Week 8 dawns and the contestants are summoned to the Rolf Harris wing of the Museum of Childhood, where amongst Britain’s largest collection of kiddies things they are greeted by Nookie Bear himself, or Lord Sugar as they must call him, who informs them that parents spend £2billion per year appeasing their malcontent offspring with overpriced parties. Thus they are given a client each to hold a “birthday party to remember” for their sprogs. I’m already envisaging a “Carrie” style bloodbath by the end of the episode. Anyhow the teams are allowed to up-sell, but the clients can demand their money back if they think that the party’s shit or if any children are maimed or permanently traumatised in some way. Most profit wins.
As Selina works in events, she’s made leader of Connexus (Scott, Brett, Vana) and also gets to pick someone from Versatile to balance up her team, so goes for Richard, who immediately starts behaving like this makes him Connexus’s very own independent consultant. “I don’t have children and I don’t like them” Selina declares worryingly before going in to meet 13 year old Nicole and her mum Melissa for “information gathering” which involves Selina coldly barking ideas (“karaoke? Pole-dancing? Netflix and chill?”) at the poor confused child and totally failing to ask the kid what she likes or make eye contact above her fricking notepad with her clients. Even Claude thinks she’s scary. Eventually they interrogate the child into admitting she quite likes sport and the notebook’s closed and they’re off out to plan a “Mini Olympics” party (complete with a terrifying Mr Motivator style drill sergeant to really get those teenage girls – of whom we know only one possibly likes sport – into a celebratory mood), whilst significantly forgetting to take the mum’s contact number to ask any questions during the planning day. Scott and Brett agree to host the mini Olympics day and having failed to argue the price down by 25% they get a slight discount and agree to pay £169 for the day.
As Gary’s business plan is an events company he is asked to lead Versatile (Charleine, David, Joseph) for the second week in a row. Gary’s keen to listen to the clients expectations and Joseph in particular does a great job of chatting relaxedly to young Jamal (“What sort of cake do you want? Chocolate? Excellent!”) and he manages to push the idea of making up party bags for the kids for an extra charge. Jamal’s parents Julie and Yusef are at pains to point out that Julie has a severe nut allergy and if she even looks at a nut or thinks about a Snickers bar it will probably kill her. What could possibly go wrong? Gary at least has listened to the family’s wishes and goes for an outdoor adventure park in Essex. David insists that if they need someone to host the activities he worked at kids camps in the states (The “camp America” connection explains David’s puppyish enthusiasm) and was a “ropes course instructor” (bondage freak) and he “IS that professional to lead this” so they argue the cost down from £260 to £220 (but not the 20% off that Gary was after).
Scott’s just happy not to be PM again, he still has a thousand yard stare from last week.
Richard takes COMPLETE financial control of the task and wants to prevent overspending which he does by sucking any potential joy out of proceedings. Selina’s keen to provide afternoon tea for the girls, but he insists on a cheapo BBQ and refuses to budge even when for no good reason he and Vana are sent to a “top London restaurant” to learn how to make macaroons. So burgers it is. If she can’t have posh cakes on tiered plates, Selina thinks the BBQ should be a posh one, but Richard dogmatically wants to keep it simple. So shit burgers it is then. Whilst Richard goes to Iceland, Selina decides to up-sell nice party bags for the kids, but realises (duh duh DUH) that she doesn’t have mum’s phone number so just gambles that they’ll want the party bags and buys lots of shiny girls things to put in them and plans to charge a tenner per bag. Richard isn’t going to be happy.
Charleine and Joseph are sent to stock Versatile’s party bags, and she tries a bit of gratuitous shit stirring by letting Joseph know that David said he needs to prove himself as a candidate. Therefore Joseph’s unimpressed when David says his chosen party bag items (glo sticks, “tropical style” sunglasses – only £6.50 cost per bag) sound tacky. David insists Gary calls Jamal’s parents to check they’re happy with the party bags, and somehow Gary convinces Yusef that £9 per bag of shite is fair (he was after £15 per bag – the cheeky get!). He also persuades the parents to go for 10 personalised T shirts at £17 each. What the actual fuck?
Richard orders cheapo BBQ condiments online (“these are the tiny little compromises that add up to winning”) whilst pleading with Selina to stop spending money when she asks him to get some glitter to add to the party bags. God he must be a barrel of laughs to go to the pub with.
