Week 5 and Jason flounces downstairs in specs and stripy jim-jams (but strangely with no teddy bear) to take the 4.30am call, inviting the candidates to an exotic destination. “Park your camels, we’re going to Dubai” beams Jason as Luisa excitedly starts packing bikinis.
Yes we’re off to Dubai, “heart of the United Arab Emirates, city of gold, top shopping destination” and erstwhile home from home to wife-beating suspected ra*ist Jim Davidson. One of the candidates feels he has a head start, having lived and traded there. Step forward Zeeshan “Yeah man, it’s like a second home, I’ve got a lot of local knowledge”.
Well actually, we’re off to the new multimillion pound Ras al Khaimah Waldorf Astoria Hotel, currently under construction 1.5 hours outside of Dubai. So a building site in the middle of the desert then. There, flanked by Nick and Karren is a TV screen displaying Lord Sugar’s head, like an Aldi Face of Boe. He testily informs the candidates each team needs to source 8 items in Dubai, whether in the malls or the markets. The team bringing back the most items on least spend wins, but not sourcing items incurs a fine to their market value. So it’ s all down to negotiation and the teams are presented with durums to spend, directories and a map of Dubai.
Sugar balances the teams by bringing Leah over to Endeavour, where she immediately challenges Zee’s Project Manager status, but Neil and Kurt wave her aside, backing Zee’s “local knowledge”. “No human in this world intimidates me” Zee boasts, although he seems pretty shaken by the Irish doctor’s insubordination. Whilst Leah sneers hackily, Zee announces loftily “You can put your maps away. I know Dubai like the back of my hand” thus setting himself up for a MASSIVE FAIL.
Over on Evolve, Myles elects himself Project Leader on account of his self-confessed jet-set status (“I had a glamorous lifestyle.. I lived in Monaco for 10 years” – maybe the team think he said Morocco). Myles sees it as a logistics task and gets everyone phoning round for advice from confused locals, until Francesca suggests they go to the mall and he agrees.
Zee declares he knows what most of the items are and shouts over anyone else that a Kandura is a traditional dress, Oudh, despite the specification of it being standard sized and “Egyptian mahogany” is an Arabic fragrance (“It’s what arabs smell of”) and, well, even Alex knows what a falcon hood is (although why you would want one in a hotel room, unless it’s a euphemism for a tiny condom is beyond me). Zee thinks they should get as much as possible in the souks and as little as possible from the mall as a kandura will cost 100 in the market and 1000 in the mall. He’s got a point, but Leah (who seems a little scared of actually having to haggle with foreign types) thinks the souks will take too much time and she suggests she takes her subteam to the mall, which would be all well and good except Zee hasn’t actually elected a subteam leader yet. “Are you all OK with her being the subteam leader” he grumps before awarding her the role, upon which the cheeky cow decides to ignore his instructions and drag the subteam off to the mall anyway so they can go to a perfumery in search of Oudh. En route they get a call from Zee, who, having established that Leah’s ignoring him asks to speak to Neil (maybe because Neil is a man, maybe because Leah is talking to Zee like he smells of wee). “Stop trying to appease Neil and just focus on the tasks” snaps Leah sulkily, rushing Zee into telling her what he wants them to buy in the souks. “I would have been a better PM” she complains to Neil, who’s also unconvinced by Zee (“He didn’t want to listen cos he thinks he knows it all”).
Jason proves useful for Evolve as they get him to play the hapless tourist abroad and lull shopkeepers into a false sense of security. Dressed in a Kandura and smiling disarmingly he declares “I’m thinking I don’t want to pay 300” enabling his team to haggle down to 110. Later he refers to “traditional Arab generosity – and you’re a generous people” like he’s been reading a Rough Guide to the Middle East as written by Prince Phillip. Bless him. Myles on the other hand manages to half heartedly haggle the palm trees down to 15% off, but misses the opportunity to get a bigger discount by speaking to the store boss, because he’s way too important. (Later Zee gets the palm tree, and by letting the shop lady speak to the manager negotiates 50% off without even trying). Myles then pays 175 up front for a 6ft national flag and agrees to wait at the shop for an hour whilst it’s made whilst apparently doing sod all. Not phoning round, not sending his other subteam-mates to look for other items. Just sitting around and sighing. Eventually after over an hour they have to chase the flag maker who promises another 5 minutes, and Francesca has the moxy to ask for a discount due to the delay, but gets no joy.
Zee’s trying to order that flag over the phone and Kurt helps with sizes (“12cm is a foot, so say 72cm”, Natalie “Yes”), leading to them being quoted a bargain price and stumbling unwittingly into a beautiful “Stonehenge” moment when Zee turns up in his gangsta shades to collect a national flag that would fold neatly into a hanky pocket (Natalie “That’s not 6ft”). Kurt’s confused (“One foot is 12cm”) until the truth horrifyingly dawns and his blanched beardy face falls as he attempts to back out of the blame. “Oh DEAR!” says a thrilled Nick Hewer, “Over here size really matters” (Unless you’re Alex being offered Viagra in the souk – “I don’t need any of that. I’m from Wales!”).
Not that Leah’s doing any better, as she manages to confuse stall holders by talking to them as slowly and patronisingly and Oirishly as possible ( “Do. yoi. Sell. Cawfee. Ports?”) and insisting on pronouncing Oudh “Oyd?” Alex isn’t convinced Oudh is a perfume and shoutily casts aspersions on Zee’s famous local knowledge (“Mahogony’s a wood. He’s talking crap!”). Neil manages to calm the Welsh fuzzy felt eyebrow freak down and goes off to do some hardcore negotiation on a Kandura, arguing the price down to 60.
