuit” – what happened to the double biscuit you spineless boff?).

Zoe’s criticised again for the roleplay, which she cattily blames on the “the communications expert Melody”, prompting a compulsory catfight from two grand mistresses. “Misdirection and lack of clarity are not down to me” smarms Melody. “You disturbed the team a lot… you’ve got a reputation for it” bitches Zoe, who brings up Melody’s grandiose claims after the last boardroom “You said Lord Sugar had nothing but praise for you”. Disappointingly LordSugar doesn’t pick up on this, because he loves Melody, and he instead hints darkly that Zoe could be in allegiance with Susan against his beloved chosen fibbing foghorn. “I can assure you, I have no personal problems with Melody” glowers Zoe. “She was shouting her head off!” cries Melody. Poor Zoe is damned if she does (Sugar “you’d better have very good reasons, not to do with personality”) and damned if she doesn’t bring Melody back in, and to her credit brings her back along with Tom.

“Melody talks a lot of sense” broods Lord Sugar, causing Nick and Karren to shudder (Karren “You have to watch her, her interaction with others is not good”).

Back in the boardroom and Tom states his claim (“I came out with a HUGE number of POWERFUL ideas”), but Sugar has him marked as a “hindsight man”. “Indeed Lord Sugar I’ve learned a great deal” Tom channels Smithers from the Simpsons. “This isn’t a learning process!” “Absolutely not Lord Sugar” grovels Tom.

Tom insists he had no idea that he was meant to be making a premium product. “.£1.99 is premium! At this stage you should know that” retorts Zoe (who to be fair got that one from Susan), who decries the hitherto “Old School” biscuit as having “a common, horrible taste”. “Which you signed off” accuses Sugar. “She said it was great!” Melody scents blood. “I couldn’t control the product” Zoe digs her hole. “You could have if you went to the lab” snaps Sugar. Poor Zoe is fucked here.

Tom’s still adamant that he didn’t realise £1.99 meant “luxury” (Zoe “That’s not my problem if you don’t know the price of biscuits!”), and Melody raises the fact that she came up with “DARING concepts”. “Like what?” Zoe fights back. “Like making biscuits the new popcorn” Melody states, too proudly, and it’s pointed out that this was rejected by the focus group. “Yeah” sneers Melody charmingly, “by ten people in Swansea!”

Melody and Tom both say Zoe should be fired, and Zoe thinks she’s being scapegoated, but isn’t sure who should go (“Melody was disruptive, but if Tom decided on digestive he should go”). Sugar sums up by saying he’s totally over Tom’s charm now as he needs to be more assertive, and he’s not happy about all the arguments Melody seems to be causing. He turns to Tom, with an “it’s regretful, but” and whilst the world and his deaf dog could spot that this is a classic Apprentice tension ruse, Tom nearly scuppers himself by arguing, cut short by Sugar who continues “that …. I er … haven’t seen much from you and this task has fallen down on the product, but”, and he fires Zoe for not going to the factory despite being Project Manager like erm Project Manager Helen didn’t. Zoe’s quietly rueful about not trusting her gut instinct in the Taxi of Fail. Tom has a less gentle car journey home with a shouty smug Melody (“THAT SORT of behaviour is SO childish! I wouldn’t want that as a reflection on my business”) and does quiet Gromit eyes. Back at the house it’s Tom who’s overwhelmed by genuinely pleased hugs.

So next week it looks like Helen does a first and stages a Project Manager coup. Brilliant!

Liking: Helen, Susan, Tom (but he really needs to man up, or at least inventor up soon)

Disliking: Natasha, Jim

Fucking Detesting: Melody

Byebye: Zoe, Leon, Glenn, Edna, Vincent, Ellie, Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward

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Week 8 sees the candidates dragged to St Pancras International at some ungodly hour. “Who hasn’t been PM yet?” asks Jim knowingly in the car. “Tom” drones everybody. Tom wakes up and looks surprised (as always). “Really, is there anybody else?” he chirrups. “No just you Tom”, comes the monotone response.

Melody’s excited by the prospect of going abroad, cos you know, she’s like taught herself six whole languages, because you have to do that sort of thing when you’re an international youth guru. Helen and Natasha exchange looks that scream out Anglo-Saxon phrases.

Lord Sugar tasks the candidates to choose and represent unique British products to sell to French retailers in Paris. As well as them finding their own leads, both teams have an appointment set up with Gallic home shopping giant La Redoute. Every candidate is given an order book in order to ramp up the arse saving sales rivalry.

Tom’s automatically appointed Project Manager of Logic, leading Melody, Leon and Natasha. Jim, Susan and Zoe on Venture (now with added Helen) are left to fight amongst themselves as to who will lead. Susan volunteers loudly and assertively (look everybody!), despite not knowing anything about France, and unsurprisingly her team backs her.

Tom pops Leon and Melody on the Eurostar to Paris as his research team. Leon’s anxious as he doesn’t speak any French (I hope they all speak English), but fortunately for him Melody is fluent in French bullshit and he merely has to bask in her genius for the rest of the task, as though he’s on a croissant filled jolly. Susan sends Jim and Helen on Venture’s foreign exchange, with Jim taking control thanks to his amazing bilingual skills (bilingual means two languages in the same sentence, right?), adding an Allo Allo tinge to his Norn Irish accent as he asks earnestly “Je voudrais parler who responsible for votre magazine”.

Meanwhile the remaining team halves have to check out the products on offer and sit through a plethora of tat and luxury items clearly fresh off the books of the Innovations catalogue. Rickety toys, hugely expensive electric bikes and backbreaking beanbags that convert into childs beds are all rejected, and Venture choose for their first product a strange pipe cleaner ensemble that purports to be a stand for mobile phones (Zoe’s not convinced at the 18 Euro pricetag, but Susan thinks it’s “innovative” – say no more.

Karen despairs of Susan’s mental snap decisions on products, and bizarre questions reminiscent of Sting’s song about Russians (“Do the French love their children? Do the French drive?”) although in fairness to Susan, she’s desperately trying to stamp her personality on the task and she merely seems to have the habit of expressing every random thought (even the fuckwitted ones) aloud. When you stop doing that, you’ve just lost your innocence.

Tom’s team are equally smitten by a postcard that turns into a cress farm by simply adding water (I quite like this one – but Susan and Zoe think it’s crap, the stupid cows).

Both teams set their greedy eyes on the motherlode of products, a rucksack that converts into a childs booster car seat, but both decide to check with their roving continental teammates before committing to purchasing it. Tom’s very keen, having worked in the “baby industry” (eek!), but is worried that the product might not fit with La Redoute the big buyer that Lord Sugar set up, so asks his team to find out more about La Redoute and get some feedback about the product, as his only alternative is a horrid overpriced (140 Euro; Manufacturer: “We’re a quality product”!) bone china teapot lamp. Unfortunately for Tom, Melody really hates the idea of the rucksack/booster seat, despite not having seen it. I guess anything that protects young people potentially robs Melody of vulnerable youth for her to take the credit for saving or something. Tom insists that she and Leon do some proper “market research, independent of your own personal thoughts”. “This isn’t Manchester!” sneers Melody as Tom hangs up. “Or a car boot sale!” adds Leon happily. “Or up North or something” Melody persists. Being from up North would be the worse of all possible worlds for Melody, who chooses to pretend she’s an American virgin rather than be associated with parts of the UK she disapproves of. “Lets just ask people around here” Melody suggests unenthusiastically as she and Leon head towards Gare du Nord’s metro station. Of course Leon isn’t going to disagree, he’s spellbound by the classy way in which Melody negotiates all those French pictorial direction signs, like she’s Catherine fucking Deneueve or something. So Melody approaches an insignificant number of commuters and asks them which is best “Un Lumiere comme une the-erriere” (illustrated helpfully by Leon) or “Some shit rucksack safety seat thing for kids”. The majority of her impromptu focus group still plump for the latter, so Melody (translating back to Leon that people so far only think the rucksack is “OK”) decides to keep extending her research to make it more scientific yah and ask as many people as it takes for one to say something slightly negative about the booster seat rucksack. Eventually she finds someone (who STILL prefers the rucksack) who says it’s difficult for her to think about buying the product as she mainly uses the metro (and is probably childless). Melody seizes on this as a new slant on her “research” and goes round asking people on the Metro if they use the metro and in this case would not be interested in a rucksack that converts into a childs car seat. About three people shrug and say perhaps. For Melody that’s case closed and she reports back to Tom that everybody preferred the teapot light in their market research. Tom acquiesces based on the “market research”. I’m still frigging fuming writing this.

Jim and Helen have been asking people unbiased questions about the booster seat rucksack (Jim thanking everybody who speaks English whilst they wonder what language he was speaking) and got great feedback, so Susan’s happy to pick it to sell.

