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Slightly late to the party of bellends I come due to the fact my new job requires me to occasionally attend meetings on a sodding Wednesday night – this, coupled with the fact I am in panto (darlings) this year and my meeting free Wednesdays may involve me prancing around with my adorable fellow middle aged luvvies and some well trained children, means I may struggle to keep up this series. But like Theresa May without an asthma inhaler, cunts to the front of her, shonky signs behind I will soldier bravely on. Bet I don’t get an ovation though.

And there’s 18 of the fuckers this time.. I swear they are breeding. And clearly, judging by the amount of spectacle wearers on display, the rest are masturbating. Anyhow they hand in their business plans to Lord Sugar (once an aspiring entrepreneur, now a walking prostate gland) who manages to crack a Brexit gag (“I decide who leaves”) which hopefully doesn’t mean this series will drag on interminably for the rest of my lifetime. Anyhow as per they’re all up for his £250k investment and Karen (what sisterhood?) Brady and Claude Littner are his ears and sarcastic rolling eyes on the candidates. One of whom (Elliot Van Emden no less a man who boasts about earning over £175k pa. Winner!) “assisted” with writing speeches for David Cameron. What a winner. Mind you there’s always feisty Michaela if you want to see ambition. Apparently this woman’s business has a £2m turnover. So what’s she doing on this show? “I don’t think I’ve peeked. I’m from Bolton”. Indeed.

Anyhow this week’s task is to make burgers to sell to the public and trade. Sugar makes them elect a PM there and then so the girls choose Sarah as their sacrificial lamb and the boys choose Danny who spends most of the task coming across like Rio Ferdinand in a K-hole.

Image result for apprentice danny

Nope definitely Rio.

In an attempt to frighten the candidates, Sugar beckons in a dead-eyed parade of all the past winners who haven’t sued him yet (“These are real successes”) and they all act as though he’s holding their children hostage.

Jeff suggests the team name “Warriors” for the boys and after much lackage of any other ideas all the boys are relieved when James pipes up with “Vitality”. This takes fucking hours by the way – it’s at least 5pm by the time they’ve chosen this. For the girls Jade comes up with Graphene, because apparently it’s harder than anything (If that’s the criteria why not pick Jason Statham?). So both teams sound like diet products that help you poo.

The girls decide to go for luxury, so that’s best of British beef and shitty chicken. Whereas the boys plump (or not) for healthy burgers; buffalo and er turkey.

The girls decide to send a sub team to Canary Wharf so Siobhan can use their sex thang on the “male dominated” audience. Karen is unimpressed.

Harrison, who clearly thinks he has the worlds biggest bollocks but comes across like a shouty David Brent sends the boys sub team to Brixton as it’s “up and coming”. Presumably his nan told him that.

They all have to get up at 2am. Losers.

”How’d you feel mincing meat this time?” asks Joanna. “Well I actually used to go out with a butchers’ son” confides Jade. Shades of Uncle Monty.

Another spectacles wearer is endlessly annoying management consultant Charles who decides, in the absence of any direction from Danny, that it’s his call when it comes to purchase prices at the meat market. So when Sajan gets a price, Charles jumps in on the last minute claiming “I negotiated that by myself”.

Poor Bushra asks if anyone wants “to pitch on chicken” (perhaps forgetting you only pitch when you sell”). Despite the supposed luxury aspect to the burgers she isn’t bothered about getting the best chicken and ends up purchasing some dodgy looking “natural chicken” from Holland (as opposed to cyborg chicken from Japan).

Sarah organises a production line in the kitchen with adorably potty Elizabeth (already likened by commentators to Olive from On The Buses) handling mixing. Whoops she’s added too much water but somehow rescues the ensuing quagmire by punching the remaining mince into submission. I love her. Unfortunately she is sent to set up stall at Canary Wharf with gimlet eyed sex traitor Siobhan (the sort of woman who describes herself as “feisty” rather than the more appropriate “psychotic), who promptly refuses to co-operate due to Elizabeth’s alleged “faffling”.  Poor Liz makes the fatal error of calling her “Sinead”. “If you don’t remember it don’t say it!” she fishwifes back. Liz would have my permission to griddle Siobhan’s face at this point.

Passive aggressive Yank Jeff tries to  inject some strategy into Danny’s approach (Danny: “Stop talking! Just keep making burgers! Arggh”). “We should have a pricing strategy” Jeff suggests. “We can do that over the phone” barks Danny cluelessly before rushing off to sell sell sell unpriced burgers, leaving Charles in Charge of the production line. “There’s no value us being on the streets at lunchtime” Charles says casually (WTF!?) “We can just go to a commuter place at 3pm” (Double  WTF!?).

The boys find Brixton Street Food Market empty after lunchtime and Jeff and Elliot sadly start hawking their burgers to ghosts much to Claude’s disdain. Finally one of them manages to sell a salad sandwich and they convince Danny to go to Shoreditch because none of them seem to have the slightest idea how London works.

Back in the kitchen Charles dicks around on a fisher price calculator to work out prices and phones the project manager. “Why are you calling about costing?” Danny screams “Arggh! Sell sell sell!”. The production team are informed that to call the Turkey burger “organic” every part of it has to be so, even the sodding breadcrumb that coats it. Not to worry – they get their sharpies out and cross out the word “organic” on all the labels. Cos that will appeal.

Poor Bushra is accused of being micromanagy by her increasingly catty team, so to prove she’s a team player she allows Anisa to pitch. Whereupon she freezes up and Bushra has to take over. And it all starts over again.

The girls chase around looking for quick sales, with Elizabeth resplendently yelling “COME ERE!” whilst hunting for punters, burgers in hand, on a bridge. Joanna goes for the easier option of flogging burgers for about 20p a pack, which, whilst less scary and more successful earns Karren Brady’s disdain.

6pm and they’re back in the boardroom.

Graphene seem fairly united, though I rather get the impression that Michaela has something against Bushra (or “Bushee” as she calls her). However the girls seem united in their dislike of Elizabeth because she has glasses and looks funny and doesn’t appear to give one fuck and they all gang up on her for the watery mince disaster which er wasn’t a disaster thanks to our Liz (“I had my hands in that meat and I MIXED IT!”).

Likewise Vitality are as one in their loathing of Charles (Danny: “Charles man you let me down!”).

Anyhow it’s numbers time and the girls of Graphene spent £374 and took sales of £611 for a profit of £239. The Vitality boys ended up with a “diabolical” loss of £114.

The girls are “rewarded” with a feast of vegetables disguised as meat products (I once saw a carrot like that) presented by a vegetarian chef. Only Bushra looks happy. Liz reminisces fondly about “Beating the meat” (“Let’s just say I worked out all of my anxieties in 5 minutes”)

In a Spanking New Café Doom, Danny tries to blame Harrison for choosing Brixton as a selling location, conveniently forgetting that if he had managed to get the team there for lunchtime they may have done better.

Back in the boardroom and Jeff tries to also blame Harrison for Brixton, but Harrison rightly points out that they should have left the kitchen quicker. Sugar adds “this is a task to do with profit. You got out at 4.15pm” whereupon Jeff promptly repeats “this is a profit task”.

Danny wants to bring Charles into the boardroom twice but has to choose Harrison who kicks off angrily. “If we have nine of me …” he snarls, beard bristling. “It was based on Brixton” Danny explains. “Location was the problem” Jeff echoes. Jeff is a prick.

Fear of an irate big beardy man causes Danny to switch to choosing Elliot. Oh Danny you are so doomed.

Back in and Elliott, who’s got an entitled Tory boy swagger to him, lays waste to Danny’s decision making and management skills in seconds. Elliot suggests Danny should leave for having no strategy.

It’s revealed Charles has actually listed on his CV that he only does what he wants and doesn’t listen to people. Bless his nerdy honesty. He has a proper touch of Jon Tickle, the bloke on Big Brother everyone in the house hated but the public kept in just to keep torturing the rest of them. Charles backs Elliott because that’s his best option.

Sugar starts laying into Charles for being disruptive but of course veers left at the last minute and fires Danny “with regret”.

Even though the loser’s taxi scene is filmed months later, Danny still hasn’t gained any insight “It should be Charles here but with a personality like that he will be sacked anyway in the next few weeks” he wibbles.

Meanwhile back at the house everyone is calling Charles a cunt, so it’s a delight when he comes back triumphant (the girls team look none too secretly delighted). “I will not stop fighting till I win this he exclaims” to their stunned faces. No Charles you WILL stop when team Vitality eventually turns on you Lord of the Flies style and roast your porky little body on the Argos patio BBQ.

Next week high end hotel makeovers go on. I wouldn’t let this lot loose with crayons.

Line of the Episode: “Yay we’re MINCING!” (the boys on the meat line).

GODDESS: Elizabeth

LIKING: Sarah, James, Sajan


MEH: Anisa, Sarah-Jayne

HILARIOUS (in a bad way): Charles

BIT BITCHY: Jade, Michaela

TWATS: Harrison, Jeff

PSYCHO: Siobhan



BYE BYE: Danny












So it’s the week 12, the final, and usual our finalists Courtney and Alana are expected to “launch” their businesses and present them to industry “experts” within 2 days. So Alana needs to be able to show she can build a small bakery to a giant brand, whereas Courtney needs to be able to pitch novelty shit to sell at large volumes (shouldn’t be any problem post brexit). First they have to pick a team from previous contestants and Courtney’s fairly bold going for Jess, Sofiane and Karthig, Alana actually chooses Rebecca and Grainne (thinking this is a good idea) and Frances as well as Sausage Man Olly for his foody business skills. Poor Angry Paul looks irate as nobody picks him till them end (Courtney: “Paul I’m gonna choose you anyway mate”).

Everyone including Claude enjoys scoffing Alana’s cake and it inspires them with business names (“Gooey” which I would have gone for) but they end up going for “Ridiculously Rich” which is terrible (surely it should match her name: “Alarmingly Anal”?) but at least better than Fran’s arse clenchingly awful ‘Oh My Bake’). Somehow drippy Rebecca is put in charge of logo and branding design. I hope Alana likes beige.

Courtney’s team brainstorm company names (“Bingo Bongo? Ringo Dingo? Pocket Pleasures? Bonkers Conkers” Paul “Grrrrrr! I don’t want to sound like the fun police, but no). Eventually Karthig asks Courtney’s favourite animal (“A Whale”) and his favourite colour (“Purple”) and an illogical but potentially brilliant brand name is born.

The teams have to design a “digital sign” and Courtney’s team subteam go for full on twat about with props and edit afterwards ending up with a jaunty story of someone wearing big false hands gesturing towards their testicles (Courtney likes this as it’s “clear, clean and simple”). Grainne and Fran represent Alana by getting Fran to dress up as an oppressed cupcake as Grainne chucks ricin laced flour at her, whilst bitching about how rubbish and “Womens Institute” lite Rebecca (Grainne: “Ridiculously Shite more like!”) is at marketing and making Alana fall apart a little bit (“What are you trying to achieve?!”).

Courtney actually y shows some nous by investing time in presentation coaching (where he gets to make angry bee noises whilst being held around the waist by his tutor)

The teams start shooting actual advertising videos, with Jess (who Courtney wisely gives “final say” to) trying to reign in Angry Paul and a permanently pissed off Sofiane whilst shooting an epic about Karthig forgetting his anniversary & phoning to order some love heart scoops thus winning his wife’s love (“You melt my heart just like this ice cream is melting). Karren points out the product is online not over the phone and they

Alana wants a video suggesting repeat custom so Grainne invents Maureen a sad cake addict who keeps coming to the same shop (“Hi Maureen!”). Grainne and Fran get the arse with Rebecca joining their creative team (“Just because it’s luxury, it doesn’t have to be dull).

With no reference whatsoever to customer feedback (“tasty but dull”) Alana has a branding rethink and adds her signature to the box (“a bit of ownership”, realising the brand needs to reflect her. She leaves Olly to mind the brand, insisting that any reference to Wales be kept to wording and not a Welsh Dragon as he insists. So as soon as she leaves Olly asks for a Welsh Dragon. “Did she want that” asks designer Bloke. Olly does a big fib and the dragon remains unwanted on the packaging. Olly’s convinced he’s suffering for his art (“It’s my time to shine!”.

So at city hall the pitches are due before the industry names and Alana is losing her shit, whereas Courtney appears to have wisely had a bifta or two before gong in “If I wasn’t nervous I wouldn’t be human.”

Poor Alana goes first advertising the home spun business (a little country kitchen I started when I was 17 – yeah cos “ridiculously rich” fits with that story). She tries to tie together “luxury and home-made” by smiling fragilely and saying “that’s me”.

