Week 6 sees the sun rising photogenically through the shard, as Jordan rises photogenically ,draped in a towel that almost reveals a lot more than his obligatory nobby tattoo, to answer the 6am call directing the 11 remaining candidates to Guildhall. Talking of twattoos, Neil appears to have one too, and has confusingly started wearing specs. In fact the only way I can tell him from Jordan now is Neil has a neck beard and less stupid trousers, and he’s slightly taller than 3ft.

Lord Sugar sweeps into the gothic majesty of the Guildhall like Satan having a hissy fit to explain that this week’s task is about organising a Corporate “Away Day” for a client he’s organised. The success will be measured on both profit and customer satisfaction, so it’s “Not some jolly” he growls.

Myles is moved over to Endeavour, and Sugar insists that Leah project manage this time, with the rest of the team comprising Alex, Natalie, Kurt and Neil, who automatically starts taking over, suggesting a school theme complete with egg and spoon races and beatings by angry nuns or something. Leah wants a history theme complete with archery and suggests a vote. Four choose school (Neil: “It’s four against two but that’s your call… it sounds boring”). Leah insists on history. “Mental” splutters Alex incredulously. Neil just continuously talks his agenda, “I’ve been to numerous of these events and know what works…Everybody has been to school, not everyone is into history”; I only see one person winning this one already.

Francesca is outed as having corporate event experience (and hence is doomed) so is forced to PM for Evolve with Jason, Luisa, Rebecca and Jordan making up the rest of the team. Immediately Luisa starts voicing her hatred of the corporate world whilst Francesca’s vast knowledge of the area leads her to offer the team a choice between Vegas, Bond, Moulin Rouge and (erm) Back to School. They all choose the latter one on the grounds it sounds least mental (unless the “Away Day” is for 1970s DJs of course). Immediately Rebecca suggests wine tasting as presumably her school was rough as fuck, although fortunately she decides not to suggest lynchmobbing and back street abortions as other group activities.

Francesca also wants there to be a chocolate making class, but Luisa points out she has run classes in cupcake making, which is “really similar to chocolate making” and insists this would save the team nearly £1000. Francesca insist she wants a professional, none “DIY” feel to the event, leading Luisa to suddenly decide she doesn’t think her PM is any good and launch into a ten minute car based bitchfest as a hapless Jason “Mmmms” and nods and all but “I knooooow”s.

Evolve pitch to Lastminute.com who want the day to encourage quick and efficient communication. Jordan insists he will be looking to add “business value” and nicks Sugar’s line “It’s not a jolly” and the Last Minute lads look impressed.

Meanwhile Leah’s en route to meet Barclays UK, with Myles desperately trying to talk her out of her theme (Leah “Can we focus on history now please”. She manages to turn up late and rather than apologising whinges about the traffic. Nice start! The very dry Barclays boss explains that this event will be for senior branch managers who need to “significantly improve their listening and communication skills” and he’s looking for a “huge impact”. No pressure then. Leah’s medival theme sounds like a medieval fayre with “classic hot food” and “classic mediaval ‘Majestic Escapism'” (WTF? Is that like thinking you’re the king of Spain or something?). Barclays shake their heads sadly and explain that they’re “Looking for a fresh perspective…” and “need to remember  that the objective is “understanding and  listening to customers better”, before sneering and laughing as Endeavour leave, with Leah somewhat bemused by how ..um.. corporate it sounds.

Neil’s been busy bullying the archery lady into offering her services for £80 less than advertised when the call comes through from Leah that their new theme is now “Army”. Next to Neil in the car Alex has another of his little Welsh breakdowns (“Noooo! That’s diabolical!”

Jason and Luisa have been sent to see the lady who offers chocolate making courses, who asks if they’ve ever made chocolates before. “No! I make cake!” Luisa snaps eagerly, adding helpfully “I’ve got a cake shop”. It seems the choccie course is too costly, so of course Luisa decides to run a cupcake course herself, explaining heartlessly to the crestfallen chocolate girl “I am you, but in a different industry so there’s no point me paying you…” before asking “Can we buy some piping bags from you”. Cue broken incredulity from the professional chocolatier.

Francesca and Rebecca let little Jordan push their shopping trolley round the supermarket as they joyfully fling in cake mix with no regard for the costs. If only they’d let him sit on the little kids seat in the trolley he could get his calculator out and tell them they’re overspending, but instead they ignore his protests and tot up a £284 bill. “They won’t be starving that’s for sure” chortles Francesca like an idiot.

This is contrasted with Leah haggling in a cash and carry. She may be boring but she knows how to keep costs down. Neil reckons they need another afternoon activity and suggests Sumo Wrestling. Leah’s dead set against the “distasteful” idea of Bank managers writhing around wrestling each other (Besides surely all you need to do is drop an envelope full of used tenners on the floor to get the fat bastards rolling over each other to get to it). Alex is close to exploding now “Leah you’re talking nonsense!!” he screams so loud she can hear it over the phone. “Tell Alex to have a bit of respect” she suggests  coolly as he gurns and whines that it’s a ” total calamity”.

