A beautiful 6am orange filtered sunrise heralds the candidates travelling to the Waterloo underpass to watch Lord Sugar on a plasma screen telling them he’s too busy to be there right now, but their surroundings hold a clue to the task. They look at each other confused, but no it’s not selling tramps piss, Lord Sugar is referring to the vibrant graffiti adorning the cold concrete surrounding them. This week’s task is buying and selling urban art at “cutting edge galleries” in Brick Lane. The team with the most commission wins.

Sterling (Nick, Steve, Ricky, Jenna, Gabby) wisely head to Cubana bar where Steve (who’s already willy waving about having been on the winning team a couple of times). Gabby trumps his footballers knowledge by declaring she’s worked with artists and helped run exhibitions, and she’s unanimously selected as team leader (I love how Steve says “OK that’s three votes versus one, when he actually voted for himself and Gabby clearly didn’t think of that). Steve does sulky faces.

Over on Pheonix, Adam can’t be doing with the nightmare of losing again. Tom modestly mentions that he knows a little bit about street art and there’s a resounding show of hands in his favour (I don’t even think the vote had started). Adam looks on with his aghast ruddy caveman face as Tom talks about how to read graffiti that doesn’t have spunking willies on it, but instead has a “message” and some “history”. Everyone else smiles and nods.

Jade takes Adam off on their roving art inspection mission, talking about the mystery of Banksy “Nobody knows who he is?”, “He’s like the Stig int he?” gasps Adam, finally impressed. They meet “Anti establishment artist SPQR and stare at his Banksy-esque tanks and sticking it to the man art. Adam’s determined to interact with the artists and offer his own interpretation on their work (unfortunately without listening to what their interpretation is). “It gets your mind going, dunnit” he whimsies, like Brian Sewell after years of steroids and black puddings.

Gabby cleverly briefs Sterling to listen enthusiastically and patiently (in other words to suck up, no matter what the bullshitometer is saying) although Ricky (off on a roving subteam jolly to Bristol with flopsyNick) manages to find a way to undermine his Project Manager.

Meanwhile Tom is meeting with Pheonix’s Corporate Client (Renault) who they must buy some art to suit. Tom establishes that Renault want something typically French for their UK Office (they just haven’t got over Waterloo Station have they?) , and wisely he establishes that their budget is about £5000.

Gabby, Jenna and Steve head to the Beefeater Gin distillery where their corporate client talk about establishing a heritage London brand and their art choice reflecting that whilst Gabby looks all enthusiastic, Steve boggles his eyes as though something is happening behind them and Jenna.. well maybe Jenna’s doing the numbers again as they fail to ask what the Beefeater budget is or even how big the Beefeater wall might be. Karren Brady is enormously unimpressed. Next they head to ex-builder Nathan Bowen who has devised squiggly urban characters (apparently based on the Queen’s Royal Guards – which Steve immediately connects to Beefeaters). Gabby decides that Nathan is ideal to pitch to Beefeater.

Meanwhile on da streets of Bristol, the Sterling subteam of Ricky and flopsyNick, unwittingly witness some of Nathan Bowen’s artwork on a big scale. They’re unimpressed. “That’s just some crazy alien workman peeing on another alien” scoffs Ricky. What a philistine. It was clearly a stormtrooper. Next they trip off to “CopyRight” a kind of urban version of that bloke who painted the Chinese lady and the crying boy. They ask all the right questions, but somewhat robotically. Outside flopsyNick says he liked all the different textures (shame he couldn’t have told the artist).

Next up is PURE EVIL. Firstly Laura and Tom visit the man who likes to paint cartoons of women with black bleeding eyes and guns. Tom launches into a lecture on how he knows so much about street art, but fails to engage with PURE EVIL, yet leaves thinking it’s his first choice.

Oh dear. Next Sterling approach Pure Evil and whilst Gabby gushes madly, Steve gabbles “Nothing’s what it seems” (there’s any number of reason women might have black stuff running from their eye: mascara, pen related accident. haemorrhage.

Jade and Adam are next to visit “Copyright”, who they love (Jade: “Really good innit?”). Adam feels he has connected with quite a few artists with his “interpretations” of their work, and throws his critical eye over the more user friendly stencilled and painted ladies of “CopyRight”. “You could look at it for hours and come up with several different interpretations”, he manages masterfully, adding “It’s .. very good.”.

All teams quake in the shadow of James Jessop‘s “The Big Green Monster” (really called “Demonology” but that’s less fun) an enormous (and wonderful) 50s B movie inspired piece. Sterling discover that James deals in serious money as he discloses that he recently sold 2 pieces for £15K. As soon as the money starts taking, Steve gets enthusiastic “He represents everything about arts … I mean Van Gogh chopped off his ear, but this guy…..”

James then tells Pheonix how proud he is, of his latest work “The Horror” (Like a B movie poster – with “The Horror” as a dripping creepy title and only priced at about 1000 times more than I would pay for it. Laura in particular can’t seem to get the amounts of money involved, which makes her even more slack jawed and robotic.

It’s time for the teams to choose their 2 artists, and Gabby’s adamant on having Pure Evil, although Steve insists on Nathan just to prove he’s a key decision maker.

Meanwhile on Pheonix Jade likes CopyRight and Tom thinks Pure Evil is a must. artist decides. Of course this means it’s down to Pure Evil to decide and he predictably plumps with Gabby’s flaky creative charm, gutting Tom who doesn’t have a plan B for Pheonix. Tom calls Adam and Jade who goes for SPQR on her gut instinct, but wimps out on endorsing him as Adam thinks he was “controversial” and used anti establishment “subliminal messages” (No Adam, that’s IDEAS. Do you see?). Therefore “having lost pure evil” (I love that phrase) Tom gambles on James Jessop’s monstrously expensive art.

Meanwhile Pure Evil lets Gabby know and she skips around trilling “Thank you pure evil!” like a remedial witch.

The teams have to set up there galleries in Brick Lane, spiritual home of the pseud, and have to open from 5pm til 10pm. There’s lots of lovely shots of Nick Hewer creeping around making sniffy faces at the paintings. Ricky’s unimpressed with Sterling’s choice of Nathan Bowen (“This is not the message we want to give to a corporate client”).

In the Pheonix gallery Adam’s gob is well and truly smacked by the size of The Big Green Monster (price-tag £10K) and thinks the collosal art work is a collosal risk.

 

Here’s some art:

Grrr puny human I will lazer beam your eyes out!

 

Ouch!!! I can’t see!!! Hang on, what was that? It sounded like a gunshot…

Gabby press gangs Nathan into drawing live during the exhibition, which is a nifty idea but Steve phones thinking he can go one better (and hide Nathan away) by getting Nathan to do his live art round the back so nobody actually sees him. Everyone agrees that this isn’t “live art”, but Steve doesn’t take it as a put-down and speaks (not entirely) for everybody: “Thank you for loving the idea, but not enough to take on board”. He really is getting more massively punchable every week.

The doors open, with Adam manning them like a bloody bouncer for Pheonix. Tom’s main priority is to sell the Big Green Monster, and he’s reasonably upbeat, although it’s the more accessible and manageable CopyRight art which is flying off the wall (Jenna sells a couple – using her voice!). Even Adam manages to sell it, looming over someone twirling a till roll on his finger and wittering on about the artist capturing “My innocence, my naivety”, although the customer buying the painting just wants something to hide a stain on the wall of her bog or something. Adam, who appears to be getting pissed on the complimentary white wine, confesses to camera that when he was asked “Which medium did the artist use” he thought they were talking about Derek Acorah, but he’s still cleaning up, selling to the flock of customers running away from Laura with her grating, insincere “soft sell” tactics (“Are you enjoying it? Good stuff… errr”).

Over in Sterling’s gallery, Steve’s not doing so well and wanders round forlornly being rejected by potential customers (“Is there anything you like in particular?” “No”). Nathan’s work isn’t selling despite the live art and it “only” costing £500 a pop, whereas Pure Evil’s going down a storm with starting prices at £1200 (there’s a lesson for us all there). I like Pure Evil’s most expensive piece “JFK’s Nightmare” – a Warhol-esque lithograph of Jackie Onassis with bleeding eyes. Art is all in the name. I’d have messed up and called that one “Should have gone to Specsavers”.

Tom’s showing his desperation to clinch a 2 painting deal with a beardy smartarse, knocking off a couple of hundred quid and throwing in more drinks (aren’t they free?), but gets the handshake. Another couple have discovered a novel way of getting their glass attentively replenished is to toy with Tom’s emotions by standing thoughtfully in front of The Big Green Monster. Team Renault walk in and Tom’s able to show them round, leading them wisely towards the more budget appropriate Copy Right.

Beefeater Gin turn up unheralded at Sterling gallery, and don’t even get offered a drink at the door. Eventually Steve spies them and goes for some sales patter, and they’re not amused. He eventually offers them a drink. “Well we were hoping for a G&T” cracks Beefeater man (not entirely joking). Steve takes it as a joke: “I wish” he splutters pathetically. Tumbleweed rolls by. “Nobody’s explained to us what’s happened so far.” snaps Beefeater woman. “Have you selected Nathan for us?” Steve witters on about Nathan’s work representing London, before leaving them to show themselves out, utterly pissed off. Sterling don’t even say goodbye, and they don’t get to talk to Gabby. “I just witnessed a master-class in how not to treat a corporate client” gasps Karen Brady.

