Week 9 dawns with a 6am call which Alex answers, revealing that he apparently bizarrely considers chinos and a T-shirt to be appropriate night apparel. (Although I suppose leg warmth is appropriate when you’re skulking around looking for virgins to bite). Anyhow’s the candidates are called to meet LordSugar at the top of my favourite London landmark that resembles a snake-skin bound sex toy; the Gherkin. The restaurant at the top is an unfortunate choice of location for Sugar to reveal that this week the candidates have to develop ready meals to pitch to three retailers.
Alex is finally appointed PM of Endeavour (Jordan, Myles, Leah) by LordSugar the Kingmaker. “I don’t know why people don’t have confidence in me. Is it age or business experience” he acts a tactfully silent Jordan who resists the urge to scream “NO IT’S YOUR FUCKING FACE!!!” into Alex’s fucking face.
Luisa decides , after her card-marking last week, to not put herself forward to lead Evolve, with Neil and Francesca both putting themselves forward so she gets the casting vote and predictably uses it to put the boot into her female rival, choosing Neil (because “You’re more of a natural born leader and for ease of working together”) whilst Francesca gives her pointed evils. Neil’s up and running and suggesting “fusion” food. Didn’t work for Alexander Litvinenko.
Alex fancies a bit of paella. At least he doesn’t say the word in the poncy way – despite him being Welsh so understanding what to do with a surfeit of “L”s. Jordan and Leah both slap him down for not identifying the market first. I say if he likes Paella let him do paella, but Myles wants to develop an exciting brand based around kids which he seems to already have in his head. Alex decides to send Leah to the kitchen because she is a WOMAN (“I know you don’t like cooking, but I’m sure the chef will be nice to you”). He sends Jordan (“I can cook… a pie”) with her for being troublesome and short.
Neil diplomatically asks the women if either would mind going to do the cooking. Francesca doesn’t do cooking, she said when nominating herself to PM that she lived on ready meals so she has a point. Luisa claims the same, which is harder when your business is a frigging bakery. “I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on savoury ingredients” she whines and Neil lets her come with him to do the branding at another wanktastic marketing house whilst Francesca is sent to Derby to slave over a hot hob.
Myles’s concept is “Dracula’s Dinners” (with their PM they could even take a photo of the vampire to go on the label – just like Paul Newman or Lloyd Grossman). Somehow this evolves into “Deadly Dinners” which is not so good. Maybe the estate of Bram Stoker would still sue from beyond the grave? However Alex has the brainwave of a colourful character called “Pop Di Ping” (Welsh for Microwave, and quite catchy) giving kids a “geography lesson” by introducing them to foods from around the world. “If we do Spain, we can dress him as a bullfighter” (he’s still obsessed by paella, and hits the streets to market research, preaching the good news about paella for kids where they will be “actually eating a prawn!”; at least one woman seems to like the idea). Myles is still unimpressed and needles away to try to get Alex to drop his brand of Welsh multiculturalism and come to the dark, “deadly” side, but the project manager is adamant and shows Myles a crudely drawn sketch of a stick figure in a stripey shirt on a boat. “Look, I’ve got Pop Di Ping on a Gondeler” he announces. Case closed then. Besides Alex reckons “No-one will like Dracula at Christmas”. He hasn’t met many children then.
Neil and Luisa have decided to sell to students as they’re well known for eating any old shit and Neil decides to fuse Caribbean and Thai, or is it Thai and Caribbean – they’re just so similar it’s hard to decide. Anyhow it’s some variation on jerk (snigger) chicken and pad thai, which I would probably have a go at if it was cooked well. Luisa phones Francesca with a recipe at breakneck speed. “It’s simple” insists Cake Girl innocently and Karren smells a rat regarding Luisa’s supposed lack of cooking nous. “I’ve been royally stitched up” Francesca moans. “Can you burn chicken?” “Er yes” her bemused chef chaperone informs her.
Luisa and Neil, meanwhile, are bonding over their shared twattiness at the marketing agency, to the bemusement of the milky bar work experience kid who’s been sent in to sit with them. Rejecting Luisa’s “Good Stuff!” (hmm) they plump for “Oh my POW” (Oh my head! Well maybe it will appeal to fans of Tenko) and a multicoloured Hypno Box featuring insane pseudo Nazi slogans like “POWERFUL CUISINES.. BOUGHT TOGETHER FOR POWERFUL MINDS”. It’s the food equivalent of those Lucky Waving Cat boxes. Whilst it seems to be Neil having ideas and Luisa tagging along for the ride, she still insists that she and Neil are “level pegging”. They spend most of the episode blowing smoke rings up each others arses (“Go dream team!”) fooling even Karren into thinking she can see “a serious business woman emerging” in Luisa.