Luisa and Jason next test team-building activities such as walking about on planks and trying to jump. For this and two other activities (Skipping with a plank? Beating Brian from Accounts to death with a plank?) Luisa negotiates a £40 discount and pays £310. They saw you coming love.

Back at the house, Neil has appointed himself the trade union leader for Endeavour and presents a list of gripes and suggestions to Leah who appears to humbly aquiese to his demands. He puts himself forward as the motivational speaker for the end of the day, as he’s been a football coach, and Leah takes one look at his sparkling, eager weasly little eyes and decides resistance is futile.

Rebecca suggests paying for a professional motivational speaker, although Luisa thinks she could do it herself. Francesca inists she wants some quality in the event and it’s not all about profit, amusingly putting Luisa’s pretty nose well out of joint.

9am the next day and Myles is pleased to see their venue looks like a military academy (it reminds me of the army stronghold in 28 Days Later. Maybe they could get Seetec to provide unemployed plebs to dress up as zombies and charge across the lawn so Leah can get the bankers to shoot them down with the archery kit?

Neil and Myles wisely discuss how to “tailor” the activities to fit with the remit of “communication and listening skills” (oh the irony).

Natalie and Kurt are relegated to kitchen duties. “Food’s a big part of it” Kurt insists glumly. “It is SUCH a big part of it!” Natalie agrees, happy to hide behind a potato masher.

Similiarly Evolve as usual have stuck Jason and Rebecca on chef duties. “It’s the most effective use of our skills” Rebecca insists, like a fool. Jason doesn’t put a gloss on it but just seems genuinely proud to be “cleaning broccolli”. Aw.

Lastminute.com arrive but whilst they enjoy the complimentary choccy biccies, they’re confused as to what is going on as Francesca decides to wait until AFTER the tea is poured to tell them, and when she does they all get HOUSE on Buzzword Bingo as she witters on about hoping they get “a feeling of communication, teamwork, motivation, success in work, in yourselves and happiness” and Luisa for once is justified in making sneery faces at Jordan. Francesca tried to get some inspiration in there, suggesting the day will look at their childhood dreams and work with them.”I wanted to be a policewoman” she starts brightly, before trailing off slightly “I’m not a policewoman now, but err…”

Meanwhile Neil admonishes the senior bankers to call him “Sergeant Neil” and introduces them to Colonel (Kurtz?) Alex, natty in khaki and Rambo face-pain, who invites them to his “Officers Club” and couldn’t sound more sinister if he tried. The bankers are marched to play “Blind Croquet” which does force them to communicate as they direct their colleagues to shoot balls through hoops. Neil’s feeling pretty damn smug at their success so far “Hopefully Neil Clough again will save the day”. Oh dear, third person mentalism, and he was doing so well.  Neil’s hubris angers God and it rains, forcing Leah to restrategise with an indoor activity. This starts as a “conflict resolution exercise” until Myles and  Neil run out in the sumo suits that they clearly invested in anyway, and start grinding against each other in the bizarre and ever so wrong blubbery yellow wrestler outfits whilst the bankers smell bullshit and start rolling their eyes.

Luisa’s method of encouraging communication consists of her shouting “TALK TO EACH OTHER” at the Lastminute.commers as they do plank jumping.

It’s lunchtime and whilst Rebecca dishes out school dinners, over on Endeavour, Natalie’s feeling unappreciated “That guy hasn’t even touched his mashed potato Kurt, he’s missing out”.

After lunch, Jason bumbles through a “wine tasting class” with Rebecca explaining that it’s to help the Lastminute.commers suss out the “most expensive” wine (rather than explain how to taste or appreciate wine). When they ask why she spins them some yarn about how they “provide 5 star events” and how it’s “to do with costing and quality” (rather than communication then), and if that didn’t have them smelling a rat then Jason forgets which is the expensive wine anyhow (“Does anybody need a drink?). Result. The rest of the company do cupcake decoration with Luisa, and some trouble maker with shaggy hair asks Francesca how this fits into the theme or the business requirements, prompting her to launch into some spiel about “It’s about you having all these experiences and working out how those things are relevant to you”. He admits he “got bored” half way through her explanation and she looks daggers at him.

Leah’s team use the archery to help the bankers focus on their business goals, and Karren’s impressed. They finish with Neil doing a surprisingly decent motivational speech drawing on his dad getting cancer when he was a kid and his semi professional football career – and the bankers are hooked. If he doesn’t win this he should have a go at the X Factor. As the bankers applaud, Neil reckons they’ve got it in the bag.