The other candidates leave London with the chosen products to join their teams in Paris, and Tom’s instantly disillusioned with Melody and Leon’s giggling, sneery response to the teapot light. He then asks Melody to share out the leads they’ve found in Paris, and she gets all selfish and defensive (“I spent time and effort making those leads yesterday and you’re going to take them away from me… that’s really unfair. I’m going to sell on the leads I’ve made”. A browbeaten Tom backs down, rather than screaming “THAT WAS YOUR FUCKING ROLE YOU STUPID PRENTENTIOUS GLORY-GRABBING BITCH!”. That last bit may have been what I said.

The arrivals from London go to the La Redoute pitch whilst their roving teams follow up leads. For Venture, Jim’s Jedi skills don’t translate into Anglo-Irish Franglais (“Could you sell this small petite item”, “No I cannot sell this”). Over on Logic, Melody makes Susan look astute by whining about the amount of traffic when her scientific market research group on the Metro all claimed to be users of the Metro. All six of them. “Yes very good point” chortles Leon, under the illusion she’s still speaking in French. Annoyingly she manages to make tonnes of sales to “I saw you coming” style Parisian shops. Although having seen Melody and Leon coming they all only buy a couple of units each. “I should just move over to Paris and set up business here” gloats Melody endearingly, “Every appointment we go to, we sell” (yes, one or two things).

Tom selects the La Redoute pitcher for Logic, rejecting a simple coin flip in favour of a full blown round of “Paper Scissors Stone”. Natasha “wins” and the first thing she says in the meeting room to the “most powerful buyers in France” is “erm parlez vous Anglais”. It gets worse. “I present to you our teapot made from bone china which is used in England for er tea”, she flails, pointlessly, adding that in England if someone saw such a lamp they would declare “Goodness me! That’s fantastic!” (she fails to add the traditional “ically shit” us Rosbifs would normally add). Tom tries to help out (“We’re keen to start a relationship”) by offering this huge company a deal on just 10 units (“Ludicrous” winces Nick). “Have you even done the most basic of research?” complains La Redoute woman, and Natasha tries to rectify things by offering to start from er 50 units. Holy fuck this is bad. Tom moans that Melody didn’t do the research on the company he asked for, but surely he could have asked her?

Next, Helen and Susan visit La Redoute, and Helen delivers one of the best pitches I’ve ever seen on this show, proving not only that she’s done the research, but that she’s capable of pressing the right buttons for potential buyers (“I know your website, I’ve even ordered from your catalogue”), especially when challenged about the high price of the product (“I know your target audience is women and modern women will pay anything for convenience… you can say you are the first retailer to bring this product to France. You can say ‘We care about your children. We care about their safety'”. ). Susan sort of contributes by being tiny enough to fit in the chair and say it feels safe, but really it’s round of applause time for Helen.

Tom and Natasha are struggling finding their own leads in questionable English, never mind their French, until Melody and Leon, stuck in traffic and unable to make all of Melody’s appointments, “kindly” fob one off on the hapless Project Manager. “What’s the contact name?” asks Tom eagerly. “Er I forgot to get a name. Apologies, must dash” breezes Melody. Natasha does the pitch, desperately trying to flog the teapot (which may as well be made of chocolate). “That is not a concept” states the shopkeeper dismissively, before setting his eyes on the Cress Cards. “Now THAT is a concept” he gasps, full of admiration, and orders 1015 Euros worth.

After a failed pitch at an unsuitable shop, Susan calls her splinter team to advise them to target the “right shops”. “I love the way she teaches your grandma to suck eggs” drawls Zoe, demonstrating there’s still clearly no love lost. Susan proves her point however by going to a mobile phone shop that advertises a big online presence and haggling them winningly into buying 1500 units of pipe cleaner phone holders. “I’ve got Euro signs in my eyeballs” gasps Susan, as Jim prompts the rest of Venture to waste their remaining time seeking out mobile phone shops.

Melody decides to give Leon a chance after all the sales she’s made (but clearly doesn’t like to mention more than a million times) and he manages to sell 35 illuminated teapots, before Melody barges in and persuades the shopkeeper to buy 1000 postcards. “How have your sales gone, Tom” she schmoozes down the phone to her beleaguered Project Manager, who immediately flakes out and drops his phone. “Erm we’ve had a lot of difficulties” he admits when he picks the mobile up, but Melody and Tom both know that he hasn’t made a single sale today and that makes Melody very happy indeed.

Back in the boardroom, and whilst most of Venture support Susan as their leader, Jim has to qualify it as patronisingly as possible (“She made a bold move to become Project Manager…but she led on day two in terms of sales”. Susan states that strategically she wanted practical products, nothing too niche, but that doesn’t stop Karren having a go for her “stupid questions” (“You don’t need to go to France to know the answers to whether French people love their kids or drive”). Susan explains that she was merely trying to establish what sort of products the French focus on, but Karren’s unimpressed (“Perhaps you should have worded it that way”).

There’s not so much backing for Tom over on Logic, as Leon suggests “It felt like Melody was running the show “, and Melody of course modestly accepting this (“We didn’t feel the presence of the Project Manager” (because he was in London and you were ignoring him perhaps). Tom suggests he “felt Melody did what she wanted”, but Melody falls back on the unquestionable empirical truth of her “market research” (“It wasn’t my personal view, it was MARKET RESEARCH, which cannot be questioned) which she keeps saying again and again, getting more slappable every time.

The scores from sales to smaller retailers are read out first:

Logic – 11,705 Euros

Venture – 14,699 Euros

With La Redoute

Venture – made 214,000 Euros (Helen breaking Liz’s boardroom record from last year)

Logic – made, as Nick puts it “nil points”

So Venture get flying lessons as a treat.

Considering that, as Lord Sugar says, “this isn’t just a loss, it’s an annihilation”, Melody looks oddly smug and happy. Even in the Sad Café she tries to convince people that she can’t be blamed if the “market research” didn’t give the right answers.

Back in the boardroom and Tom’s under fire for not going with his gut instinct on the booster seat rucksack, but he blames Melody for not coming back with the information he asked for about La Redoute. “You didn’t ask for that information at all” lies Melody brazenly, prompting Nick to put on his detective hat (“At 12.50pm Tom specifically called and asked for that information”). Caught out, Melody resorts to bullshit (I know, you can’t tell the difference). “I can speak personally about what I contributed on that day” she starts. “Did you do the research?” interrupts Sugar. “Other than the information we were given” continues Melody. “Oh, so no” sniggers Sugar.

Leon gets flak for silently letting Melody do all the talking (Sugar: “You’re making it very easy cos here’s the door”), with his rubbish excuse that Melody was speaking in French and he can’t getting short shrift as most of the people she pitched to spoke in English too (“I must have missed that”).

Tom’s paltry 10 units offer to La Redoute is next under the microscope and Melody can’t help but interject “I’m surprised that Tom and Natasha went to that pitch as Leon and I have a better sales record”. Nick points out that Melody “wanted to pitch at all those shops, so that was a bit of a greedy one”, and it comes out that, unlike Venture, whose roving team split all leads fairly, Melody only dished out one lead to Tom and Natasha. Not a tick in the Teamplayer box then. “I let Leon pitch one” complains Melody. Oops. “You LET him?!” exclaims Karren, bemused.

So it’s not a shocker when Tom brings Leon and Melody (“How much did YOU sell Tom?”) back to the boardroom (although a shame that Natasha escapes scot free for er bring Natasha).

Melody’s not outed for basically lying about what her “focus group” were saying, but at least Nick points out that she let her personal opinion of the rucksack booster seat affect the teams judgement. “Do you know anything about products” queries Lord Sugar. It transpires that Melody doesn’t, but at least her great achievements are highlighted in the shape of her myriad meaningless awards (“Volunteer of year award, Woman of the future award, Outstanding Asian Woman award” sneers an incredulous Lord Sugar – I’m shocked she hasn’t got a fucking Duke of Edinburgh award to bang vainly on about). “Can you tell me what you do to get these awards?” he asks her (erm be middle class and really fucking needy of yet more validation?). “I’ve been improving the lives of children and young people” simpers Melody, justifying her “Global Consultancy Youth Business”. I really hate people like Melody. Parasites. Sadly Sugar seems to like her balls (“You look aggressive like you want to win”). Tom’s convinced that Melody just “wanted to make sure that her arse was completely covered”. The penny drops finally.

Leon gets more flak for hiding behind crap language skills, as Lord Alan was able to communicate with Asian people (even outstanding ones) when he was selling cockles and mussels on his barrow down old Brick Lane.

