Christ on a wobbly segue, but Week 9 of The Apprentice is a massive festival of dullness, and I almost miss having James to shout abuse at within the first 5 minutes. A BBC montage of diseased pigeons, binmen and early morning radio shows is juxtaposed against Lord Sugar’s car heading ominously towards the candidates’ house like a really shit Jaws. Sadly when Sugar knocks at the door, it’s not opened by a cross-dressing moth enthusiast serial killer a la Silence of the Lambs, but by a cuddly eager Columbian self referencing lawyer a la Felipe. (edit – I’ve been informed Solomon opened the door, clearly I was opening wine at this point in proceedings).

Whilst Sugar stands around looking angry amongst the Argos furnished living room, the candidates panic. Sanjay wants anyone but him to “offer him a cup of tea or something”, whereas Daniel’s fears are more primal (“If he was in here he would have destroyed me” – ooer!).

Anyhow this task is all about the negotiation. The candidates have a list of 9 items that have been purchased in this exact same bloody task over the last decade. The candidates who purchase the most of these items in 1 day for the least amount of money will win. Both teams have £1000 spending money, a business directory and a map of London, and a suicide capsule.

Here are the dread items of doom:-

Nigella seeds
Rough cut diamond
Oud perfume
Belfast sink
kosher chicken
Anatomical skeleton
1 metre of old rope
1 kilo of delicious scallops
And fucked if I know the last one

So after Mark getting an extra hour to check the cut of his suit in the mirror, he’s ready for the power struggle of team Tenacity, where Daniel puts himself forward (London knowledge, not quite on a taxi driver’s level), Mark puts himself forward (Lived in London for 2 whole years) and Katie throws her hat into the ring because she doesn’t want Daniel and Mark to waste all their time willy waving. However Daniel (“desperate to be Project Manager”) manages to convince Mark to back him, and Mark works out that he can blame it all on Daniel oif it goes wrong and accepts. Daniel immediately disappoints by making good decisons; making Katie sub-team leader with Mark, divvying up which products to get and taking Felipe along with him to look for diamonds in an attempt to heal their rift from last week. Daniel then blows it all by talking down to Mark and Katie and acting in an utterly deluded stylee, but once he’s on the road the transformation into a positive bloke is astonishing.

Meanwhile on Summit, Sanjay decides that after the last board room bollicking, he needs to put his “money where his mouth is” (Of course if he had money he wouldn’t be mouthing off on the shoe) and nobody else steps forward so he goes with what seems like the sensible plan of staying put and planning out the day – for two and a half blimming dithery hours – after which they all run about like headless Kosher chickens. Roisin quickly decides she wants to find the diamond (being an ice queen), and London girl Bianca suggests Hatton Garden-, but Roisin decides she would do better outside of central London, and Bianca pulls a face like mine would be (although she fails to suggest phoning around to get the best deal, so I am still unimpressed).

Daniel uses his inbuilt Jewdar to detect the cheapest Kosher chicken in Golders Green (Yes it’s impressive he remembers the name of Jacob the chicken seller, but it’s only getting him a 4 quid chicken). ” We’ve got this!” Daniel fistpumps, with one item in the bag.

Bianca makes an appointment with Declan to buy a Belfast sink, but Katie from Tenacity is already at the scrap yard with Declan (only Irishman in London) and, with Mark’s passive aggressive prompting manages to haggle him down from a mighty £80 to a puny £75. Mark and Katie then tell Declan to fuck over the other team, but when Bianca arrives she manages to haggle him down to £60 for an admittedly shit but still acceptable sink.

It’s skeleton time and Solomon cant say anatomical (“antomonical”) which makes me love him a little bit.
Whilst Sanjay is idly cruising, Roisin spots another skeleton in a shop display, but it has a name (“Adam”) and therefore won’t be sold for less than £2,000, no matter how eagerly Sanjay measures it.

Felipe spots a “build your own anatomical paper skeleton” and convinces Daniel that it meets Lord Sugar’s specifications (“I’m a lawyer”). It costs £14, and when Daniel calls Mark and Katie, they heartily approve, although they may just be thinking this will be the best way to get rid of Daniel. “As long as it meets the specifications it saves us pennies everywhere…” Mark semi-enthuses. An over-riding image of the peace and love between Daniel and Felipe occurs as they rush across The Strand, hand in hand. Deal done, Felipe is enormously proud of his purchase (“£14 when we could have spent £200!”). Daniel insists it’s down to him “thinking outside of the box” as they look happily at the thin flat pack skeleton box. Mark does a knowing look as he gets the triumphant phone call in; “I hope it’s the right one”. In the words of that well known feminist comedian Dapper Laughs “He knows”.

Sanjay struggles to spell out the word “kosher”, so you sense he gives up on the chicken. Next Roisin advises he checks out “fish and chip shops” for scallops (as she’s Irish I wonder if she means potato scallops like I used to get from the chippy as a kid in Liverpool), but he just slaps her down. I’m just astonished that nobody suggests Billingsgate Market.

