Archives for category: 2013

It’s finally Week 12 and thanks to not checking my TV times I missed a full 45 minutes of tonight’s highly anticipated Apprentice Final. However it’s easy enough to piece together events from the final minutes I caught of our remaining candidates’ efforts to start up their business plan ideas.

Face Nazi Leah is robotically professional and comes up with “Dr Nick” (“Hi everybody!”) with the scary strapline “Turning Back Time on Your Skin” (because age is evil, eh kids?). She manages not to make someone’s head explode with an over enthusiastic injection of poisoned pig fat and gzzt whirrs and clicks her way through the presentation with icy aplomb.

Lovely Jason ends up on Luisa’s team by default. Therefore she is doomed. Luisa gets cute cupcake girl branding but falls apart at the pitch, reading her cue cards with the faltering delivery of a six year old trying to ask her teacher if she can go wee wee. She blubs disconsolately afterwards and gets a hairy necked hug from Neil Clough Saves The Day.

Back in the boardroom the Face Nazi gets full backing of her team (especially the essentially shallow and oily Myles) but Sugar worries she doesn’t listen because Leah doesn’t go with his advice to call the business “Dr Leah’s” (House of CyborgSex).

Karren thinks Leah’s “very bright” , but also reckons  Luisa understands business underneath “all the pink”. Nick just nods sagely.

The candidates are given a last chance to sway the Nookie Bear faced peer.

Luisa tries to seduce him with her understanding of business and “what makes profit”.

Leah just uses two little words “Extremely lucrative” which are hidden none too subtly amongst such waffle as “fantastic , unique…  dependable… trustworthy”. It’s also revealed she has an exit plan to sell off 9 clinics for £8 million after 5 years (as, she adds two more irresistable words, a “conservative estimate”).

Poor Luisa hasn’t even thought of an exit plan, and tries to bluff that she didn’t need one as she claims to be a market leader.

When Lord Sugar reveals he’s concerned as to Luisa’s other businesses, she’s a bit too quick to assuage his fears (“My shop looks after my.. I mean itself”), but he’s still harping on about her “game-playing” and now he’s also worried Luisa won’t listen to him either. Don’t worry Lord Sugar – nobody really listens anymore. Luisa reckons she has learned from the process that sometimes “it’s ok to shut…” (the fuck up) “your mouth”.

Sugar turns to Leah. Whilst he trusts her, he also knows “it’s a nasty world out there” (“Imagine a dartboard and I am the bulls-eye”) and worries that he’s cruising for a bruising should anything go wrong in the heady world of face-fiddling. Although the notion that people being made to feel that it’s necessary in the first place is the really bad thing doesn’t seem to occur to the gruff but loveable barrow monkey.

Leah smugly assures him that she would tell him to run a mile from anyone else setting up such a business “unless its me”.

So Sugar’s forced to choose between a morally dubious business with “amazing” profits if it’s run correctly and a “safe” cupcake business with so so profits. Hmmm!

Nick decides to speak up, asking Leah how stubborn she is. “I’m normally very compliant but am extremely passionate” Leah responds emotionlessly, as though she’s been programmed as a “basic pleasure model”. 

Sugar weighs up his choices yet again. So Luisa has a “business personality”but he’s “concerned about her 100% attention” . He trusts Leah’s “morals” and sees her as an expert in the field, but finds it very hard to choose her (“It boils down to where am I now at 66 years old – do I need another load of aggravation?”). However “on balance” the beardy ballsack’s mind is finally bloody made up , and by now it’s no longer surprising that “at the end of the day the devil in me has got to take the risk” (and the loot) – so he hires Face Nazi Leah, who almost looks human in the hire car of glory.

So we’re off to a strangely muted “You’re Hired” where everyone skirts cagily about the fact that a vain and greedy young woman encouraging body dysmorphia won the day.

Luisa faces the live audience first and apologises to Jason for her “disgraceful behaviour” whilst he forgives he like a bumbling Christ.

Leah disingenuously tells Dara she is hoping to “regulate” this industry. Oh for fuck’s sake. “I’ve by no means left the NHS I’m so young I have 40 years to give the NHS” so why not give it them you greedy shallow cow, rather than taking their training and buggering off to make an easy non-essential fortune in a nice pastel coloured clinic pandering to the fears of unhappy people. At this rate I’m frankly surprised David Cameron isn’t in the audience applauding warmly. This is our future people. The best chance your nan might have of getting a hip replacement is if she forks out for some collagen implants first.

So that’s that. Face Nazi Leah is hired and we can expect Lord Sugar to turn up next year with a silky soft head the size of the moon as his bollock like facial creases have been ironed out by his lovely blonde replicant assistant. Things can never be the same again. Apart from the fact that as usual next year will inevitably be more awful.

So long suckers.

 

Winner: Leah

Bye bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca, Kurt, Natalie, LovelyJason, Alex, Myles, Jordan, Neil, Francesca, Luisa

 

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Week 11
8am in the penultimate week and Sugar warns the candidates that they have one day to prepare to face his slavering attack hounds (or business peers) in the dreaded Interview Stage. Huzzah!

Business analyst Jordan says he’s looking forward to letting Lord Sugar know about his shady third man. Is it the bloke who makes the sandwiches or maybe his dad?

“I’m very passionate about my business plan” drones Leah dully.

The following day they head off to the Institute of Directors clutching brown paper envelopes full of their dreams (and their business plans) and Lord Sugar greets them accompanied by the staccato parping of satanic horns. Sugar claims he needs to know he’s getting the right caliber of person, before sending the candidates in for a savaging from the ever mean Claude Littner, the ever irritating Mike Soutar, the ever fragrant Margaret Mountford and the brand new interviewer Claudine Collins who appears to be a female clone of Claude but in a bad wig from the Coronation Street make-up department.

Dr Leah’s business plan is for a chain of none surgical “facial aesthetics” clinic, which would profit massively from hordes of insecure, vulnerable types longing for a loving injection of poison to make their lives “happier”. Yes I think Dr Leah is evil. Craggy Mike Soutar asks about treatment and she offers to fill his wrinkles in using an icing bag full of piglet spleens and a hammer or something. Claude claims to be unimpressed by her business plan and admonishes her for speeding through her facts and figures about rental and hiring doctors and nurses to staff her own private Face Hut and fuck off the NHS. Leah insists she has a “combination of business flair and medical excellence” (and no soul). Margaret asks Leah why she’s leaving a full-time A&E job to work for Lord Sugar and Leah says plainly “I need the money” (to be fair if she really does work FT A&E she probably needs the sleep as well). Claudine points out that Leah comments on her looks constantly (apparently she even said she was prettier and had more “voluminous” locks than her fellow contestants) and Leah responds that this is normal for a 24 year old evil Irish face tampering fembot and that she is actually very “ethical” (she probably thinks this equates to buying conditioner at The Body Shop).

Claude is immediately suspicious of Neil’s online based one-stop estate agency which allows vendors to sell their homes directly on the grounds that he also wants estate agents to buy into the site for the privilege of losing their business. Neil insists “I have a chance” . “No you don’t!” snaps Claude, brusquely dismissing the business plan as “Ludicrous” and “Crap”. Neil seems indefatigable as he returns to the waiting area (“I would love to go in there again” ) but his neck beard appears to have wilted already under the bruising. Margaret thinks it’s a bad idea too and Mike Soutar tries desperately to get Neil to drop it, but he won’t listen and it’s concluded that he’s too headstrong to see sense. Claudine decides to ignore his business plan and instead quiz him about his biggest regret in not succeeding at football and it all gets a bit teary as Neil explains he thinks he let his DEAD DAD down. “I’m sure he’d be very proud” Claudine gulps emotionally.

Margaret discusses Jordan’s role in the Oxford University (that explains that vase!) “Entepreneurs Society” and Jordan’s not backwards about bigging up his involvement, explaining that it was “like running your own business” (funny he should say that…) and that he helped a number of global companies got started and even personally built the building that the society met in. And so on. He charms Claudine by ranting on passionately about how he always felt he was “more intelligent than anyone else” and how he just wants to show what he can do by talking incessantly at people about how grate he is. She gives him a cool stare and after a pause announces “I’m gonna move on”. Haha. She’s got something of Gillian Anderson in the Fall about her as she further interrogates him about his online platform for hobbyists and brands to create mobile games “ (for which he claims he is the “creative visionary” with a merely technical partner; Claudine:”So you already have a partner?”) and it transpires that the co-founder of a company that Jordan claimed he started up reported that “Jordan just helped us with office space and running events”. “It comes across that you jump onto other people’s ideas” she accuses him, not unreasonably as he’s forced to admit that the only business he has ever run for himself was trading on ebay as a teenager. FAIL! Mike pulls Jordan up on his somewhat wanky claim that he can solve a rubiks cube in under 3 mins, and of course one is produced for Jordan to fumble haplessly with, before claiming that he made a mistake under pressure (yes he forgot to put someone elses’ pre-completed cube up his sleeve). Things go from bad to worse when Mike reveals that the company Jordan claims to be a co-founder of currently has not got his name listed anywhere at companies house and has two founders unrelated to Jordan or his imaginary partner. Jordan digests this bombshell before heading off to meet Claude. “Hello I’m Jordan”. “I know you are” Claude growls, adding “It transpires this isn’t your business”. “There’s three parts to answer” Jordan tries to argue a la Tony Bloody Blair, but Claude is having none of it (“You have no right to share part of a business you do not own”). Brilliantly the cheeky Tyrannosaurus limbed sod also states in his business plan that he’s “only prepared to yield 15.9% equity”. That’s if he wins a 50:50 partnership with Lord Sugar in a business that isn’t his. If you’re going to bullshit, bullshit big I guess. However Claude’s had enough “You have no right to be here.. you’re a parasite.. This interview is terminated” and Jordan scuttles off to cry in the waiting room, his hair gel still sizzling from the Claude treatment.