Someone in the audience questions her on price and she’s totally on the ball though. Whereupon Lord Sugar himself pipes up asks if she will keep production in Wales and she’s well up for it and I have no idea whether that’s sunk her because he hates the Welsh or not.

So now it’s Courtney time and everyone claps like a coked up seal. When Courtney finally speaks he’s a lot better despite his love of random things. His baby beaker cup gets some attention especially when its realised it can be coloured with football team hues.

Back in the boardroom and the ads are rolling with Courtney insisting K had to be in it because of his “acting skills”. Everyone’s bigging Courtney up with Sofiane amazed that the baby trophy beaker was designed and made within 12 hours (it looks like it took less time).

Alana however seems to be disowning her team’s advert (“Maureen is NOT me!”) and Sugar is dismissive of her chances (“how do people know YOUR brand… it’s just a cake” etc like he’s some Kung Fu expert trying to wind up his star student.

It transpires that Courtney would have to pay licensing to football clubs to use their colour scheme and he suggests cheekily just using generic colour schemes similar to say West Ham colours (this in front of Karren Brady). Still Sugz and Karren get to have some quality Lahnhan footy banter so it’s not all in vain.

Back in and Courtney’s fighting for this, putting Alana down as a humble baker, but when it comes to his own business he’s revealed as a cloud cuckoo land dingbat who has failed to fulfil orders in the past whereas everyone loves Alana’s sexy margins – so amazingly Alana wins and is waved on to the LIMO OF JOY like she can’t quite believe what’s happening!

Someone gave me a “spoiler” that Courtney won, and it’s amazing how that skews how you watch the show (I was going “Ooh Purple Whale sounds good!” as though Purple bloody Ronnie had never existed and cheap tut was a good thing, I almost forgot how much better than everything else cake can be, but ultimately the constantly overlooked and belittled vulnerability of Alana beat the weaselly and slightly stoned way of Courtney and I’m so happy that at least one decision went right this year. Have a lovely Christmas and eat more cake everyone.


It’s Week 11 and interviews are arranged with a day to prepare at the shiny hellhole of 122 Leadenhall where business plans are to be handed over as well as dreams and dignity.

Thus ensues a shit montage of people fiddling with pens and pretending not to be worried and Courtney spraying himself with death-inducing quantities of Lynx(“Claude’s gonna make me perspirate”). At which Alana wins for making cakes instead (“It’s an important part of the plan. I just hope none of them has got a nut allergy or I’ll finish them off”).

Grainne remains an ice queen (“I’m gonna nail this”) because she is sober. For a fecking change.

Sugar greets them and hands the candidates and their plans over to his “trusted advisers” (some of whom we have never heard of before).

There’s perennial rottweiler Claude of course, and weird leftfield interviewer Mike Souter. However Karren confusingly misses out on the opportunity to be a complete bitch so we get to meet Claudia Collins who looks like a Coronation Street baddie but apparently runs a billion pound “media agency”, and Linda Plant who founded a “global design company”. Oh I’m sure they are real things but I’m too tired to google having returned late from a works Christmas do.

Anyhow they’re all Satan in various forms and the rest of the episode reflects this.

Grainne falls foul of Mike Souter by having claimed 90% customer satisfaction, and having to admit to only having 6 customers and then not being able to confidently work out what 90% of 6 is. I would have said 5 too. Claude rightly reckons that Grainne is trying to do too much from a sole trader platform. It’s the next step she insists typically arsily. It turns out she’s never written a business plan before and he suggests she should have got help. He points out that her sums don’t add up and by wanting to run an Agency, course, business and personally doing make-up for people who want to look like the evil queen out of Snow White she might be spreading herself thin, and she admits she doesn’t know what she should be concentrating on. Claudia gets evil and brings a few products out of her bag for Grainne to proclaim what the USP is on each. They all look like out of date tampons to me, but Grainne equally fails earning NOTHING BUT SCORN!.

Jess admits to Linda that one of her many previous companies made a massive loss and essentially falls apart and has to admit to not having a fricking clue about business. Mike also has issues with Jess’s business plan involving so much payment to Z-listers with little guaranteed payback. It doesn’t help that Jess has a failed company listed at companies house that she’s not aware of. Linda’s toying with Jess as she’s been “in the same business” and ultimately proclaims our wacky Northerner is “dreaming” after tearing strips off her about product ranges and production. Jess just about avoids tearing up again “I lost my dignity up on the 42 floor”, and Alana starts worrying (“Is taking cakes to this woman a bad idea?”). Claude makes the mistake of asking Jess an open question about her life history and she’s off (“Ah started in night clubs……..”)

I love Alana in the lift to Claude channelling Sigourney Weaver’s “Lucky lucky lucky” in Alien (“Confidence confidence confidence confidence”). She presents her cake and he stares at her like she’s bowling a turd at him. “We’ll just leave that alone. Can you just sit back again?” he barks (DON’T TOUCH ME!). He then challenges her toughness and she admits she wanted to “walk” in the first few weeks but wouldn’t quit, though proving her toughness. He says “OK” but won’t eat the cake. He then bitches that she has been making good money but using it to save for a house and not reinvesting in the business like Lord Sugar would do. Alana stutters and I know that she wants to say “Yes it’s OK for him cos he HAS a fucking house!” but she has the grace not to and it’s left hanging.

Jess is still telling Claude her life story.

It transpires that taking cakes to Linda isn’t a terrible idea (“Is that a sample? Maybe you should unwrap it then! Nom nom nom!!”. However Linda is concerned that Alana doesn’t know her competitors and what they are making and alas this is true. Linda also questions the role of Alana’s boyfriend in the business and having argued him down from partner to employee rather evilly asks Alana “If you fall out with him can he be replaced?” which whilst Alana points out is a cold thing to ask, is not an obstacle “Yes he can be replaced”. Lets hope he doesn’t have a fragile ego.

Jess is still telling Claude her life story.

Claudia is unimpressed by the fact that when asked to describe himself in one sentence Courtney actually offered “I’ll give you one word – awesome” (So wrong in all ways). It turns out that he gave up everything to devote to inventing novelty products, living with friends and taking home little money. Claudia mentions the importance of charisma and he mumbles and pffts. Claude just wants “to slap” Courtney for his lack of passion. “But I’ve won 8 out of 10 tasks” Courtney drawls and Claude yawns. It turns out Courtney makes and sells novelty gifts, but its pointed out his company is underperforming and he’s living at his parents house and making £8k a year (“not due to my demeanour I can tell you, I work my bollocks off!”) and whilst he thinks inventing 33 products in 3 years is good (I would think so too but I haven’t seen them) the interviewers are all utterly unimpressed. Plus every time Courtney admits failure and vows to work harder in a faux passionate way, Claude acts like he’s on a HR Sex Line (“I WILL make it!, “Oh YES YES YES!”). I reckon I could make good money telling Claude I’ve been unambitious but now I have a dream! Mike points out the obvious bullshit that Courtney spouts (you say you’re the top salesman in Britain?” “Well I meant to say the County not the Country”). As Courtney’s also described himself as a top designer of novelty items Mike puts him on the spot (“Sketch me something!”) and he comes up with (at least something) a Lord Sugar Pez dispenser. Linda’s unimpressed by an actual product he brings in (a toy champagne flute I imagine is for christenings. “Is that a good message to children?” she asks “Oh lighten up!” I remark.

Jess is still telling Claude her life story.

Fran meets Mike and insists there is a gap in the market for her business plan of buying out of season kids clothes cheap and selling them on in her stores (which actually do sound nice). She’s all about the customer focus (“There’s a heart… we have breast feeding rooms”) but unfortunately she’s failed to mention the two failed stores Mike has discovered to her name (“It undermines trust”) and she emerges ashen like something out of “The Sixth Sense” (“They. Know. Everything”). She used to have someone who did all the maths and she is crap at them (perhaps she should have kept them onside as her business plan is mauled by Claude). I like Fran for describing her handbag as her filing cabinet (what do you mean that’s not normal?) but Claudia goes full on evil on it (Fran “It was a flippant comment, if I could take back I would”). Every interviewer is worried about Fran’s self proclaimed shitness at figures, but she’s feisty and unrepentant (“I have done an absolute lot”).

Jess is still telling Claude her life story. “let’s move on” says Claude.

Finally they gather outside (“I am Strong! I am woman!” oh sorry Courtney, maybe girls names count). Alana is knackered. Grainne is too sober (“I could do with a large brandy”).

Sugar gets his evil pixies who did the interviews to spill the beans even though from day 1 this was probably going to the person with the most feasible business plan.

Everyone thinks Courtney is a weasel, they quite like Jess and worry if she’s feasible, they think Grainne’s trying to do too much (although Karren likes her because Karren is also evil) and they worry about Fran’s scalability. Alana doesn’t really get a mention (everyone is wiping cake off their faces though) apart from how difficult it is without actual data (that is publicly available) to estimate revenues (do-able – Alana give me a call!).

Back in the boardroom and Grainne admits to having too many eggs in one basket (“I should have honed in on….” *lists 20 things*). She admits she is only “half qualified” to teach the certificate that features as part of her plan and is doomed once she argues back over this with Sugar. As she’s fired she hisses “Good luck girls” and Courtney looks a bit doomed.

Sugar reckons Alana’s cupcakes are just a fad but she reckons she can sell her deli products “anywhere that sells coffee” and admits you have to taste her samples to understand (god I’m hungry!).

Courtney reckons his tat would be “up to date with current trends” and quickly produced which Sugar appreciates given the huge success of the Amstrad Email Phone.

Fran gets shit for her lack of scalability again but fights her corner (“I’ve been in this business for two years” (oh bless her!) “and I know it inside out – we only scratched the surface”). Sugar worries that Fran is rubbish on systems but she turns that round as the reason she needs a strong business investment.

Poor Jess is fired “with regret” (“You have great sales ability”). Fran fights her corner like a terrier whilst Courtney drawls nonchalantly and slags off his fellow candidates. However Sugar (having been warned who is most likely to be feisty enough to sue him if they were in business with him) sacks off poor Fran for her lack of scalability (as a fellow petite person may I just say that “lack of scalability” is a shit euphemism. As she’s the only one in the TAXI OF DOOM she trills about her bright future and lets face it with her pixie face, great design skills and quirky ideas about colonialism she could give Paul Nuttalls a run for his money.

So it’s Courtney and Alana in the final. “You’re the only person in my way” she muses in the car back to IKEA JOY HOUSE. “Maybe I could use the money to save up for my house – just saying” he responds with the air of a man who has no idea what “ZING!” means.

Next week the remaining candidates do the embarrassing school footy team selection thing with all the losing candidates to form their teams (I’m hoping sausage man Ollie beats the twat in the bow tie to being placed) and the last two have to launch their businesses. Bring food as we may get hungry. And booze as we may go mad.

It’s hardly worth pointing out I like Alana and dislike Courtney.

And goodbye to (soon to be seen again):Michelle, Natalie, Sausage Olly, Aleksandra, Mukai , JD, Rebecca, K, Sam, ANGRY Paul, Dillon, Sofiane, Trishna, Jess, Grainne, Fran

Hello and welcome to the first #NewsFromTheFunnyFarm where I will attempt to find out what is happening at the moment whilst making up composite swearwords like a proper flapthrusting pisshack.

So 2016 eh? What a barrel of laughs! That’s the topical stuff done. Anyhow never mind the endless death, mayhem and rise of far right bigotry. The thing that’s pissed me off the most about this anus horrible is how trolls have somehow managed to breed despite being defined as “Ugly cave dwelling creatures”.

Seconds after this photo was taken Terry the Troll called Gary Linekar a “Pooey panted Remoaner” on Twitter.

I mean of course social trolls (they don’t just live on the internet (they also shout abuse out of the windows of moving cars), although lets face it the conditions online are ideal for them as they also enable a speedy getaway) who will say whatever they want in order to poke, provoke and gleefully spread lies and slurs for shits and giggles. They especially like to bully minorities or the vulnerable as they’re less likely to get called out, risen above or found out and twatted.

Trolling is nothing new, as any connoisseur of teenage graffiti from any decade will attest. They very quickly came to play on internet forums (anywhere where you can create anonymous usernames and create or edit content) and social networking is a trolls dream. Some proper old school trolls made lairs on sites where they could compare their exploits writing abusive messages on facebook RIP groups or targeting liberal talkboards. We all kind of accepted their existence and fundamental patheticness and became adept at spotting even the more subtle attempts to troll. That’s why “Don’t Feed The Troll” is such an old meme.

