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

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