Francesca has started up a dance class and wants to turn it into a chain. Claude points out that after 10 years having self started in business she’s still very much in the same boat, and she doesn’t help herself by lacking the actual yearly numbers showing her business growing. She claims to “turn around” fifty or sixty thousand profit. “Hang on you can’t turn around profit” Claude slaps her down , adding that her puny figures don’t tally with the “5 million” she claimed to turn over on her application. Francesca does a “you got me” face and admits that the number five just came into her head. She emerges looking slightly sheepish, which cheers up Luisa no end “Was it bad? It was! It was worse wasn’t it?” “It wasn’t the high point of my career” Francesca admits to the smirking cupcake girl. Margaret quotes Francesca’s application answer to the question “what’s the most interesting thing about you?” (apparently it’s her “shoe collection”. I despair).

Disappointingly Luisa gets an easy ride from Claude who merely asks, seeing as she’s allegedly making mega bucks via her various baking related businesses “Why change your life? You’ve got it made”. Luisa does her best “hungry” face and retorts “Cos I always want more”. Margaret’s less impressed by the self-styled “Lady with a brain like Einstein” who actually got “C, D and E in her AS levels” and pulls Luisa up for harping on about everyone thinking she’s just all hair extensions and boob jobs just because she goes on about her hair and her boobs. Luisa claims that comment was just a joke. Margaret isn’t laughing; “Do you think its sensible to put tongue in cheek comments?” “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a bit of personality in business” Luisa comes back smartly. Mike thinks Luisa’s business plan about an online bakery sort of portal thing is “half baked” (oh I see what he did there. Sigh) and she admits that writing business plans isn’t her best skill, however she comes up with some great examples about small family businesses needing to modernise online, none of which sadly as Mike points out are mentioned in the business plan. Oops. Claudine manages to shit stir by hinting to Luisa that Francesca thinks she is a “game player” sending the flaky cake baker off to passive aggressively bitch in the waiting room and ding ding, annoyingly it’s time to go back to the boardroom once Leah has volumised her hair to the max in preparation.

Lord Sugar consults his minions for the low down and dirty on our hopefuls.

Luisa is seen as streetwise and bright, but also a bit of a spoilt child. However they all agree her business plan is actually viable. Margaret suggests Luisa wants Sugar’s “Black book of contacts”, which Sugar doesn’t particularly mind. “It’s the chequebook she wants!” quips Claude, not entirely joking.
Margaret and Claudine really like Francesca, and Margaret thinks she could have “identified a real craze” with the idea of dance studios in town centres (Margaret might have missed out on Zumba whilst she was studying Papyrus). “I’d be the Lord of the Dance” Sugar cracks grimly and fires his writers. Both the women respect Francesca as a “self starter” but Claude bursts the bubble by saying although she has experience she might not be able to do the sums or scale up.

Next Sugar asks about his beloved Cloughy and is horrified to hear that everyone thinks Neil’s business plan is a load of donkey poo. Claudine loves Neil’s passion and drive (and can’t bring herself to diss a man trying to please his dead dad), but Mike Soutar pisses on her parade by pointing out that this passion means Neil is incapable of admitting when he’s wrong. Lord Sugar declares this fatal flaw to be disappointing and looks a little bit mopey.

They give the low down on Leah, and Claudine, hardly the life and soul of the warmth party states that she found Leah “most cold”, although Mike and Claude found her credible and smart with “good margins”. So the men liked the blonde woman offering expensive de-uglification for the deluded. Funny that. But shock horror, Lord Sugar finally has a “concern about the moral side” and everyone shuts up and pretends to look thoughtful.

Finally Sugar asks wryly “What d you think of Jordan”. The responses are remarkably restrained (“I had to throw him out” – Claude, “He takes credit for other peoples successes” – Mike), but it’s clear the Oxbridge shortarse is toast.

Sure enough the candidates are called back into the boardroom and Lord Sugar starts on him with regards his phony business claims. Jordan of course has thought of an answer (“That’s not the case – it’s MY vision – I’ve had a gentleman’s agreement since the day I met this person”). Unfortunately it’s a shit answer (“Cut the crap already!”) and Sugar does the decent thing and fires him in disgrace to pout his way out of the building. Even the taxi of despair shuns him.

Luisa is asked about her three other businesses holding her back in their shared one but she’s not phased (“it’s only of benefit to you”). Francesca is accused of having “no sparks of brilliance” and I doubt her defence about not shouting and screaming is good enough. Sugar confides to Leah that “normally boffins are the worse people in the world for business” and somewhere poor lovely Tom Pellereau throws a nail file in disgust at the telly.

Annoyingly Karren takes the opportunity to start a “journey” narrative about Leah, claiming she’s learned a lot as she was such a mardy robotic cow at the start (and now she’s a face butchering mardy robotic cow) and Leah grasps gratefully at it. However Sugar asks her about the moral issue and she claims to be “confused” by the question (oh oh), adding “I’m legit. I genuinely care. I would turn people away if necessary”.

Sugar turns sadly to Neil; “I’m gonna be very honest. I’m bitterly disappointed with your business proposal. It don’t work. I am shocked. If I didn’t care about you (cough)..if I didn’t think you was any good I couldn’t care less”. Yes it’s true. He lurves the Clough. Neil is too busy blindly defending his proposal (“It’s not just off the back of a fag packet”) to see the bigger picture that if five respected business people have recently told you something won’t work, it’s best to drop it and suggest something else rather than continually harping on about how much you believe in it.

“I may as well put 250K into a slot machine” Sugar hints, adding “I would not have a bat in hells chance starting from scratch in this business. You’re the right man with the wrong plan. You’re one move away from it Neil”. Neil fails to make that move and Sugar has to go all “you are no longer my son” and despite admitting if this was for a job he would hire Neil tomorrow he fires the beardy over-assertive chipmunk “with regret” – and sheds a little tear from one of his Nookie Bear eyes.

In the taxi of despair poor Neil now has a tear in his eye and feels he’s left his family and wife down. I know the missus might have enjoyed another week without a dogmatic Northerner refusing to listen to her, but give yourself a break Neil.

Sugar discusses the last three with his henchies. Karren thinks Fran is stable and focused. So that’s her doomed for being boring. Nick thinks Leah is like a fast finishing race horse, but Sugar says he needs convincing that she understands “the severity of something going wrong”. It doesn’t seem to take much convincing (Leah “I won’t risk my registration on making a quick buck” – BUT THAT’S WHAT SHE’S DOING?) and he decides to take a chance on someone ending up like Cher’s son out of “Mask” and says she’s in the final at which she does a little whimper and her hair expands with sheer joy.

He asks Francesca how she would scale her business up and she unfortunately starts going on about “Village halls with 75 to 100 people in” causing him to raise her eyebrows and miss her blather about becoming a chain.

Sugar says it seems Luisa “wants her own way and is a game player” but to Luisa this is merely because she’s a “strong woman” (Don’t you love it when some women excuse bad behaviour with those words? Because I really don’t imagine genuinely strong women using the term). Luisa takes a gamble and claims that both the other candidates would describe her as a team player. Leah says “yes 100%”, Francesca hesitates gratifyingly before suggesting she thought Luisa was a game player early on, but now she’s a team player. Luisa nearly breaks her retina restraining herself from giving Francesca the evils.
Anyhow Francesca ends up getting fired as although “the dance studio has legs” (geddit) and she has “enthusiasm and drive to run ONE of these places” Sugar isn’t convinced it would scale up . Thus healthy dancing is rejected in favour of cake and Botox.

In the taxi Francesca is gutted, but feels proud that the final three was “all girls” as though it represented a blow for feminism rather than a blow dry to the death next week.

Next week’s Final task will be for them to launch their businesses. If Jason doesn’t reappear I’m sulking.