Francesca meanwhile introduces the “UK’s leading motivational speaker” and she and Rebecca hug each other with pleasure as a balding man with a confident manner delivers a good, but impersonal speech, which Lastminute.com all decide is the best part of the day, although they still don’t really know what they’ll be “taking back to the office”.

In the boardroom, Leah admits Project Management wasn’t easy and to illustrate this Neil leaps in and grasses on her for having a vote then ignoring the results. Karren’s definitely got it in for Leah as she backs up Neil and has a go at Leah for turning up late to pitch and for the history idea (“Completely half arsed”. Ouch!). LordSugar worries that for a doctor “trained to diagnose” Leah is a bit of a useless ditherer.

Karren’s definitely on a strop in this boardroom as next she has a pop at Alex’s Colonel for being “a bit pantomime”. Alex thinks he used his skills well. “Bullying the delegates” Sugar asks, and Alex mutters more than half seriously that he hoped he was “getting the best out of my troops”.

Jordan describes Francesca’s management as “weak” and Luisa’s straight in “Yeah, I’d agree.”

Anyhow both teams got paid £5000 by their clients, expensive for shit team building but cheap for prime time product placement.

Endeavour spent £2170.50 but Barclays asked for a 25% refund due to the lack of rainy day contingency plans so the overall profit was £1579.50

Evolve spent £2654.19 and the client wanted over £1200 refunded, giving them a profit of only £1095.81

So Endeavour, lead by the very Fortunate Leah are sent to a luxury spa for pampering so we can learn the secret of Alex’s eyebrows (“I last had them done a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been plucking them ever since”). Sadly Neil doesn’t get his neck shaved, but his head does get swollen as Karren (who lurves him) points out that the client was very impressed by his work.

I’m surprised Evolve even have the direction to make it to the Bridge Cafe, where Jordan’s quick to point out that they lost by the cost of the motivational speaker, and he gives Rebecca a pointed look. Francesca’s determined that if she goes down it will be “in flames” and they return to the boardroom to learn that Lastminute.com (more irony) felt like they were being blagged (never blag blaggers). Francesca stupidly blethers on about the creativity and “coming together and making things” that they were engendering, until Karren scathingly asks “Do you believe what you’re saying? Do you hear it?” and Sugar suggests she’s “swallowed the Harvard Business Book”.

Luisa points out she didn’t think much of the motivational speaker that Rebecca’s blamed for wasting money on, and points out she wanted to speak, even though she thinks “a lot of empty words are spoken in the corporate world” and that “people were sniggering” at Francesca’s corporate-speak (well Luisa was) and “maybe people don’t want to hear a load of crap”. Karren iciliy suggests that Luisa might find that a “rough attitude when you’re in front of a bank asking for money for your business”. Ooh!

LordSugar asks if Jason is a waste of space despite being an “awfully nice fellow”, which is practically putting a sign up on Jason’s head saying “PICK THE DAFT POSHO”, but somehow Francesca accepts Jason’s explanation that he “did alright in my own little remit” and she brings Luisa and Rebecca back to the boardroom and Jason & Jordan scuttle gratefully home. Luisa immediately suggests this is a personal vendetta, but Francesca argues that it’s down to Luisa’s “distaste for the corporate thing” which for me is the one decent thing about Luisa I’ve witnessed. Reading my thoughts LordSugar refers us to Luisa’s CV which actually states “I’m very unforgiving and if you push me I will flip” as though this is some sort of business skill.

Rebecca senses a way out and states Luisa was obsructive and argumentative prompting the lovely big haired cupcake tycooness to declare breezily that she “won’t flower around girls… I work better with guys”. I wonder why. “You’re either a pain in the arse or you’re with people who don’t know what they’re talking about” Lord Sugar decides. Why can’t it be both I wonder?

Somehow Francesca gets away with fucking up despite her corporate event background as Sugar turns tantalisingly towards Luisa (“Can I?” Sugar:”No!”) before predictably firing Rebecca. It’s always the quiet ones. “Thank you for the opportunity” she grovels before going out to twitch sadly on the sofa of regret whilst in the boardroom, Luisa’s card is proper marked (“I’ve got my eye on you”). In the taxi of “What if?” Rebecca confesses she’s in shock, before admitting she’s disappointed Lord Sugar didn’t get to see more of her abilities (not much point being shocked then Rebecca, unless you thought he was hiring a dinner lady).

Back at the house and Neil’s indefatigable: “There’s only nine more of you to get fired before I win” he declares cockily as the rest of the candidates marvel at his motivational abilities. For example motivating them all to want to kick his arse. He won’t win, although I’m suspecting a glorious second place.

Next week the candidates are selling camping gear. It could get intense. (sorry).

 

Liking:  Jordan (despite the stupid trousers and tattoo), Jason
Impressed by but not having the love for: Neil
Finding Amusing: Alex
A bit bored by: Leah, Francesca, Myles, Natalie
Disliking:– Kurt
Makes me go all hatey:- Luisa
At Ease Soldiers: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca

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