Eventually Myles wears Alex down and he does a last minute veer down the “Deadly Dinners” route. They attend a focus group of kids and parents where the kids LOVE the idea of bats blood Bolognese and er more sodding prawns (clearly prawns are horrific enough in themselves; you don’t need to call them “Sea Locusts” or something). Whilst most parents are rightly perturbed about the idea of giving their children food that might actually be fun (oh and calling it “deadly”), one mad bint enthuses about the prawns (“Our children LOVE prawns. For their birthday they wanted prawns in a box”. That was a chess set they were trying to ask for you crazy bitch!). “Would you get your Mum and Dad to buy that?” Alex manipulates the children who all scream “YAYY!” because the sauce is laced with Sunny-D. Alex and Myles finally deign to tell the rest of the team they’re going with Deadly rather than Geography, before heading off to design packaging (A little grey and black box (definitely hinting at disaster) with green writing and at least three upsettingly prominent skulls on it, which Nick Hewer points out is more reminiscent of bleach). Alex wants to add another carrot, but Myles won’t let him (to be fair the vegetables already floating round the skull just make it look like a bulimic).
Francesca reassuringly hasn’t burnt down the house yet, but her chef chum winces as she chucks the noodles at the wall to check if they’re done, and apologetically plonks down her offering before the soon to be violently ill focus eaters. They declare their hatred for the food, And Neil berates Francesca when she admits she didn’t taste it before presenting it to them. Somehow it doesn’t occur to Neil that they can change the recipe at this point so he declares that they keep going with the same idea. Next a bunch of students complete questionnaires about the product, and whilst 93% like the packaging, the flavour is universally panned, with Luisa taking quite delight in reading the negative comments to a weary Francesca: “There’s no Pow in ‘Oh my Pow!’”, “Shit Sandwich” etc. Francesca tries to rally with the fact that only 32% of students said they’d buy the product based on the packaging and suggests it will need “spinning” in the pitch. “Just don’t put that in” Luisa declares.
Myles pitches to Asda whilst Alex loudly stabs the plastic film covers on “Deadly Dinners” and faffs around with the microwave, creating an interesting soundscape, but not much business sense. The Asda woman gets all Mumsnet on Myles’s ass “It would appeal to my two boys but not to me as a mother!”
Luisa pitches “Oh my Pow” as “Fusion Fashion” which makes me see red and go stabby, whilst Francesca makes a pained face every time anyone from the retailers tastes the finished product. Neil promises they could put extra spice in with a “substantial order”. That’s nice of him.
Leah then pitches to Morrisons, well she provides the background hum whilst the men in her team jump in to talk over her as clearly she’s incapable of explaining how food works. Being a woman and blonde. And a FUCKING DOCTOR. Leah doesn’t convince when she says “What does it say? It says ‘deadly’” because nobody from Morrisons has watched The Commitments so they don’t know that in Oirish “Deadly” is good.
Neil goes all Statto at Morrisons “32% of 93%” and Luisa can’t spice it up with her intriguing and painful suggestion of adding “scotch bonnet chillis and pineapple”.
Jordan is asked to pitch to Ocado with Alex explaining, Welsh David Brent like that “I’m more of a manager.. anyway I’ve given you the floor” How very kind of him. He actually does a good job and even discusses possible exclusivity “with the right deal” and the rest of the team worship him as a pitching god.
Ocado are less impressed by Evolve and don’t get the “Explosion of Power” promised. Neil again promises to heat things up and improve the flavour. In the car back, Luisa can’t resist reeling off more of today’s criticisms of the food in front of Francesca, who finally cracks “Go on Luisa, keep stabbing me”. Luisa does her “innocent” face. “It doesn’t take a genius to keep trying food” she insists “reasonably” whilst Neil sensibly tries to hide in the corner.