Tom’s also in the firing line for getting no sales (Sugar “Why?”, Leon “Because he can’t sell”) and his scissor paper stone method of decision making, but manages to fight back a la Susan with epic tales of his credentials “outside of the process” (he’s been running a business for 5 years, patenting and selling his own inventions). “So, a mini Dyson?” smirks Sugar, but Tom thinks he’ll be much bigger than Dyson (For inventors this must sound like John Lennon’s “Jesus” moment).

Worrying Lord Alan likes Melody’s “hunger” despite her hijacking the process (“If they allowed you to then good luck to you”) so she’s safe (“She’s a tigress, she will walk over people and spit them out, that’s what I like about her). It all gets a bit dodgy, with the suggestion that all candidates are now being judged on the business proposals they submitted before the process, making the tasks mere window dressing. After some unconvincing prevarication, Leon’s fired (“Thank you for an amazing opportunity”) and calmly suggests that Lord Sugar’s missed out in his taxi homewards. Melody just seems sulky that both of her opponents didn’t go.

So, whilst nobody’s surprised to see Melody return to the house, nobody seems ecstatic. Especially when Melody starts fantasising about how much Lord Sugar respected all her awards (“He said ‘that’s commendable'”). Helen nudges Zoe with a brief sardonic grin. Even if the benighted beardy barrow boy hasn’t yet marked Melody’s card, the other candidates have.

Liking: Tom, Sue, Helen

Disliking: Zoe, Natasha

Can’t wait to see them eviscerated in the Interview Round: Jim, Melody

Byebye: Leon, Glenn, Edna, Vincent, Ellie, Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward

Week Seven sees the candidates driven to 65 Fleet Street, former Murdoch lair, where Lord Sugar descends in a glass escalator like some bizarro episode of “Take Me Out”.

The teams are tasked to create Free Premium Magazines (apparently known as “Freemiums” – sigh) in order to pitch to the three biggest media buyers in the UK, with the team making the most by selling advertising space winning. The pep talk comes from Mike, head of Short List Media, enormo-publisher of annoying free crap. He points out ominously that the teams have to understand their consumer and that (given their print deadline is 9pm) “deadlines will be critical”, whilst little tweeting birds fly around the candidates heads.

Jedi Jim’s made Project Manager of Venture (Glenn, Susan and Zoe). “I’ve never worked with you before Zoe” smarms Jim creepily. “I’ve never worked with you Jim” she drawls back, slightly surprised. “I’m sure you’re very good” he er reassures her.

Natasha leads Logic (Leon, Tom, Helen and Melody). Helen tells Natasha and Tom she’s aware they all may have to compromise on their ideals in order to sell advertising space (“Let’s forget about it being well rounded or something we would want to read”). This seems to prompt Natasha to plump immediately for the “Lad Mag” angle. How innovative. “I don’t read lads mags very often” admits Tom. “I DO!!” screams Leon, as ever keen to remind us that he’s ever so heterosexual. Melody goes all virginal school marm (making it even more difficult for me to remember that she’s not actually American) about the very idea of near bare-nekkid ladies being distributed gratis to young bucks about town and wanking tramps. Natasha’s in unstoppable media ladette mode though (imagine if Jonathan Yeah? from Nathan Barley did a bad Kathy Burke impersonation) and warns Melody to “get in the zone.. yah?” Flicking through a few mock-ups doesn’t calm Melody down (“I’ve never seen so many boobs in one place”) and even Tom’s concerned about the fact that at this rate the only advertisers they’ll get will probably be “Facelifts as recommended by Liz Jones” and “Bored and Horny MILFS”. Our favourite Apprentice geek therefore comes up with the USP that the magazine will focus on the “entrepreneurial side” of young men (PlayCityBoy). “Does that translate into boring? I don’t know” snaps Natasha, waving her hands in the air like a sarcastic mockney muppet.

Meanwhile Jim informs Venture that they will be pitching at the over 60s as “they have the biggest readership”. Foolishly Zoe and Susan voice dissent, and get Irish eyed death stares, before being over-ruled by Jim’s majority of er Jim and meekly agreeing to support his idea. Nick rubs his chin and muses “trying to nail anything on Jim is like trying to nail jelly to a wall; he never isolates himself in making a decision” (just bullies everyone else into going along with it).

Susan and Glenn brave the stench of death and biscuits to go to a bowling club to interact with the old. Susan’s already got her first question planned; “What do you guys do?” Phew, for a moment I thought she might be patronising! Confusingly for Susan and Glenn the elderly in their focus group pretend to be real people with interests (“I read The Economist” and senses of humour (“I like Viz”), almost as if they were alive once. One chap helpfully points out to the gaping candidates that senior citizens often don’t FEEL their age and don’t want to be treated like feebles. “So would you like some puzzles in a magazine, to help keep your brain active?” chirrups Susan inanely. Why not infuse the pages with omega 3 and laxatives whilst you’re at it? Given the feedback so far, it’s unsurprising when the woefully condescending magazine name ideas (Vitalife (“Sounds like something I feed my cat”), Radiance, Eternal ugh!)) are unanimously rejected. “You’ve got to hit the thing head on” advises Viz man, before suggesting “The Oldies” or “Zimmer”. Susan feeds this back to Jim and Zoe who are back at the design studio, and Zoe (who’s clearly becoming dangerously facetious from having to work with Jim) offers “Coffin Dodger” before they all settle (Susan reluctantly) on her “Hip Replacement”, which is meant to be a cool play on words, but just sounds like it’s taking the piss.

Tom and Helen’s focus group is a posh student rugby team who are all adamant that they don’t want to just look at ladies La Las (and not just because Helen’s there and she’s a girl, with little La Las) and they would like a Lad Mag to raise the tone. They all look interested in the business angle, because they clearly like money much more than they like looking at scanty female lovelies. Helen happily reports to Natasha that the modern man wants a nudity-free magazine, but the team leader’s having none of it and snaps back that norks sell (“Is tasteful a strong enough USP”). At least Helen manages to convince the team to go with the name “Covered”, without Natasha adding the words “Cum” and “Sluts” to either end of it.

It’s time to decide on “content”, and Leon, still chagrined from not being on the fact finding mission to the rugby team, again reasserts his masculinity by insisting on lots of cheesy innuendos (“How do you blow your load”). Natasha likes it. “Yeah! What would you do for release?” she jabbers excitedly, and a small part of my soul dies.

Tom and Helen meet their models for the “Covered” photoshoot, with Natasha calling to order that they dress a near naked woman in Tom’s spectacles and jacket (and a hard hat for some reason). “Does that fit in with what we agreed in the focus group” queries Helen, but Natasha waves away her concerns (“One thing yeah that we have to bear in mind is that our focus group was quite focused”. She really said that.

Venture’s photoshoot is even raunchier, if you have X-ray specs that can penetrate knitwear, as Susan goes manic with the “Yes that’s fantastic, give us a smile” David Bailey banter whilst getting the geriatric models to give each other piggy backs and shadow box each other. Glenn gets bored through his own lack of creative input and decides to assess her shots as they’re taken (“No, no, no, no…. yes”), plumping for the dullest and most tasteful greying cardigan hug shot. Susan irritates me here, because you can TELL she doesn’t think it’s the best shot, but again she plays Little Miss Subservient (“I had no idea what was good and what wasn’t – it was all Glenn’s decision so I’m happy to go with Glenn”).

Back at the design studio, Zoe and Jim are having “artistic differences” as Jim pooh poos Zoe’s zappy lime green cover layout. Zoe’s concerned that Jim could be straying away from the concept they agreed on, but he doesn’t hear her as he searches for a Surgical Stockings font. By the time poor Zoe glances back at the screen Jim has transformed the magazine cover into something you might be forced to read in a NHS waiting room. “You’re taking all the irony out of it” she cries “He’s turned it into a medicinal health feature mag which just looks idiotic”. “I’m just playing with it” soothes Jim like a big fecking ignorant twat.

Natasha takes to the streets to ask men how they blow their load, as though she’s Davina McCall but a thousand times worse. Most sensible blokes scuttle away mumbling “I’d rather not say”, but she fortuitously chances upon the same extrovert French bloke who appears in street fashion “articles” for glossies the world over, and he’s more than happy to pose about in his annoying skinny jeans. Tom and Helen call to again express their discomfort with the “blow your load” headline, but Natasha decides she needs to “wrap it up” by turning the phone off and rolling her eyes about.

Back at the house, Susan practices a pitch for “Hip Replacement” with Glenn encouraging her, until the door flies open and Jim swaggers in all wide-eyed and finger pointing, and incredibly offputting. “Who’s BUZZING to deliver this pitch?” he demands, and it’s a toss-up as to who is more frightened of him out of Glenn and Susan. The latter meekly suggests she was practicing a pitch, but Jim’s not convinced. “Suzie” he patronises (she’s always Suzie when they talk down to her) “have you given pitches of a professional nature before?” She admits she hasn’t and he does his triumphant emperor look, whilst Glenn and Susan suggest he do the pitch. Zoe’s probably the only one who isn’t bricking it, but she’s worked out that Jim has been enough of an uber-cockhat during this task that he’ll probably mess it up and doom himself so she sneeringly agrees that Jim’s the pitch man. To camera Jim suggests that this is because his team all want to follow him as he’s a born leader.