Sticks and Stones may break our bones but someone calling us a libtard will just make us sigh and roll our eyes.dont-feed-the-trolls

In 2016 these trolls have crawled out from their bridges and gone mainstream and legit. They have voted in troll politicians or for troll agendas. Oh come on, Trump is clearly a troll with his 3am Twitter badmouthing sessions and apparently ability to get away with saying stuff that most nice sensible people would at the least get a verbal warning and a trip to a diversity training course if they did it either in their workplace or public. Trump’s even got the stupid troll hair going on. Likewise Nigel Farage (with his tobacco stained troll-like face) trolled the British public with his xenophobic dog whistle “Breaking Point” posters showing swarms of (curiously brown skinned) migrants lining up to invade Britain should people vote to remain in the EU (the poster was actually taken of Syrian refugees fleeing war but a good Troll never minds about the truth).

Not everyone who voted for Trump or Brexit was a racist, but a fair proportion of them appear to have been trolling – and getting away with it. (I actually know people who voted Brexit “just to see what happened” – Trolls! ).What’s getting scary is just how much the news and search engines have been laced with fake troll news for trolls to share and wind up “Liberal Snowflakes” (Troll language rather sweetly tends towards the fantastic and fairystory – with swears thrown in).

The other day browsing the BBC Twitter feed, I saw a horrifying piece of news about a young woman kicked down the stairs in a subway station in Berlin. The video accompanying it is disturbing from the unaware victim to the apparent glee of the assailant and the lack of any concern from his cronies who watch the whole thing.

You’re damn right it contains “upsetting scenes” BBC

One thing it does not contain however is a clue to the origin of the assailant. The victim has her back to us and is wearing a hood (at first I wondered if it was mistaken for a hijab – then I realised it doesn’t matter – whatever the motive – this crime shows violent bullying misogyny in action and the people who took part in it are terrifying sociopaths.)

So I was curious as to why the BBC Tweet containing this article was jumped on by so many people insisting that the perpetrators were “Muslims” or “Immigrants”. I could find no reference to this on the news and many who claimed to have seen news sources did not cite them.


And more


And more (if you really want to click on the BBC Tweet).

So why this proliferation of unsubstantiated claims? Some of the responders almost look like they could be spambots set up to blame immigrants and Muslims – but someone’s clearly made the effort to write out the allegations in response to this story and tweet it ad infinitum. Obviously for some proper racists it might be worth retweeting something that fits in with their world view. But it’s starting to look like a lot of people don’t really care whether something is true or not. Whether Trump is a saviour or a nightmare, whether Brexit is the answer or the path to doom. These people don’t give a flying monkey bollock, they just want an outraged response and they will keep posting to get it.

The problem is whereas the best way to troll a Troll or at least deal with them on a personal level was to block and ignore them, depriving them of the validation they crave; nowadays letting bullshit go unchallenged also supports the views of genuine hateful lunatics with Nazi agendas and doesn’t stop these lies causing genuine harm to minorities. And the trolls are even helping these people win the search engines when it comes to spreading false news.

I googled “Kicked Stairs Berlin ” this morning and even on the first page (last item) I found a piece blaming immigrants.


I searched again two hours later (yes I do need to get a life too) and the first page had even more links blaming migrants – those stories are getting higher up in the search results too.


If you share something enough it starts fitting Googles search algorithms more. Most people only look at the front page of google results, so the higher an article rises on the first page, the more likely it is to be consumed as “reality”. Even seeing the title could convince some searchers that there was a shred of truth. There must be – it’s page one on Google!

The first article blaming Migrants to appear in my search from “South Front” – which regardless of its agenda (and I am sure they are a lovely bunch of lads really) is known for publishing unvetted conspiracy theory articles.

The next Immigrant blaming result to appear comes from The Gateway pundit, a blog which appears to present people’s tweets as genuine evidence. Although at least it has the grace to use a question mark in brackets after the word “migrants” in its headline (“Horrifying Video! One of Merkel’s Migrants(?) Kicks Unsuspecting Woman Down Stairs at Metro”).

I wish I hadn’t clicked on either link now to be honest for fear of even further skewing the search results, but other than sighing and clutching at pearls what can one do to stop the Troll articles taking over? How can we balance media perceptions of outsiders in a post truth world when there’s often reason not to even trust everyday press sources?

We are all “journalists” (some less worth following than others) nowadays so maybe the only way to now out-troll the trolls is through spreading accurate stories. For every negative story attacking the vulnerable, for every lie blaming those who are thought of as “different” share accurate positive stories. For every lie without any evidence spread truth with evidence. And call out bullshit without getting stroppy or defensive (“there is absolutely no evidence for this so I call #bullshit”).

So when I see things like this

Or this

Or this

Or this

If there’s a credible enough source and quotes, I’m sharing it. It’s not enough as it needs to keep being shared (and that’s why the source has to at least be credible) and shared again to keep the story trending on Twitter and appearing on the first page of news sites or Google. If these sites won’t police the hatemongering crap people are using them to spread, then maybe we need to mix some love and positivity into the equation when we find it?

If 2016 was the year of the emerging Troll maybe 2017 could do with some Peace Spamming?

Anyhow must go off and Macrame a Yurt in my Metropolitan elite dreamland!*


*drink a can of lager in my terraced house in Essex. Us liberals are all the same!




Week 10 sees our remaining six be-suited shitclowns assembled at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich and tasked with creating and flogging their own brand of gin. “You may be wondering why you’re here” Lord Sugar muses. Another tenuous link perhaps? Ah yes “During the 18th Century” continues the be-knighted hairy walnut “The navy helped to make gin” (really?!) “and loaded boats with the spirit to pay their sailors”. (Er hang on wasn’t that rum? Oh whatever!).

He mixes the team so Nebula is now Alana, Jess and Courtney whereas Titans consists of Grainne, Fran and Trishna.

Courtney is still pretty cocky despite being the only chap left in the process whereas the remaining women dream of an all Y chromosome final. “Who’s going to win?” they chant in the car. “The girls!” they conclude because nothing screams ambition like infantalising yourselves.

It’s time to pick Project Managers. Alana points out she works in the food industry, but Courtney says ambiguously he’s from a “product background” (well aren’t we all?). However Alana insists she’s “surrounded by alcohol all the time” (I know the feeling), but Courtney buts in moaning he hasn’t had the chance to lead a creative task before. Alana says as we’re all thinking that it’s not all about Courtney, it’s about winning and poor Jess sits there dizzily (“I’ve got faith in both of you”) until Courtney forces her to pick who’s best and she wimps out and picks him. Courtney wants to do the branding with Jess so he can send poor sidelined Alana to the kitchen/distillery by herself. He then insists on patronising Alana a bit more by worrying she’ll even be rubbish hidden away from public view making gun. “This is very close to what I do” she points out and he backs down. They taste a load of gin and wastefully spit it out into a big bucket. Alana suggests that fruity flavours sell the most, and has the idea of “raspberry and pink pepper”, and Courtney meekly agrees. Maybe so he can blame the flavour on her later?

Over on Titans Grainne’s pitch for leadership is “I’ll be honest.. I’ve tried a lot of gin” (Irish contraception) and she’s in. Job done. She picks Trishna to go to manufacturing and sends Fran to do the branding all by herself. They all get their moneys worth on the gin samples, swallowing rather than spitting, and plump for a spicy flavour.

Fran’s concept initially seems to be inspired by the Naval College (“a naval officer travels the globe and comes up with exotic spice flavours in India”), but gradually gets more sinister as she suggests the product be called “Colony Gin” and there should be a “colonisation map” on the label (“It’s a shame we can’t get England on there” she tells the designer, who simply moves everything about so India disappears from the label and Africa dominates with the UK in the top corner, “Oh there we go! I actually got an exam in geography you know”). Is Fran’s dad Godfrey Bloom or something? It could only get worse if she goes for “Bongo Bongo” gin. A young woman clearly somehow stuck in the 1970s she also likes the idea of an orange and brown colour scheme on label inspiring Trishna to make an orange coloured gin.

Alana gets to work with Thomas the distillery expert who informs her that colouring is frowned upon in the gin world (racist) and that raspberry is not a usual gin flavour. Undaunted she comes up with her own recipe adding yet more raspberry as Thomas looks worried.

In the distillery Grainne is starting to get a hot flush whilst sampling yet more gins as she and Trishna embark on a giggly gin bender (watched by an unimpressed Karren) whilst poor Fran tries in vain to call them to get the ingredients and alcohol percentage to go on the label. She ends up (“pissed off”) having to go with her own ideas and only by the time Project Manager Grainne finishes “making” gin (“I just need to sleep”) well after the deadline for branding does she realise she’s missed 19 calls. I now think every customer services department in the UK is getting pissed on gin whilst we listen to Greensleeves.

Meanwhile Grainne and Trishna have gone all “Gin Lane”600px-beer-street-and-gin-lane

Courtney’s “creative genius” shines through as he comes up with “giin” (the two is represent two people apparently because Courtney is all about ego). His next thought is spelling GIN “with an X”. Jess restrains the urge to shout “wanker” and asks what the X means. Apparently it’s a secret. Wanker. He fails spectacularly to make a decision despite Jess’s urge to “choose yer concept”, but eventually plumps for Giin making out it’s Jess’s decision as boardroom ballast. Apparently “giin” will be all about “drinking with friends”. Radical! What about the ever growing lonely alcoholic market eh? When they break it to Alana she thinks it sounds stupid and Courtney slams her down “just focus on making giin” (yeah shut up and get back in the kitchen I mean distillery!). He then tries to get her to make the gin pink. She explains this is not acceptable in the world of gin (apart from pink gin obviously but I think it’s to do with using non natural colourings) and Jess fortunately backs her up. Courtney then whinges that the gin doesn’t taste like raspberry when it arrives whereas Alana at least has the grace to decide to pitch like a beast for “giin” despite thinking it sounds like something a “toosser” would come up with.

At 7am both Grainne and Trishna look peeky as Fran breaks it to them that there are no ingredients on their label (“If you don’t like it tough!”) and Trishna descends into a depressive fug whereas Grainne tries to look on the bright side (“I know it was a mistake but”) by making sure Fran and Trishna take the difficult first pitch whilst she gathers customer feedback (and someone finally points out the “negative connotations with the word COLONY”).

Courtney seems to want Alana well away from the pitch and decides she should do consumer testing until she stands up for herself and Jess agrees to mingle with the plebs (who state they would prefer a pink label). In the car Courtney asks Alana about the pronunciation of giin (jiin) again and she clearly winds him up by getting it wrong. I like Alana.

First pitch of three is to pretend posh offy Majestick. Courtney struggles to erect his easel and stumbles over his pitch (Claude “Courtney is incredibly boring”) giving Alana little chance to speak. He’s obsessed by the word “concept” (“The concept is we are three er friends” “Why’s there only two ‘i’s?” “Er”, Alana “We didn’t bring her with us!”). The Majestick panel don’t taste the raspberry but decide it’s “different” which could be good (or shit).

Jess arrives and tells them to mention the label colour from the consumer research in the next pitch because she’s desperate to have some input. Courtney insists he doesn’t want to add doubt and Alana reiterates “do not bring negatives up in a big pitch” leaving Jess thoroughly “fuming”.

Whilst Trishna clanks around like bottles recycling day in a middle class suburb Fran pitches about “the colonies at the height of the British empire” and Trishna mentions the Colony gin contains “grains of paradise” which sounds like a friction rub you’d buy from Anne Summers. Majestick like the taste but hate the colour. “Is it from the orange?” they ask. “Oh yeah it’s utterly natural” fibs Trishna despite it looking like radioactive hobo wee.

Somehow Courtney gets to choke through another pitch (oh yeah he’s PM) to Tesco. Jess still wants to mention the market research and promises not to be negative honest (“We DID realise from consumer research that it makes sense to use a pink colour in the branding”) and everyone gets a bit carried away (Alana in the post-mortem “It was a bloody waffle off!”).

Tesco are even less impressed with Colony and don’t enjoy the drink even when still pissed Grainne extols the virtues of “Jupiner sorry Juniper”, pointing out it’s the same colour as a certain “Scottish soft drink”. “We could take the colour out” offers Fran prompting Trishna to declare that NEVER NEVER will they take the orange out of Colony (“Take away our colour take away our brand”). Trishna blames Grainne afterwards for not mentioning a woman who “didn’t drink gin” and said she enjoyed it in order to escape during the market research (“That was a key quote”) and Grainne gets consigned to a separate car whereupon angry Trishna gets poor Fran to phone her up and tell her the pitch wasn’t “structured” enough. Grainne gets all angry fishwife (“WHAT?! This is sounding a bit patronising!”).

Jess pitches to the third client “Barworks” (me neither) and Nebula work quite well as a team. Barworks bloke even enjoys the flavour (“It’s got just enough raspberry”) until Alana almost blows it by presenting them with the uninspiring (“Raspberry eruption”) cocktail they’ve clearly devised to disguise ginns failings which barworks find too “gimmicky” (“It says Halloween to me. It’s ruined it for me”).

Nobody understands why Colony is orange as it doesn’t have a picture of Willy Wonka and the Oompah loompahs on the front. (“Nobody wants to order a gin and tonic and it come as murky dishwater” – or berrocca wee) and Grainne insists it doesn’t change the flavour. “Then why are you adding it?” ask Barworks and Grainne says it’s a “natural flavour”. “What?” “Er like a er food colouring”. Whoops! Barworks are tearing Colony apart and start on the geography of Fran’s map (“You look at the bottle you think Africa”). “India’s at the top” Fran tries gamely and they laugh at her.

Outside a twitchy Grainne takes delusion to a new level insisting “They didn’t say they hated it – we could still get sales”.

In the boardroom Karren grasses up Team Titans lushy ways (“The spit bucket was empty”, Grainne “We were researching gins”, Sugar “You must have been as researched as a newt”) and Grainne is forced to admit she didn’t take Fran’s vital call as “we left our phone in a separate room”. Was that cos you had too much gin?” asks Sugar and Grainne splutters meekly. Grainne then complains that “Fran was questioning my ability to hold a conversation in a room” and says she found it “Underminding”. Sugar sighs and turns to Nebula.

“Courtney you was PM” (“Yeah” sighs a long suffering Alana). Giin gets some stick although Courtney maintains not knowing how it’s pronounced is a talking point. Karren pounces “It’s good if you don’t know how to pronounce your brand?” but Courtney bats her away quite well (“Well Nikey or Nike”). Courtney’s pitching skills come under scrutiny (Courtney “You don’t get much time and it’s a new product” and boohoo everybody else is in the same boat) till Claude asks why he didn’t just get someone else to do it and there’s nothing he can say.

Anyhow results time.

Tescos brought 1200 bottles of Giin for £20400 (how fucking much?) but didn’t order any Colony cos it was too fucking orange for even their Essex branches.

Majestick ordered 240 bottles of Colony for their racist punters making £5280 but didn’t order any giiin because it sounds too foreign.

Barworks ordered 2000 bottles of Giin for £51000 (which sounds like a rip off when you look at what Tesco paid) but didn’t go for Colony at all.

So Nebula made £71,400 and Titan only £5280 and Alana and Courtney have to strap Jess down to stop her doing a victory dance. nebula go on a helicopter ride where Jess and Courtney big themselves up and Alana looks on the verge of vomiting.

Grainne looks frozen in horror as they leave to Sad Café where Grainne tries to blame everyone else and has a proper aggressive go at poor Fran like a nasty drunk “You PHONED ME 5 minutes before a pitch saying YOU’RE INCAPABLE” (er no she didn’t say that). Trishna goes very quiet – she knows she’s done bad.

So back in and Frances learns the difference between India and Africa (“I know now – India’s underneath” “No that’s the South pole”). Sugar points out that the most successful pitch didn’t involve Grainne and finally Fran is vindicated as it’s pointed out that Trishna got her to make the call (“She was just the messenger” , “Er I apologise, I didn’t realise”).

Frances gets stick for having lost 8 tasks but gamely points out she was only in the final three once before and won big as Project Manager.

Grainne blames Trishna for being moody on day 2 (“I didn’t go to market research with a horrible face” Trishna “It didn’t affect my performance” Claude “er what about your team’s performance”) and Trishna and Grainne launch into talking over each other until I’m begging for all of them to be fired. Sadly Lord Sugar blames Trishna too (“The colour was down to you” – Racist!) and fires her. Somehow Grainne survives.

In the Taxi of eternal regret Trishna thinks he’s made a big mistake. I agree if only because Trishna was clearly way more competent than Fran and Grainne – but that’s the curse of gin.

Back in the house Jess is singing a little song “3200 units please 70 grand in the bank”. If she doesn’t get fired next week someone MAY smother her in her sleep. “Shall we have a gin and tonic” she asks? “No a jiin” corrects Courtney. Oh fuck off.

Next week it’s the interviews round. Surely this is payback time for Grainne?

Liking: Alana. I want her to win which means she probably won’t

Liking with gritted teeth: Jess. She’s mad she is.

Next leader of UKIP: Fran

Weasel Boy: Courtney

She scares me. A lot: Grainne

Well I’m back away after missing last week’s episode due to gigs and a cheeky work jaunt over to lovely Lisbon, but it looks like I missed a corker in Week 8 as the teams had to put on ticketed entertainment, with ANGRY Paul’s team’s Casino night dying the death due to Jess promising punters hot food and Paul bawling her out in front of confused hungry people whereas Dillon went full on Bangkok showbiz impresario (“My vision has a sparkly grotto feeling”) hiring bored looking mermaid prostitutes to do a song and dance routine whilst releasing ping pong balls which somehow achieved 100% customer satisfaction. ANGRY Paul finally lost the plot by snapping at Lord Sugar and unsurprisingly had to sling his hook and go back into cage fighting or whatever it is he does.

So onto Week 9 and as the contestants appear to be having a relative sleep in at 7am of course Claude and Karren turn up at the door whilst everyone scuttles about in their pants. Courtney hasn’t even had his morning tea so does that classic gambit of offering Karren a cuppa in the hope of grabbing one. “No” she bitches sternly “Get down here so we can get on please!”

Claude makes them all put headsets on as though he’s about to execute them, but it’s actually Virtual Reality and through the wonders of technology a slightly slimmer looking buzzing Lord Sugar hologram says “Help me Obi Wan You’re My Only Hope” – or at least welcomes them to “the future” (if you live in the 1990s) where Virtual Reality is the “new” big thing in global gaming and instructs them they have to design a new VR game (in 3 days as opposed to the years these things normally take) and pitching it at Comic Con whilst remembering that the brand is key.

Karren points out that Sofiane and Trishna’s business plans are both in technology so Sofiane is moved over to the Titans (with Dillon, Alana and Grainne) whereas Courtney is shifted over to Nebula with Trishna, Jess and Fran.

Trishna puts herself forward to Project Manage as she is an IT Recruiter and used to play a lot of computer games. Courtney reckons she should be alright “as you’re not competing against me this time” (Karren winces).

Over on the Titans Dillon reminds himself that he is an illustrator, but Sofiane reckons he once sold one of the very first virtual reality headsets in the country and takes over much to Dillon’s chagrin (“I could have led this team to victory”).

Nebula brainstorm and Fran points out that the target market is guys aged 15 to 34. She likes the idea of a “Martian adventure racing through the galaxy”. “I may sound like an idiot but what do Martians look like?” asks the ever literal Trishna until the more imaginative Jess points out they could just “create one”. Radical! Courtney just seems happy with everyone else taking the responsibility for decisions and is put in charge of concept and branding with Jess.

Dillon has a medieval concept of defending royals in a castle but Sofiane reckons you could “just play that on a normal games console” before suggesting playing puzzles. Cos you couldn’t just do that on a console or erm your phone. Dillon immediately comes up with yet ANOTHER colourful sea based idea (ANY excuse to get back into that sailors outfit he’s clearly brought from home specially) and suggests putting together different pieces of coloured shells. Alana agrees that underwater themes are “visually beautiful” and points out that she knows nothing about gaming so Sofiane recognising her arty fartyness immediately puts her and Dillon on ..erm…game creation rather than branding. Even Claude is shocked. Dillon keeps asking Sofiane “Are you sure you’re happy? I work in branding” but Sofiane is incapable of listening “Stay positive, I’ll call you and we’ll go through that again yeah?”

Jess and Courtney get in touch with their creative side which appears to have been inspired by the Mighty Boosh (Jess “He could have lost his pet” Courtney “Yeah it could be a badger!” Jess (sings) “Spaceman Sam and his cosmic badger!” Courtney “Galactic Gary!”). I want what they’re on!

Dillon works the underwater theme around a hunky “Atlantean from Atlantis” who likes to colour coordinate shells. Alana’s not sure who it’s targeted at (gay men with short attention spans?) pointing out that “If it’s a puzzle it needs to be a puzzle”, but Dillon’s carried away with his own creativity. She suggests at least an element of danger with jellyfish dropping onto the player but he thinks it’s “too complicated”.

Fran and Trishna decide to make their game more exciting with a timing element “If you run out of fuel you die”. They’re less impressed by the idea of the lost “astro badger”. “Why a badger?” Trishna asks and Courtney explains that “a cat or dog is not as exotic”. “We want people to experience something they wouldn’t normally” adds Jess to which Trishna deadpans “Yeah which is why it’s in SPACE!”

For some reason the branding subteams have to put on stupid panto style clothes relating to their game (I guess for Comic Con but seriously these clothes are shit and the sight of Sofiane’s little gut poking out from his not even maritime elf tights and tunic is now seared into my retinas). Meanwhile Jess wears a star outfit which makes her look like a sparkly sperm and Courtney dons a spaceman suit (“Does my bum look big in this?” “It’s an improvement actually”). They riff on game names rejecting”Badger Hunt” immediately even though it would probably go down well with farmers. Finally they decide on “Gordon’s Lost His Badger” which royally pisses Trishna off (“If we lose this task because of that name I’m not going anywhere”). She and Fran force their games designer bloke to create a frighteningly over complicated universe full of planets comets and space juice.

Sofiane and Grainne have creative block (“Ocean kid? Aqua kid?”) until Sofiane hits on “Coral kid”. “You know what coral is?” he asks Grainne. “Do you know?” she ripostes. “Yeah it’s like.. under the sea.” So is sewage Sof. He does a crap drawing whilst Grainne suggests the name “Magic Shells” which he latches onto in the absence of any other ideas. “It’s good.. a four year old would know what it is”. Uh oh. Remember that target age range… oh I guess you don’t. He tells Dillon who manages to stop himself saying “What the fuck” and turn it into a drawn out sarcastic “Wooooow… are you serious?” “I don’t know if these shells are particularly magic” Alana worries, adding later that the idea is more “tragic”. Sofiane then settles down to patronise his tame designer (“Do you know what I mean by 3D?”) and gets him to add a helmet to the supposedly Atlantean “Coral kid” (why not just give him an asthma inhaler and be done with it?) whilst Grainne just smiles and nods

Nebula’s branding is space badger obsessed featuring said creature with a rainbow mohawk and no sign of “Galactic Gordon” despite his name being in the game title. Fran’s devastated “It looks like an armadillo! the badger’s got a QUIFF!” before they both demand “Where’s Gordon?!” making me really hope Brian Blessed is watching.

At Comic Con Dillon’s not happy with the Coral Kid (“It’s more cutesy and less Atlantic hero which I would have liked”) and people testing the game all reckon it’s aimed at kids.

Trishna disses “Gordon’s Lost His Badger” claiming it lacks imagination and vision. Jess disagrees but Trishna reckons that doesn’t matter as she’s PROJECT MANAGER which prompts Jess to clutch an imaginary handbag and go “Oooooooh!”. Jess really wants to pitch (“I’m good at captivating a room”) but Trishna’s still peeved at being disrespected and tells Courtney to pitch. Unfortunately he’s happy for Jess to do it. None of the test audience can actually play the game due to lack of instructions and over complexity. Dillon and Sofiane decide to spy on them in their not at all fecking inconspicuous non-aquatic elf outfits and do mega muwahahahs at how rubbish the game looks.

Trishna actually gets on better with Jess when they work on the pitch and Jess brings the narrative to life. Unfortunately in front of the experts and 300 punters from Comic Con Jess comes unstuck at first (“Ooh I’ve got a squeak in my throat”) and loses the magic of her Cosmic Badger beat poem (which if William Shatner recorded it would become a cult amongst stoners everywhere). She gets her mojo back when she’s off the notes (so maybe she just realised wisely that the poem was crap) and answers the experts questions well explaining that Gordon isn’t on the branding as “the badger is the key character” and that although an expert describes the game name as “a cry for help” that it’s randomness makes it unforgettable.