Natalie tries to offer suggestions to Kurt and Zee about finding the falcon hood and oudh, but they get all testosterony and ignore her (which will be familiar to any women working in IT), refusing to let her look at their directory until she pulls a Moaning Myrtle face.
Luisa, Jordan and Jason go to all sorts of lengths to find Oudh. Perfume shops, incense shops, trying to find where those weird blokes with the tentacles on their faces in Dr Who come from… Finally in an Aiod gallery, Jason declares “Guys I’ve just had a flash! Do you think an oud is something else?” Myles rings to ask them to go to the souk (in a hurry now then, you flag anticipating pillock?), but Jordan begs for 20 more minutes in the mall, where fortunately they finally find an Oudh, which is a wooden lute-like instrument priced at 1850. They argue it down to 990.
Zee gets his big flag and ends up having to pay 200 for it and the little one. His subteam still search for the mythical oudh, although Neil now finally suspects they’re looking for the wrong thing, and Alex whines, in case we didn’t realise, that he thinks Zee is “as useful as a chocolate teapot”.
The teams have to bring what they have back to the hotel by 9pm so the hotel manager can check the goods, and it’s time to fly home.
Back in the Boadroom, LordSugar asks whether Zee was a good team leader. “Terrible” grimaces Leah, “I should’ve been PM”. “I feel rather misguided” Alex adds. The Curse of the Oudh is relived, and Nick points out wryly “Alex, you raised one of those eyebrows of yours”. “It said standard size Egyptian mahogany” points out our favourite Picasso-faced Welshman sagely.
Sugar’s just glad he didn’t send them out for 20 camels or they’d have come back with a “packet of fags”, or at least his scriptwriters are.
Kurt holds his hand up to the Spinal Tap-esque flag measurement error, but rather than have a good laugh, Myles (Sugar “Kurt would call you kilometers” hoho!) looks worried at all the cheap prices being quoted by Endeavour.
Despite Jordan having wasted 3.5 hrs on “research” in the mall, and Myles spending nearly 2 hours waiting for his flag, Evolve managed to source six items, which when converted to sterling cost £311.54, which with the fines (for the tiles and falcon hood) totals £695.16
However Endeavour only got 4 really cheap items. Plus Neil got the wrong kandura (not the traditional one) so that incurs a fine too with the total coming to £783.36
Therefore Evolve win and get to go drink cocktails next to a stuffed kangaroo to celebrate beating “Mr Dubai.” Is it a posh Walkabout (one that doesn’t smell of wee) or just a really twatty cocktail bar?
Neil’s already assuming PM role in the sad cafe (“We all got the strategy wrong”) whilst Leah is just reckons Zee “wasn’t the right man” (or woman). Kurt’s indignant at the idea that messing up cm and inches makes him worthy of blame.
Back in the boardroom, Leah insists the team “needed to be in the mall 100%”. Sugar calls her bluff “Why didn’t you then” and she blames Zee. “Why didn’t you ignore him?” presses Sugar. Sadly Zee helps her out by interrupting and waving his arms about so Leah can hiss “Don’t put your hand in my face, it’s really rude!”
Kurt’s flag is produced and Neil fails to suppress a snigger. Most of the team seem to blame Zee who Sugar sees as “the easy target”, but Zee blames his subteam before choosing to bring back Leah and …er… Natalie. Our favourite bewigged skeleton is not amused when he blames her for doing nothing when “me and Kurt were in the car booking appointments” (“I KEPT ASKING YOU!!”)
Alex does some particularly squirmy toadying on his way out “Sorry to disappoint you Lord Sugar” (ugh!).
Meanwhile Zee forgets his manners when he leads the 2 women back in and lets the door fall back on a stony faced Natalie (“Don’t worry about the door”). Zee reckons Natalie is lovely, “don’t get me wrong… but just a bit of a spare wheel”. Charming. However Natalie plays the “is it because I have ovaries?” card and accuses Zee of having “a problem working with women” adding shrilly “I think it’s a bit pathetic”. “Calm down your language” Zee starts, but he’s in danger of looking like a 1970s reject whatever he says here, and Natalie senses her chance to up the ante “You never say please, you never say thank you.. You look at me like something on your shoe” and Leah joins in in a classic faux feminist pincer movement with Zee left looking very uncomfortable. “He took an instant dislike to me” accuses Leah. “I made you sub team leader” Zee points out.
Sugar’s not impressed by Zee’s lack of modesty, such as comparing himself to Napoleon (“Napoleon’s never been fired from Phones 4U” he mocks), although he still claims to “admire” Zee’s achievements. Oh dear.
Natalie’s card is marked for surely a final time (“I don’t want to see you here again”) before he blames Zee for the failure and fires him. Natalie has a little cry into her tissue and she and Leah pointedly ignore Zee on the way out. Yeah right on sisters.
As Nick Hewer opines, Zee’s “mouth outran his abilities”, but whilst he was never the brightest button, he definitely provided entertainment value (and from what I saw was no more sexist than most of the men in the boardroom, Sugar included). In the taxi of broken dreams Zee’s indefatigable “The name Zeeshad.. will go down in history”. Got to be careful Zee. Nowadays being a man with middle eastern connections seen on the BBC talking about going down in History will probably get you arrested by the Met.
Back in the house, Kurt’s just relieved. “I think I got away with something there” I bet he only feels 24cm tall.
Next week the teams have to create team building days and it looks like Alex goes all Full Metal Jacket. Can’t wait.
Liking: Francesca, Jordan, Jason
Hang on – were they in that episode?: Rebecca
Finding Amusing: Alex
Disliking:- Myles, Kurt
A big steaming bowl of Cuntsoup:- Luisa, Neil, Leah, Natalie
Dubai, Bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee