Week 10 treats us to the knowledge that even at 6am Ricky Martin in his vest and boxers and tattoo looks like a wrestler. Not quite “The Fitness” but certainly a Medium Sized Daddy . This isn’t a pretty morning for the candidates, as Jade trowels on mascara and Adam’s ruddy head pokes from the bed like a mewling newborn ginger ferret rat. Flopsy Nick is the only candidate looking vaguely cute, but as he seems to have dressed like a school boy (blue coat, red tie, all he’s missing is a little green cap and tan sandals) I can’t take him seriously.

This week they’re off to the city, and after last week’s emphatic card marking, Steven’s not prepared to lose and will use every cliché in the book to make this point (“I was on the edge of a cliff, one foot over the edge and got pulled back in. I’m gonna give it 110%”). They meet Lord Sugar on a predictably tall building overlooking London, flanked by a grimfaced Nick Hewer in a mac looking like something out of Smiley’s People.

This week the teams have to act as agents for Key Noir, a deal website, by going out and getting luxury establishments (restaurants, hotels etc.) to offer deals for people to buy and for employers to fob off their employees with in lieu of pay rises. The website will then choose the viable deals and run them on their site for 24 hours, after which time, the team which has taken the most money in sales wins.

Obviously Steven is automatically Project Manager for Sterling, leading Gabby and Ricky. Pheonix are told to “Sort it aht amongst yourself”, and Jade thinks she’s “the best person for the job” (Warning Klaxon!), and her team of Tom, Nick and Adam are only too happy to agree with her.

The teams get a pep talk from Graham the CEO of Key Noir, who empathises the “higher end” aspect of their website and tells them to always try to consider whether the discount on offer is “enough to attract a customer”.

Steven thinks he’s got it sorted (“It’s very simple… it’s all about negotiation and persuasion”) and thinks the secret is to get multiple deals from each location. And with that they’re out of the starting blocks like whippets on red bull as Steven’s trusted Man’o’War Ricky is sent off alone to a luxury restaurant, whilst Steven chooses to chaperone Gabby, because he’s a cheeky little bulgy eyed bastard who thinks “some things are a little beyond” her.

Jade’s still slow to start, but in this case she does seem to be doing some proper brainstorming and planning rather than banging her head repeatedly against a wall. Tom gets to show off about all the posh restaurants that he knows and how amazing they all are. Well done Tom.

The voiceover tells us Steven and Gabby are “making appointments on the move” which sound impressive until you realise they’re just sitting into a car shouting things at a phone cupped in Steven’s hands like they’re about to feed it to a horse. Gabby doesn’t even get to talk to people. First they go to see an evil money grabbing twat who amazingly also happens to be a cosmetic dentist with a nice line in “power whitening systems” that cost £475. Because people who buy high end discounted goods all have grubby teeth, Steven tries and fails to negotiate a 40% reductions, and gets a couple of deals with £100 off instead. I get a bit worried when it’s clear Gabby, not being allowed to negotiate by Steven, has been entrusted with the calculator, but she somehow manages to grasp this manly tool and get the sums right.

Steven wants Ricky to go far away. To Tring to be precise, which is like being sent to Coventry, but with more pre-1940s architecture. Having worked out that the travel alone will take an hour each way, Ricky’s not convinced. First he has to go to El Posho restaurant in London. Gabby goes all mumsy telling him not to forget to ask how long the period of discount will be. Ricky goes all “Oh mum!” as though she’s just wiped his face clean with her spittle (“I know all that… you don’t need to teach me how to suck eggs.”).

I love Ricky’s time at the restaurant (I think it’s Galvin at Windows) with the ever attentive Andre, who spots the TV camera and gives Ricky a long involved tour of his premises (“I must just show you the view”). Ricky starts to worry that they haven’t discussed business yet, and tries his best (“I know you’re pressed for time”), but Andre merely whisks him off to the kitchens (“I want to show you something else!”), as though Ricky is an old friend. In the kitchen Ricky gets offered the restaurant’s “Signature dish”, a plate of scallops (that old staple reality TV foodstuff) and does an “I’m really not sure…” face, before wolfing it down and trying to turn the talk tentatively to discount websites. “I want to show you something” Andre insists, dragging him off to look out of another bloody window and pouring him some wine. Eventually Ricky somehow manages to blurt out that he’d like to negotiate, but Fred (the manager known to many as being a lovely maitre d’ on “Service”), having got a virtual tour filmed for prime time BBC,  resolutely says “No. We never do discounts. We couldn’t even give you 10%”. He icily refuses to negotiate, and Ricky slumps off, a morning wasted and Tring looming ominously.