It’s diamond time next and Daniel appoints Felipe his wing man at Hatton Garden (“You come in with the story”). Daniel tells the hard arsed diamond seller man that he is “looking to get married” (stupid as anything involving weddings costs at least 3 times as much) However he haggles the jeweller man down from £215 to £175 apparently by virtue of being Jewish. UKIPers go all frothy about global conspiracies.

A few doors away, however, Roison haggles the furiously masturbating jewellery man down from £145 to £50 by virtue of being blonde (just like the jewellery man’s wife) and him being fat, sweaty and so desperate for female attention that he pretends he has a blonde wife. “The guy was just putty in his hands” gushes Karen. Sanjay can’t believe it (“You basically just stole that diamond off him like in a heist movie”). UKIPers cheer that the pretty blonde done well, until someone tells them that, being Irish, she is technically theForeign too.

Solomon and Bianca have found an anatomical (or as Solomon can’t help saying “antomological “) skeleton called Steve, which Solomon plays with whilst Bianca sorts out the deal. Sanjay decides that because he has been so skill allowing Roisin to do the diamond deal, that poor Bianca and Solomon have to do the rest of the work.

Mark and Katie find Scrooboius Pip supplying Oud from a dodgy looking block of flats which Mark decides looks like “the North” and Katie haggles the supplier down from £60 to £48, but Mark decides to blame Katie for not getting a lower price. Meanwhile in a posh shop, Sanjay gets some Oud for £100 and disappointingly nobody decides to call Lord Sugar’s bluff and bring in a tentacle faced Dr Who alien character.

Sanjay decides to wimp out and call his team back to avoid the latecomer fine, whilst invoking the “no chicken” fine, but unfortunately Solomon has refused to be “beaten by one kosher chicken” (kinky!) and sets out on his own unsuccessful mission, meaning that Sanjay’s team turn up late and without all the items. “I’ve been decisive and clear” insists Sanjay. Bianca disgrees, unless he meant clearly a twat.

Back in the boardroom and Dan’s team all get in on time with all the items (according to Columbian law), prompting Felipe to state that “Daniel became a man” with this task and Katie to comment that Daniel was “much more positive” and “turned over a new leaf”. It’s all a lie, he’s still mental, you fools.

Sugar is in full on grouch mode and gets shitty over Tenacity’s free “old rope” being more than a meter (“You couldnt find a pair of scissors?” ). So it’ no surprise he’s pissed off by their free interpretion of what constitutes an anatomical skeleton. It looks pretty bleak when the flat pack is contrasted against Steve the Skeleton, but Daniel maintains “We tried to think outside the box”.

Bianca claims she manages to turn Sanjay’s strategy of staying back to organise plans but missing the first contact with retailers to her advantage “as a point of negotiation”, but sadly Sanjay failes to be so positive whilst explaining how Summit failed to get 4 items (“Erm the kosher butchers didn’t have a whole chicken!”)

Anyhow it’s scores time:-
Summit – spent £483.97 – with their missing items and late fines the total is £644.97
Tenacity – spent £347.59 which with the inceridibly petty rope fine becomes £399.59
However Sugar intervenes and disallows the “skeleton” in a massively suspicious and arbitrary manner- adding an extra £310

So Summit get to go on a treat I fail to notice through my outrage at this arbitrary punishment.

Tenacity get to go to the cafe of Despair, where Katie angrily blames it all on Daniel and Felipe (“We could have walked this “).
Back in the boardroom, Sugar pretends he’s “really really angry about this” whilst being almost impressed that Daniel’s team did return with all items. The big issue is the skeleton, and Felipe rather nobly claims responsibility for this , although Nick notes that Daniel backed away from responsibility, which gives Mark the chutzpah to blame Daniel for not haggling better for his diamond.

With some faux reluctance Daniel brings Felipe back into the boardroom, followed by a more feisty Katie who thinks Daniel is just responding to her calling him a massive brooding dick the night before (of course he is). Still Mark gets to go home unscathed. Why don’t he and Daniel just get a fricking room?

Lord Sugar tries to help Daniel with a football analogy (it’s the only language Daniel understands). “It’s like one of your players missing a penalty four times” Sugar taunts Daniel over his boardroom appearances, but Daniel constructs a half-decent response” (“That player still has to step up.. and I’ve grown as a person.”), but Sugar won’t play football analogy keepy uppy any longer (“I’m not free therapy for the deluded”), and he still predictably ends up just firing poor Felipe because he hates lawyers. Especially smart arse ones. And this is a massive fix.

In the Taxi of Doom Felipe explains everything that “Felipe is capable of”, and it’s nice to see Mark’s hacky face at Daniel’s return.

Next week the candidates design and market desserts. Cos that’s nothing like designing and marketing soft drinks is it, you boring witless repetitive 5 more weeks to go of this producer gits? Oh.


Moaning Minny

Silly and deluded


Bit of a tit


Bye Bye:-
Chiles, Robert, Scott, Lindsay, Nurun, Steven, Stepford Sarah, Ella Jade, Jemma, Pamela, Lauren, James, Felipe

Tips for the Final:
Roisin, Katie, Solomon and bloody Mark.