Anyhow it’s pitch time. Leon goes first to Carrot Media, who don’t seem impressed at first (“It’s a very, very busy market place”). He reassures them with the magazine’s USP “Naked women are fun but better with a business angle” (Is this magazine pitched solely at Patrick Bateman American Psycho?). Logic are offering a half page spread (unfortunate choice of words, sorry) for £1500, or the back cover for £5000, but they offer a deal for 35 pages and seem open to negotiate.

Jim’s in next for Venture, and he struggles with opposition to the title (“My car clients or financial clients would laugh me out of the room”), before refusing to negotiate on rate card prices for advertising space. Downright refusing. Nick and the bloke from Carrot can’t believe what they’re hearing, but Jim’s adamant that he wants the fair standard rate. “We’re not looking for fair” explains the media professional; “You’re looking for help with the launch of your magazine”, but Jim simply can’t get it into his arrogant skull that his mind tricks won’t work here and doesn’t back down. “We should slash our pricing” suggests Susan afterwards. Jim pretends not to hear her.

For pitch two (to Maxus?) , Natasha tries to improve Leon’s confidence by telling him he’s rubbish and she wants to do the talking. Melody backs Leon, pointing out it’s unfair to pull this with only 5 minutes to go, and Natasha demurs, but promises to take the last pitch “”Uber 100%”. How can she lose with such verbal dexterity? She still manages to utterly undermine Leon throughout his pitch by interrupting him constantly. Drunk on power I tell you. Anyhow Maxus raise Logic’s hopes by stating that they’ve worked with a lot of lad mags, before crushing them again by pointing out that the market has declined as nobody understands young men nowadays, especially not Logic. Natasha wants £2000 for a page advert, but has to take the £1500 the tough woman from Magus is prepared to put on the table.

Jim tries to push the fact that a magazine called “Hip Replacement” is aimed at intellectual educated types (in a coma presumably), but Magus woman smirks at him before tearing the content to pieces as stereotyping and patronising (I’d still like to send my dad the article on how to use mobile phones for a bit of a laugh though). Fortunately for Jim he doesn’t have to negotiate here, he’s offered £2000 for a page, takes one look at the face of the woman from Magus and snaps her hand off.

On the way to MediaComm, Leon asks Natasha what she thought of his latest pitch, and she’s keen to point out that he “stumbled a little bit”. “Let’s hope you can do the whole pitch without getting interrupted” he retorts, adding when she feigns deafness “actually just my little joke.. good luck”. Melody suggests that Natasha try the soft approach for this pitch, and the team leader agrees before launching herself at MediaComm like a missile full of bollocks. It’s nice when they pull her down to earth though, suggesting Logic have “alienated 90% of the client base”, questioning the sense of using the “How to Blow your load” line and saying it’s like the Loaded era of the 90s never ended (erm Zoo? Nuts?).

MediaComm smile kindly at Glenn as he’s forced to defend the crap title and tagline, but can’t help pointing out that “It looks like Viz have mocked up a magazine for the over-60s – you’ve even got a picture of someone in cardigan!” However, they seem to like the content inside, and try to negotiate a 50% deal on the back and inside covers. Jim’s uncertain; he doesn’t like people telling him what to do, but the woman from MediaComm points out that normally magazines offer space for free for their launch episode, so Jim cunningly decides to offer the 50% discount.

Back in the Boardroom most of Logic back Natasha as a decent Project Manager (Tom: “Well she made a very good editor”), but Lord Sugar’s not impressed by the predictable and advertiser-scaring focus on smut and swimwear of Covered.

Jim talks for Venture in backing his own leadership skills, but the name “Hip Replacement” and the hardly better tagline “Out with the old and in with the new” come in for Sugary scrutiny (“It just sounds like DIY hip replacements”).

The scores are typically presented out of sequence to build up the “tension” :

Maxus:
Logic sold £9000 worth (Maxus were put off by gratuitous Load Blowing) Venture took £12,000

MediaComm:

Logic took £7500

Venture managed £16,850

So it’s all down to Carrot, and we get Ventures result first. Here it is:
£0 (Sugar “They loathed it!”)
Logic however were so beloved that Mediacomm decided to go for an exclusive deal, advertising on every page – making £60,000 sales.

Jim’s frozen blue stare of guttedness (even his trademark wink is preceded by a gulp) is a lovely contrast to Tom’s happy “Wow!”.

Logic get sent to do fencing lessons (and I get to perv over Tom in his fencing gear – surely the ultimate in geek chic), whilst Venture play the blame game in the Bridge Café. Jim’s already written his narrative (“the reason we didn’t get the first pitch is that they hated the name, which Zoe came up with.. we backed it, but it was her idea”) which is slightly different to the one he had a few weeks ago when he had the idea that didn’t work. Hmmm.

In Boardroom, the sequel, Lord Sugar agrees with Jim that the name was shit, and questions why nobody challenged it. This is Susan’s time. “I disagreed with it!” she squeaks. Jim fixes her with his icy blue eyes. “Your voice must have been lost in translation” he mutters accusingly, “We didn’t hear it.. it was a whisper in the night”. Hang on “Lost in Translation” (Chinese) “Whisper”s. Jim you big racist.

Jim further rewrites history by claiming that Zoe was party to all the decisions he made on the frankly remedial magazine cover and that he was only sent cheesy knitwear shots for the cover photo. There’s too much fibbing at large to even start picking it apart, but even Glenn finds his balls and backs Susan up over the range of crazy OAP photos they provided to Jim. Jim steps up his game; “The essence of this failure was due to two things, contribution and cowardliness” before claiming Susan never stepped up to pitch and talking all over her when she tries to explain that she did. “Be true to yourself with your answers” he advises, and before you think he couldn’t be more of a cuntmonkey he turns to Lord Sugar explaining “It looks like we’re all trying to shoot Bambi”. “Who’s Bambi?” growls LordAlan (adding “Actually Bambi’s mother is the one that got shot”). “Su is Bambi” Jim states.

You really sense that Nick hates Jim and has a soft spot for Susan as he deflects the discussion to Jim’s inflexibility (which Carrot stated was the real reason they didn’t go for his pitch). Lord Sugar’s especially unimpressed by Jim’s unwillingness to offer a discount. But Jim points out, we’ve all been hallucinating for the last 50 minutes and he DID offer a discount. Eh? Oh he means with the other pitches. “Why then?” queries Sugar. “Because we were in a more informed position” explains Jim (or as Lord Sugar translates “Cos the penny dropped and you realised you’d messed up the first pitch”).

Choosing the candidates to go back to face potential firing, Jim’s prepared to take responsibility as Team Leader (“They loved me and I led them to defeat”). Oh. He chooses Glenn and “Meek little mouse” Susan to accompany Offensive Prick Jim to the final boardroom visit, where Susan finally defends herself (“I think I lack respect from the team, but I actually run a business, so I can do this stuff”). Jim smirks; “It was refreshing and interesting to hear the mouse roar, but most of the time she whispers”.

Nick can take no more, and hits Jim with direct reportage from his shadowing. “Susan said let’s slash the price! We must slash the price! She was at it all the time”. Knowing he can’t question the Hewer, Jim then argues that she didn’t help out in terms of setting percentages, but Nick’s not letting him squirm out of this one; “She pushed for greater percentages”, he insists, banging the table passionately. Go Nick!

Glenn defends his business skills by scraping the bottom of his CV (“I’ve promoted live music; I’m social secretary at an amateur football club”, Sugar “So you’re a bit of a Del Boy then”), before having a pop at Jim (You never let anyone finish a sentence!”). Everyone seems agreed that Jim’s a psycho (Nick “he’s a control freak”, Karren “he is passive aggressive”). It just makes him act more scary, holding his hands up with a deNiro grin; “I asked you to do pitches! My necks in a noose here” (Sugar: “Your neck’s in a noose, she’s in a mousetrap – it’s like a bladdy Agatha Christy play”).

It then turns into a crazy unpleasant boys gang up on Susan session, as Jim somehow mind melds with Glenn to make him act like an objectionable twunt too. “Susan is all style and no substance” projects Jim. “I am young, I’m 21” apologises Susan. “STOP USING YOUR AGE” yells Glenn, like a dick. Lord Sugar’s concerned that Susan seems to be in the boardroom with nobody agreeing with what she’s saying a fair bit (to be fair to Susan, without firearms it’s hard to win respect when a load of shitclowns shout you down all the time). Jim tries to ameliorate things (“To be fair Susan I only think you’re marginally worse than Glenn”), and even LordAlan has to laugh “You are in a different class son!”