In the boardroom, Sugar loosens everyone up with a wisecrack about graffiti (“The irony is that it’s the writing on the wall for one of you”). How does he do it?

Pheonix all back Tom, and Market Greengrocer Adam is commended for working outside of his comfort zone (Sugar “More the Turnip prize than the Turner prize” – arggh somebody stop him doing it!) and Sugar admits the whole task is about throwing candidates into something they don’t know and seeing how they operate. Which doesn’t bode well for Tom who proved a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing by failing to suck up to Pure Evil (Sugar “Maybe you were too interested in trying to put yourself forward as an expert”). It’s established that Tom rolled the dice and lost with the Jessops.

Poor Gabby, most of Sterling refuses to enthusiastically endorse her aside from Nick and a reluctant Jenna. Steve and Ricky truly are arsehats par excellence. Karen appreciates Gabby’s strategy for getting artists on board (“You fawned, you flatted, you listened”). However Sterling get a slapping for failing to ask intelligent questions about budget of Beefeater gin (Gabby: “I will explain why – they are willing to pay any price”. Lord Sugar and everyone in the world who isn’t a space cadet “You need to ask what kind of ball park!” – it was about £10K apparently). Ricky twists the knife by reiterating “The question wasn’t asked by the London team unfortunately”.

So it’s time for results from the corporates.

Unsurprisingly Beefeater didn’t order anything.

However Renault bought a £5K painting, giving £2K commission.

In general gallery sales Pheonix sold £5980 worth, making a total commission of £4442

Sterling sold £11,630 worth (£10K of which was Pure Evil, ohoh), meaning a total commission of £4579.

So Sterling win by £137. Blimey that’s tight.

Gabby’s team get their treat – painting on a giant canvas. Oh come on Lord Sugar, how cheap can you get? Are you going to give the winning team play-doh next week.

Poor Tom strokes his chin thoughtfully in Losers café. “It was my fault both times” he murmurs. Adam is incandescently gutted and blames Tom “as he bought a canvas big enough to make a boxing ring out of” (but what a cool boxing ring!).

Back in the boardroom, Tom manfully takes responsibility for the way he approached artists and for putting all his eggs in one basket with no contingency plan. Let’s face it, if Big Green Monster had sold, he’d be hailed a genius right now (and enjoying a crap reward). Even Sugar admits that there’s nothing wrong with taking a gamble. Tom implicates Jade, saying he relied on her opinion for his decision, and she didn’t give one. Jade goes all shouty and raspy (she’s starting to sound like Jenny Éclair) retorting that Tom should have realised the Jessop paintings were too big “THEY WERE 12 FOOT TALL!!!”, which Sugar confirms would have limited the market.

Laura’s looking pretty vulnerable on sales, having only flogged £750 worth (Adam managed £2480). “I cannot question my sales ability” she squeals modestly. Maybe she should start – after all it’s easy to sell wedding dresses in a wedding dress shop to people who are desperate to buy wedding dresses. She complains that Adam was blagging, but it doesn’t matter, I think Sugar’s made his decision at this point. “You couldn’t get any more out of your comfort zone than him” he indicates the gurning Yorkshireman, “He’s a fruit and veg man”. Lets hope this means Adam stays to get torn apart so much in the interviews that his crimson face finally explodes.

Tom (who appears to be wearing some fetching yellow eye-shadow) doesn’t mess about and brings Jade and Laura back in, sussing that Adam is currently Sugar’s barrer boy pet.

Laura’s application says sales are her best skill, and she witters on incomprehensibly, concluding that she “didn’t work smart last night” (please fire her just for saying “Work smart). Tom thinks Laura took a back seat.

Jade reinvents history, claiming “I really pushed for what I thought”, but nobody’s convinced, and Tom, who’s taking the brunt of the criticism from Lord Sugar and the two shouty women points out “At least I make decisions”.

“So you’re saying it’s your way and no other decision” queries Lord Sugar (and what’s wrong with that when you’re surrounded by numpties?).

Yet again Laura comes under fire for her crap selling and yet again she screeches “That is completely unfair” (hasn’t this happened whenever she’s in the boardroom). “I’ve got the talent, ambition and determination to go through this process” boasts Laura, boring Lord Sugar too, so he fires her, sending her off to make bitchy Scottish threats in the taxi of doom.

Meanwhile Jade’s card is marked over her decisiveness, but Sugar sees Tom in a new and positive light over his ability to take risks and stick by his decisions.

Next week the teams have to help rebrand sparkling British wine – and yes there’s more video making. Excellent.

Liking: Tom, flopsyNick (surely it’s a two horse race now)

Not on the same planet as: Gabby

Disappointed by: Jade, how crap the women have been this year.

Disliking: Ricky, Adam

This week I am mainly loathing: Steve

Bye bye: Laura, Azhar, Katie, Duane, Jane, Michael, Maria, Bilyana

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