Charleine mentions blithely that the chocolate cake is being made with items that “MAY contain nuts”, but “everything says that nowadays”. Apart from nut free products you insane murderous hair witch!
It’s Parteh Time and in Essex, “They call me Gary the Giraffe” (“cos I’m a bit tall like that”) and David manage to bring a fun element of controlled fear into proceedings by reeling off a huge health and safety list of things the kids aren’t allowed to do because they might be dangerous. (Karren: “It feels like a corporate away day”). Wheee!
At the Lea Park “mini Olympics” Selina asks Nicole and friends ”how many of you guys here are sporty?” and NO hands go up (the kids are THAT lazy). “OK cool!” Selina intones blandly as she appears to abide by the motto that children should be not seen and not heard. Brett is dressed as a fat referee and injects some much needed humour (“I let my hair down once… and it went”) to general dismay and tumbleweed. Whilst he does get the kids to apparently enjoy competing in tug of wars etc., Melissa the mum looks distinctly unconvinced.
Back in Essex the mood lightens as the kids attempt to drown Gary and David in a ditch. However Gary relays Charleine’s “may contain nuts” message to the parents and manages to completely freak them out by suggesting that the cake actually contains Nutella (what are you saying Gary? Are you mental?) without appearing to notice that not only does Nutella the product contain nuts, but also the brand name fecking well does! Afeared of going all blue and wheezy then stiff, Julie hides outside on a bench whilst Karren insists Gary tries to put Yusef’s mind at rest, but he just makes it worse by being completely clueless and noncommital, until Yusef demands to see the packaging of products used in the cake.
Both team’s have a party bus. Selina’s is pink, and Brett and Scott are on hand to massacre “Hit me baby one more time”. It shouldn’t work but the girls seem to enjoy it.
Gary’s party bus is grey. Enough said. Jamal and his buddies sit on it looking uncomfortable until David decides to “get the party started” by demonstrating how the glo sticks (from Joseph’s party bags) work. Now the kids look bored and patronised and Yusef begs them to just play some music and Gary uselessly looks to David for help. Cue David singing the hokey cokey whilst sat down and waving glo sticks about. Now the kids look bored, patronised and excruciatingly embarrassed, so at least it’s livened up eh? “Do you like that?” David asks Jamal eagerly. “No” comes the emphatic response.
It’s nearly 5pm and still no BBQ as Richard bosses Vana about in a kitchen from hell and she does mad things like putting knackered bits of burger bun on top of the salad bowls (“to keep it fresh”). Crazy yanks!
Versatile take their kids to the beach and Charleine shouts at them and makes them run about. Meanwhile David divides his time between tampering some more with Joseph’s party bags, adding sweets and toy guns to replace the glo sticks, and making T-shirts using that shit sticky iron on stuff that (in my experience) ALWAYS fucks up the T-shirts. It also means that the words “Happy birthday” end up transferred backwards onto the horrid creased sloppy T-shirt fronts. £17 each remember. Somehow this has all cost Versatile £175. Eh?!!! Yusef quite rightly declares them to be T-SHITs and refuses to pay. The party bags are also unsatisfactory and Gary has to drop the price to £6 per bag to stop Gary blubbing. “We’re making a loss” Gary sighs.
Selina gets thoroughly burnt when Melissa says she didn’t want goody bags. “B but they cost us £10 each” Selina’s lip trembles, but Melissa is adamant that her “instinct is to say no”. Connexus are having a cake crisis of their own as it’s too hot to ice. Brett suggests they put it in the freezer, but it’s Richard’s kitchen and he’s not listening (“You are constantly moaning about the cake!”) and Vana decides she’s had enough (“Richard made me feel like a waitress”). Richard still thinks his tightwad party has offered “good value”, but worries that if the parents want refunds it would cut into “the savings I’VE been pushing for”. He’s such a team player!
Back in the boardroom, Selina is relieved that Richard was irritating as “the task is about numbers and if he gave me creative rein I may have wanted to book unicorns” (you’d be lucky to get fricking corn plasters out of Richard, love). She’s asked if she was happy choosing Richard in the end. “Yeah VERY happy” she snaps brittle and unconvincingly.