Sofiane plans to open the pitch then pass it to Dillon to tell the story. He wants Alana to demonstrate the game (i.e. wear a mask and not say anything) whilst Grainne explains. Alana’s not happy being sidelined when she worked on the game so Grainne offers to demo. Somehow Sofiane and Dillon have escaped their elf garb and wear suits whereas the women still have to dress in their stupid seaweedy Disney gowns. Sofiane explains that the “ocean is the most immersive place” (no shit) and gets Grainne to start the demo out of order with his instructions completely throwing everyone and turning the pitch into a farce as Grainne (who clearly hasn’t given the game a test drive beforehand) squeals and flails about and Alana blushingly tries to explain what’s happening. Dillon chips in to explain the coral kids mission before handing over to Alana whoops no Sofiane to finish the pitch. One of the experts reckons magic shells “sound like hallucinogenic drugs” (surely the Badger game is the more obviously trippy one? I’ve still got the Badger Mushroom song in my head thinking about it) and Alana tries to rescue it by claiming the game is fun for the whole family “round together” and points out that a kid has offered to create a comic book based around the “Coral Kid” which almost undermines the attempt to suggest it has a wide age range appeal.

Anyhow the audience vote for their favourites whilst the experts give feedback.

In the Boardroom a slightly more realistic Lord Sugar expresses confusion over Astro badgers whereas Karren just seems disappointed the badger is too small (apparently the expert said it needed “more badger”) and takes her anger out on Courtney by outing him as looking “terrified on stage”. However she does tell Jess that the experts found her “really engaging”. Don’t trust her Jess – she’ll turn on you.

“More Badger Vicar?”

Sofiane bigs up Dillon’s creative genius and Grainne for coming up with “Magic Shells” (big wow!). “What did you do?” asks Sugar. “I came up with The Coral Kid” says Sofiane proudly, plummeting to earth as Sugar again points out the target age range of 15 to 34. Alana demonstrates the game (Sofiane muttering “Go for it Alana” whilst Dillon talks everyone through the narrative “Here’s a bad guy. he says ouch” *bad blob on screen says ouch*).

Sofiane admits he screwed up with the pitch order and there’s genuine tumbleweed when Sugar asks if Sofiane was a good PM. “I think we made a good game” Alana says brightly after an embarrassed pause.

Anyhow 5 of the 7 experts said they would invest in Gordon’s Lost His Badger (with some tweaks. Maybe changing Lost to Found and Badger to Uzi) . None of them went for Magic Shells. And the audience overwhelmingly voted for the badger (222 out of 300).

Nebula are sent to “Flavour” an “Immersive Dining Experience” which looks like a great place to go to if you’re an infantile tosspot with a stupid beard or something as you get to eat in a dungeon then jump around in a ball pit. Trishna’s practically orgasming with excitement at winning and rewrites history to one where she backed her team the whole way. Courtney is unimpressed.

Café Doom looks better than the fricking treat quite frankly.

Back in the Boardroom and Sofiane learns that kids games are the smallest market in Virtual Reality gaming. Sofiane has to admit that he thought of a kid as a character as opposed to Dillon’s “dynamic hero”. It turns out the experts hated the brand and Sofiane reckons it’s because he’s no cop at drawing. “You had access to a world class designer” Karren says coldly – surprised she doesn’t add “No not YOU Dillon” there. Sofiane claims nobody told him it was a bad idea and to be fair to him he probably didn’t hear the repeated times Alana and Dillon said just this (not Grainne – she was happy for him to screw up this task). Dillon also claims nobody else gave any other ideas (apart from Alana eh?) and refuses to accept that he ignored Alana’s ideas (“I’m VERY supportive but I had to prioritise the gameplay”) whilst still standing by his game as “creative” (whoops!).

Sofiane after more deliberation time than an Oxbridge team get from Paxman on University Challenge brings back Dillon and Grainne so Alana gets to scoot back to the house. He explains Grainne just stood by watching (“You’re a make-up artist but you let me draw”) although she probably saw no point in even trying to challenge him and then says he would have made a better game than Dillon (Dillon: “Hang on! 30 minutes ago I was a ‘creative genius'”).

Dillon gets all emotional about his struggle as a middle class white gay man “I had to leave a small town and go to the city.. as a gay man I came up with a lot of adversary” (I think he means adversity but maybe he had an adversary who was also a homophobic jellyfish which would explain his resistance to Alana’s ideas). Sugar points out we all have faced difficulties as Sofiane came to the UK by himself and taught himself English and Grainne erm er is a mother. Everyone thinks Sofiane should be fired but because he hates a sob story he fires Dillon (with “regret”) for “not listening”. There’s five minutes left so he fires Sofiane too (boo) and I’m hoping for a treble firing but somehow Grainne dodges the bullet.

In the Taxi of Eternal regret Sofiane’s shocked but determined to “Achieve my dream and build my empire”. Whereas Dillon is bitter but determined to “Get back to Dublin, get a spray tan and conquer the magazine world”.

Poor Jess waits for Dillon back at the house (“I will be gutted if Dillon goes”) and on Grainne’s return keeps looking behind her for her white haired Irish GBF until her little face drops and she realises he ain’t coming back. Awww.

next week the teams create gin. I may well drink some.

Liking: Alana

Warming to again: Jess

Unconvinced by: Courtney, Frances, Trishna

Secretly Evil: Grainne

Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie, Lovely Sausage Olly, Aleksandra, Mukai , JD, Rebecca, K, Sam, ANGRY Paul, Dillon, Sofiane

Week 6 and the twelve remaining candidates laze around the jacuzzi at 2.30pm. Of course this idyll can’t last and they’re rudely interrupted by a call (and my eyes are rudely interrupted by the brain scarring sight of Karthig aka K in his swimming togs – oddly it’s Dillon who’s wearing a sensible jumper who’s asking other candidates if HE looks like Michael Jackson). They’ve got 20 minutes to get to the 69th floor of Shard. “So he’s taking us up the shard?” muses Courtney wistfully.

K’s concerned it will be a all nighter task “I don’t do hard physical labour”. “What do you do?” Grainne asks and instantly regrets it as he answers “I eat, I drink, I make love. That’s what I do”.

Up the shard, Sugar tells the candidates he wanted them to see the wonderful panoramic view of London “one of the most multicultural places on earth” because nothing says exotic like a view of Bermondsey. The candidates have to purchase 9 items (“Some foreign, some British”) with only a grand, some business directories and a map to help them (just think – next year they’ll probably need a few grand to afford imported goods).

African Black Soap
A photograph they’ve taken of the London skyline at night printed as a poster
10 Robusto cigars
A tagine
A lengha
200 rainbow bagels
Some birds of paradise
An American style pool cue

The task is overnight finishing at 6am so Sugar says they’ll need stamina as well as negotiation skills and knowing when to buy to get the best deal. The team spending the least wins and there’s fines for any unpurchased items.

Trishna’s switched to Nebula with Paul, Fran, Sofiane, Jess and Rebecca (who stays mysteriously quiet when they choose a team leader despite promising Lord Sugar last week she’d prove her skills as PM, so Trishna ends up leading thanks to her Lahndahn knowledge and decides to split the teams by location as Paul fancies himself as an East End geezer). Sofiane ignores most of the strategy talk as he’s too busy trying to snap the perfect photo of the skyline and they practically have to drag him into the car to make him stop. He then twats about going straight to a printers and obsessing over picking the best picture he took (Trishna: “It doesn’t matter”) arguing the print bloke down from a steep £30 to a pretty steep £24 and wasting time watching it get printed with a loving tear in his eye at his artistry.

Courtney elects himself leader of Titans (K, Grainne, Alana, Dillon, Samuel) as he has experience negotiating with factories in China and concentrates on finding out where the products are first.

Nobody knows what a rambutan is. Frances thinks it’s a bread, Sofiane reckons meat, someone else correctly guesses fruit so just to be different Paul suggests it could be a vegetable.

Over on Titans K knows most of the items and Samuel finds an outlet setting black soap in SE2 which Courtney with his amazing London knowledge reckons is right next to the Shard (to the driver “Take us to SE2”). Oops! Half way through the Blackwell tunnel he starts worrying as they have gone off the end of the map and about an hour later they reach the cash and carry where they only get a poxy 35p off the price of the soap. Still there is a nice shot of an urban fox rummaging round the car park so it’s not a total waste.

K admits that he’s proper “Indianning up” on the phone to lengha suppliers, convinced he needs to start a beautiful relationship in order to secure a deal. With the shops due to close at 10pm, he’s perturbed when Dillon insists on a diversion to a pool club which closes at 2.30am to pick up the pool cue.

Frances looks dubiously out of the car window at Brick Lane. “Is this the ghetto?” she asks. “This is trendy” Paul insists. She looks unconvinced. He manages to argue the price down on the rainbow bagels from £100 to £70 and swaggers round all but shouting “This is my manor” and “Who’s the facking daddy” for the rest of the show (“I grew up a mile from here.. I know how to deal with people in this area”).

K’s going for the full slow haggle (“Asian persuasion” as he calls it) at the Lengha shop (“You will not get any profit from me today .. it’s me asking you a favour”). After several hours exchanging life stories, the Lengha shop manager declares “As we’re friends now there are two other shops over the road who may be able to accommodate your needs” (probably one of the politest “please fuck off”s I’ve seen). K starts the whole process again (“I hear you’re from Bombay”) explaining that although it’s slow “that’s how things work in this culture”. After what seems a week he argues the price down from £70 to £55.

Contrast with Frances who strolls in, and noting that no size is stated for the Lengha asks for the cheapest child size and argues the price down to £20.

It’s the small wee hours in Bethnal Green and the music of police sirens fills the night air whilst Trishna’s team wander around newsagents asking what rambuttan is (“I dunno? A fish?”) and optimistically asking for posh cigars. Sofiane offers to try calling for a Tagine, but she insists it’s the other teams job, even though she’s supposed to be in the West of London at this point. In the East end subteam Rebecca gets a lead “Do you have tagines… er tahines? Yes! And black soap”. The guy on the other end of the phone says something about having various types of soap (I think he says Turkish) and despite Paul not being sure the manager has understood what Rebecca was asking for, they all agree to take an hour’s jaunt down to this shop in bloody Streatham where it transpires they have tahini and different types of soup. Whoopsie!

Courtney decides to go to a posh restaurant in Belgravia to buy the cigars and sends Alana in to use her feminine wiles on the ghost of Peter O’Toole who’s doubling as a genteel and slightly bored maître d’. The cigars cost £23.60 each but Alana insists she would be ecstatic if they could buy 10 for £140. “Give me a reason” says Peter O’Toole hoping for a blowie at the very least, but instead she dithers on about them being “lovely people”, but to Karren’s disgust he still lets her buy them for £145. “She was pathetic but he fell for it… god knows why!” Karren hisses. Miaow!

Jess decides to tell her potential cigar salesman, who is wearing a twatty hat and looks like he lives with his mum. that she’s buying cigar for her dad and she’s not from London which immediately puts his asking price up to £26 each. She’s reduced to giggling and begging (“You’d be making me dad a very happy man.. oh I haven’t got enough money” – presumably because he wants to smoke himself to death) until eventually he offers a paltry quid discount per cigar (“I’m doing this because I need to get some sleep”).

Courtney arrives at the same bagel shop (are there no others in London?) about 5 hours after Paul bought all their bagels but manages to convince them to cook a new batch up for slightly more than Paul paid and then waits around for an hour for them to finish baking.

Nobody seems to know what a tagine is apart from Sofiane who’s banned from trying to find one. Courtney decides to go to Turkish supermarkets (Alana “Is Morocco in Turkey?” Courtney “I don’t know”) who turn him away Tagine-free (“Sorry – we’re Turkish”).

Over in New Covent Garden Grainne susses out that they are selling shit Birds of Paradise flowers for a fiver including VAT. Paul’s subteam fare less well finding the biggest grinning gobshite in NCG who responds unsympathetically to their pleas of needing the flowers but having a low budget (“Well you’re in trouble then” Ho ho ho. Tosser).

They all suss out what rambuttan is and manage to buy it for 2kg each. “They’re like lychees with hair” Trishna muses. “Reminds me of something else actually” Jess leers, giggling (Trishna:”Ugh Jessica!”). Filth!

It’s 4am but Courtney’s not as worried as the rest of his team (“Time is a cruel mistress”) and eventually takes his photo and pops it into a print shop with an hour to go arguing the price down from £11 to only £7.50. There’s less than half an hour to go and Alana watches the printer chug for the slowest five minutes imaginable (“Oh my god this is unbearable”) before they can leg it back to the shard where the Titans realise that Nebula haven’t made it back in time.