Back in the boardroom and Lord Sugar scoffs at “Deadly Dinners” (What next? “Lethal Lasagne, “Homicidal Hummus” Ho ho!) but accuses Myles of browbeating Alex into the idea. “Ow my Pow” is likewise dismissed (“It sounds like a dog food”) and Francesca’s culinary skills are again derided until Karren leaps to the rescue, sneakily suggesting it was a shame that “neither of the ladies could cook”. Luisa can’t resist leaping in to say she can cook “a bit” and Karren springs the trap “You actually made it clear you can’t cook at all”. Luisa to her lying beeyatch credit remains cool “It became clear I had the most knowledge” and Neil stares at her in disbelief. Lord Sugar reads out yet more brilliant pieces of feedback “Serving suggestions: Don’t”, “Less heat than a snowman’s nose”, but Karren also has it in for Neil’s number heavy 20 minute borefest of a pitch.
Anyhow here come the results:-
Ocado felt that if Evolve could change “Oh My Pow”’s recipe they would buy 300.
They liked Jordan’s pitch for Endeavour and placed 1000 trial orders.
Morrison’s didn’t order from either Evolve or Endeavour as not even Freddy Flintoff could entice people to eat either product.
Asda felt that Endeavour’s “Deadly Dinners” were “Just plain wrong” and didn’t order, however they believed Neil would improve the recipe so ordered 2500. So Evolve win and Alex goes a shade paler towards ultra-violet.
Evolve are sent to test drive a Ferrari and Myles, tingling on the verge of an early mid-life crisis does a gutted face. Endeavour head to Sad Cafe where Alex blames Myles and Myles says “It’s a fair cop” although he doesn’t carry that attitude back into the boardroom and comes out fighting against Alex.
They are told the reason they lost is the supermarkets said “mum is our customer” (sexist twats, Fathers for Justice will be blockading Lidl on the back of that).
Alex says the branding and concept were all wrong. “Why didn’t you say at design stage” Myles drones nasally. To be fair he did ask for an extra carrot on the box. Nick Hewer observes that they were both “swept away by the enthusiasm of 50 or 60 kids” without taking a second to think about what fickle bastards children can be. Jordan’s briefly commended for managing to sell some, and he reveals his secret was offering the option to do a “double campaign” with one aimed at winning the hearts and minds of parents by plugging the healthy aspect of the meals so they didn’t feel guilty. Oooh. There’s more to him than glasses and silly trousers you know.
Lord Sugar suggests Alex is weak willed, prompting our wild Welsh weirdo to insist he’s only going to bring in Myles in a tone that suggests he wants them to be left alone with a selection of weapons. Forced by Lord Sugar to make a decision, he drags back Leah too who finally speaks up for herself by drivelling on and on in a circular fashion on how “Week after week she has delivered” (maybe she was working part-time in a maternity ward?). “I am a sensible person” she insists. Boring! She blames Myles for the task failure and he fights dirty (and accurately) suggesting she’s good at slating people’s ideas but brings no creativity to the table.
Lord Sugar has a pop at Myles’s self-perceived international playboy status (“You won’t bump into Prince Albert of Monaco in Loughton” (you probably wouldn’t find A prince albert in Loughton).
Alex’s mad enthusiastic lurching from one idea to an unrelated one is compared to his home life where from a tombstone (well slate) business he set up a CCTV business and now has a business plan relating to law despite having no legal training. “Are you saying Richard Branson can’t do space ships without space knowledge” Alex asks, breaking the cardinal rule amongst bearded entrepreneurs of taking Branson’s name in vain.
Leah interrupts to talk her way back into trouble with a further slagging of Myles which mocks his 23 years alleged business experience (“I have been on the planet for 23 years”), which doesn’t endear her to the walnut faced peer. “Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut” he advises and Myles unpleasantly sticks a snide boot in, hissing “Take his advise and keep quiet”.
Despite Leah being a boring mardy cow and Myles thinking he’s it whilst in fact he is shit, it’s poor old Alex who gets the chop for his vacillating ways. In the taxi of doom he’s fairly stoical about the experience (“I shouldn’t have listened to other people”). Lord Sugar tells Myles that although it seems like he got away with murder that his many years (more than 23!) of experience tell him Myles deserves to stay in. And Leah must have a cure for AIDS as a business plan or something.
Next week the candidates have to create a business from scratch in two days, which sounds a bit same old same old. Shouldn’t we be entering the Battale Royale phase at this point?
Disliking Mildly: Neil
Disliking Moderately: Myles, Leah
Disliking Disproportionately: Luisa
Bye Bye, So Long: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca, Kurt, Natalie, LovelyJason, Alex
Who will win? Probably Neil, although my fellow shortarse Jordan could be a dark horse (well, dark Shetland pony). I sort of don’t care anymore.