So it’s summing up time. Lord Sugar’s not sure he wants to go into business with someone who finds it difficult to admit he’s done something wrong (like Jim), can’t grasp the USP of Glenn and thinks Susan needs to man up (“You wanna play in big person’s world you have to become a big person”), but ultimately fires Glenn, supposedly because he’s never met an engineer who can turn his hand to business, but presumably because Jim is being saved to be torn to pieces by the interview wolves. Jim’s card is quadruply marked (“What I’ve forgot about bullshit you ain’t even learnt yet”).

Susan also gets reminded that she’s only still there because of her business credentials outside of the show, but Nick’s hopeful that Susan now has “an opportunity to stamp her personality on the process”.

Glenn’s gently rueful in the Taxi of Shattered Dreams (“It’s not the ending I wanted, but he just doesn’t want to work with an engineer”).

Meanwhile back at home, Zoe gleefully fills in the other candidates about Jim’s boardroom kicking, and they speculate that he or Susan must have gone. Cue raised eyebrows and recalculations when the surviving boardroom warriors return.

Liking: Tom, Sue
Sometimes liking, sometimes disliking: Zoe, Leon
Not warmed to, but will probably win: Helen
Disliking: Melody
Wishing physical harm upon: Jim, Natasha

Byebye: Glenn, Edna, Vincent, Ellie, Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward

It’s Week 6 and the candidates don High Vis jackets and steel-toecapped power heels to meet Lord Sugar at Smugglers Way (which is the sort of name posh London types give to their tips. They probably call their sewage works “Coprophile’s Corner”). Edna’s quite excited (“There should be lots of men there”). The teams have to transform rubbish into money, collecting it and disposing responsibility of anything that has no value and flogging the rest. Jason Moore from “Any Junk” gives a pep talk, warning the teams about falling for dodgy deals in this trade (“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”), but you can see his words of wisdom flying through the candidates ears.

Helen’s moved across to Logic which also includes Natasha, Tom, Jim and Melody, leaving Venture with Zoe, Susan, Edna, Leon and Glenn.

The beauty of the dwindling number of candidates is that Nick and Karen’s shadowing of the teams becomes ever more conspicuous, with Mr Hewer’s (think “has someone eaten a decomposing rodent and farted it out”) facial expressions especially suited to this task.

As the Venture boys big up their amazing blokey past experiences working as builders mates without actually offering to be project manager, and Susan timidly offers to lead despite having no knowledge of the industry, Zoe decides to ignore everybody and cut through the timewasting voting process by electing herself as benign dictator. The boys are duly impressed (what is it about men and their secret Thatcher fantasies) and back her up, whilst Susan is sad and silent. Awww.

Helen speaks to a wide eyed Logic about the wonders of actually winning a task and is duly elected Project Manager, quickly focusing on finding metals (Tom’s suggestion of course).

Both teams get the use of a one tonne tipper truck, so it’s no surprise when they split up into pitching for contracts and collection teams that the menfolk for both Venture and Logic get to play about in the trucks. Glenn and Leon rather unproductively target cafés for Venture. Meanwhile Logic’s Tom and Jim drive round the suburbs, with Jim yelling a terrifying Paisley-esque diatribe through a public address system. Perhaps a strident NornOirish accent isn’t the most settling to hear booming into your quiet suburban home (“HOUSE NUMBER 73 WITH THE SKIP OUTSIDE. HELLLOOOO!! HELLOOOOOO!”).

The women are faring no better, with Helen vainly trying to quell Melody and Natasha’s bitchscrapping in the car on the way to a lead provided by Lord Sugar, a city basement bar in need of clearing out. In amongst the rubble, Natasha spots stainless steel sink fittings and suggests that they could be worth about £500, so Helen takes the bold move of not even looking for an extra service charge and offering to take the lot away for nothing. Melody’s horrified (“Our quote is ZERO?!”) and blames Natasha (“You said you were the expert”), who immediately starts backtracking. Helen points out that Melody didn’t jump in at the moment of the deal to say “excuse me. Stop. We’re not making any money here” and stoically suggests that “the train has left the station”. Natasha moans to camera that “Melody got a big plate of blame and said, ‘Here you are? Fancy a bite?'”. Meanwhile Karen looks ever more depressed at the limited professionalism of young ambitious businesswomen (at least the ones competing desperately for a cut of Lord Sugar’s wallet action).

Susan is puppyishly keen to get things straight and tries to clarify the rules of the task with Zoe as Venture visit the bar. Zoe has bizarrely got it in for Susan (whom she chooses to call “Suzie”, which feels strangely belittling) and goes into maximum patronise overdrive, raising her voice to megadrone as far as she can get away with as she lectures the younger woman (“Can you get it into your head. I know about as much as you. If it’s a simple question you wouldn’t be asking me it.”). It’s getting to something when Evil Edna’s the peacemaker (“Ladies! Ladies!”). Zoe plucks the figure of £150 out of the air to charge the bar owner to take away his potentially valuable junk. Er. In the car Susan pipes up “I would have done it for free” and Zoe gives her a disbelieving yet also pitying look (“I don’t know what you’re trying to do? Are you trying to like sabotage this task or what?”) until Susan’s perma-confused little mouth forms an unhappy O of shame. It’s no great surprise that the bar manager plumps for Helen’s offer, but Zoe still doesn’t seem to twig what’s going on.

Jim’s still dragging Tom around door to door to terrify more householders into searching for the contact details for Rogue Traders (“Have you got any bicycles? Any barbecues? Any girders? Any kryptonite?” etc. etc.) and end up driving around with half a bike (well “five kilos of ferrous metal”) rattling around their immense truck (Tom “that’s about 80p!”). Glenn and Leon get slightly more joy visiting trade.

The ladies from Logic now visit Lord Sugar’s second lead, a Fulham office shifting surplus furniture. Melody’s still worried about making a loss disposing of the rubbish left over from the first contract, and Helen only goes and offers to move all the desks and shit for no charge whatsoever, prompting Melody to whine “It’s not good business”. “Your comments are noted” clips Helen curtly like Herr Flick in a pencil line skirt and immutable French plait.

Venture shamble into the office next, with Edna suggesting £100. “I don’t think that’s competitive” complains Susan. “We need to go higher”. It takes a few seconds for Zoe and Edna to work out that Susan means they should offer more money to the office boss and buy their office furniture to sell on, but when they click, they all point and laugh at her. “It’s a service we’re offering” Zoe explains as slowly and rudely as possible, “I don’t know what’s in your head”. “Maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick” Susan backs down sadly, whilst Nick raises his eyebrows in the background (“If they weren’t listening to the task instructions they could end up on the scrap heap”). Having beaten Susan into submission, Zoe resumes her negotiations: “We can go down to £80 but we’re cutting our own throats”, and the bar man politely waves them away. “I feel like the biggest idiot in the world” Susan sighs in the car, until the phone call comes from Office Boss, explaining that Logic are doing the job for nothing, so he would have needed to be offered money to go with Venture. Susan’s innocent little face lights up with vindication. “So he DID want money? So I’m NOT an idiot?” The others nod glumly, heading back to the house so Zoe can have a little blub in the corner and they can all sit around in the dark looking like the cat’s died when Glenn and Leon return, cheerful from their blokey exertions. “We’ll sort it out” promises Glenn, cheering everyone up with a mixed potato metaphor (“The chips are down so we just have to smash it tomorrow”).

The teams assemble at Battersea rubbish Sorting Depot at 7.50am (lazy feckers) to sort and weigh their scrap metal and organise the real crap to go to the tip. Edna, Glenn and Susan make appointments and try to focus on finding metal whilst Zoe (“I didn’t want to put Suzie on manual tasks – she’s very weak”) and Leon follow in the truck to pick up collections. Edna fixes an appointment with a plumber in Fulham to clear out his yard. He offers them £100 cash and two small copper cylinders, but Susan argues him up to three and asks how much for the rest of the copper (£40 each for two more cylinders: HONEST! Plumber: “You’ll get more than that”) and buys that. Wow! Of course she doesn’t get to enjoy her minor victory, as Zoe’s immediately undermining her (“Without being insulting, can Edna go to help the boys clear the yard, as I don’t think you’d be strong enough”). Boo!

The bar basement clearance involves Tom delightfully trying to out Alpha Jim by lugging as much as he can up the two flights of stairs to chuck in the truck, before “innocently” asking if there’s a lift (No). The girls manage to sell the wooden flooring that survives Jim and Tom’s not so dainty touches to a stereotypical sexist Cockney reclamation yard guvnor, who only gives them £120 but gets his boys to do the loading for our fragrant little females (“I bet you’ll go ohhm now. Dahhn the ‘airdressers” he leers).