Back in the boardroom and Sofiane gets stick for concentrating on his precious photo and not much else. Jess’s crap negotiation is also under fire as is Trishna for being forced to abandon her stance on getting a set price due to time worries. It’s revealed that Fran only paid £20 for the Lengha and Sugar confirms he didn’t specify a size at which Grainne gives a sheepish K one of her best hacky looks.

Rebecca’s communication breakdown and subsequent trip to Streatham rightly gets the most stick and Karren who is in full on beeyatch mode tells Rebecca it should have been a clue that not many shops sell both tagines and African soap (actually there’s at least one in Colchester that I think does, I’m not convinced Karren is an expert on world food shops).

Courtney gets verbals for his SE2 fail. Karren sticks the boot into Alana over her cigar negotiation putting on a bitchy girly voice (“Oh please I’m so nice”). Alana points out that it worked and Karren insists he just wanted to go to bed (I bet he did!). Poor Alana doesn’t deserve this and argues the case that it shouldn’t matter “as long as I got the end point” at which point Sugar joins in “You don’t need nice or charming in business” and Alana looks chastened.

Sugar reckons Courtney’s picture was “a bit dark” and Sofiane looks chuffed despite his being over £15 dearer.

Nobody got the tagine, and Sugar’s scripted joke is actually quite funny “Walking around London at midnight looking for a strong Moroccan pot could have got you into trouble”.

Anyhow the scores are in

Titans brought 8 items back and paid £333.11 but were fined £75 (!) for the missing tagine so the total was £408.11

Nebula only got 7 items and got back late so had £157.75 fines added to their spend of £362.80 making £520.65 and poor Trishna looks gutted.

The winners get a pampering session which gives yet another disturbing insight into K as he relaxes under the kneady fingers of a masseuse crooning creepily “Put your back into it… thanks Simona that’s great.. keep going”. Ugh.

Sad music plays in the Bridge Café as Sofiane’s still banging on about the tagine and yet again Rebecca is bleating that it’s not her fault (“I’m sick of being rounded upon”).

Back in the boardroom and the team discover they paid more than the other team on 5 items so it was a negotiation disaster as well as a tactical fail in going to 24 hour shops first rather than later. Trishna brings Rebecca back for being daft enough to consider going to Streatham in the middle of the night and Sofiane for not listening or contributing. Lord Sugar lets the others go but warns Fran she needs to be on a winning team soon and she promises to try on the next task.

Rebecca says she didn’t take the PM role this time as the task was more suited to Trishna. “Are you going to keep making that excuse” Sugar growls. Sofiane insists he did offer suggestions about the tagine, but Trishna points out it wasn’t his job to (“I understand it’s from your background”). Rebecca senses a way out and blames Sofiane for not negotiating well until Karren points out that Rebecca paid £30 more than the other team on the one item she brought. “I’m not a negotiator” Rebecca moans, “that’s not what I do” and Sugar paraphrases what everyone’s thinking asking what the feck she does do.

Whilst Sugar’s concerned by Sofiane’s maverick tendencies (warning him “Don’t be an autocrat” cos that’s Sugar’s job) and Trishna’s lack of adherence to her initial strategy he has to fire Rebecca who, having been duller than a video about Tupperware for 6 episodes comes up with the quote of the series so far in the taxi of regret (“In the end I think I went because I’m not a twat basically”).

Next week the teams appear to be flogging maritime goods (at least I hope so as otherwise asking members of the public if they enjoy watersports is taking the show in a whole new direction).

Liking: Dillon , Sofiane, Alana (who I sort of want to win now after the beasting Karren gave her this week)

OK: Frances, Jess (again!), Trishna

Plastic Cockney Geezer of the week: Paul

Meh: Courtney, Samuel, Grainne

In a league of his own: K

Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie, Lovely Sausage Olly, Aleksandra (Conscientious Objector), Mukai (Utter Twat in a bow tie), JD, Rebecca

Week 5 sees me staying in the pub having a nice chat rather than rushing back to see the remaining bunch of clueless arsehats debase themselves for our furry walnut faced peer.

This week the challenge was to crowd fund to advertise cycling products through creating an event, a website and a social media buzz then pitching to cycling experts. I’m not quite sure how the whole pledging malarkey works as I turn up about 25 minutes in and it appears that people are being encouraged to offer small amounts of money in order to get products worth far more. Why don’t you just try selling dear boys?

The teams have been jumbled again (as though we care) so now Samuel leads the Titans of Dillon, Courtney, Trishna, Alana, Grainne and the inimitable Special K’ness of Karthig.

Nebula (Jess, Rebecca, Sofiane, Angry Paul, Fran) somehow elect JD as their leader and he bumbles around giving everyone much more power than he has and trying to ignore everything going to shit.

The teams check out the amazing cycling inventions like one that makes your bike explode if you cycle on the pavement or if you go round the corner on a public footpath without ringing your bell to warn pedestrians. Unfortunately they get most excited about some headphones cyclists can wear to drown out the screams of pedestrians they hit but enable them to hear traffic, which JD’s team plumps for. Sam’s team go for a gilet with a flashing zip which doubles as both cyclist and nighttime prowler wear. I’ve never understood gilets anyhow – if your arms don’t get colder than your tummy what sort of freak are you?

Nebula get the run of King’s Cross Station to stage their crowd event and go for the nice idea of a gospel choir singing about how great cyclists are or something. Unfortunately when Rebecca films it she just gets one gospel singers arm and a few bored commuters in the background.

Samuel apparently ignores everyone else’s ideas including Alana’s (Can anyone actually hear her?) and creates some frightening mime theatre play at Waterloo station which looks like a blind pimp beating up a woman. (Apparently it’s meant to be a bloke on a mime bike hitting someone – does that have anything to do with having strangely warm arms and a shiny zip?). I come in as Grainne stands around tutting and moaning but doesn’t really offer any suggestions herself and when Samuel tries to discuss it she snaps “I’m not having this conversation!” later adding “If he doesn’t want to listen let’s lose!”. Trishna’s charged with social media and manages to spell GILET wrong (my spellcheck suggests Gilts or Gimlets by the way) in between Hashtagging everything from #cyclepaths to #villagebikes. As any fool knows you spell it T.W.A.T.C.O.S.Y.

Meanwhile in the week’s most uncomfortable trio at a table scene ANGRY Paul is losing his shit whenever Sofiane tries to interrupt him with an idea for the website and demands Sofiane just writes on a piece of paper to communicate so Paul can wipe his angry arse it is. “Can we JUST THINK!” Jess demands, her brain exploding with the enormity of being the most reasonable person in a scene. Paul seems to be Basil Fawltying to Bruce (the Gilet supplier) and quickly writes up pledges for the additional items on the site without mentioning the RRP or listening to anyone else.

Anyhow the teams get their chance to pitch to the cycle retailers and Sam asks K who’s strongest on the subteam. K bigs up everyone (including himself) except Alana who gets the righteous hump. K digs a bigger hole by explaining he doesn’t think she’s crap but “you know what happened..I forgot your name”. Sam decides that Trishna should pitch by virtue of being least obviously insane or something.

JD decides that Sofiane should pitch on pricing whilst he leads and Frances does girly marketing (this week is all about the everyday sexism).

The Titans boys work on Samuel so he drops Trishna from the pitch and gets K to open, Courtney to do the maths whilst he ends with social media. “Do you know enough about it?” Trishna asks and Sam’s adamant he does which pisses her off righteously. K actually does a storming opening “How many of you here sell Hi Vis Clothing? Oh yes some do so I am in the right room” to cycle retailers this is the height of urbane wit and they lap up his nerdish blurb about “Snazzy fashion that keeps you safe as well”. Courtney drops the ball by stammering through the numbers and Sam deflates the tyres of energy by waffling at length about how great their mime bike version of Death Race 2000 at Waterloo station was.

JD goes next and tells the cycling experts how cycling is really popular since the 2012 Olympics like they don’t have the slightest fucking clue. Sofiane waffles on about the product without mentioning prices leaving poor Frances having to blag it “There’s only one package buy 180 and get a 40% discount, but then there’s a smaller package where you buy 12 for £389 and it’s also a 40% discount”. Quite rightly a cycling retailer asks, what’s the difference then. Sofiane wakes up and suggests you save more on the bigger spend, but Frances burbles on that it suits the smaller retailer best, which pisses off Mr Big Shot Bigger Retailer who asked the question.

In the Boardroom it’s pointed out that Trishna’s spelling GILLET actually means “Loose woman”. Claude bigs up Alana’s idea (involving a black screen and the gilet actually lighting up visibly which sounds far too clear) and condemns K for destroying it. “Yes I have a little creative streak” K says smugly. Sam’s Waterloo bike mugging video is roundly panned and Grainne sticks the boot in (“I may have well talked to the wall – it was all Sam”). “You never gave me any suggestions” Sam bleats and Grainne goes all Mrs Doyle (“Ah there’s no point asking me now – it’s over!”).

Sam’s slapped down for his rubbish pitch but it transpires one of retailers said K was ‘superb’. Queen bitch Karren is quick to piss on his parade (“You described it as snazzy which is a word I haven’t heard since 1975”) before conceding “it was very engaging”.

Rebecca’s video for Nebula gets some stick and Paul is in the firing line for failing to put RRPs on his website to incentivise pledges. Paul is contrite (“I have to take responsibility for that I should have been far more detailed”) because taking ownership of mistakes is a good thing, right?

Anyhow Nebula got £681 worth of pledges whereas Titans got buy in from two retailers and got £788 (is that fucking all?!).

The Titans are sent to learn how to cook (which appears to involve waving a condom full of gravy about if Dillon’s clip is anything to go by). Grainne and Sam clearly hate each other now but Sam’s management wonk speak won’t allow him to admit it (“I must try to work more cohesively with her”).

Sugar’s annoyed at Nebula for blowing the best product and banishes them to the Bridge café where JD holds his hands up and Paul gets angry at Sofiane for pointing out how shit his website. “You had input” (via a piece of paper) Paul insists. “The stress was pouring out of your ears” Sofiane winds him up.

Back in the room and Rebecca looks resigned when Sugar points out she’s been on the losing team five times. JD says he didn’t have involvement with the rewards subteam until Karren points out he was Project Manager and went home early and he admits he tried to go and check on them “but they said they didn’t want us there”. Oh dear. “So what? Just go” Karren points out. “Fair point he concedes”.

He brings back Paul (who looks angry) and Rebecca (who was doing marketing but as Sugar says “created all the buzz of a dead bee”).

Paul thinks someone else should have been brought back (“Sofiane’s a complete maverick”) and denies he’s aggressive (why have I been calling him “Angry Paul” for weeks?) and JD holds his hands up again for not bringing Sofiane back. “Another mistake?” snides Karren. “Are you throwing in the towel?” Sugar asks. “I’ve made mistakes and held my hand up” JD insists. Cos Paul did that earlier and that’s a good thing right?


“I can’t go into business with someone who makes mistakes” Sugar insists forgetting that old adage that the man who can’t make a mistake can’t make anything but a shit phone that sends emails which nobody wants.

Paul insists he will take the lead in the process and Rebecca gets a dig in (“Will you do that by shouting more?”). Paul insists she needs to stand up for yourself and she insists “I’m not here to SHOUT. SHOUT SHOUT SHOUT.” “OK you’ve milked the shouting I get the point” Sugar snaps. However he sacks JD for admitting his mistakes (FFS!) and gives Rebecca one more chance after the five she’s had. His advice to Paul is to “man up”. I really don’t think he needs that advice.

Poor old JD still apologising in the Taxi of Doom (“I’m sorry I didn’t put up more of a fight”) but he should take heart that everyone’s sad to see Rebecca back instead of him.

Paul proves his twat credentials by insisting “THE HEAT IS ON!”. Twice!

Next week the candidates go on a treasure hunt. At one point Frances will ask “Is this like the ghetto”. Where will they be? My money’s on South Norwood.

Liking: Dillon , Sofiane, Alana

Angry Twat: Angry Paul

OK: Frances, Jess (again!), Trishna

Confusingly genius yet terrible simultaneously: K

Being of Beige: Rebecca

Still a ShitWeasel: Courtney

Rubbish: Samuel

Nope still Totally rubbish: Grainne

Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie, Lovely Sausage Olly, Aleksandra (Conscientious Objector), Mukai (Utter Twat in a bow tie), JD

It’s Week 4 and our feckless chancers are kicked out of bed at 5.45am to head to the Drapers Guild with none of them having a clue what a guild or a draper is. In the ornate environs of where London’s wool and cloth merchants gathered together to sell different fabrics (a bit like C&A used to be) Sugar tasks the candidates with running a department in the impossibly dinky Liberty of London, selling a new product line and offering a personal shopping service. Sugar’s clue lies in that customers expect “excellent customer services” unless they’re buying Southern Rail season tickets or Amstrad products. Most sales win as usual.

Sofiane, who reckons he can “PM all day long”, takes control of the Titans (followed this week by Karren) claiming that working in posho shops is “What I’ve been doing the last five years”with support from Dillon, Alana, Trishna, Jess, Samuel and Courtney. Sofiane wants a strong subteam leader and Dillon (who works on a fucking fashion magazine) politely suggests that he wants to “maximise my creative input” but he’s slapped down by Sofiane (“I don’t think you’re a very strong leader”). Courtney as usual waits till Sofiane’s out of earshot before griping that Sofiane will just act like a “one man band”.

Grainne, a make-up artist who clearly specialises in heroin chic is determined she’s “not going to that café again” and volunteers to lead Nebula as long as Frances (who to be fair has done fuck all since the show started) is subteam leader as she has store experience too. But there’s a bombshell as Aleksandra announces that she’s really sorry but she’s leaving the process (“I’m just not enjoying this”). Everyone thinks it’s a joke, except Mukai who’s just an utter prick (“It’s not exactly the ideal moment”), but Aleksandra is off to see her husband and kids and get away from all the stress (good on her), leaving them only with a shit team name and a vague sense of misplaced superiority (Grainne “She obviously didn’t think she was strong enough”). Well played Aleksandra on a full on decunting of your environment.

And like that, she was gone.

So 9am the teams check out the stock at Liberty and Mukai’s very keen on handbags as he used to work in leather as a high-end gimp. Meanwhile Jess is amazed to learn that Liberty scarfs fetch £75 to £1200 (WHAT?!) . The Titans agree that Liberty scarfs are the key brand. On Nebula it’s split as Paul and Frances fancy scarfs but Mukai is all about the expensive allure of leather (as though having pricier items will make them easier to sell). They all vote with the majority wanting to go for scarfs but Mukai does weird jedi mind control on Grainne who sends the team to check out luggage and handbags for their key new product. The look on Paul’s face as a woman earnestly explains the creative concept (“inspired through architecture, travel and colour”) behind the bags Grainne ends up selecting is a particular joy.

Dillon takes a shine to some scarfs shaped like cats (“That’s an interesting twist on the pussy bow”) and he manages to convince Sofiane (Dillon: “They look so cool could be worn by either sex depending on how brave you are!” Sofiane “er yeah scarfs ok”).

The teams get a crash course in window dressing which of course is interactive at Liberty and the window dressing lady explains how customers expect a bit of theatre and that having a real live person in the window can uplift sales by up to 50%. Dillon embraces this idea wholeheartedly designing a set where Jess hangs out of a frame in the window (and therefore not being “mad me” on the shop floor – clever!) draping cat scarfs about with the emblem “Cool for Cats”. Samuel doesn’t get it (“That doesn’t make sense!”) and Dillon sings a snatch whilst Trishna and Alana harmonise along to a completely different tune. “It still doesn’t make sense!” bellow Samuel and Dillon explains it was a famous song in the “80s” as though he’s Simon fucking Schama explaining something from history and I feel very very old.

Mukai wants to put Rebecca in the Nebula window display as a live mannequin (actually scrap the “live” bit she’s not that convincing) but Grainne acts as though he is suggesting some sort of Amsterdam Red Light District lower middle management trafficking horror and gets all stroppy about Mukai taking over (which to be fair he is a bit).

Frances calls clients for the Personal Shopper service and does quite well at establishing rapport whilst getting essential details like budget and sizes, special occasions and favourite brands and looks (customer “I like to look a bit weird”) . Alana does the same job for the Titans and acts like she’s breaking news of a bereavement (“Erm anything you want, ok nice talking to you”).

At 7am Mukai’s concept window display is unveiled and it’s a load of bags on white pedestals which he claims represents New York and Spain. Poor Rebecca still doesn’t have a clue what she’s meant to do in the window (perhaps she could try to mime what it fricking allegedly means to passing customers including a singularly unimpressed Claude).

Sofiane is astounded by the sight of Jess in a frame pointing at scarfs (“That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen I swear” poor Sof, you haven’t lived mate). As a reward Sofiane sends Dillon to lead the personal shopping subteam and Dillon’s cheered up until Alana admits how little insight into the customers she has gleaned. He manages to get the client onside with some arty selections and canny questioning (“can you direct us in what way your budget is going”). Meanwhile Sofiane focuses on getting the least engaged members of his sales team Courtney and Samuel to get familiar with one section of their product. They look at him blankly.

Grainne decides she Paul and Mukai should lead on sale and sends Frances to run Personal Shopping with K as her “runner” with the strict instructions to “listen to Frances”. At first this doesn’t bode very well with K getting involved in selecting clothes (“dress, shoes.. headband”) and asking Frances questions like “wouldn’t this make her waist look big?” but bizarrely enough when the client has come in and rubbished Frances’ selections (“I hate that colour on me. Hideous. .. that might me look like a fat aunty..”) K is charm on a stick even getting the woman to accessorise (“You know what that needs?” “A necklace?” “Exactly madam”). Even Claude is impressed (“Suddenly he’s a fashion guru!”). “What is money compared to happiness?” K cajoles holding a posh handbag, “It’s a mere £1030”. She nearly fricking falls for it too. Bloody hell! His next challenge is a gaggle of teenage girls, but he’s unabashed (“The ability of a fish should not be judged by how it can climb a tree” Deep).

Mukai and Paul hassle Grainne to stick Rebecca in the window, but Grainne’s not prostituting her teammate out just yet (“This is a sales task. I’m OK if Mukai thinks it failed because I didn’t put someone in a window”. Oh dear). Fortunately Paul manages to sell a handbag despite having no knowledge of the product (“I like it cos it’s embossed as well”) and even gets the customer to sign up for the personal shopper service. In fact only Mukai the alleged bag expert is failing to sell.

On Sofiane’s team only he is failing to sell and it’s becoming obvious that his big store experience might be more Big Yellow Storage Unit than Selfridges (“Err yeah we do av black scarfs; there’s one exactly similar to wot you are wearing over there” . It needles him so much that every time Jess returns to the floor and flogs a pricey scarf he sends her packing back to the window. He holds a team tactics talk and Dillon pipes up that he would like Jess to come up and help him serve a female client as she has a clothing line and which point Trishna gets all arsey (“Not to be disrespectful, but me and Alana are here. What’s she gonna do we cant do?”). Sofiane decides not to rock the boat and Trishna and Alana sulk in the background whilst Dillon looks after the client by himself and JD lingers clumsily hoping to be sent on a tea run. Sofiane decides to drum up more footfall and sends Jess to the window but wants Samuel to go there too. “You go there!” Sam suggests helpfully. “I’m selling” Sof insists to Sam’s amusement. Fortunately Sofiane does get a pity sale before trading ends at 6pm.

In the boardroom and Sugar makes light of Aleksandra’s departure (“If you can’t hack it, get out. On a positive front I’ve saved myself a cab fare”)

Sofiane’s still insisting he worked at a high end retail store, but Sugar’s not pleased with the low selling cat scarfs (“I’m used to dealing with fat cats not flat cats”) and Sof finally vaguely admits he might have been slightly out of his comfort zone (i.e bullshitting). It transpires that Jess was the highest seller on the team. Dillon gets flack for Alana’s failure on getting John the customers budget (Yes I have no idea why Dillon couldn’t have asked this either, maybe he would have had less to complain about in the boardroom), as it turns out that although Dillon sold over £1000 worth of posh shit John’s budget was actually £5000. Alana’s all proud that she sold stuff to John’s daughter until it’s revealed that for three hours of chatting she sold the girl an eyeshadow (definite pity sale – I bet that’s how Alana sells her cakes on her market stall). Poor JD gets stick for how he (as he admits) “struggled to find a place” but Karren at least points out he made “a mean cup of tea”.

It turns out that Grainne used to do shifts at Libertys so she gets a rightful bollocking for going with Mukai’s handbags. Mukai insists the handbag knowledge with him is strong as he worked in “Italy in leather goods” (maybe he provided entertainment at Berlusconi parties) and has been to other countries too (erm because that involves looking at bags going round on conveyer belts in airports). “So you know your Helmut Langs from your Vera Wangs” says Sugar just so he can crowbar Helmut and Wang into the same sentence and make the Finbarr Saunders in me snortle. Mukai is forced to admit his window display was a bit too “abstract” (posh talk for “shit”) and Sugar suggests it may be a Turner prize contender.

Frances brags that she got her personal shopper lady to spend twice her budget and K chips in (not for the first time) that he nearly sold her a £1000 clutch bag.

Anyhow it’s money time

Nebula’s personal shoppers sold £1200 and the shop floor took £3172.99 so the total is £4377.99

The Titans personal shoppers sold £1264.38 worth of cat scarfs and the shop floor made £3995 so their total is £5259.38 and the winners are sent to a house in the country to play croquet (Dillon “I feel very regal doing this… and slightly glamorous”).

So Grainne is sadly back at the Bridge café and everyone’s still telling her they should have had a window display but she insists it wasn’t worth taking someone off the shop floor to WHORE THEMSELVES and she blames Mukai for bigging up handbags despite her having final say and her team voting for scarfs.

Back in and Rebecca gets flack for not being in a window and selling the least. “I engaged a lot! I didn’t want to do the hard sell” she bleats until Sugar points out Liberty is “not a museum”

Grainne decides to bring back Mukai (who of course whines “I helped you throughout the two days”) and K (Grainne “I’m finding it hard to place you” well on the scrapheap by the look of things). “Is that what you’re saying” Sugar asks impatiently as she dithers and she actually changes her mind to bring back K and a mortified Rebecca. “Sorry, um” Grainne vacillates and changes her mind again to bring back Mukai and K whilst the entire viewing audience screams FUCKING SACK HER NOW! (Or was that just me?).

Back in and Sugar points out that Mukai is a perennial loser having been in the final three every week and we can’t just blame it on the dicky bow now, although let’s face it that was a warning sign. Grainne insists Mukai told us he was an expert in “visual merchandising” (which he denies) but has she ever just simply LOOKED at him?

K admits he “can’t cope with someone in a position of power above him” which explains a lot, but insists that he’s “flexible and lean” (“If you put water in a cup it becomes a cup” eh?) and if Lord Sugar lets him be a leader he will strap his jackboots on and by thunder everyone will listen to him then (Oh no they won’t). Sugar confides in K that the reason he got “shoved into a corner” is because “they don’t trust you”. Nope not a flicker of recognition.

Mukai is ultimately fired for “talking like a consultant” (best reason yet), but Grainne gets away with murder because Sugar thinks she “has potential” (to make a bigger tit of herself) and K’s card is well and truly marked (“I’ve got my eyes on you”).

In the taxi to Jobcentre Plus Mukai is typically arrogant (“Lord Sugar makes a mistake”) and the house generally rejoices, especially angry Paul, to learn that he is gone. He doesn’t even turn up to the You’re Fired show, letting Aleksandra take the rap because he’s moved to Japan having made himself unemployable in the UK.

Grainne wastes no time in bigging herself up (“He said I’m staying cos I have potential”).

Next week the teams run a crowdfunding campaign. There’s matching outfits and enforced jollity in the street. It looks horrible.

They Should Win: Sofiane

Liking: JD, Dillon (at least he knows “Cool for cats”)

Mate just chill: Angry Paul

Warming to: Frances, Jess (again!)

Bit of a ShitWeasel: Courtney

Losing Love for: Alana, Trishna, Samuel

Being of Beige: Rebecca

An utter nightmare but can’t help warming to him at times: K

Totally rubbish: Grainne

Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie, Lovely Sausage Olly, Aleksandra (Conscientious Objector), Mukai (Utter Twat in a bow tie)

It’s Week 3 and the candidates are summoned to the Drury Lane Theatre at 5.30am where Lord Sugar declares, in a slightly less than tenuous link, that as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is currently playing there that this weeks task is making, branding and selling sweets in Brighton. Before I start getting all Finbarr Saunders on the fudgepacking jokes, the bollock faced peer manages to wind me up by stating that “The lead character Willy Wonka was a creative risk taker” (Charlie was the lead character pal, the clues in the frigging title). Our favourite Nookie Bear faced Lord doesn’t want another scenario like last week’s disaster where he “thought I was talking to a bunch of braindeads”.

The teams are mixed up with Alana, Jess and Trishna joining JD, Mukai, Samuel, Sofiane and Courtney on Titan whereas Olly, Paul, K and Mukai join Aleksandra, Frances (whoever she is), Rebecca and Grainne on Nebula.

Alana’s under pressure when she’s appointed PM of Titan by Lord Sugar on account of her being a flaky cake baker (Alana “I went to pieces last week” Jess (looking innocent “Did you?”). “I’m a self taught chocolatier so I hope you all have confidence in me” Alana starts nervously and the team all look somewhere else shiftily. However she’s sussed that people in Brighton love “things to be different” so wants to go for cocktail flavours (fnar fnar etc). Sugar also insists Olly leads Nebula by virtue of his sausage empire.

Lovely Olly goes old school with a “Beside the Seaside” theme (bless him). Paul’s not convinced (“It’s up to you”). “Oh yes, especially in Brighton” Olly bumbles happily. He tries to give Paul the role of selling to trade, but Paul insists on staying with Olly to keep his eye on him in a not at all undermining move. Olly’s stuck with stutteringly giving Mukai the err “err manufacturing err obviously not manufacturing the pitching” role. Cos we all know how rad Mukai’s pitching is. Oh Olly – you’re too nice for this show.

Sofiane doesn’t want to be in kitchen because he’s not a woman or something so Alana makes him the subteam leader (“I think you’re a strong leader.. are you happy with that?” Sofiane (unconvinced) “Er ye-eahh”).

So it’s off to the confectioners where I discover that there is such a thing as “pillow sweets” (it’s worse than Bake Off for implied filth this episode). Jess reckons you get “a bigger profit margin from pillows”.

Olly announces that “I think we’re all agreed rock is the most desirable”. Grainne’s showing her edge (“It’s not what you like it’s what makes money”). They taste a variety of flavoured sweets with K picking ice cream for the rock and Olly somehow plumping for salt and vinegar fudge (“I’m getting quite a salty after-taste in my mouth” – oh for gods sake!).

Meanwhile Alana goes for cappuccino toffee which sounds delicious but it is fucking toffee which you don’t buy on a beach, and Dillon is smitten with strawberry and champagne flavour pillow sweets (although the sweet expert warns him not to get his fingers stuck in the pillow machine). Sofiane doesn’t give a monkeys (“Trust your gut feeling and go with it”) as long as he gets to be the big salesman and with that in mind he’s off with Trishna and Courtney to Brighton FC to promise them a load of team coloured blue and white sweeties. “We can only spend up to £300” the Seagulls rep says. Sofiane’s not having this (“We were looking at more the £400 mark”) and the Seagulls get fucked off (“I’m not sure if you’re hearing us”). Sofiane doesn’t give up and offers 160 units for £307. It’s a deal at 190 units but Sofiane takes this as a big result. Now it’s just down to the kitchen to deliver it. Oh.

In Olly’s dithery kitchen of delights, Grainne’s shooting her project manager evils as he gamely fails to roll rock (which who knew is harder to make than sausages). “It’s all a bit of a learning curve” gasps our sausage boy, but Grainne insists that they “don’t have time for learning curves” on her watch.

Over on team Titan JD’s bashing toffee which probably out-vies Olly’s fudge for saltiness the amount of chubby man sweat that’s dripped into it. Alana’s panic is displaying as mild passive aggressiveness as she moans at Jess and Dillon for faffing around (“We can’t lose cos we’ve got no sweets”). Sofiane’s deal comes in and Alana has to push the team harder, but she’s clearly close to breaking point already.

In Sussex, Rebecca is for some reason trying to sell broken sweets at the gift shop of a winery. “Which ones would your mind act prefer the idea of?” Rebecca asks in a random stream of banal lunacy. The shop say they’ll take £75 worth and Mukai leaps in like a twat in a bow tie to offer 50 bags for that paltry sum and close the “deal”. They fail spectacularly to communicate with the kitchen as Olly’s having a dithery meltdown on rock and Grainne dispatches him to fudge production whilst she takes over on the order.

Somehow Dillon has broken the pillow machine without fingering it, and under pressure Alana goes for a cry (Dillon and Jess stand around pulling embarrassed faces whilst JD and Samuel talk their PM back up). She gets herself together sharpish though (“We have an hour and a half and we need to go like the wind”) and soon they’re branding their sweets as pink packaged “Guiltees”.

Not to be outdone Olly’s sweets are proudly named “Suck it and Sea” and my inner Finbarr Saunders collapses in a fit of feeble wheezes. Paul’s getting angrier at Olly’s lackadaisical attitude towards pricing strategy (“Any thoughts on RRP for fudge err?” “WHY AREN’T YOU CONCENTRATING?!”)

Next morning they’re out on Brighton beach and Olly’s still trying to sort out rock prices. Is it “three for something, two for five, two for six” or six for two billion? Karren is “completely confused. What is your strategy?” Olly responds that he’s “just asking the guys to think on their own feet”.

K’s happy doing sales “I talk. I’m an extrovert. I don’t want to be labelled as disruptive” he announces disruptively. The “Suck it and Sea” sellers start flogging their wares on Brighton beach, although Frances just seems to wander around looking miserable. Maybe she’s a Goth. Unfortunately everyone in the team is selling at a different price, but they’re at least getting sales unlike Alana’s team.

Another Maverick is on his way back to Brighton and Hove Albion with completely different sweets than promised thanks to the machine breaking and the team being forced to roll sweets into blue and white half spheres. “Please don’t run them up the wrong way” Alana begs of Sofiane, who wants to take extra back up in case things get heavy. Courtney’s concerned Sofiane will try to get more money and come across as a “cheeky little bastard”. So as the Seagulls sweet inspector looks over the dodgy wares, Sofiane announces “we went the extra mile”. “Really?” asks the disappointed Seagull warily. “They’re half FOOTBALLS!” Sofiane informs him cheerily and when correctly told “there is no such thing as a half football” he insists “They’re quirky and fun!”. Impressed to a point by Sofiane’s chutzpah, the Seagulls man gives them the benefit of the doubt and pays the asking price, and despite getting away with it Sofiane cockily admits “I was THIS close to actually asking for your money”.

Back at the winery, Rebecca takes yummy samples and the shop’s keen on an extra 50 bags. Rebecca offers them £120 for the lot, but winery bloke argues this down to £107 which Mukai snaps up. Paul (who’s moved teams to escape from Olly being rubbish) does the maths outside gloomily and calculates they’ve just lost 40p per bag. He’s not amused and packs the car moodily (“Fucking SHAMBLES!”)

Alana loses it on Samuel who’s happily upselling her sweets at 2 for £7 rather than her suggestion of £6 (as though she fears she will have to appoint a customer services team to deal with the fallout of the Brighton Beach debacle). Poor Sam is crestfallen (I’m liking his charming sales work especially “those sweets go with your hair”. Meanwhile on her subteam Sofiane has an amazing plan to sell higher to trade (Courtney: “You got it all mixed up”, Sofiane “Trust me… just shut up”) which involves him getting outhaggled by a sweet shop owner who’s seen it all before. “How long you been in this business?” laughs the Sweet Shop Man. “All my life” Sofiane insists.. “well I’ve been selling all my life”. Sent packing with a small sale, he revises his advice to Courtney “Haggle… if it’s a big order Happy Days. If not, move on”. Truly the secret of success.

Aleksandra pitches to a posh shop (“We wanted to show you our sweeties”) whilst Paul sulks outside. Unfortunately she completely screws the prices and nearly ends up selling them a bunch of rock for £47 until Mukai corrects her (£100).

Mukai’s concerned that only the rock is selling. “Maybe we should concentrate on Fudge?”

Meanwhile K is proclaiming to the good folk of Brighton “WHO WANTS TO SUCK IT?”

I can’t cope. Olly’s trying to ride his candy trike down a cosmopolitan street but hits the bollards and can’t get round anyway because the street is too full of tables, chairs and people who don’t give a shit about The Apprentice or sweets.

Alana wants everyone selling on the beach but her trade team almost mutiny as there’s one last box of toffee stuck in the hotel.

Olly’s subteam all rush to try to sell the unpopular salt and vinegar fudge at the worlds’ least accessible fish and chip shop but fail and get left holding a massive box of fudge (no I’m not going there). Paul gets a massive sulk on and rows with Mukai who clearly cannot be arsed because he is so much better than everyone else.

But not as good as K, who’s had a great day: “I may be an IT project manager but deep down I am the best salesman in universe.. No not in the world in the universe!”

Back in the boardroom and both Alana and Olly are looking haunted.

Grainne does all the talking for Olly now she’s finally become visible and mildly patronises her team leader. Bless Olly he’s just too nice, declaring even K a “pleasure to work with”.

“Was you Willy Wonka or an Oompa Loompa?” Sugar demands and Olly declares himself the latter (well that would be hard working and creative then). “He tried, to be fair” Grainne does a virtual head pat.

Paul’s still incensed by lots of things but firstly it’s Mukai’s downgrading of the price at the winery. “In hindsight it was a little bit of a mistake” Mukai smarms. Olly himself foolishly admits he doesn’t have the foggiest what his prices were and how much he sold. Big mistake that – taking responsibility for your mistakes. You never get ahead like that because the corporate world is a bit shit. “To be fair” smarms Grainne “he tried his best.. just in a different direction”.

The Titans are asked about their strategy and Jess starts doing sums at breakneck speed until Karren asks her to “take another breath”, calm down, start doing heroin just shut the fuck up! “Should have made gobstoppers” mutters Sugar.

It looks like Alana will get shit for slapping down Sam for raising the price but Sugar accepts she had a pricing strategy simply advising that she might have got away with it not being a nationwide chain store or anything. Let’s face it most of us will get charged different prices in a pub within the same evening and unless you’re mad you don’t make a thing out of it. If I was mad enough to buy toffee on a beach I’d feel ashamed to return and quibble about the prices.

Sofiane gets a slapdown for not listening to Alana when she wanted him to bring all the stock to the beach (Sugar “You weren’t PM ok!”) but on the whole her team back her.

So the Titans spent £429.43 but sold £1215.09 making a profit of £785.66

Meanwhile Nebula spent £207.75 sold £822.83 and made a profit of £615.08

The treat is a parkour workshop. Woo fucking hoo. I’d be wishing both teams lost again so I could get a nice cuppa. Alana is super happy though and Sofiane reveals to VC she just needs to be less worried and more confident. He’s got something there.

In Bridge Café Olly blinks like a startled fawn (“I was new to this”) but Grainne is brutal (“We need to work out who was the weakest link”). Mukai blames Aleksandra for messing up prices, not mentioning his own cock-ups. Paul joins in until Aleksandra cannily points out he made zero sales and psyches Olly out by claiming he’s scared of Paul (obviously he is).

Back in the boardroom and Olly admits yet again he had no pricing strategy so it’s a mere formality for him to be too much of a gent to bring back Aleksandra and instead bring back Mukai and Paul (for not selling anything and for getting angry. Paul points out he wasn’t personal during his rant at Mukai. “You did call him crap” Karren points out helpfully, but Paul’s main problem is that they ended up with all the fudge).

Paul thinks it “ludicrous” that he was brought back as although he didn’t make a sale “I produced my best fudge”. He also believes that even when he is moody he doesn’t disrupt the team, displaying a spectacular lack of awareness . Mukai still thinks he did a good job selling those extra units at a vastly reduced rate to the wine shop. Even Olly insists you should “never back down on price”.

Unfortunately despite Olly displaying some amazing transferable skills (“I was really hands on.. I was learning how to make fudge”) he’s fired (Sugar: “Your best hope for 250k is to buy yourself a scratchcard.” but like the sweety he is he positively skips to the taxi of doom declaring he’s had a lovely time and learned a lot “to put into practice in my sausage empire”. What a lovely chap!

I’m really hoping Mukai will go, but Sugar’s clearly setting the arrogant dickie bowed twat for a higher fall and sends them home where everyone tries to hide their sad faces at seeing Mukai return. K’s a but more open when Mukai asks why everyone is surprised (“Bad sales, bad decisions, bad business acumen etc”, Mukai smugly “I live to fight another day”)

Next week the candidates tit around in a posh shop.

Liking: Sofiane, Aleksandra, Samuel, Trishna, Alana, JD, Dillon
(I kind of want either Alana or Sofiane to win already, so they’re probably doomed)

Mate just chill: Angry Paul

Unimpressed by: Courtney, Frances

Patronising Snitch: Grainne

Twat in a Bow Tie: Mukai

Being of Beige: Rebecca

Jury Back Out on: Jess

Still very annoying:  K

Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie, Lovely Sausage Olly