Meanwhile, Pheonix finally limp out of the office. Jade and FlopsyNick head towards Sanctuary (billed as an “exclusive female only spa” even though it makes me think of Quasimodo). Jade’s keen to pitch. “I would like to do it” ventures FlopsyNick, adding slyly “It’s very important isn’t it”. “I’m sure I’ll manage” insists Jade brusquely, rather than just hitting him with something like I’d be tempted to. It doesn’t seem to be going to well at first for Jade as Sanctuary insist they don’t do big discounts and she says she’s looking for 50% and they look at her like she’s just farted and followed through in one of their jacuzzis. Nick keeps darting nervous little looks between Jade and the snooty Sanctuary ladies. Looks that say “Please let me speak and I will save this pitch with my boyish charm” and “I’m so sorry about her. I had to give her a go. We’re not all shit on this team, honest” alternately. Despite all this, Jade’s persistence gets them a 50% off deal on some sort of unspeakable pamper package from Sanctuary and FlopsyNick looks a bit shocked and sheepish and like he’d quite like to go to chess club after school.

Tom continues in his sentimental education of Adam, this time taking him to another posh restaurant, where Adam gets to try another signature dish (Scallops, natch) without asking for ketchup. Tom’s not very good at pushing for big discounts as he’s too keen for the restauranteers to see him as a man of taste and distinction, so he fails to get 50%, but they offer 35%. Adam doesn’t give a monkeys what they think of him and asks if they can chuck in free “teas and coffee” as though he’s in a greasy spoon. Bless him. Everyone looks at him as though he’s suddenly started sticking scallops into his anus, but his unflinching insistence on joyous post meal mugs of beverage eventually breaks them and they agree.

“I don’t want to go to Tring” insists Ricky, like a Home Counties Elvis Costello. Steven is convinced there are more potential deals at the Hertfordshire Health Spa, and as he agrees to “put his neck on the line 110%” Ricky agrees to go, muttering “It’s illogical Captain”. Gabby finally chips in “He needs to come out with more than one deal” and Steven, put out at a slightly flaky creative woman calling him out on a decision, completely panics, working out that it would take too long for Ricky to go. He calls Ricky and asks him to go to restaurants in London instead.

Jade tries some cold calling from the car. “Hello is that Thai massage” she rasps, getting a strange cacophony of noise in response to her mentioning “discounts” before the line goes dead. “I think that was a whore house” she chuckles. We all did, Jade.

Adam’s stumped on luxury idea (“It’s not going 10 pin bowling with your mates”) and Tom seems too quiet to contribute. “Takeways?” suggests Adam. “It’s not exactly high end” Tom advises before plucking up the courage to offer “Hairdressers?” “Nah!” harrumphs Adam manfully.

Gabby’s convinced Steven that a “Fish spa” represents high end luxury, even though all the ones I’ve ever seen are now closed down and the small shabby room that they end up in contains only a red seat that Steven sits on as he plunges his feet into a small goldfish tank for the tiny shoal-ette of chubby fish to chow on, making Karen Brady gag. Gabby manages to get 3 offers of 50% off, but Karen’s not convinced it’s luxury enough for the website.

At St Pancras (again!) Jade and Nick sit with Marcus Webb at his posh restaurant. Jade’s after a “magical experience” discount package (“2 course meal and a glass of bubbly”), but Webb’s not helping them. “Show me in numbers” he insists and Jade can’t use the calculator. Nick has a go but only succeeds in offering Webb some SHELLOIL and BOOBIES, which, tempting though they are, don’t make up for their unprofessional approach. Webb gives them 5 minutes to find some intelligence and accuracy. Because every chef who isn’t Michel Roux Jr has to make up for this by being all spiky and impatient and making cooking look less fun than it is.

Meanwhile Ricky goes to Rhodes and gets them on-side for a 50% discount for one day. They’re even asking him how many discounts they should go for. And Ricky says he doesn’t want to go for too many even though that’s what he should be saying. So why not say “SHIT LOADS” you suddenly polite eedjit? Instead he takes 100 for both lunch and the set menu.

Finally Nick has done the hard sums and he shows his homework to Marcus Webb (“You should have said that earlier”) who agrees on 30% off dinner for two.

Nick Hewer pops up, like a tramp shouting “Nobody ever goes near the old Henrikson’s place. Not since the tragedy…” in a Horror movie, to point out that the teams are running out of time (“The deadline’s rushing towards them like a steam train at 100mph and they don’t look up and see it coming”. However Ricky still manages to close another restaurant deal AND get to eat another plate of scallops (“Our signature dish.. on the house”), this time with an almost rueful grin.

Steven and Gabby run around like headless chickens looking for the shittest experiences imaginable in the hope that wealthy perverts will get their jollies by buying them and then not showing up. Next is a tatty “golf experience” (hitting balls at a green screen) for posh people who have to avoid golf courses due to hay fever or an allergy to ugly clothes. They manage to get some discounts though. Woohoo.

Tom and Adam are still struggling, but as the deadline honks it horn they rush into a perfume shop, and Adam, who had snortingly dismissed hairdressers has to pitch blind to the bemused retailers of scent. “Do you know our shop?” they ask him, and I’m not sure if Adam is being honest or just trying not to look effeminate when he admits that “Tom’s a lot more familiar, his girlfriend shops there”. For some bizarre reason they go for a deal on a candle set. Tom gives his best embarrassed smile (which makes me forgive him for being so rubbish of late), “We’d need to sign the contract in the next 4 minutes, I don’t want to put that sort of pressure on you”. I wonder if they fall for it.

Steve’s eyes are bulging like a surprised thyroid problem. “I feel a bit of pressure, I’ll be honest with you Ricky” he blubbers over the phone. Ricky talks him down (“We have some good deals”).

The teams hand in their discounts (6 deals on Pheonix, 9 deals for Sterling) for 7pm, so the Key Noir bods can laugh at them for a bit then choose what to run on the website. Deals go live at midnight for 24 hours and then it’s boardroom time. Can the candidates really be deprived of internet and phone access for so long (so they don’t tell their mates to order or plug the discounts)? It’s making me itchy just thinking about it.

Steven already looks a beaten man as they wait outside the boardroom and Jade looks him up and down and licks her lips like a husky lioness.

In the boardroom, Ricky quickly grasses Steven up for buckling under pressure, but Lord Sugar’s more peeved by Ricky’s time wasted at Galvin at Windows (“Would you be interested? Yes or No!? BOSH!” barks Lord Sugar, “I made a bad assumption” Ricky confesses). However everyone gets brownie points for making multiple deals at each location.

Pheonix didn’t go for multiple deals as that’s how Jade roles (“We needed quality rather than quantity” – actually both would be nice) so Sugar doesn’t give them a gold star even though they managed a deal with everyone they saw (good planning?). They also get some flack for fucking up their sums in front of an irritable chef. Tom’s deals (35% at the posh French restaurant, 50% off the candle sets) are rightly mocked (Sugar “It’s gotta be a bladdy good candle”). Sensing a potential firing Tom gets in a jab at Jade for not communicating with her subteam. Oh Tom, your wimpishness is not unexpected but it still disappoints me.

We find out what deals the website accepted

Pheonix – of 6 deals only 2 were accepted. Oh dear.

Sterling – of 9 deals only 3 were accepted. Ah. I think this may be the usual completely predictable “surprise result” already.

The sales results come in.

For Sterling

Steven and Gabby only managed to get the “golf for the friendless” experience online which sold 7 units making £350

Ricky’s dinner deals sold out and 90 lunches sold making £6090

So Sterling made £6440

For Pheonix

Tom and Adam managed to get no deals at all onto the website. Losers!

Jade & Flopsy’s Marcus Webb lunch deal made £5950

However the Sanctuary deal (of course) made £8613

So Pheonix made £14563

I guess that means Pheonix won. Steven’s already starting to look sweaty and twitchy (more than usual). Pheonix get sent off to posh afternoon tea, and right after I suggest that Adam could get a deal on it he makes the same joke. “I really love winning” growls Jade happily. The boys all should admit that it’s down to her that they didn’t lose, but they just drink their expensive tea and eat truffle butties triumphantly instead.

In Bridge Café the tea’s cheap, but it doesn’t console Sterling. Steven thinks the answer is that they “didn’t sell enough” (no shit!) before his eyes dart around for somebody to blame. Oh surprise it’s Gabby.

I don’t know why Steven just doesn’t get automatically fired given Sugar’s threat last week. However Ricky gets a verbal spanking for limiting the dinner deals (which sold out) when he was effectively given a blank checque by the restaurant (Sugar “sickening”).

Steven gets stick for his rubbish non luxury choices, but surprisingly the Health Spa in Tring would have been a good er ting as Sugar reckons it’s famous. (Oh it’s Champneys – I have heard of it, but I never knew it was in Tring). Steven insists he was prepared to take the risk of losing Ricky for three hours, so um why did you change your mind Steven? He then blames Gabby and Ricky for talking him out of it, but Sugar rightly asks “If you felt that strongly about it why didn’t you go?” Steven argues that he and Gabby knew London better than Ricky (as though the pointy haired wrestler is some sort of bumpkin), but Sugar points out it didn’t particularly show as the team of two did sod all compared to Ricky the Hick.

Gabby holds up her hands to the fish spa (and hence has no unsightly dry skin), but Karen Brady intervenes to say Steven and Gabby were both as shit as each other. Sugar muses that it’s the fourth time that Ricky has been in the final three (erm that’s because there’s only three people left). “If there were three of me, we’d beat the other team” Ricky insists modestly, adding that Steven was “cracking”. That makes Steven crack and he throws all his best random sequences of power words at Ricky (“I’m gonna put something out… ” before getting flustered by Ricky’s refusal to allow him to interrupt. “You’re talking none stop” gasps Steven after trying to talk over Ricky none stop. “May I actually speak then?” he asks. “No you may not” Ricky counters politely and I start liking Ricky a little bit.

Steven knows he’s toast, so he starts trying to blame Gabby, but she comes out fighting “Maybe I’m not as articulate as the other two boys, but I’m a better all round candidate and have sold things which I don’t do day to day”, adding that “Steve lost the plot”.

Steven can’t help himself and goes into full on patronising mode. Maybe he can get a job advertising Cillit Bang when all of this blows over. “This is the most passionate..” he starts, adding “I like it” as though he’s James Bond telling a woman she’s beautiful when she’s angry before slapping her and shagging her, “..you have been in the whole process.” he states. Gabby, who is very sweet and scatty, refrains from hitting him with a chair and merely looks as though she would like to be a million miles away from him right now.

It’s time for everyone to argue their cases for being there. Ricky thinks he’s “Fantastic at everything” and even owns up to his mistakes fantastically. Gabby’s accused of being a nice girl (ouch) and losing her fight. “I do have fight” Gabby says proudly, and Steven immediately starts trying to interrupt. “Can you let me FINISH please?!” Gabby squeaks, but Steven can’t stop belittling her (“I think you performed to your capability”) and eventually Ricky Martin is moved to intervene, quietly yet potently (“Can you stop being so condescending. Let her speak”) and I decide that I very much like this Ricky Martin but don’t like the business one (and I’m completely unmoved by the Latino pop sensation one).

Still despite Sugar noting Steven’s “air of panic” he fires Gabby for being a nice person, and not contributing much.

Steven starts to relax in his chair, having gotten away with it. Lord Sugar gives him just enough time to get really smug and then fires him too, for losing.Steven deflates and looks like a sad thyroid problem Iain Lee.

In the Taxi of Eternal Regret, Gabby is lovely, with no regrets, just a positive wish to show people “behind the smile there is a brain”. I hope someone employs her as a designer as that’s definitely where her strengths lie.

When the Taxi returns to get Steve he just moans that he wishes he’s sent Ricky to Tring.

There’s a point where I almost think Sugar will fire Ricky too, which would be cool, having the other candidates wait around for hours and then nobody come back, but he just gets a final card marking (“It’s the last time I’ll be telling you to get back to the house”). Ricky returns and proves the incredulous housemates that he is alone and yes Steven has gone. Jade puts up bunting.

Next week the candidates have to develop an affordable luxury range (what the fuck? That’s like trying to develop a John Steinback novel with a happy ending, or a trustworthy cabinet minister).

Anyhow as the final looms (and there had better be bloody interviews!), here’s my fickle like-list.

Liking: Jade

Warming to a lot: Ricky

Disappointed by: Tom, FlopsyNick (I was clearly blinded to their nesh ways by their relative beauty)

Refusing to like: Adam

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

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