Melody meanwhile has gone off on her own limb, finding a job that actually pays for service, moving 150 bags of rubbish for a lairy eyed builder who resembles an East End Fred West. She’s after £250, but Jim starts working his Jedi mind tricks and has almost got the bloke up to £270 (“Let’s meet in the middle” (eh?)), before Melody gets all “time is money” and shouts for Jim to stop, breaking his powerful spell at £260. However, after disposing of the first load; Jim, Tom and Melody return to find the crafty builder has dumped about fifty extra binbags full of the murdered bodies of teenage runaways in amongst the agreed load. Jim’s incensed and starts squaring off aggressively to the unrepentant contractor (“I could have got the whole lot taken away for £240 so tough”), and it takes Melody to defuse the situation (how ironic eh Jim?) and pay the man. “I’ve had a result” chortles the builder. “You’ve had a result. Yeah” growls Jim bitterly.

Tom realises that dumping the useless shit from the basement bar costs £110 per truckload, and phones Helen (nearly deafening her with an uncharacteristic booming “HELLO” it must be all that Jim Testosterone he’s been breathing in) asking if they can just leave the rest of the rubbish in the bar, but to her credit she doesn’t want to let her one off client down.

Edna helps to tidy the first plumber’s yard (“I’ve been the brains and the brawn in this task”), before the cheeky cow gets righteously short shrift by trying to renege on the deal because boo hoo they underestimated the quantities (“It cost us more to clear the yard, it must have been more than half a tonne more than we thought. Could you pay us some more?”; “Absolutely no chance”). Meanwhile Susan and Glenn visit another plumber, with Glenn now inspired to offer £100 to shift another great big copper pipe (“This will make us £280, I think it’s alright”). Nick’s almost impressed by how well Venture are working together now (“Shame they didn’t start earlier”).

Helen flogs off random metal to a metal expert who pokes and prods each item suspiciously (“That’s not stainless steel.”, Helen “Oh it’s magnetic, then it’s more expensive”, “No it’s iron. I’ll have to deduct money for that”), before offering just under £400, which Melody manages to ambitiously “round up” to £410 in exchange for helping him load it. Zoe then makes £915 for the copper that Susan and Glenn have gathered.

Somehow Jim and Tom manage to flog off the office furniture for £300 and everyone’s dumped their rubbish by the 7.30pm deadline. There’s little rejoicing though, as Tom’s fretting about having lost 5 tasks in a row, and it’s dawned on Susan that Zoe’s been a complete beeyatch to her for two days (“I never ever want to work with her again” – fingers crossed Susan).

Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar clocks some of the smacked arse faced before him and doesn’t even bother asking what the teams thought of their Project Managers. Helen admits that not charging was a high risk strategy, but takes responsibility for it. Karen grasses up Melody’s lack of faith in this strategy (Melody “Labour costs – we should have charged and gone for the profit too”). Melody tries to justify her naysaying by bigging up her “lucrative visit” to the East End Fred West stuffed binbag emporium (Tom sniggers at this point), but once the facts are out, Lord Sugar dismisses her deal (“Don’t sound too good for me”).

Zoe gets stick for steamrollering the “picking the Project Manager” process, but she conveniently forgets Susan’s offer and excuses herself stating that “Everyone else was faffing”. Nick helps her out by picking up the boys on not offering to lead after bragging about their experience. Zoe also takes responsibility for screwing up by totally misunderstanding the task on the first day (“er sorry”). Edna, however is keen to play up her achievements in the task, even the one’s that weren’t hers.

Anyway, here’s the scores on the doors (and floors and copper pipes):

Venture made £1045 and spent £339 on charges – leaving £706

Logic made £1090 and spent £378 – giving them a figure of £712 – winning them the task (still predictably given the edit) by £6 and making Tom do a little squee of relieved joy. So Logic get sent for a posh hot bath (A “natural thermal spa pamper” – I don’t like “pamper treats” it sounds like something that adult babies pay for).

In Sad Café, Leon has worked out why they lost (“We just didn’t have £6 worth of copper”), but Zoe knows her “neck’s on the line” (“No guts, no glory”). Glenn knows he’s safe as “Again, I’ll say it again. On every task I give 110%”. Oh please, don’t just fire him now, shoot the innumerate twat.

Anyhow back in the boardroom, and whilst Lord Sugar appreciates Zoe taking responsibility, he warns that sometimes she shouldn’t put herself forward if she can’t back it up. Cross-examined on her “strategy” Zoe, having read her bumper book of business for beginners, claims she aimed for metal from the start and focused on family firms, “as you can get to the top more quickly with them”). I’m not the only person doing a double take as both Edna and Susan claim it’s the first they’ve heard of it, but Zoe reckons she told Glenn. Well, only telling the boys makes it OK then. There’s a huge scrabble for credit on making the copper deals, with both Glenn and Edna claiming they negotiated it, whilst Susan sits there gasping like a very pretty and startled goldfish. Eventually Glenn states that Edna often jumped onto the back of other peoples ideas, which Zoe immediately goes with (Edna: “That’s unfair”), but sadly, siding with the boy means that Zoe has no comeback to Glenn’s assertion that in fact it was Susan who closed both the important deals. Of course the snotty dullard still brings back Susan and Edna. “Can I ask a question” Susan trills earnestly, but Lord Sugar makes her wait until they return to the boardroom (by which time, hearteningly, Nick has argued Susan’s corner and pointed out that Zoe just didn’t get this task). Finally, Susan gets to ask Zoe “Why did you bring me in here” and Zoe blusters nastily “If you can run an business without certain people, they don’t need to be there”, before accusing Susan of being “unprofessional”. Nice attitude love.

At last Susan comes out scrapping (“If you’d have gone with me, we’d have got those contracts”), but makes the mistake of accidentally suggesting that she also secured the appointments (which Edna’s claimed) allowing Zoe to mardily bitch and petch over everything she says. Sugar even comes to Susan’s aid, forcing Zoe to admit that they would have got the deal with the office boss had they just offered him £50, rather than trying to charge him £80. Zoe realises the tide’s turning against her when Susan moans “Zoe made me feel like an absolute idiot and talked down to me” and everyone else starts nodding sagely, so she tries to put a vast spin on events (“I actually said, have I got this wrong”. Oh you little liar!).

Edna lays in, declaring that Zoe had fallen apart on Day2 and didn’t make any decisions. “I hadn’t fallen apart. I was really upset with myself” whinges Zoe, before Susan puts her delicate boot in (“You were not good for team morale. You sat in the corner crying”). Zoe’s on the ropes, trying desperately to report that she was “motivational” and got everyone going again. Fortunately for her, Lord Sugar’s got a bee in his bonnet about Edna’s illustrious CV, which waffles at length about her “proven ability to translate highly original ideas into workable solutions”. Rather than vomit, he asks how those skills manifested themselves on the task. “I was complimented on my ideas” states Edna smugly. “Who by?” wheedles Sugar. Edna’s clearly not used to this line of questioning; “The whole team” she gambles. Cue murmurings of “Well I didn’t” from Zoe and Susan. Edna’s unswayed though and blithely bullshits her way through a round of business buzzword bingo, as though she’s never watched this show before. “I train Chief Executives how to do their jobs” she boasts proudly, pulling down the coffin lid. Lord Sugar sighs “Some of these companies have money to burn”. “Do you need training?” quips Nick. Edna’s still undeterred and starts hammering the nails in. “I’ve got an MBA in.. “(something that sounds like “Entrepreneurial and Diversification” – sorry my brain started making bird noises over this) “that makes me very versatile”. Yes dear. Getting a specialist education makes you a fucking Jack of all Trades.

Susan’s next under the microscope, but Nick kindly suggests that she often speaks “great sense” but shouldn’t “cave in to weightier voices”. “Zoe made me feel small by shouting at me. I know I’m only young” bleats Susan adorably. I bet she’s tough as nails really, but has worked out how to make the little girl act work to her advantage. It certainly works with Lord Sugar, who champions the “young”, whilst warning half heartedly that he’s “also seen 17 year olds talk a load of crap” (You don’t say!), and Susan’s let off the hook with a mild rebuke (I’ve seen a few things you’re quite good at but a lot of things I’m not happy with at all”).

He sums up Zoe’s performance next (“You lost it.. and there’s a limit to how long I can put up with someone just telling me ‘I got it wrong'”), but it’s no surprise that Edna is the one to go. Well apart from to Edna, who’s still banging on about how qualified she is in the taxi of fail. “I have three degrees. One BSc and two Masters” she wails. So have I (not that I like to go on about it – and if I had tried to validate my existence with an MBA I’d seriously be looking at a one way euthanastic fantastic holiday to Switzerland) and look where it’s got me. I don’t even get a makeover to meet Dara for fecks sake, it’s not the be all and end all. All in all, despite Zoe’s dreadful behaviour, I’m glad the glory hunting corporate jargon whore went – there’s too many of these wankers parasitically attaching themselves to any situation where other people’s graft can enhance their CVs and making anyone with an ounce of sanity froth bile in the process, so well played Lord Sugar. Zoe’s judgement can wait.