Liking: Nobody
Disliking: Leah, Luisa
Who will win: Luisa has to doesn’t she? I’m sure Leah will get offered a job by Jeremy Hunt or something.
Bye bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca, Kurt, Natalie, LovelyJason, Alex, Myles, Jordan, Neil, Francesca

Week 10 dawns at 6am,as Leah, all hair and pout, gathers everyone in the sitting room immediately for a message from Lord Sugar. Wow he’s on their telly and everything, as he has to go off on a Johnny Foreigner Jolly. In the meantime he reverts to his barrow boy roots by setting them the task of growing a business in 48 hours by buying stock with £150 to sell on market stalls the first day and moving the best sellers to a shop for day 2.

We’re back to girls (Evolve= Luisa, Francesca, Leah) versus boys (Endeavour=Myles,Neil, Jordan), so surely the girls are thoroughly screwed. However Luisa now TOTALLY thinks like they have “totally something to prove to those stupid boys”.

Myles wants to PM and Neil keeps tactically quiet, despite the fact that Myles thinks a stall is something that an idiot does to a Ferrari. On Evolve both Leah and Luisa nominate themselves to lead but Luisa wins the vote as “obviously” she has “three retail businesses”. Immediately Luisa suggests fashion because it’s like totally “on trend”.

As the girls go off in search of “quantity, quantity and quantity” of fashion tat (Luisa “Beanie hats are really in!”, Leah “Oh really, I thought they were more 1998”) to “stack high and sell cheap” the boys dither about a choice of products. Jordan suggests “greetings cards”. Myles thinks “teapots are cool”. “Have you guys made a decision?” snaps Karren Brady several lifetimes later. “Just give us a couple of minutes” Myles pleads lamely before resignedly choosing “homeware”. “We just need to choose 2 or 3 products and see what happens” Neil froths, but Myles already looks beaten (“Yeah..”) and decides to look to “glean interesting pieces” in East London, honing in on some overpriced Franklin Mint recreation tupperware boxes priced at £11.50 to trade and retailing at £25 like some clueless, smarmy embryonic Paul Whitehouse clone. With only 16 overpriced ceramic serial killer yellow rubber gloves, notepads (yes still ceramic. For fuck’s sake) and butter dishes, the boys are for some insane reason not doing all that well (Myles: “They don’t really wanna know do they?”)

Meanwhile Jordan stresses that Myles has only bought expensive posh ceramics and plumps for cheapo greetings cards. He turns up like the cavalry, but before long is forced to flog loads to a newsagent for a £25 profit. He rushes off incredibly slowly to get the cards and as a result fails to get any more crap ceramics, leaving Myles and Neil on a fairly empty stall.

Meanwhile the girls sell shed loads of cheap hats and Luisa sends Francesca to buy more.

Despite Jordan having spent hours getting the cards sorted for a poxy £25 profit, Myle now sends him to buy candles. Cue Jordan poncing about getting the life story of the candle suppliers for a day or two.

The candidates get their shops, with Luisa deciding that “East Side Fasion” should stick with what sold well the previous day. However they allow Francesca to take a punt on some cute overpriced designer dresses. She asks if they can get them for £25, the woman selling them says she can do them for £27. Francesca accepts and I’m not sure whether this is a fistpump or a NOOOOOOO moment. However no amount of Luisa namedropping Pixie Lott will shift these shifts at £65 a pop and she ends up having to try to flog them for £40 as “vintage style”.

The boys shop (“Casa Unique”) looks particularly blank, although it’s bare red walls have a nice minimalist abbatoir chic which Karren finds “so unenticing”. Myles and Neil agree it looks “awful”. “We need to get creative” Myles declares as he skips around the shop uselessly flailing. The evil looking ceramic glove dominates the window display, or at least it would if an increasingly frantic Myles wasn’t stood on the verge of tears in front of it.

Meanwhile the girls sell shit loads of hats and scarves and I’m sorry but the edit would have to be really bloody clever for them not to win this by miles (sorry Myles).

Somehow Neil manages to sell some of the horrid overpriced crap whilst Myles hovers looking bereft. Jordan eventually returns from his quest for candles and reveals some worryingly blindly metrosexual tendancies when Myles suggests that two candles for £25 is too expensive (Jordan “They’re STATEMENT CANDLES”. Despite this clear warning, Neil hints (without taking personal responsibility) that Myles should send Jordan to gamble on buying a “high ticket item”.

Given the dress fail, Luisa sends Francesca to “diversify” with erm yet more hats and scarves. Nick Hewer is impressed however by her retail skills.

Jordan learns about the history of ceramics before returning with a £79 “Zsa Zsa” vase (retail £190) which looks like a grey version of the eggs out of alien but is meant to resemble tulip flowers. Karren thinks it’s a “big risk” to try to overtake the girls. However, as the diminutive Jordan has bought it, it’s not that big. “It’s not as big as I thought” Neil moans when he looks at it closely (he first saw it in Jordan’s arms presumably). Myles is a “bit disappointed” so tonight it’s hard to tell the difference. “I don’t know what they expected” Jordan flounces “I think it’s really pretty”. He’s dispatched to try to flog it to mad people in independent shops and is running pretty close to browbeating an unconvinced looking hippy lady, but to try to keep us in insane suspense we’re taken back to the Board Room.

Predictably our favourite Beardy Bollock faced peer harks yet again to his umble origins before establishing that all the girls are happy with Luisa. Nick was impressed with Luisa’s £370+ worth of sales but Karren jumps him to trump him with Neil’s £470+. Why don’t you just MARRY Neil, Karren?

Myles is mocked for going for “high end designer bespoke pieces”. All 16 of them. The boys look a bit sheepish and Myles admits the shop looked “embarrassing”.

Anyhow it’s scores time:-

Endeavour made £298.83 cash and were left with £251 giving total assets of £553.26

Evolve made £393 cash, stock was £415.55 so Total assets were £809.05

The girls are sent to The Cube pop up restaurant to be fed by a Michelin chef and hang out looking like Charlie’s Angels.

The boys tuck into recriminations in the cafe of doom, where Jordan is convinced the other boys sound stupid (no understanding of ceramics eh?) blaming him for the task failure.

Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar suggests that Myles has “no clue about retailing” and Myles manages to confuse retail and markets. Jordan’s vase is produced as evidence, causing confusion and terror all about. “Wha..wha.. is this?” gasps Sugar. Jordan replies smugly “It’s a vase Lord Sugar and it’s a very unusual and unique vase”. Whilst Lord Sugar agrees it may have been all well and good for arty farty types, Jordan “stands by” his “product” (eh?) , even though he failed to sell it to the hippy, and Sugar gives him an unreconstructed none vase buying “You are a massive bender” look. “What looks bad is you sat here still saying you like that vase”, Myles snipes. Neil vacillates between blaming Jordan and Myles, but is confident in his own results having sold £470 worth of cack.

Myles boasts that he is used to selling to a “luxury client based in Formula 1” which morphs into a “Luxury brands marketing agency” when Sugar quizzes him. “It all sounds lucrative” Karren sighs (that’ll be the word luxury), and Myles confesses that there aren’t “great margins” in the current business. Oops.

argues he’s all about “Innovation creation and operation” (and bullshit). “If you talk long enough you’ll convince yourself” Sugar scoffs, adding that Neil’s “online estate agency business” needs to be a “bladdy good plan”.

Jordan’s acting like a bit of a twat (“My business plan is phenomenal”) but his idea of a “platform creating games for mobiles” could be were the money lies, if only he’d shut up and stop patronising Sugar when it comes to software (no matter how rubbish Amstrad was, he’s not going to like that). Jordan lets slip that he has two other people doing the technical donkeys work for his business plan and Karren gets all moral (“So there’s three of you in this platform”) spurring Jordan to nearly screw himself over, when it’s in reality quite simple that if he won the partnership with Sugar he could then use his production team as contractors. Sadly he talks himself into trouble before adding “I’m a safe proposal”. I wouldn’t buy a used bag for life from this man right now. “What bleeding world do you live in” Sugar growls. “Let me explain myself” Jordan smarms anxiously and I’m screaming “Shat up!” at the telly whilst Sugs “don’t wanna hear anymore! It is my money. my investment so I need to be clear who I’m investing with”. Jordan does a big cough to disguise the fact he would dearly like to cry at this point but although Sugar hasn’t got “a bladdy idea” what Jordan’s talking about, he predictably fires Myles, whilst promising to “get to the bottom” of Jordan. Missus!

In the taxi of doom, a rather mature Myles is annoyingly “Philosophical” and like a grown up decides that it was a fair decision.

Next week it’s the interviews. And Claude the pitbull says “You’re a parasite. This interview is terminated” to someone. I hope that’s not the best bit.

Liking, but not as much as I did: Jordan
Tolerating: Francesca
Disliking Mildly: Neil, Leah
Disliking Disproportionately despite her having done very well this week: Luisa
Bye Bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca, Kurt, Natalie, LovelyJason, Alex, Myles

Who will win? Neil. He’s a twat in many ways, but probably the best of this bunch in terms of skills.

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?

Liking: Jordan
Tolerating: Francesca
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.

(Note from Hazel: I missed the first 40 minutes of tonight’s episode so, in keeping with the romantic theme, I left it in the capable hands of my better (and swearier) half to blog the show. He appears to have given contestants his own names so will try to clarify where necessary. Over to Paul then. )

 

As the missus is off doing some poncy Shakespeare rehearsal for ‘The Merry Wives of My Bellend’ or ‘Much Ado About A Big Pile of Shit’ or something equally rhyming-couplet related it’s up to me to pen this week’s Apprentice blog on her behalf. I don’t know – bloody actors – mincing about in crinoline talking a load of old nonsense, and not a car chase or a tank in sight. Bastards!

Anyway, as I couldn’t give a monkey’s left ballbag for the drivelling cunt faced twat bastards which ooze onto the show – least of all that monkey faced cock forehead Alan Fucking Sugar – I’m not going to be too good at getting their names right, so henceforth I’ll have to refer to them in the main by their stereotypes – i.e. Posh Boy (Jason) is that posh twat who everyone loves because he’s so fucking incompetent he should be running the fucking economy (note the similarity in fecklessness between Posh Boy and Osborne – with the difference being that Osborne should be hung from the nearest yard arm and thrashed soundly until he stops liking it), and Essex Girl (Luisa) is that woman with the high whiny voice and the orange face who spends her time whinging away like a total git – come to think of it that’s everyone on the Apprentice. Anyway, you’ll get the drift of it.

But first of all we get the usual 5 minutes of bumbling time filling shite as Voice Over Man tells us a bunch of grasping, ulcerous wannabes are willing to crawl up Suger’s crusty old clagnut ridden behind to get a slice of his readies, tickling his balls along the way if necessary. It’s a load of old time filler and I’m already feeling suicidal and the fucking pre-amble hasn’t even finished yet. What with this load of old monkey’s cock cheese and Big Brother bum-touching it”s way into the nation’s mind it’s no surprise we’re a colony of drooling fuck nuggets!

Anyway, after the delightful sight of watching a bunch of tousle haired cheeky munchkins scrabbling around for the phone as they are ordered to the firing squad of Suger’s business sense we get to the meat and bones of the situation. Team Wankbiscuit (Endeavour) and Team Arsebadger (Evolve) have to coalesce their tiny imaginations into creating a new online dating concept and shagging an advertising campaign into existence. Of course, at this point it would be far too fucking easy to make some snide, ill-judged comment about creating a dating agency for feckless shit buckets who spend their spare time shoving money up their marmite motorways and rubbing pound coins over their nipples and going, “Oooh, Blimey, that’s nice” but I won’t. I’m far too lovely for that.

Old Marylebone Town Hall is the setting for the execution of good taste and common sense this year as Jordan is moved over to Shitdeavour, whoever those grinning arseholes are. Speccy Northerner (Neil?) says he’s never done online dating, probably as sex with farmyard animals is illegal. Welsh Dracula (Alex) BANGS ON ABOUT ALL THE different sexual types there are, before we segue nicely into an advertising agency called Kamarama, which is massively shit, cunty, fucknobbed and shitbiscuit.

Posh Boy becomes project manager as he’s managed his cock in the toilet before, and Welsh Dracula and Jordan Speccy Twat both fight for the right to be Top Twat. Welsh Dracula is poo-poo’d for being mental and so Jordon Speecy Twat is next up on the executioners block. There;s some motivational bollocks with Welsh Dracula who comes up with Fifty Shades of Work as a name. What a cunt.

Team Whatever – the other one -chat about passion and vigour and marketing a site to old fogies who need splints for their Herman Gelmets and clamps for their fannies, and Paddick (Myles) runs about snapping pics with that blonde tart with various suitors who all look a bit dim and infected with something nasty in the genital region to me.

Essex Girl is on website duties and says an object is ‘so cringe ‘ which immediately means she must die. They get vox pops for ideas from blokes in pubs and no one mentions the site should cater to men who like birds with big knockers and no morals.

Speccy Jordan suddenly becomes a woman for 5 seconds and talks of himself as ‘sexually liberated’ and Welsh Dracula says all women like men in a suit. Basically he’s looking for a quick shag. Posh Boys team have taken the vox pops to heart and opt for a sickly sweet dating site for the over 50s.

Cuff Links is the Speccy Jordon’s name for the website, and the Irish Doctor Sex (Leah) opines it’s a bit old fashioned, and she prefers men wearing a posing pouch shaped like an elephants head. Well, she doesn’t actually.

Posh Boy flaps over the website and pisses Essex Girl off and comes up with some really over the top ideas for colour scheme – spending 45 mins fucking around with the colour scheme, and they leave bickering like an old couple – I sense the stench of yuppies and their mating rituals here.

Cuff Links website looks like it’s been designed to showcase computer systems – bland as a load of old cock monkeys shiny bellends.

Posh Boy faffs again and delegates to Essex Girl, spending his entire time looking perpetually confused.

Brian Paddick Man has the idea for the advert being about some dick not having a good date, and Speccy Jordan options the idea of ‘getting an ugly actor’ for the role.

Back to Posh Boy and he’s all over the fucking shop. Northern Man is somewhat flummoxed by the lack of a finished website, and Essex Girl sticks the knife into Posh Boy, doing a vote to get him usurped and putting herself forward and they swap to Essex Girl as the Head Git.

It’s advert time!! Essex Girl and Posh Boy are in the advertising agency (obviously populated by streaming cocks, but that isn’t pushed forward in the edit, unfortunately) where Posh Boy basically nods and bangs his head against a mirror like a sad orphaned budgie.

Welsh Man tries acting and looks like death warmed up. Hard Faced Blonde Tart (Francesca) goes all Scorsese on everyone’s bottoms whilst the other team yank on a couple of old coffin dodgers in front of the camera and the filming goes lovely and everyone’s happy. Cuff Links shoot is turning into a freaking nightmare as Welsh Dracula tries to take over and Irish Doctor Sex tries hard not to belt him in the cock end.

Nick Hewitt does not approve, probably due to the lack of foxy boxing.

The shots of Welsh Dracula are fucking hilarious, and make up for 7 weeks of toe curling shite. Some boring old toss in the editing room fills out a few more seconds as Essex Girl drivels on and makes me claw my own ears off rather than hear her fucking Sloany old crap.

Northern Neil says he wants to do the pitch, and Essex Girl is taking no shit from his honky ass. The Cuff Links ad is fucking hilarious in all the worst possible ways as Welsh Dracula embarrasses the human race by trying to act a bit, and Paddick shits a brick as Irish Doctor Sex looks stunned that her masterpiece is denigrated by plebs.

Essex Girl pitches to a bunch of massive wankers (no evidence for this but they must be as they’re all corporate types,) The over 50s advert is dull and staid and makes everyone laugh as there are old people on the screen and they’ll die soon whereas they’re all young, you hear me, YOUNG!! Understandably it gets a right fucking drubbing from the massive cunts, but it’s really like watching a bun fight in a wanker factory – utterly pointless.

Cuff Links next and Paddick tries not to bite his own cock off in shame as he introduces the advert, which is a comedy spectacular. Welsh Dracula justifies the name as it reminds scrotes of business types and some bloke says the advert doesn’t fit the corporate image and blah blah blah, who gives a fuck – they’re advertising types and they should be forced to spend a few years… I don’t know – doing something worthwhile with their pointless empty lives, the massive greasy old todgers!

The board room – Jordan smarms and Karren Brady points out no one voted for Welsh Dracula as he probably smelled of old tramps wee. They fill more time by showing the fucking adverts AGAIN and Sugar initially approves and then it’s on to the website. He points out the obvious disparity between the shit video and the corporate website and wobbles his bollocky chins a bit. They all like Spekky Jordon as project manager but Karren Brady and Lord Bollockface poo poo him and call him a cunt, spilling his pint, and he runs off and cries like a big girl. Or not.

Posh Boy admits to not being any good and tries to make it out that he delegated to Essex Girl to take over as project manger before Nick Hewitt jumps in and says they hounded the poor old big eyed orphaned puppy into handing over the reins to her.

The website gets a bollocking and Lord Bollockface points out it looks like a funeral business website. Advert on fucking AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! and I’m trying hard not to skull fuck the screen into oblivion and descend into my own private hell.

Crunch time – the advisors Sugar bribed to watch the shit videos hate almost everything, but the over 50s one gets a massive kick in the knackers, and thus Cuff Links win and start touching each others genitals.

Fish poo for the winners in the shape of caviar, and for the losers the Tea Shop of Shame.

Sugar points out they didn’t touch the grey dollar and Posh Boy blames the bad market research rather than his own bumbling way of tripping over all common sense in his quest to be a bit dozy. He has a mild go at Essex Girl and does a little bit of savaging of her attitude, but it really is like he’s a big toothless puppy gumming a teddy bear.

Essex Girl and Posh Boy plump for bringing back Francesa and she rightly givers them a collective genital mauling as Hewitt admits she did alright and he likes her knockers.

And we’re back in the room.

Posh Boy blames Francesca for the video being cack and for fucking up with the focus group and it’s basically pissing against the wind of his own fate. Essex Girl defends Francesca and opts for kicking Posh Boys arse. Posh Boy says he’s a thinker when the complete opposite is quite obviously true.

Sugar finally delivers his ‘you shut up – and you shut up’ the programme’s been trailing since day one and Posh Boy gets to deliver his plea for clemency as he admits to taking the ‘courageous’ decision for the unity of the team – basically admitting he was utter cack only to be promptly brow beaten by bloody Essex Girl once more.

Crunch time. And Posh Boy gets the boot for being too nice and too academic and the puppy walks off a million grannies’ hearts break. Back in the boardroom they all agree Essex Girl is a nut crunching bitch and needs tanking down a peg or two.

Next week they have to come up with a ready meal, and the missus will tell you I lived on these for the last 30 years, so I’m looking forward to this. Although it won’t be quite as fluffy without Posh Boy. Altogether now – ‘aaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww’.

 

(It’s Hazel again. Well that was different wasn’t it? Without my favourite fey posh boy who so nobly sacrificed himself to stop the women and children drowning (and to spare Luisa’s family from listening to her voice for another week at least), it’s hard to find anyone to like, but here’s my summing up of the remaining runners and riders:

 

Liking: Jordan (at a push, especially his “feminine side”)
Warming to but not yet having the love for:
Myles
Finding Amusing: Alex
A bit bored by: Francesca
Disliking:- Leah, Luisa
Back to hating: Neil, Luisa
Bye, Bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca, Kurt, Natalie, Lovely Jason and his Teddy Bear

I missed the first half of week 7 due to prancing round like a prat in rehearsals for the Merry Wives of Windsor, so had to rely on Mr Hazel’s precis:-

They all got summoned to the tower of London. As I’ve just finished reading “Bring Up the Bodies” I got quite excited, but Mr H explained that they were merely sent to Coventry, well at least Birmingham NEC to the National Motorhome and Caravan show to choose products to sell to aging campers (No, not Quentin Crisp). Firstly the teams browse accessories including folding chairs and bikes, then they are given a budget for a “high end item”. Neil is Project Manager for Evolve and they buy a folding camper apparently worth “10 fecking grand” (Mr H), despite loving a cute retro camper. Kurt leads Endeavour and looking at the sales figures for the folding camper thinks it’s the best item, but Alex disagrees and leads Kurt down the retro camper path.

I arrive at 9.30pm and think I’ve been slipped a dose of peyote mushrooms as I watch Jason close a ten grand deal on the folding camper (“I’m on the verge of a sale”), however we’re lead to worry that the cheque made out by the caddish customer may well bounce (as though Jason is some sort of hapless PG Wodehouse character). Neil admits through splinteringly clenched teeth that Jason making the first sale hurts his “man pride”, but adds that Jason isn’t “god of sales”. Whilst Jordan and Luisa sell electric bikes to the terminally lazy, Neil convinces an incredulous bloke that it’s possible to put up a folding camper in “five minutes” (lies) and makes a 10.5K sale.

Over on Endeavour Alex is as usual moaning, as he isn’t in Kurt’s elite “high ticket” sales team (Kurt and Myles, spectacularly failing to sell the rather cool retro camper to aging ramblers), so he’s stuck with “stupid” girls and reduced to asking women if they want “a look at my boat box”. Kurt meanwhile decides that his sales pitch needs some “eye candy” so summons Leah over (cue Natalie looking comically rejected – it could have been worse, he could have called over Alex) and the Irish Diana Dors emerges after 10 minutes honking and pouting at a nice old couple claiming she thinks she’s sold a “big one”.

In the boardroom Lord Sugar qualifies that sales only count if the finances check out ok (oh no! Poor Jason!).

It’s revealed that Endeavour’s Alex (who’s never been PM) gave way to Kurt on this occasion as Kurt has camping experience (Pontins 1992?) . Sugar throws in the curve ball that perhaps nobody trusts Alex. Alex tries to look trustworthy but his eyebrows have different ideas.
Myles thinks the products weren’t right and blames Leah for not being passionate about the accessories and saying things like “Obviously I don’t have kids”. Natalie also puts the boot in claiming Leah lost the bike by asking three times for a discount. Leah maintains it was only once and Nick Hewer ends it by declaring it irritated the bike vending lady.

Kurt gets some stick for not choosing the folding camper, due to Alex, who insists he is right as “I have personally dealt with people spending thousands”. Kurt retorts”Isn’t your company an internet business?” (KURT SLAM!) and Alex gets all haughty (“I have sold to the Royal Family”).
Neil as PM for Evolve based his decisions wisely on the average sales per day for products. Lord Sugar wryly addresses Jason “I bet you’ve never been camping”. “I’ve never been to Birmingham either” Jason says proudly. I love Jason.

Anyhow here come the sales results.
Endeavour made £1479 on accessories, but didn’t sell ANY retro campers (no matter how close Leah was – that’s one handjob she’ll regret giving).
Evolve won on accessories alone (£3116) but also sold 3 folding campers (£30499) making a total that’s well, massively more than Endeavour.

Evolve leave but Jason is called back in, his wide eyes darting fearfully as he wonders how he’s cocked up and I think it’s the cheque, but no, Lord Sugar’s been setting us up and just wanted to say “well done”. Jason visibly deflates, “I hope to keep impressing you”, whilst Leah from Evolve pulls a “licking piss off a nettle” face.

(Dark) Lord Sugar channels his (not so far) inner Yoda “Learning from the process clearly Jason is” before sending Endeavour to bitch in the Laff Free Cafe whilst Evolve get to race Chris Hoy at Manchester Velodrome (Jordan is best placed).

Back in the boardroom, Kurt’s under fire for choosing the worst product according to sales figures and Alex is castigated for having a target market of over 50s yet choosing a product for 35-45 year olds. (Karren “It’s not your opinion that matters Alex”). Talking of Jedi, Myles (“I know my way about closing a high ticket sale”) is mocked for describing himself as the “Jedi Knight of Sales” on his CV (Obi Buy Wan Get One Free Kenobi?), but still thinks the product was wrong and Alex still disagrees and thinks it’s a personnel problem (if that’s the case why did you still sell less on accessories you lamprey faced lunatic?) .

Nick grasses on Kurt for bringing Leah over as “eye candy” and Leah gives Kurt a hacky look and a hair flick whilst Natalie begins to say “it would have made sense to bring me..” and as they all stare in silent “What the Fuck”ness she hastily adds that it’s not to do with her looks but “because I’m in recruitment… you’ve seen the figures”. No, sorry, What the Fuck? “I don’t know what point you’re making” says Sugar and for a moment me and the Lord are as one.

Kurt brings back Alex and Natalie, claiming that the latter scared people away from the bikes (erm I didn’t see that bit but I thought everyone blamed Leah earlier?), insisting like a spoiled Scouse kid addressing an estranged parent at a Christmas get-together that “You never got the bike. You never got the bike you said you would get”. Natalie’s not happy, but Kurt points out she only managed one fifth of the accessory sales too. More than you soft lad. Leah gets a lucky escape here I reckon.

For the second time in the boardroom Natalie turns on the tears, claiming Kurt brought her on tactically because everyone is talking about the fact Lord Sugar said to Natalie he would fire her if he saw her in the final three again. (The irony is that this time she could have played the gender card and had a point, Kurt having proven himself a sexist twat).Kurt asks her to stop crying, repeating that she sold the least and she shoots him a look of pure loathing.

Kurt confesses he messed up by picking the wrong item. Alex states (after a long self-aggrandising speech) that it’s “not in my nature to sit and brag”. At the end of the day it’s in Alex’s nature to let clichés do the talking. “Actions speak louder than words” he adds smugly. Then shut the fuck up.

Sugar declares that “This task failed cos of the product. It was a fatal error” and Alex does a little gulp before Kurt is fired for messing up and slopes off scousily. He’s not that bothered in the cab (“I took a risk and lost”) and maybe that’s been his problem all along.
Natalie’s eyes magically dry and her mouth forms into a thin, satisfied smile. Then Sugar fires her too (“You’ve had a hell of a lot of chances”) and I laugh long and hard. Perhaps I’m taking this too seriously? In the taxi of regret she insists she is still upset “Kurt bought me in tactically” as though it were some sort of GAME or something!

Alex is sent back to the house to reflect on Lord Sugar’s words and put the fear into the remaining candidates.