David insists that he “managed to engage all the children”, but Sugar reckons Versatile’s party sounded like an Ofsted inspection. Although Karren pointedly reveals that “Gary had the clients contact details” (Miaow! Take that Selina! How dare you be a woman in this boardroom!). David admits “WE made a few mistakes” with transferring the photos onto the T-shirts (it’s always “WE” when it’s just your mistakes on this show), but he tries to successfully transfer some blame at least by whining about Joseph’s party bags (Joseph “You didn’t offer any solutions”). The cake of death also gets a mention.
Anyhow results are in – and Versatile spent £1150, but the client only paid £1546 so they made £396 profit. Connexus spent only £1051 thanks to Richard and the client paid £1665 making £614 profit. Richard looks insufferably smug and Connexus get to go snowboarding whilst he waves his business willy about (“I can’t remember what it’s like to lose..”) and Vana rolls her eyes about (“I think he’s on a power trip” – NO SHIT!).
In Sad Café, Gary surprises nobody by telling David he’s coming back into the boardroom (Gary: “David left a sour taste in the clients eye” – ugh!).
Joseph’s narked that Gary scared the customer about the cake of death, and will never forgive David for taking the glo sticks out of the party bag (he doesn’t let this lie throughout the subsequent boardroom). He has also worked out the client “was pissed because the T shirts were SHIT!”
Back in the boardroom and Gary’s again castigated for giving the clients an air of uncertainty and possible doom over the death cake and it’s revealed the clients asked for £150 off for the lack of entertainment on the big grey party HELL BUS.
Gary chooses David to come back in as warned, but gets all dithery over his second choice (“I need someone to say who is accountable for the cake and party bags” Charleine: “We did it all together, sorry Gary the decision’s yours”), until Sugar has to go all Paxman and force Gary to make a decision (“I’ll bring David and Joseph… unless there’s any further feedback…” everyone else: “Oh do get ON with it”). Charleine starts legging it blithely for the door, but is checked by Sugar’s “Where are you going?” and sits back down guiltily (“Oh! Do I not? Oh er sorry…”). Ha! Take that! Sugar decides to bring all 4 back in to punish Charleine for presuming she’d got away scot free.
Gary’s slagged for poor decision making, but he reckons he must be ok as he spent 6.5 years working for a “major retailer”. “With the greatest respect, massive corporate organisation people walk around with dustbin lids on their arses not making decisions” Sugar suggests mysteriously.
Gary admits he “felt very exposed” when asked a simple question about whether his cake would kill the birthday boy’s mother. Joseph only takes 50% of the responsibility for cake gate (I’m unsure why he needed to take ANY as it wasn’t really a cake of death after all), but he thinks David should go (Charleine’s stirring seems to be working well).
David tries to justify his T-shirt and party bag mishaps whilst Charleine yells meanly over him until Sugar has had enough (“Can you just chill out… let him talk. If you have criticism you can tell him afterwards”) and when she leaps in again for a delicious second I think Sugar is going to sack her on the spot (“Interrupting in the manner you’re doing and shouting loudly is something I don’t like”), but sadly he lets it go, and whilst being concerned about Gary failing at an events task and being “the big corporate man”, he sacks David for the £175 wasted on T-shits. Gary and the others get another chance, Charleine’s voice cracking with emotion as she thanks the walnut faced peer.
In the Taxi of Tears, David whinges that everyone ganged up on him. Aww!
Back at the house, they’re having a barbecue of all things, and bizarrely they seem to be allowing Richard to cook. There’s jolly japes as Gary hides at the back and leaps out when everyone thinks he’s gone (Scott is overjoyed bless him!), and then pretends he was all cool and decisive in the board room. Selina is delighted to hear of Charleine’s presumptuous card being well and truly marked.
Next week the candidates have to sell dream homes for big money. There’s fights, there’s boardroom “shocks”, but not too many as there’s still too many people in the “process”.
Not convinced by
Dan, Aisha, Jenny, Ruth, Natalie, Elle, Mergim, April, Sam, David
My Tips for the Final
Joseph, Charleine, Scott
Looking Foward to
More unwitting campness from Brett, who this week sat about bitching about the other candidates whilst wearing the world’s fluffiest bathrobe.