There’s another frosty car journey, as Susan pulls Zoe up for talking down to her, which Zoe deals with by er talking down to her again (“I only raised my voice cos you continued asking on and on and on like a schoolkid”). If I was Susan I’d have started asking “Are we nearly home yet” repeatedly. Got to feel for her, being dissed by the denizens of the boardroom for failing to stand up for her ideas in the face of such a carpet blanking. “You would not have spoken to anyone else that way” suggests Susan, perhaps teetering on the edge of suggesting a racial motive for Zoe’s attitude. I hope Zoe’s racist. She’s so boring and unimaginative that surely she’d be a great advert for embracing multiculturalism. Sadly back at the house everyone seems pleased by the return of Zoe. Either it’s a nest of cunts, or they’ve all sussed that she’s toast the next time she even coughs in the wrong way. Or more likely a little bit of both.

Liking: Tom, Susan, Leon
Probably a Finalist, but meh: Helen
Nothing to me: Glenn,
Disliking: Jim, Natasha, Me-Me-Melody
Her tears sustain me: Zoe

Byebye: Evil Edna, Vincent (who?), Ellie, Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward

Week 5 brings the traditionally hilarious advertising task, with Glenn excitedly taking the 6am phone summons to a creative agency in Fitzrovia (“Guys.. We’re going to Fitzrovia! In LONDON!”).

As the candidates assemble, Ellie’s determined to up her game after a poor performance last week. Glenn’s falling into the time honoured Apprentice trap of considering himself a “creative” type when he hasn’t even shaved patterns or a swastika into his head (“This is my cup of tea. I’m a designer. I create on a day to day basis”). Vincent meanwhile is feeling kind of suave. As always. “I’m going to win today” he purrs. “You know what they say, fifth time lucky” slams Natasha back, desuaving Vincent in an instant.

Lord Sugar sets the teams the task of coming up with an innovative and unique pet food brand and make a TV ad for it; then pitch to in 2 days time to ad agency and pet food industry experts. He stalks off leaving Nick to appoint Project Managers this week. Vincent is put in charge of Logic (Jim, Natasha, Melody, Ellie, Tom), whereas Glenn gets to lead Venture (Susan, Edna, Leon, Helen).

Each team picks a section of the petfood market to pitch to. Logic plump for dogs apparently just because Ellie has a dog and therefore will have lots of top quality blue sky ideas. “How about called a product Gnashers, and it’s to do with dental hygiene?” she chips in. Everyone suddenly notices a crack on the ceiling until she shuts up. Natasha suggests “Healthy treats”, but Vincent is adamant that “treats are occasional”, and comes up with his masterplan, “Pals” (“The dogs eat it and become pals”). There’s an embarrassed silence, before Ellie points out it’s already a pet food and, after consulting his hidden bat computer, Tom adds “It’s the second biggest brand in the world”. Vince flicks his hair, unconcerned; “Oh really. But it’s not the first, is it?” The only person Vincent seems prepared to listen to is Jim, who has installed himself as the Blackadder to Vincent’s stupid Prince George in this task (which isn’t lost on Sugar’s henchman Nick), so for a while we’re in danger of seeing Jedi Jim’s suggestion of “Fur Play” (allegedly for healthy coats, but it sound like a bestiality version of “The Joy of Sex”) becoming a horrifying reality.

On the Venture brainstorming session, cats are the target market and Glenn’s rebranding himself as a caring, sharing creative (“Don’t be concerned about putting ideas out!”), before rolling his eyes and sighing loudly over all the suggestions (I quite like “Cat in a ferrari?”, but Edna’s “Cat with curlers in it’s fur” proves she is truly evil). Zoe becomes obsessed with a dystopian “Planet of the Cats” type scenario, where the cats are in charge, before unconsciously jumping to the conclusion that life as a master species isn’t all it’s knocked up to be (“The cat could have a mortgage, and get married”) – there’s a reason why cats don’t let on just how powerful they are. “So we’re moving away from cats slimming?” asks Helen, as confused as we all are. To camera, Glenn’s confident he can harness these ideas and make something brilliant. “I’m a catalyst” he states (and sadly it is no pun intended or realised).

Vincent doesn’t want to limit his product to just one type of dog, instead visualising an equal opportunities dogfood world. “Every day, every dog” quips Jim, and Vincent’s louche little eyes light up (“Every Dog! I like it!”). They head to their focus group of dog walkers and vets and test out the “Every Dog” idea, to universal disapprobal. “You can’t fit all the things that different dogs need into one tin” explains the vet. Rather than simply ask what the most popular types of dogs are and what would suit them, Vincent decides to simply forget that this conversation ever occured and phones Melody, Tom and Natasha to inform them of the “Every Dog” brand. Melody’s unimpressed and Tom’s internal scan spots a problem (“There’s no niche you’re aiming at”). “I’m going to take a decision on it” deadpans Vincent, “It’s brilliant! We’re going with it”. The team members that aren’t Jim pull faces.

Leon, Zoe and Helen think about branding for Venure, with Leon coming up with “Lucky Fish: the catch of the day” (“You know what guys, shall I just become the apprentice?”). Bizarrely the focus group of lunatic cat lovers all love it (Helen “the cat could be looking at a goldfish in a bowl and then the food lures it away”, Cat Lover: “Ooh we like that, don’t we Tiddles?”).

Elsewhere for Venture, Glenn’s “mind’s going off on the old creative front”, as he comes up with “Catsize”, a nutritional, slimming catfood, with the tag line “See their light” – geddit? Glenn explains: “Your cats lost a loud of weight. Look at her! See, they’re light!”. Groan! Unfortunately Venture’s market research team phone back with the good news about “Lucky Fish” (which I kind of like, it sounds like a dodgy translation), and the wind is nearly knocked out of Glenn’s artistic sails. Rather than have the tantrum he clearly fancies at this vital point, he merely denigrates their idea and asks how they feel about “Catsize”. They don’t like it, so the Project Manager is forced to make a considered decision. He, rather too quickly, chooses Catsize. “Why did we bother going to a focus group?” drones Zoe, ironically sounding like Henry’s Cat on Mogadon.

Whilst Melody, Tom and Ellie get their hands food in the dog food manufacturing lab, Vincent mans the casting couch for man’s best every friend (Vincent: “That’s a beautiful retriver”, Dog owner: “It’s a golden retriever”, Vincent “Pug?”, Pug owner: “Correct”, Vincent (smugly) “‘rayyy!”), with Jim umbilically attached and making ruthless demands of the potential animal stars (“I want that pug to jump”). Scramble, an adorable parson russell terrier steals everyone’s hearts and Vincent is keen to know the cute mutt’s celebrity pedigree (Owner: “He’s done a few adverts, Midsomer Murders” (he’s not black), “all the usual”). “Can I see him on all fours?” asks Vincent. “????” responds the nonplussed owner, forcing Vincent to clarify (“Standing up ,I mean”).

The by now mutinous roving Venture team of Leon, Melody and Helen conduct their cat casting call, dissing a poor furless sphinx cat for not being “mainstream enough” (Leon: “It looks like a chicken.”). Glenn calls them with his “See their light” tag line, and understandably they begin to laugh the hysterical chortle of the damned. “What you laughin at?” gripes Glenn. “It’s CAT SIZE – d’you get it?”. He hands up in a sulk (“They need to be put in their place”) and Leon splutters “That’s made it 100% worse”.
Fed up at people mocking the Project Manager, Glenn phones them back to administer a telling off (“This is business. You should be professional!”), but unfortunately for him he gets to speak to Zoe, a woman with a phone voice that sounds about as fazed as [insert your own favourite inanimate object here. I was going to plump for grass]. “It goes both ways Glenn. You earn respect,” she informs him glassily (or grassily), and waffles over his desperate cries of “Zoe! Zoe!” before cutting him off. Masterful stuff Glenn.

That evening both teams get their product samples. Catsize actually looks quite professional, like little pink sachets of some sort of sex cream. Every Dog looks like, erm, green tins. Both teams have to pick someone to deliver the pitch later, and Vincent selects Melody, with a little help from his right hand man Jim (“You’ll have no problem conveying it”).