Jason looks amiably round whilst swirling a large glass of red thoughtfully, “None of us are safe. We’re all very good. It’s high-caliber stuff now.” and the others start to wonder, in a sudden cold sweat of terror, if, just maybe, he’s not a complete freak. Or at least if he’s going to last longer than them. The shame!

Next week it’s my favourite task where the candidates create an advertising campaign. And this time it’s for an “online dating concept” – and one team somehow selects Alex to appear in their advert showing off his “guns”. Maybe they’ve developed http://www.serialkillerswithstrangeeyebrowsdating.com – can’t wait!

Loving: Jason
Liking: Jordan (despite the trousers)
Impressed by & warming to but not yet having the love for: Neil
Finding Amusing: Alex
A bit bored by: Francesca, Myles
Disliking:- Leah, Luisa
Bye, Bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma, Zee, Rebecca, Kurt, Natalie

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

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

It’s 5.20am and Natalie and Luisa race to answer the phone in a blur of hair extensions and talons. The candidates assemble at Surrey Docks inner city farm, so there’s lots of cute shots of adorable, slightly wobbly, critters gambolling around; lambs, goats, Jason.
Natalie’s convinced that having been in the final three last week has given her “more drive”. “It does give you the whole picture” Uzma shares, as Natalie and Luisa pull Meh Whatever faces.

The task this week is to source produce for a farm shop (in the East End). Most sales win. Lord Sugar decides to mix up the teams. Zee’s been expecting this chance to prove himself as the girl’s “saviour”, but instead it’s Myles, Jason and Jordan who lend some dubious testosterone to Evolve (Luisa, Rebecca, Leah, Francesca) , whereas Uzma and Natalie join Endeavour (Neil, Alex, Zee, Kurt ). Neil goes all suave and welcomes the “laydeez” to the team, but it’s clear LordSugar is expecting a better show from the female candidates this week (“You avven’t shown me much till now”).

Luisa volunteers to Project Manage Evolve, and feels her experience in the world of making and selling cup cakes makes her ideally suited to this task (“I source local produce” – trans “I pop down the local Tesco Express”). Rebecca decides to volunteer too, just for shits and giggles, claiming to have “an interest in farm produce”. She admits she has no experience, “but I don’t think it’s rocket science”. Luisa shoots her death looks, but the New Team Men now speak and select Luisa who flicks her hair, vindicated. Jordan confesses an almost amusing interest in “unusual meat”, and Luisa agrees as long as she can make cheapo soups and sell jacket potatoes. Because I don’t know about you but whenever I go to a farm shop I think “all this fresh produce is well and good, but I wish someone would just cook it for me”. Or maybe I don’t think that and just go to a takeaway when I want food cooking for me.

Over on Endeavour, Zee’s keen on flogging fresh milk and Kurt (the goatee bearded healthy soft drink & hubcap theft guru) thinks he can put a big markup on freshly made milkshake. Alex isn’t convinced (“Why not something simple like cheese on toast?”), but Neil doesn’t “wanna talk about it anymore, it’s done!” I’m loving Neil’s dictatorial approach to team leading; shame none of his previous project managers have had the balls to speak to him in a similar manner. “Are we doing costumes?” Alex attempts to have some positive input, “Because I don’t mind dressing up as a scarecrow”.

Luisa takes her team to a buffalo farm (“There’s a nice smell round here” Farmer: “That’s called manure”) to see cute baby buffalo, which then presumably get made into cute baby buffalo kofte. They buy a load of the fillet, which costs £28 a kilo and retails at £45 per kilo – so they’re playing for the “I saw you coming” crowd, which Nick Hewer points out is “a risk”.

Kurt tells Neil he can sell 200 milkshakes, which Alex points out would mean selling one every 3 minutes, but Neil’s convinced.
In Hampshire Alex greets a bemused dairy farmer lady. “I am from Wales” he reassures her, in case she thought he was a real Vulcan. “Er that’s wonderful” she wavers. He tries to work out how much to offer her for her milk. Sadly he does this out load, whilst repeatedly saying “er..get a calculator..”, but it seems to gain her pity and she lets him have shit loads of milk for £40 as long as they bottle it themselves. Cue Alex finally getting to dress up, in a white sterile suit and hairnet, looking worryingly like Miranda Hart in a New Order video, bottling milk then chasing after terrified cows whilst the team try to get a photograph of the source of their product.

In Essex, Myles, Francesca and Jason are looking for veggies to buy for Evolve’s shop. There’s bargains a plenty on cabbages, beetroot and sweetcorn and they’re all for filling their boots, but over the phone Luisa insists they just get small amounts to help make the store look rustic (“maybe 6 cobs”). Myles is incensed. “Just sort of use a bit of logic like.. engage your brain”. Francesca looks archly at the boys “You see why we’ve lost tasks..” Myles and Francesca mutiny and insist on spending £150 to make the shop look like, erm, a farm shop. Luisa gets the cold dead glint of the PM who now has a Boardroom excuse in her eyes and decides to “let them do it”. Encouraged, the subteam go all Madam Bovary and tasting an exquisite apple juice, they request £25 more on their £52 budget to buy some but Luisa claims she’s all out of budget, as she’s about to spend £150 (!) on spuds and leeks.

Kurt leads a shopping subteam for Endeavour, but appears to have morphed into my thrifty scouse brother (“I wouldn’t spend any money on that”), so convinced is he that his milkshakes will bring all the East End boys to the Farm Shop and will make over £600. “Just hear me out” Kurt insists as Neil tells him to buy more veggies. Neil hangs up. After buying blackberries he calls back to check how Kurt has been obeying his orders. Not well as the scouser has only spent £33 out of his £100 budget and has apparently only 10 cabbages to his name (“I know we’re gonna make a lot on shakes”). With less than an hour to buy produce Neil ends up having to buy stuff for his farm shop from erm the farm shop of the farm he’s at, so he doesn’t sell out of produce (“I’m pretty annoyed”).
At 7am the teams head to set up shop at Broadway Market. Neil’s confident in his team’s strong sales skill-set, but winces as Natalie grasses Uzma up as being a bit shit. “You are going to see me in action today” Uzma insists to Kurt and Zee. They look a bit frightened and avert their eyes.

Maybe it’s the wine but I like both shop names. Luisa’s is Buffalocal (Buffaloco would be better) and Neil’s is Fruity Cow (which sounds like a theatrically delivered insult from “Vicious“).

Luisa’s aiming to shift 200 soups and 150 jacket potatoes. Awkwardly Myles points out that these are lunchtime products so they need to have a realistic sales strategy. Luisa does a Nigel Tufnell “This Goes Up To 11” blank eyed look and ignores him. Their first customer enters, a nervous woman and child. Her eyes widen in horror at the prices and Jordan tries to calm her down (“Remember it’s not a steak, it’s an award winning buffalo steak” – maybe it won UK’s biggest rip off?) but she runs off screaming (“It’s incredibly expensive!” Jordan “Don’t be afraid to tell them quality costs money”). Myles is sent outside to sell soups, but decides against giving free tasters as the soup’s so rank. An enormous man wearing a construction helmet buys a load of buffalo maybe because he’s just eaten the rest of the Village People and is still hungry.

Over at Fruity Cow, Neil appears to like Nat, laughing merrily and tousling her hair as she breaks a box of quails eggs, whilst he orders Uzma to move empty boxes, then to “keep moving around, just do it” and snaps at her whenever she asks any question (regardless of whether she’s being dim or not Neil’s management style of Uzma is micro-cock management).

Karren points out that Fruity Cow’s orders are “coming in thick and fast”, much like Kurt’s shakes (haha), but Kurt’s not satisfied and decides to diversify by sending the team to buy cheapo Costcutter apple juice so he can make fruit and veg smoothies. Part of me is now praying for Kurt’s blender to explode. He’d be a great creditor – he’s obsessed with liquidating assets (boom boom).

Myles suggests it might be nice to display some delicious jacket potatoes out on front. How very tempting. To make them more attractive, Leah displays them in a box lined with tin foil so that one can buy slightly congealing jacket spud and protect oneself against cosmic rays by wearing the box on one’s head. Myles decides against displaying jacket potatoes out front. As sales increase over lunchtime, Luisa tries to motivate Jason to stop shoegazing down in the soup kitchen. Myles sees Jason as a “trickless pony.. He can’t sell.. he can’t make soup…” and as Luisa teaches him to fill a jacket spud whilst he flounces around like a tit (“I’ve just got to rewash my hands”), you think maybe Myles has a point, except Jason is good at being funny.

Both teams flog off as much stock as possible, but Neil’s left with a fridgefull of milk and Luisa’s desperately waving sackfuls of “organic” spuds at passersby. She admits that the jacket potatoes was an “epic fail” and that she “had to change strategy… that might be our downfall”. Of course it doesn’t occur to her that her subteam saved her.

Back in the Boardroom, Lord Sugar’s unconvinced about Luisa’s “Baffalo”. “Have you ever tried buffalo?” asks Jordan adding brightly when the grumpy beardy peer grunts in the negative, “then maybe you should”. Cue a very hard stare from our favourite Nookie Bear faced entepreneur.

Under Francesca’s watchful gaze Luisa outlines her takeaway strategy of soup and baked tatties. “Would you expect that at a farm shop” Sugar asks, “or something special”. Luisa does the Nigel Tufnell look again. “I wanted soup” she repeats. “Soup is cheap”. It’s revealed that Luisa fell short of her sales targets – selling only 70 soups and only 15 jacket spuds. Myles buries the hatchet stating he felt her strategy was “flawed all the way through” and that they failed due to her limiting the subteam’s budget.

Over on Endeavour, Neil’s surname-sake Brian Clough is mentioned in relation to his management style. Zee distances himself from the quantities involved in operation Milkshake and Kurt strokes his goatee thoughtfully like a man who couldn’t find a hand-dryer, before foolishly sticking the knife into Neil over his budgeting and lack of direction.

Anyhow here’s the results:-

Endeavour
Total sales 1097.82
Spend 558.15
Profit £539.67

Evolve
Total sales
£1249.52
Spend – £618
Profit £631.82

Jordan does a great big “Get In!” and airpunch and Lord Sugar admonishes him “Can I remind you, you’re not at a football match”. Come on Sugar, you’re a Spurs fan, how often do you get to do a good airpunch?

Kurt looks very gutted. Luisa tries to look angelic but just looks smug and dim.

Evolve are sent to the tram shed restaurant for a treat. Rather than a genuine group hug on the way out, Luisa pats Jordan slightly on the back then stalks pointedly past Rebecca. Miaow!  No love lost then. She states to camera she’s “pissed off” with Myles for challenging her in the Boardroom, even though her subteam saved her.

In the Sad Cafe Kurt sums it up sagely “We didn’t sell what we had at a good enough margin” (or enough of it, div) and he passes the buck masterfully “Neil was responsible for sales”.

Back in the boardroom, Zee does the milkshake hand dance “It was milkshakes, milk, milshakes, milk…”

It turns out the shakes and (not very farm fresh, Costcutter sourced) juices made £373 in sales so about half of the team’s profit. Not quite Kurt’s promised £600.

Uzma tries like an idiot to intervene and make it about her. It works. Neil says Uzma was the weakest person on the tea. “OH REALLY!” squeaks Uzma, adding “No I welcome it, it’s fine”.

Kurt’s blamed for not spending, but Neil’s asked whether he gave any direction, and only he and his now loyal henchman seem to think he did.

Kurt and Uzma are bought back to the boardroom. I bet Neil’s sorry. At one point in tonight’s task I saw Uzma lovingly peel a corn cob as part of the store display and I bet that corn cob sold. Uzma thinks she’s a victim of sexism (“This is the problem working with you boys… you can’t talk” – erm Uzma have you been paying attention at the girls’ team meetings?) and lazy thinking (“You bought me here because I’ve been here twice before”), but Neil insists it’s because she is crap (“If I’d wanted an easy option I’d have bought Natalie back, but Natalie worked really hard”).

Neil’s CV claims he’s “not afraid to trample over people” and he adds “I’ve been the strongest candidate in the first three tasks”. “There’s a fine line between confidence and being a bit cocky” (-cocky +of a twat), Sugar points out.

Sugar sees the promised 200 sales figure as a noose around Kurt’s neck, and isn’t too impressed by Neil being supposedly so strong yet getting talked into going along with Kurt.

Neil blames Kurt for the task failure but says Uzma was the weakest candidate and Sugar finally snaps that he doesn’t want Neil doing his job for him. He turns on Neil, stating “I think it was unfair to blame Kurt.. and for that reason…” (Neil looks stunned, but of course it’s a bluff), “there’s not much space left for a mistake”. Kurt’s next and is advised to “stop spouting your mouth off” about sales. And it’s with no great sense of surprise that Uzma (Sugar:”there’s no smoke without fire”) is, er, fired. In the Taxi of NO Regret she predicts that this time next year she’ll be a millionaire (“Lord Sugar hasn’t seen the fire in me” – maybe she’s an arsonist?).

Back at the house, Zee’s happily dissing Kurt (for having been subteam leader ahead of he, Zee) and Neil (for foolishly making Kurt subteam leader, ahead of he, Zee). there’s a delicate cough as Neil and Kurt enter, leaving Zee to ponder how much they heard.
Neil doesn’t pull any punches about the firing “I had a weak link in the team, and they’re no longer here”. I’ve been told he’s really a nice guy, but you know the way telly is meant to put weight on people, it’s really putting twattiness on him.

Next week the teams travel to Dubai to find items for a hotel. Bartering and casual religious insensitivity is virtually guaranteed.

Liking: Francesca, Jordan (I know the fistpumping makes him a nob, but at least he appears to have a brain, and unlike Alex it’s a human brain)
Warming to: Rebecca
Finding Amusing: Zee, Jason, Alex
A bit bored by: Leah
Disliking Mildly:– Myles, Natalie, Kurt
Disliking really quite intensely:– Luisa, Neil
Bye Bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie, Uzma

Sugar ambushes the candidates with an evening call giving the girls nary enough time to apply nuclear levels of blusher before they rush to meet him at the Angel building where he sets them the task of designing some Flat Pack Tat and selling it to John Lewis, Argos and whatever fools they can find in thatLondon.

Scary skeleton in a wig Natalie leads Evolve and the ladies brainstorm. Francesca thinks a space saving cube could be the answer. I would prefer one of those mirror things that Superman imprisons General Zod in – just throw it at a pile of grubby smalls and watch them spinning around in perpetuity, but nobody suggests this. Luisa doesn’t want to actually assemble anything more complicated than the outside of a Kinder Egg, so they come up with the idea of a cube that slots together. Uzma puts herself up as head design lady given her services to the eyeliner industry. Unfortunately during this design phase, whilst Uzma scribbles frantically, the team are still coming up with alternative uses for this amazing now multi-dimensional cube. Natalie thinks the “multi-functional cube shaped table” could also work as seating. Leah thinks it could incorporate “a wine rack” and “something to put ice in”(!). Someone else suggests a laptop holder and a hole for a cup. Maybe a food tray? Rebecca wants to make a suggestion but Natalie and Luisa ignore her. “Are we table? Are we desk? Are we chair?” (Are we human? Are we dancer?) asks a befuddled Sophie, who decides that none of the girls work as a team so she, Francesca and Rebecca (who also dislikes the cube idea) are paired off to to the dread “market research” whilst Uzma scrawls what looks like an aertexed decapitated K9 on her notepad to take to the unimpressed design-bods at a studio in East London.
The Evolve Market Research team go to “I saw you coming” in Shoreditch where a man in a lemon striped boating jacket enlightens them on the finer points of interior furnishing and exactly how high a table needs to be if you’re not in a 1940s Japanese film. They phone Natalie and explain that tables need to be high and have leg room to work, but Natalie is so caught up in the multifunctionality (“How can we use it as storage then?”, Luisa: “Why wouldn’t they just buy a table?”) that she fails to see – it doesn’t have to be a freaking table!

The boys keep it simple. Jordan leads Endeavour where Alex immediately comes up with “Foldo”, which rather than being a holder for the One True Ring is a table that turns into a chair. He takes a pretty thorough drawing to the design studio as well as a working cardboard prototype. Wow! As “lead designer” Alex gets to go crazy ape bonkers with a big tape measure and shout at the rest of his subteam so that they get all their measurements wrong (“Wooah, woah woah woah! This is only 400 – you said 490!” “Someone sit in the chair to check the height! Not you Jordan, someone normal sized” etc). Nick worries the product will end up like “the camel. Which is the horse as designed by committee”.

Myles, Kurt and Zee do pointless “Market Research” by taking rough badly put together sketches to the public – who respond with rough, badly put together opinions although one man suggests some form of arse protection might be necessary, so Zee buys some minty green fabric to upholster Foldo’s seat with.

Uzma checks the design studios mockup for the cube which look like an Evil Hostess Trolley. She thinks they could be stacked over each other (“It could be one of our unique selling points”. Yes – storage to store storage in. Amazing!). Nat however wants something more rounded, which the designer points out would be harder to slot together (and to beat a client to death with, he presumably adds silently). Karren rolls her eyes and despairs at how crap the girls are. “I’m very creative” Uzma smiles, “I’m very good at visualising and then drawing”. She then plumps for a nice eyecatching shade of greyish green for the cube (which now has a lid! I mean tray.), and Natalie goes with “the majority” (or at least the ones who shout the loudest).
Rebecca’s not impressed by developments when she calls in with the latest market research (“Are you listening to market research, or Luisa?”, Luisa (whining): “Why is it my fault?”), and they are asked to find a cushion in B and Q (Francesca “We are in a DIY store, if you had told us beforehand we could have gone to an upholsterers. This was an ipod easel and not it’s a tray in a seat in a box”), which they do, but not necessarily the right size. Oops.

The prototypes are produced overnight and 8am sees the delivery of the girls “Tidy Sidy” (it sounds like something nasty you get from a really cheap chicken and burger place) is unwrapped. They can’t tell it’s unwrapped though as it’s essentially a box. With a lid. The manufacturers have left a nice note (“Hi guys. The cushion was a bit too big so we had to leave it for you to fit”), so they lube up the cushion and force it into place. Karren shakes her head sadly “They’re going to have to do a bloody good job to pitch”.
The boys Foldo chair actually works, and Alex sits on it. “My god! It hasn’t collapsed” gasps Jordan, impressed.

Half of the teams head up North to pitch to LordAlan’s leads (Mr Hazel suggests that up North people might still be impressed by boxes. He lives, for now). The rest search London for suckers.
Jordan sends Neil and Myles for the major pitches, along with Alex, but he heads the London subteams suggesting that they all try one pitch each. Zee gets all arsey at this percieved slight to his pitching skills and narrowly avoids a macing from the furniture store women on his first pitch.

Francesca, Uzma and Leah pitch to another London store; slotting together the cube like they’re playing kerplunk with a dodgy booze recycling bin. The posh shop man is not convinced it would work “in any room” (“It would be good in a part of my house you couldn’t see maybe”). The subteam tell Natalie that with her shitty unglossy product she’s on a hiding to nothing and Natalie pulls a pained face, but you can’t tell.

It’s Argos appointment time and all the girls have put on their tightest dresses and highest heels, which seems to work with the normally bored blokes on the Argos panel, who perk up when Luisa talks about it being “really, really easy… to assemble”. “Is it not just a box on wheels” one asks, slightly spellbound. “I think you have to think outside the box” Luisa simpers. They’ve done as well as they could here, and Argos like the ease of assembly.

In contrast, they couldn’t look less interested as Neil demonstrates Foldo, and it’s all “No further questions M’Lud” at the end of his pitch. Although maybe, as Nick points out, they were simply aghast at Alex wriggling his “wide backside” in their faces whilst assembling Foldo. No amount of allen key action was going to make that sexy.
Back in London, Francesca persuades a French Bloke in a self consciously trendy furniture store to buy 4, a bloke in a cut price store to buy 20, and a baldy man to buy 50 boxes with lids. Her panelled leopardskin dress is working overtime.
Meanwhile at John Lewis, Rebecca’s pitch is very dry and professional and in no way going to convince anyone to buy a grey box. Not even Wayne Rooney would have been interested.

It’s Myles’s turn for Endeavour and yet again, as has happened all day, everyone points out the chair is very high. Now my response would be to say this makes it perfect for all people but especially elderly relatives or people with mobility problems, but Myles misses this goal by suggesting the target market is 16-40 year olds, “the student market”. One woman worries that students wouldn’t pay £75 for a chair. In the post tuition fee, mainly elite world of students nowadays though wouldn’t a few of them have parents who could pay? Anyhow Myles’s pitch is a bit dull. “Is it something you’d consider stocking?” he asks grimly. “We’d have to have a chat” says John Lewis man unpromisingly.

Jordan’s still in London trying to flog his “multifunctional chair” (technically bi-functional, and totally useless if you need a chair AND a table unless you buy 2). Zee somehow gets another go to pitch and harrass female store managers. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” he announces grandly. “Sorry it’s not our target manager” says shop woman, adding cuttingly “I think it’s more your British Home Stores”. Zee’s reaction to any setback is to ignore it. “Lets start a relationship! Let’s shake hands!” he declares, whilst Shop Lady reaches for the alarm button. Finally Jordan decides to give Kurt a go and Zee has a massive sulk (“There’s no reason I shouldn’t do the third pitch”), but Jordan insists and Zee’s face when Kurt sells is just lovely.

Finally Leah does a good pitch to another trendy store, and sells 100 by aiming high and suggesting 200 first. It’s all been about the subteam for the girls this week.

Back in the Boardroom and Natalie’s now blaming Francesca for the “Tidy Sidy”. Uzma looks gutted at all the negativity about the design, but everyone agrees that Natalie was a good team leader in a big unconvincing love-in.
Jordan backs Alex’s design all the way (Sugar: “It’s a bit tall.. do your feet dangle Jordan?”), but Nick Hewer thinks it looks like “Old Sparky” the Electric Chair. Lord Sugar thinks as PM Jordan should have gone along to the two large scale pitches, especially as Myles confesses John Lewis “picked up on a couple of points I raised.. even though I didn’t say it was just for 16 year olds”. “It knocked the credibility of the pitcher though” slams Nick.

To keep us “guessing” they split the scores up by pitch.
Evolve
Subteam in london sold 174 units
Endeavour
Subteam sold 216 units

Endeavour – John Lewis didn’t like the styling but liked the concept so went for 500 with a few tweaks.
Evolve – john lewis didn’t order any units.
Endeavour – Argos bought 2500 units
Evolve – Karren cruelly says “Argos loved the pitch.. loved you guys… but hated the product and made no orders” just so we can watch Natalie’s face go to nearly happy and back to sucking lemons.

The boys get the prize of climbing over the O2 prize whilst mocking the girls for not being able to “sell any boxes”. Alex is told that Foldo is one of the best products seen in the history of boardroom. In the land of complete tut, the table-chair is king.
The girls add to their running tab at the Sad Cafe. Natalie feels she trusted people too much. Sophie feels (correctly) that the excessive functions confused things and Luisa pulls one of her faces (like a female preying mantis pulls before she looms in on a head) and calls Sophie “the weakest link”. Sophie’s convinced she did the right thing, “I don’t design, don’t manufacture, don’t sell, don’t pitch”.. er Sophie what do you do?

Back in the Boardroom and Lord Sugar calls the “Tidy Sidy” the “wishy washy poxy boxy” comparing it’s grey geometry to something out of “1970s East Germany” (they should have called it the Bo-Haus).

Natalie turns on Uzma for “harping on about being a designer” and when Sugar admits the interlocking was a good idea, Luisa claims that was her and Natalie and tells Uzma “You can’t claim that as your idea”. A bitch fight predictably ensues with Natalie repeatedly telling Uzma “Nothing is ever your fault”. Uzma tries to call Luisa (“What did you put forward?”) and Karren summarises that Natalie “tried to amalgamate everyone’s idea into one cube”. Luisa complains that the “feedback from the market research was very contradictory” (erm because the product was?) and Sophie gets some stick for having done a dissertation for market research yet lacking the ability to flog a dead horse loudly. Or something. Anyhow, predictably Natalie brings back Uzma and Sophie – and Lord Sugar sends the rest home with their cards very close to marked (“You should be embarrassed”).
Karren suggests there have been issues between Uzma and the other girls in previous tasks (she could say the same for most of the women other than Leah and Francesca). “Yeah but you know what women are like” laughs Sugar, clearly wearing a concrete posing pouch today.

Natalie claims both Uzma and Sophie hide from responsibility and blames the design on Uzma who rightly points out Natalie signed it off and Natalie gets all shouty. She also thinks Sophie’s market research wasn’t good enough, and Sophie claims she did exactly what Natalie wanted (but she’s not very strong fighting her corner). “You wouldn’t have even listened cos you were so influenced by Luisa” adds Sophie, finding some feistiness too late, and hitting the mark.

It’s revealed that Natalie claims to want to work in fashion yet denies having creativity. “I do have a creative eye… for fashion” she claims. I just watched it an hour ago yet I don’t have a clue what Natalie was wearing.
Still, it’s Sophie that gets fired in this season’s early attack of Boardroom “not fair!”ness because Lord Sugar thinks “Market research is hiding away” (he’s never been threatened with the anal insertion of a clipboard).
“The only fair here is the cab fare home” he adds, unrepentent of the firing or that pun.
In the Taxi of Doom, Kitty finds claws as Sophie accuses the other women of being bitchy and claims “I like to keep my dignity, and my class”.

Back at the house Jordan tops Zee’s hate list by telling everyone that the Napolean complexed one was the only boy not to sell. Luisa predicts Sophie will leave as she doesn’t see “her fight as being as good as Uzma’s”. Natalie and Uzma return and all the women look daggers at each other. Game on.

Next year cute critters abound and I don’t just mean Jordan and Jason as we visit an inner city zoo and the candidates get to run a farm shop.

Liking: Jordan, Francesca
Finding Amusing: Zee, Jason
Wanting to like:  Kurt, Leah, Neil, Rebecca, Alex
Disliking Mildly:– Uzma, Myles
Getting Ready to Properly Hate:– Luisa, Natalie
Bye Bye: Jaz, Tim, Sophie