Whilst Susan looks on sullenly (I think it was her role in this task), Glenn rather unsurely selects Leon to make the pitch, but Leon’s not comfortable with that. “I’m not sure I can do that for 20 minutes” he confesses. “You need to” Glenn confirms, all stupid decisiveness. Glenn gives Leon five hours to write a killer pitch, so that he has the excuse to take over all artistic control on the Catsize commercial shoot (where Ruby the cat prowls past stacks of cans like a seasoned pro). “I wonder if that’s a strategic move?” angsts a worried Leon. Susan and Edna of course insist that it’s just because Glenn has faith in Leon, but the lanky, lego-haired posho is unconvinced. Glenn and Helen then go to record the voiceover with a callow young male actor (“Can you give the cat a female voice?” “Female? Three long years of drama school for this!”). Helen hates the “See their light” tagline and asks if they can just whisper that bit, but Glenn’s all “No. We’re sticking with it”.

Logic have more of a structure, with Vincent and his Celtic Yes Man laying down the soundtrack for Every Dog, whilst Natasha directs the commercial by showing the dogs just how to run across a garden and ordering Ellie around as though she’s an 18 year old BBC intern with a Northern accent. To be fair she gets the best out of her two canine stars, with Scramble doing his impossibly sweet jumping up and down by the kitchen worksurface routine and the nameless golden retriever greedily wolfing down Every Dog like there’s no tomorrow, as in a retriever’s eyes all dog food is simply “Every Dog Food”. Ellie attempts to contribute a salient point about continuity, but Natasha’s gone into full on shrill media twat mode (“Ellie, yah? I’m taking your comments on board, yah? But I’m just trying to make sure my vision is kept clear, Yah?”) nice that even though both the adverts stars are male, there’s a proper bitch on board. Viewing the advert, JIm declares himself “100% happy with what we’ve achieved”.

It’s pitch time, or by the look of his face, in Leon’s case brown trousers time. To the assembled audience, including representatives from Mars Petcare, Melody confidently but blandly plays buzzword bingo (“A Clear Concept… A Bold Decision.. A product that can be Developed”), but when she rolls the ads it’s clear that everyone is far more impressed by a small bouncy dog. Baldy ad-man asks if it’s a mistake telling most mental pet owners that their dog isn’t unique (which gives me the idea of Every Baby food), but Jim flannels him by countering that their “One size fits all” approach makes it “Easier for people to make an informed decision” (Very Soviet bloc).

Leon conducts his pitch with all the flair of a public schoolboy being asked to point to pictures of genitalia in a sex education class. It’s simultaneously wooden, uninspired and giggly. “It’s about your cat er maybe losing a bit of weight or staying on the right side of healthy.. er the brain aids the er brain er sorry about that..etc” he rambles before rolling the advert to the sound of tumbleweed. “Do you think it’s clear?” interrogates baldy ad man, and Glenn jumps in explaining it’s all crystal clear because “See their light” is a pun and “Catsize” is a play on words. Oh dear. “No-one’s asked how I did?” jokes Leon, as Venture gather for a gloomy postmortem.

Lord Sugar gets his advertising supergrass’s ambiguous opinions (“patronising”, “imagery could have been used better”, “both made the same mistakes of playing into the usual conventions”), before calling the candidates back into the boardroom.

Logic are first under the Lordly bearded walnut’s scrutiny. “We wanted to create something new so went for ‘Everybrand'” Vincent states, wincing slightly when LordSugar, unable to resist giving poor old Vincent a verbal spanking, retorts “I suppose, given your track record, Winalot wasn’t on the agenda”. When it comes to Logic’s advert, even LordSugar loves the small bouncy dog. “Did you starve the other dog?” he chuckles, before asing whose idea “Every Dog” was. Vincent tries to take the credit at first, but it’s eked out slowly that it’s down to Jim (who’s quietly hedging his bets).

Glenn has to explain Venture’s branding next (“More than half the cats in this country are overweight” – really?), but LordSugar doesn’t get”See their light” and finds the advert visually boring. However as he thinks the concept of “slimline catfood” was well thought through and the packaging was seen by the pros as slick enough to go on shelves he declares Venture the winner over Logic’s bouncy dog and terrible brandname, and Glenn’s team get to play tennis with Pat Cash whilst pretending to know who he is.

Tom has a resigned “I knew this would happen” look on his face (he’s this season’s Cassandra) as Logic shuffle off to the Cafe of Recriminations. “We committed marketing suicide” sighs Tom. Vincent’s adamant that the only issue was the name “Every Dog” (yeah, if you’d only called it “Dog” you’d be home and dry). Natasha reveals her Maciavellian streak by suggesting to camera that Jim could go based on the task and “If Vincent puts friendship with Jim first then he’ll be in the firing line”.

Back in the Boardroom (LordAlan “Logic should be rebranded tragic”) and Vincent points out his team backed him earlier, but Sugar gently explains that they often change their mind once they know they’ve lost. The vet’s words of wisdom at the focus group are key, and also complete news to Tom, Ellie and Melody, who’d all been told by Vincent and Jim that the focus group loved Every Dog. “We were trying to be really clever” huffs Vincent. “You could’ve called it ‘Any Old Dog'” snaps Karen.

It’s acknowledged that Tom expressed concern about Vincent’s marketing direction, although the jury’s still out with LordAlan as to how hard Tom tried to convince people.

Natasha’s asked about the advert and starts massively backpedalling (“I realised there was a problem with ‘Every Dog’ and tried to direct away from that and  concentrated on the USP of “Hearts and Joints”). Not to be outdone in the arsesaving bullshit stakes, Jim explains “I came up with the name but not in association with the way we branded it”. This doesn’t get Jim off the crap name hook, and he tries to come out streetfighting (Jim “Do you want me to sit mute and not contribute?”, LordAlan “If you open your mouth, you should stick by what you said.” Slam!). “I’m not taking responsibility for the overall marketing strategy of Every Dog” insists Jim bullishly, “it was endorsed by the project manager and team. If I give a dog a bone, they don’t have to eat it”. Sugar’s suddenly hating Jim (“I like people to focus on the task, not their arse”), and no amount of mind tricks are working. Vincent’s criticised for keeping onside with Jim because he fears him as a more powerful contender. “I don’t think he’s better than me” whines Vincent, before bringing Ellie and Natasha back into the boardroom. Before he leaves, Jim tries one more mind game, requesting that Lord Sugar make him Project Manager in the next task, but Lord Sugar’s not impressed; “I have your card marked son… you’ll be project manager when it’s time”.

Whilst the three in the line of fire wait outside, LordAlan and Nick discuss Jim (Sugar: “He has control over people”, Nick “I think Vincent’s scared of him”) before dragging the trio back in.

Vincent’s like a Weakest Link contestant scrabbling round for excuses for bringing Ellie and Natasha back in (“Ellie’s got no creativity.. Natasha er did the ad well but didn’t ask many questions”), but mainly this is all about the Irish Head Warlock that got away with it this week. “He don’t give a damn about you, I’ve seen that type before” advises LordAlan like an ageing agony aunt, before admiring Jim for seeing things as “dog eat dog” (hoho!). Natasha pipes up “Tom’s voice wasnt heard. You were so far up Jim’s behind, you couldn’t see the wood for the trees”. “I wasn’t up Jims arse” Vincent bristles, “but at least he contributes”. Natasha’s got Vincent’s oily cage rattled though. “I’m not gonna argue with you c c cos you gotta stay calm” he stutters, like a nerd American Psycho.

Lord Sugar does his summing up, and finds it hard to disagree with Natasha and Ellie when it comes to Vince, but still turns on Ellie for not being forceful enough and fires her (“I don’t think I could go into business with you”). Blimey, harsh!

Vincent is just starting to look smug when LordAlan, almost as an afterthought turns and fires him too, making the spray-tanned Mickey Pierce’s face freeze like a bunny in a Smeg. “He bought in all the wrong people for the wrong reasons” adds LordSugar as Vincent scuttles out of the room.

Ellie’s nicely philosophical in her losers cab (“I don’t wanna be something I’m not, so maybe I’m not the right person”), whereas Vincent is still deluded that he and Lord Sugar potentially had something beautiful going on (“I thought we were in our infancy in terms of what I’m capable of. Maybe I should have bought  Jim in”. – well durr!).

Back at the house Jim looks almost pale as he justifies himself to the rest of the house, but they’re all shocked when only Natasha returns home. It’s her turn to mess with minds as she “reveals” that “LordSugar said Vincent sacricficed himself to Jim”. Jim’s shaken, but as always fights back (“You were no better than me in that task”), but unless he proves to be a Sith Lord, I think his chances have taken a knock.

So there we go. Two firings and a card-marking. Quality stuff. Next week the teams shovel shit (or handle rubbish). And I’ll be there right after them.

Liking: Tom, Sullen Susan, Leon
In the balance: Zzzzzzzoe
Nothing to me: Helen, Glenn,
Disliking: Jim, Natasha, Me-Me-Melody, Evil Edna

Byebye: Bye bye: Vincent (I’m kind of going to miss him), Ellie, Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward