Apologies as I missed the show tonight due to running the first heat of a comedy competition under the jolly banner of http://www.colchestercomedyfestival.co.uk (plug!) so I’m catching up and skipping any bits I deem too boring. This could be a short one! Especially after that early glimpse of Charles sans specs in his undercrackers with NO WARNING.

Lord Bollockhead summons the candidates to the Design Museum (I realise Michaela, Alisa and Siobhan in the cab there look like the Bratz Dolls have let themselves go) and wiffles on about past technologies (Amstrad email phone anyone?) before tasking the candidates to pick designer robots to sell to trade and toy robots to sell via retailers.

Michaela’s put in charge of the remaining Vitality boys due to the fact she has 4 brothers (“I’m buzzin! You all just er better behave!”). Poor Alisa is shouted down by Jade who becomes leader of Graphene cos she just thinks she’s it.

Both teams view the Gangnam style dancing wankbot 3000 and consider how to reprogramme it. James suggests making it over for the Over 60s (“As they spend more time in the house” Er what?). Jade chooses to market it for kiddywinks and picks Jo, Anisa and Bushra to design the prototype whilst the rest are sent to pick toys lead by Sarah (“I don’t want ANY negativity!” Good luck with that).

Harrison, who spends the episode a dip in a ditch away from looking like Mickey Rourke playing Charlie Bukowski,  leads the boys prototype subteam and whilst Andrew thinks the Over 60s would like a recipe bot, Ross thinks it should teach yoga. “Nice one!” declares our beardy greaseboy “And can it say please remind me to take my medication”.

Jade decides on a study aid that teaches foreign language with (as a “fun element”) karate. They should make it do Monkey Magic. Alisa’s asked to do the voice, and they keep telling her she’s doing it wrong which is bizarre as she sounds er robotic.

Both subteams have their heart set on a cute little Balancing Bot, but when Sarah says “We love it” they all pull blank faces. Liz pipes up and asks if kids could write their own code to programme the bot and Siobhan pounces on the chance to pick on the speccy lady by accusing her of being negative. And she should know as she spends most of the episode with a face like a sad horse that’s just eaten a thistle!

In the end Sajan and co’s relentless enthusiasm wins the Balancing Bot for Vitality and the girls have to settle for a (in my opinion cooler) flying robo pirhana thing.

The boys at the lab programme the robot which Harrison has called Jeffrii as “all new tech has an I in it”. Nob. Jeffrii is dubbed “Your helping hand for life” – they may as well have stuck with Wankbot 3000.

Alisa does a one woman brainstorming session whilst the rest of her subteam look concerned. “Family, pet name, Shrek!” she wibbles – truly the Ginsberg of her generation. Bushra ends the misery by suggesting “E-Bot”. “I like it!” pounces Jade. Poor Alisa looks sad.

Michaela’s subteam aren’t sure about Jeffrii, but don’t say anything and go on to design the branding whereupon Sajan suggests “Siimon” would look better. Whilst Charles and Elliot sit and stare into space, sorry “write down key words” Michaela’s pushed for time and they are left with, well, as Michaela puts it “It’s shit!” It’s even shitter when the subteam return with their bot who greets all with a cheery “Hello my name is Jeffrii” and they realise it’s too late to reprogramme him. James points out the pitch board also states “You’re helping hand for life”. Unforgiveable! Elliot gets in his blaming of Michaela immediately naturally.

Jade splits the teams swopping Liz for Jo – ostensibly to separate Liz from Siobhan (who can’t forgive the bespectacled one for “underminding the product”) – but it’s true purpose is to prove that Siobhan could drive even the sanest of candidates to the pit of  despair. I actually warm to Sarah Jane when she ends up letting rip and Siobhan’s constant carping “I’ve had enough! It’s like a drill going through my temples! If I didn’t laugh I’d probably combust!”

Jade’s first E Bot pitch goes well if saying random French words doing karate and falling over is a plus. For me it’s a night drinking Stella. Everyone chips in to help by talking over each other whilst the trade peeps look embarrassed.

Harrison really needs to meet some real over-60s as he does an “All the lonely people” pitch for Simon (“Hello I’m Jeffrii – and I love you very much!”).

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Elliot goes all Tory boy social conscience “It is a great travesty that the elderly are often the most lonely. Siimon steps in where society stops” (This is what the Tories are planning to do to the NHS). The Trade folk look even more embarrassed then tell Vitality to fuck off and the boys dump their “Siimon” pitch board in a skip.

The girl’s next pitch at Maplin seems better with our Liz doing a dance to demonstrate the funk capabilities of their bot. Meanwhile Siobhan struggles to sell roboflyingfish to some techie hipsters (one of them is even a Portuguese bloke on a screen) after they tell her from the start they aren’t interested and then she proceeds to blame everyone else for not helping her. BITCH FIGHT TIME as Siobhan is doing both Sarahs heads in (“Just ZIP it ALRIGHT!” Siobhan “Don’t talk to ME like that”)! Poor Jo is so desperate to avoid conflict and just move on.

Back in the Board Room and the boys have had to dig a scuffed Siimon pitch board out of the skip. Vitality made £5785 on toy sales and Graphene only made £1477 but this is too early for Andrew to look smug as Vitality sold sod all prototypes whereas the girls sold loads and make £57827 total and Liz does a little squee. Graphene are sent to celebrate by playing Robot Wars whereas the boys and Michaela malinger in Café Doom where Harrison’s still devastated about the name change.

Lord Sugar slags them all off for making over-60s sound too decrepit and Elliot tries to blame everyone else for the board (Karren “Er you did that!”) and take credit for sales (Harrison “Did you sell?” Elliott “Not specifically”) and Michaela brings them both back whereupon Elliot tries and fails to slimy shit his barrister way out of taking any rap. However Sugar’s not taken (imagine him not getting on with a legal professional!) and fires Elliot stating “your demeanour is not up my alley”, before telling Michaela to “speak up more”. Turn your hearing aid up Sugar!

Next week the teams have to put on a VIP hospitality box at Wembley. And Harrison sings. You have been warned.

 

LOVING: Elizabeth

LIKING: Joanna, James, Sajan, Bushra, Ross

WARMING TO: Sarah-Jayne

MEH: Anisa, Sarah, Andrew

PENFOLD: Charles

MIOAW: Jade, Michaela

TWATS: Harrison, Siobhan

BYE BYE: Danny, Jeff, Elliot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s week 2, it’s 5am and James already has his tie on to answer the phone, and it’s pink, teamed with a turquoise shirt and waistcoat like he’s going to a colour-blind wedding. The candidates are summoned to meet Lord Sugar in twenty minutes, whereupon the boys get out their hairdryers and aerosols and engage in more blowing and squirting than a German jazz film.

At the “luxurious” Stoke Park hotel, once a setting for Goldfinger, now with all the charisma of a sponge finger, the candidates are greeted by a stern looking Claude and Karren and … a duck. Disappointingly the duck isn’t the new star and the human tumbleweed that is Lord Sugar descends via chopper to task them with creating a bedroom that the hotel manager can sell to his guests at a premium price with two days and a £13k budget. Anything left after their costs will be treated as profit. So that’s a bottle of frabrese and a couple of throws then. Oh no, Sugar reminds them that as this is a Luxury Hotel charging premium prices, so their bedrooms will need to offer “something very special”, presumably the broom cupboard will double as a champagne gimp dungeon.

On Vitality whilst Ross is not a designer he’s used to working with them… but he wimpily only wants to be the sub team leader on design side, until Harrison strong-arms him into stepping up exactly like Harrison doesn’t. “We’ll have your back” he insists, looking round for sharp objects. Ross asks Jeff to handle the money, but Jeff’s keen to go on design “We don’t need maths.. I’m creative as well. How many bankers can break dance?” Sub-teams chosen, Ross tries some motivation. “Do you want to touch each other.. er high five?”. Silence.

The girls of Graphene are headed by Bushra, who tries to learn the team’s skill set before dividing them (against her). Elizabeth did her own house up from scratch. However Siobhan announces proudly that she has spent a lot of time in hotel rooms which just makes me imagine her having dead eyed jaded affairs with middle managers called Trevor at conferences.

Bushra appoints Sarah Jayne as subteam manager on site with Michaela and Elizabeth. She’s not happy (“Bushra’s stitched me right up and put me with the rowdy lot”). Elizabeth commences measuring the room, the tape measure trailing after her like poo from a goldfish’s bum. The other girls exchange snarky looks.

Harrison sizes up the room “Table there, fire there, view there” BOSH! Karren’s unimpressed as they don’t have a clue about costings. Elliot is obsessed by how the rest of the hotel contains the colour yellow. Don’t worry love it’s not a lib-dem conference.

Ross’s subteam have the flip chart out and get conceptual. Jeff wants to focus on a celebrity theme and goes all Accidental Partridge:  “Elton John… Tim Henman”. Monkey tennis? Ross prefers best of Britain and travel. Jeff is keen to demonstrate his worth by pretending he’s in charge “Shall we move onto our next piece?”

The sub teams “probe” the hotel staff with the girls learning the main attraction is the golf course, but sadly not realising that this means they will have to design a room that a boring tosspot will enjoy. The boys learn absolutely sod all apart from that the hotel gets guests from China.. AND Europe. Ross thinks this will tie into his travel theme. Elliot bangs on about yellow like he’s Chris fucking Martin.

What were the hotel walls like Elliott?

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Bushra tries to get some concept. I don’t know who suggests the “chocolate room” but it reminds me of a (also very Partridge-esque) story a hotel chambermaid once told me about a businessman who obviously had a feeding fetish who visited her hotel (a posh place in Suffolk) with a Rubenesque lady of the night and when she cleaned the room in the morning there was nutella smeared everywhere along with empty jars and a dog collar and leash). Jade would like a garden theme perhaps incorporating fir trees. I love Jo’s “Is there such a thing as a tree with fur?” Yes she was serious.

Bushra doesn’t want to constrict her subteam spending on furniture but is shouted down by Michaela and one of the Sarah’s (I think Sarah Jayne is the mouthy one but I can’t be sure. Too many Sarahs!) and ends up telling them not to spend over 5k. Whoops. They tell her to go for golf rather than landscape insisting loudly she needs to pick an idea so she switched to golf, pissing everyone on her own subteam off. Meanwhile Michaela insists that Bushra is a “bellend”. Charming.

Sajan’s been tasked with being creative and presents his “Mood Board” earning a wanker point. “I don’t see travel, just Big Ben and the Olympics” Jeff complains. Sajan insists that Chinese tourists would see it as travel, but Jeff points out that he is the only one there who has ever been a Chinese tourist. Ha. Never mind, Sajan, great art is never appreciated in it’s time, or as he puts it “I gave them the fruit – it’s up to them to make the juice”.

The next step is to get a poor beleaguered designer to come up with some wallpaper. Charles fancies an outline of the London eye, but it ends up horrendously cluttered until finally with minutes to go Ross scraps everything and asks the poor woman to do a free hand drawing in 30 seconds. She’s obviously worked out how shit her fee will be and hands him a cartoon of what looks like tower bridge or maybe a Satanic symbol. Sajan practically orgasms: “Oh that line just makes it all better!”

James’s subteam go mad in a leather fetishist furniture shop where they stick labels on everything they see without bothering to compare prices. Andrew and Elliott both keep a tally of costs and they both fuck it up, underestimating by nearly £1000. James manages to get the cost down from £12700 to £10725. I hope that designer lady enjoys the peanuts she made for that crap demonstration of her skills.

Elizabeth trails her subteam round with a notepad insisting they stay within budget until one of them snaps “Remember you’re not project manager!” (they all sound bitchy at this point). They stay within their £5k budget however Claude’s not happy that Elizabeth was obsessed with staying cheap. Erm that was the budget they were given?

The other subteam stare at their wallpaper a nightmarish green close up of a golf ball that looks like a huge insect’s eye. Jo thinks it just looks like bubbles and Bushra explains “this is how style is represented”. Jade just talks over Jo until the latter exclaims “Let me speak!” and it all gets a bit fractious.

The girls get painting. “This is pretty basic” Siobhan exclaims. “Just up and down”. We’re back to those middle managers. Elizabeth tries to demonstrate how to get a “smooth finish” but Sarah-Jayne snaps snidely “Just do your own and leave everyone else alooone”.

The boys room looks like a Mighty Boosh book cover or as Harrison puts it “like someone’s puked rainbow”. “Isn’t that the flag of Romania?” Andrew insists.

They all look for “statement pieces” to confuse and annoy guests with the girls choosing a bag of golf clubs. Jeff takes a shine to a life-size Scots guard. “This screams British to me”. Thankfully Ross is on hand “It screams no to me. It’s disgusting!”. Eventually they haggle down some leather (of course!) suitcases from £600 to £400. Ross is convinced they can charge £750 a night for the joy of staring at baggage. He asks Jeff to own the financial side of the pitch but not to mention their budget or any specific costs.

The girl’s wallpaper arrives (Elizabeth “Is this upside down?”, Siobhan “What is it?”, Michaela (proudly) “You never know what art is… I NEVER get it!”) and poor Elizabeth has to cut it up as she’s messed up the management and does sadly end up “faffling” under the intense pressure of her team and Claude staring at her. It’s finally up and the other subteam arrives asking what the fuck is on the wall. Bushra explains “It’s a piece of art”. “That’s what we were sayin.. it’s DEAD arty” Michaela says as arty is close to bellend in her vocabulary. Then she sees the golf clubs and cannot contain herself (“You’re taking the piss!”). They rush to finish the room all shouting with poor Liz chanting “too much chaos” in their midst. “We’re not shouting” Michaela yells “We’re just all talking at the same time!”

The Hotel Manager inspects the girls room like he’s the three bears (“this coffee table is too low to eat from.. this mirror is too high for a shortarse such as I to clock his tackle in without standing on the sofa bed”). He’s equally unimpressed by the boys room (“It’s just London, there’s nothing British”).

Ross pitches about heritage and Sajan proudly displays his mood board like a Year 2 textiles student. Jeff completely spills the beans about what they spent. Ross looks disappointed. Mind you he always looks disappointed. The boss complains that the tables and chairs are impractical. Sajan suggests it would be a mistake for people to sit in their room and the boss rightly points out “If I’m paying £750 don’t tell me how I should use the room!”

It’s Bushra’s turn (“Your consumers have a love for golf”) but never mind the alien ass golf ball mural, low table and high mirror – the girls have forgotten a chest of drawers. Where in fuck will the bible go? Sarah Jayne points out that the desk has drawers but the boss man wouldn’t want to put his undercrackers in a desk.

It’s boardroom time and Sugar dismisses the girls golf idea as “full of holes” and reckons they were too Argos on the furniture and the room too sparse (“West Ham’s trophy room has more in.” Ho HO!). Jeff sniggers at the image of their wallpaper but Jo points out she thought it was too abstract. Jade has definitely got it in for her “What was your solution? You just said that to cover your own back”. Asked whether Bushra was a good project manager only Jo says yes. Sisters!

Whilst the boys all back Ross as PM, Jeff gets stick for saying he didn’t want to do the maths. “I didn’t say that” he whines. “That’s exactly what you said” purrs Karren. Ross states he wanted quality but not to blow the entire 13k, but Karren dobs his lack of a strategy in too. Sajan defends his masterpiece “At the end of the day I think art is defined in different ways”. Sugar’s definition is “Diabolical”.

Money time and the girls spent only £5675 making a “profit” of “£7325” leaving a 56% margin, whereas the boys spent £11495 making a profit of £1505 and a margin of 12%. So the girls get stick for making “too much profit”. Business is confusing. Anyhow the designer thought both were crap and left the final say to Sugar so he lets the girls win and they get an undeservedly fun reward of a visit to the Rosewood Hotel to meet Gerald Scarfe (“Hi I’m Gerry! Who wants cocktails?”) who draws their caricatures.  “Mr Scarfe would you be happy to do me” deadpans Elizabeth and I love her again.

In the sad café Harrison’s moaning that Jeff only had one job: to do the numbers. Jeff’s feeling “pissed off that these people keep throwing me under the bus”. The man is bus obsessed.

Back in and Harrison insists “We delivered”. “WHAT?” barks Sugar. James insists Jeff lost it for them on pricing, but Ross owns up for the £750 a night price estimate. He chooses to bring Jeff back (“Nothing personal of course”) and James, a tad unfairly as he gets the blame for all of his subteam’s mistake. Jeff rightly looks worried. It transpires that on his CV Jeff calls himself a chameleon and at the boardroom table he comes across as wooden, even though he is “a very creative man with a background in break dancing” and he “wanted to go with a sports theme.. people like Novak Djokovic and Tim Henman”. James points out that he didn’t actually do anything creative in this task.

So it comes to the summing up and Lord Sugar gives about five minutes of filler pretending that anybody but Jeff will go, before he fires him (“I wouldn’t trust you with a hotel in monopoly”).

Jeff body pops to the taxi of despair where he still lacks self awareness, whilst Sugar rips up his CV and sort of marks Ross’s card (“I don’t know who you are yet” – IT’S WEEK TWO – THERE’S 17 OF THESE FUCKERS – I’M STRUGGLING TOO).

Back at the house, they’re all on the white wine in the garden. Andrew asks “How can you girls argue so much but do so well”. “We know how to separate the business and the personal” Jo explains whilst Jade (probably) gives her a hacky look.

Next week the teams sell robots and the girls are ROW-bots. Geddit? I don’t know why I bother!

LOVING: Elizabeth

LIKING: Joanna, James, Sajan, Bushra, Ross

INVISIBLE: Anisa, Sarah, Andrew

PENFOLD: Charles

MIOAW: Jade, Michaela, Sarah-Jayne

TWATS: Harrison, Elliot, Siobhan

BYE BYE: Danny, Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

SEEM REASONABLE.. UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE: Joanna, Ross, Bushra, Andrew

MEH: Anisa, Sarah-Jayne

HILARIOUS (in a bad way): Charles

BIT BITCHY: Jade, Michaela

TWATS: Harrison, Jeff

PSYCHO: Siobhan

PROBABLY NEXT CONSERVATIVE LEADER: Elliott

 

BYE BYE: Danny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurrah – it’s the Funny Farm’s return to the movie adaptations of EL James’s super-unsexy trilogy (I’ve never read more than one page – as the grammar alone was painful enough!).

Before the screening there’s a warning that this movie contains “Strong Sex” (I prefer the weak sort at my age), despite the film being relatively tame (presumably it’s called “Fifty Shades Darker” in a nod to the Bristol Stool Scale because there’s slightly more bumming in it). A more appropriate warning for cinema-goers would be that this film contains “Stupid Dialogue” or “Literally NO DRAMATIC tension whatsoever” (even when there’s a hint of a helicopter crash, rather than grip the edge of our seats, me and my comrades merrily chortle “Oh no! His choppers going down!”) , but most of the audience (apart from the poor two guys who gamely allowed themselves to be dragged out by their missuses) clearly know this and just want to know if you see his willy.

We start with a silly backstory shot of young Christian hiding from a shouty man who holds a cigaratte ominously. Because you’re not allowed to explore the niceties (or nasties) of BDSM without having been abused as a child.

Anastasia (Dakota Johnson kooking it up endearingly again) is still biting her lip and wobbling around like a toddler, even though she’s somehow (as a recent graduate in a humanities subject) acquired an amazing flat without an annoying slutty friend in – AND landed a “Dream Job” working for sex-pest publishing editor Jack (a Frank Sinatra lookalike with a tiny button nose), attracting envious looks from her fellow assistant Hannah the world’s slowest pretend typist, and getting gold stars from the older hacky faced improbable HR woman (all older women in the EL James world are weird and hacky faced). Clearly she’s moved on from her stalky spanky ex, as demonstrated by a credits scene where she tries to bin a massive bunch of flowers from him (with a good luck note on a business card – the romance!) in a tiny bin!

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The bin is smaller than her head. Really.

How come this clueless, spatially unaware woman is employed anywhere? Well not that clueless – as at least she’s given psycho Grey the heave-ho.

But wait. Ana goes to cute pal José’s incredibly sinister photography exhibition full of close-ups of Ana wearing a big jumper (in the world of EL James EVERY man is a stalky weirdo), which a mysterious stranger snaps up. Mysterious my butt plug – Christian’s back in town (Jamie Dornan texting in his performance) wearing his strange baby-with-wind smile that passes for enigmatic facial expression.

50shadeschristianface
Definitely wind. Just give him a pat on the back love. Oh sorry you’re not allowed to.

And it’s not long before Ana’s joined him for dinner to “reconsider the terms” (shudder) of their relationship, and is agreeing to be his proper girlfriend as long as it’s all vanilla (which she demonstrates by dragging the poor sod round the supermarket for Vanilla ice-cream) and cuddly with none of that nasty “ouch my bottom” spanky shenanigans.

Of course it doesn’t take long until she’s yelling “SPANK ME! SPANK ME MORE!”, despite having witnessed his cack-handed ineptitude whilst chopping a bell (snigger) pepper (Literally every one in the cinema is hoping he will chop a cucumber at this point, but sadly the opportunity is missed and they just have a soft focus gaspy shag instead whereupon Christian bizarrely insists on transferring £24,000 into Ana’s bank account for her missing time off work and does some blatant product placement by buying her an iphone and matching macbook – all the better to stalk her on). But there’s a shadow threatening their new found bliss, and where Sam and Frodo have Gollum, Ana finds she has acquired a non-male stalker for a change in the shape of what appears to be a 12 year old skaghead in a tatty parka with bandages round her wrists. Who can it be?

 

bella-heathcote-leila-stalks-christian-grey-fifty-shades-darker-0403_bgc_01

Woohoo! Ana’s sex pest boss invites her to a business trip to New York (much to Christian’s chagrin) and forces her to socialise after work because he has no friends. Ana’s just about to down the pint he’s bought her when Christian shows up all possessive, buys the company in a not at all control-freaky move and whisks Ana off for a fingering to orgasm in a lift (I keep hoping for a fart noise to add a touch of class to proceedings) followed by what she describes (appallingly for someone with a literature degree) as “Kinky Fuckery”. He reveals that her stalker in a parka is is his ex “sub” Leila who, after he dumped her for wanting human interaction (warning bells much) got married only for her husband to cark it and her to have a mental breakdown for being not only the unluckiest bitch in christendom but for having the worst most reductive role in a film for quite some time.

Christian invites Ana to a charity ball at his hacky faced mums and drags her to the hairdressers to sort herself the fuck out – but who’s this hacky faced older woman running the salon?

basinger

Why it’s Elena, the “Mrs Robinson” who seduced Christian into a life of sex devices by sticking remote controls and bicycle pumps up his arse at a tender age or something and is now his business partner. Played by Kim Basinger in what I’d like to think is a nod to 1980s emotionally retarded shagfest from back when Mickey Rourke had a face “9 and a half weeks”, Elena spends most of the film doing sideways looks and wobbling any facial features the botox will allow to move. Ana rightly flounces off at Christian’s complete and utter tactlessness and he has to hire a gay Latino coiffure and buy her drawerloads of designer undies and rails of posh frocks to get back in her good books enough to convince her to go to the ball, put on a sexy basque and let him shove silvery love eggs up her mimsy (“They’re not going up my butt” she worries sensibly, “They’re not for your butt” he explains reassuringly).

Clanking metallically around the ball like a human pool table, Ana’s told all about Christian’s bad boy past by annoying sister Rita Ora before she bids all her £24,000 whore money on the charity auction. Christian gets all hot and drags he to his scarily preserved childhood bedroom where he whips out her balls and off her dress (for some reason her basque has disappeared up her arse crack at this point) and they do yet more soft focus gaspy sex. Ana finds a picture of what could be another ex girlfriend but turns out to be his crackhead suicide mom. Oh oh! Elena shows up, face akimbo and warns her to split up with Christian. There’s yet another flounce – this time back to Christian’s where Ana’s car has been vandalised and rather than deal with it normally Christian insists she comes for a few days sailing montage on his big, shiny yacht. Ana’s still stroppy that Christian won’t let her touch him, so he uses her lipstick to thoughtfully draw out his boundaries which seem to just be his chest – which has also suddenly been pock marked with what look like ages old cigarette burns that weren’t there in the previous film. Ana of course doesn’t notice these, so ludicrously grateful is she that his hairy man eggs aren’t in the no-go zone.

Thanks to Christian being an utter arsehat Ana has to cry off her trip to New York with SexPest boss who promptly tries to lock her in the office and sex her up until Ana punches him in the face and kicks him in the nads (best bit of the film) and runs out into the waiting arms of Christian, who promptly sacks the SexPest. Now who will represent “New Fiction” at the publishers meeting. Why Ana of course, and of course we need to see the entirety of the incredibly dull meeting in order to understand how much she is actually supposed to know her shit. She impresses the kindly greying Lord High Poo Bar of the publishers so much with her ability to have breasts and express opinions about new fiction choices that he gives her the SexPests old job allowing her to recreate an entire scene from “Working Girl” (another 1980s film which Dakota’s mum Melanie Griffiths starred in) with Hannah the slow pretend typist assistant.

Somehow Ana has got over her misgivings about Christian completely controlling her life and agrees to move in with him, popping back to her apartment for a toothpaste and her mooncup or something. Typically Leila the Stalker in the Parka pops up behind Ana with a gun and a crazy twitch, but fortunately she’s the worst shot ever, giving time for Christian to rescue Ana with his domination skills. As Leila drops to the floor muttering “Master” and eyeing up Christian’s crotch like it’s her precious, Ana realises her boyfriend might not be such a catch after all and rushes off into Seattle to sulk about in a duffel coat.

duffelgirl

When she returns Christian is incandescent and reveals that he isn’t just a dominant, but a sadist who wants to punish women who look like his dead crack whore mom, including Ana. He explains that he can only be happy causing women pain by doing terrible awful things like leaving dirty underwear on the floor, the toilet seat up and snapping nipple clamps on their fingers. Rather than get the hump for being compared to a dead crack whore, Ana finally notices the cigarette burns on Christian that are meant to have been there since childhood but have suddenly popped up for the purpose of this plot. He kneels before her, presumably turning all sub, but Ana still fails to slip on a strap on and instead slips into bed with him for even more soft focus gaspy nooky. During the night, following another fag burning abuse nightmare Christian asks Ana to marry him. Poor Ana’s not sure if he just yelled it out during an attack of the sleep horrors (as you do). The next morning she finds him in his Pain Room, I mean gym, where he reveals that he really does want to make her his property I mean wife, whilst showing off doing sexy muscle bound poses on his pommel horse. Who could say no? Ana says she’ll think about it.

fifty_shades_workout_2_main
Yeah ok some people might have finished thinking about it by now.

Annoying sister Rita Ora lets slip it’s Christian’s birthday coming up and Ana starts to wonder again what sort of man she’s moving in with. She rushes back to his place to find yet another hacky faced older woman (Yeah sure it’s his housekeeper) and wonders into his Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse of Pain, demanding that he does her with his implements.

redroomaberdeen-angus-steakhouse
Same thing innit?

He agrees but takes her and the sex front axle to his bedroom for what ends up being yet more vanilla soft focus shagging. A gaspy, grateful Ana presents Christian a mysterious gift from a street vendor and makes him promise not to open it until his birthday. But oh no he may not reach his birthday as during a last minute business trip he goes on with his female assistant because HE’S ALLOWED to do shit like this without Ana having a meltdown the aforementioned chopper goes a little bit on fire and it’s all over the news like they’d have space for a story like this nowadays when there’s foreigners to be afraid of. Christian’s ENTIRE family show up awkwardly including his Shaggy from Scooby Doo drug dealer brother and Ana’s slutty friend. Christian turns up looking photogenically scuffed and the family shuffle back awkwardly into the lift leaving Ana to reveal that her birthday present is a key-ring with the word “Yes” on the back. Cheap bitch!

Christian can’t wait to announce his engagement to Ana at his birthday party and somebody has managed to invite Elena who pulls faces so hacky before calling Ana a proper slag who can’t do proper kinky sex like what she can. Ana wastes a perfectly good drink on her, before Christian’s mum slaps her round the chops and orders her to “Get Aht of Mah Mansion!” and Christian tells her to get lost as he doesn’t want to be her sex toy business partner anymore. And everything ends happily with Christian stage managing his proposal to Ana so it coincides with his birthday fireworks. Ana’s ex sexpest boss, driven stark staring mental by her rejection and the loss of his job is STILL bloody stalking her. Fin. Thank Flip!

The original film, directed by Sam Taylor Wood, seemed to play on it’s camp awfulness, but James Foley’s sequel achieves bad US soap opera levels of dullness by taking itself just that touch more seriously.

Comfortingly the cinema was nearly empty for this screening, so hopefully anybody who ever once thought this whole franchise was sexy or anything other than creepy and depressing has come to their senses and EL James will take her awful prose, dull unrealistic soft focus soft porn (the real porn being the aspirational lifestyle shots of course) and twisted Mills and Boon mentality towards relationships and stick them where the silver balls won’t rattle. 

But whatever turns you on. Preverts.

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.

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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.
satan

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.
troll

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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38297302

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.

tweet1

And more

tweetmore

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.

howtrollsspreadtheirversionofnews

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.

itgetsworseongoogle

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

http://www.christianpost.com/news/kenya-al-shabaab-bus-terror-attack-muslims-save-christians-lives-give-hijabs-passengers-153279/

Or this

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/heroic-muslim-man-saved-jewish-hostages-during-paris-siege-by-hiding-them-in-chiller-9970051.html

Or this

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/22013748/ns/us_news-life/t/illegal-immigrant-never-thought-leave-boy/

Or this

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hero-saved-6-year-old-girl-antonio-diaz-chacon-illegal-immigrant-article-1.949066

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.

ruth-badger
“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 7 sees the teams summoned to London’s only floating yacht hotel at the Royal Victora docks where grumpy Nooky Bear clone Lord Sugar informs them that as boating is worth £3billion a year to the UK (and probably even more to offshore accountants) that they have to get themselves to the annual boat show at Poole harbour and select products to sell – most sales win as per usual.

As Frances has been a perennial loser so far she’s selected to lead Nebula (Sofiane, Shouty Faux Geezer Paul, Northern Peggy from Hi di Hi Jess, Trishna).

K is made leader of the Titans (Sam, Grainne, Courtney, Alana, Dillon). Dillon’s warned by Lord Sugar that arty creative bollocks counts for nothing in the mean world of sales. K continues sharing way too much information by informing us that he even successfully Project Managed the conception of his own child (“I know the exact hotel room”) – and he’s straight to the point when dividing the team (“Does anyone know anybody who has ever owned a boat?”). Sam suggests that the task needs someone who has sold at the high end, which he had done, so K naturally ignores this and selects Grainne and Courtney to sell the top products whereas Sam has to come with him and sell to the public. “You made a tactical mistake” Sam moans. “Don’t take it personally” K insists. Of course Sam won’t – preferring to mutter doomily about how the pressure’s on Grainne and Courtney for the rest of the task because he’s skill and ace.

Over on Nebula Paul insists that he once pitched to the UK’s leading shipbuilder, so sensibly of course Fran selects Sofiane to go with her on the high end team simply because Sofiane says he’d like to and she’s worried Paul will punch him if they work together.

The public subteams investigate a range of tat for their stalls including a scary pen that doubles as a fishing rod (cue Jess screeching “I’ve got a big one!”), fish cushions (which Dillon of course loves as they’re “very kitch”), frog back packs, some weird flashers mack that is apparently a beach changing robe for the Mr Bean in our lives and sexist colour coded pink and blue snorkels (Paul insists bizarrely snorkelling is a big sport in the UK. Maybe he means “bog” sport).


bogsnorkel

K has no idea on what product to take (“Someone has to take a call” – erm the PM?). Alana suggests snorkels so he decides to take snorkels. But Sam likes the fish and says they’re “eyecatching”. “Yes they are!” K exclaims and goes for the sodding snorkels and fish cushions. They also have to pick a mid range product and have a choice between a “watersports board” which costs £399 and a stand up paddle board which they all agree is the easier product to sell. Alana points out helpfully after both suppliers have left that they should have asked if there were any special trade discounts. Jess does just this for Nebula and the vendor plumps for them – telling K he chose them because they negotiated a closing price. Oops.

The high end teams test drive a 20k speedboat and 16k Jetskis. Grainne and Courtney are very professional and get all the product information from the vendors. Sofiane doesn’t give a monkey about the specifications and just wants a Jetski because his brother used to have one and he wants to join the Romford Navy too (“It’s a toy!” he declares joyously, royally pissing off the vendor).

The next day Fran calls Nigel the Jetski man “Will you let us sell your jetskis in the morning” she asks confidently. There’s a long pause. “What model did you look at?” Nigel asks leadingly. She gets it wrong and he informs them that’s exactly why he’s going with the other team – losers! Sofiane takes it hard (“So you think it’s all based on specifications?” Nigel “No it’s based on knowledge”. Slam!). Frances doesn’t seem bothered by the outcome but decides if they fail the task it will be down to Sofiane “wallowing in self pity”.

At a rainy Poole harbour K prices up his items with Courtney’s help (which Sam ignores utterly selling at RRP because Sam knows best), whereas Frances gleefully accepts the RRP for all her stall tat. “I don’t want absolutely no negativity” she insists, English language manglingly, to Sofiane and Paul. She drags Sofiane off to decorate the speedboat they’ve been stuck flogging with bottles of champagne, because getting arseholed on bubbly in charge of a dangerous vehicle on the briny is exactly what appeals to posh people with money to burn. She complains that he’s not listening to the specification (“he’s like a child in a toyshop – he’s distracted so easily” and sits around looking sad whilst he makes tugboat noises and pretends he’s firing torpedoes. Meanwhile Courtney and Grainne test each other on their Jetski knowledge whilst millions of potential Jetski customers waft past them.

Dillon’s in his element hanging fish cushions artfully around their stall (“Would you like to come inside our little aquarium?”) whilst miserable wet punters shuffle by. Jess springs into Walter Mitty-esque action, bullshitting any customers she can find with non-existent family members (“My four year old has one and loves it”) and sales (“We’ve sold loads”). ” You can’t lie” Paul tells her… “Yeah good advice” she rolls her eyes (to be fair it is sales – she has a point!).

Poor Dillon’s struggling to sell his watersports board (“It’s extremely – er – floatable”) but seems to have got a pity sale from a woman who promises she just has to go and find a cashpoint (Dillon “It’s the charm of the Irish”) then disappoints never to be seen again, so Dillon makes a face like a child who has learned the truth about Santa before starting sneakily trying to muscle in on Alana’s sale (“That was MY customer”, Alana “Lying bastard!”).

K’s also struggling to make sales but comes up with a masterful strategy to shift the changing robe (“I’m going to take my trousers off right now!” – presumably so people will buy the robe to wrap around their eyes). “Do you think that puts people off?” a traumatised Alana asks Sam, “should we tell him?”. Sam doesn’t care as long as someone else gets fired (“Leave it another hour”).

Sofiane consistently cocks up the boat specifications with George their first posh twat punter and it’s up to Fran to go on about it having a canopy. “He wants it… I can read his body language” he insists as Fran looks at him as though he’s a fart in human form.

Courtney makes a feeble attempt to pitch to the people ignoring him (“It’s a lovely day for er jetskis”). They call the subteam to explain how hard it is to sell and Alana pulls a “we’re doomed” face whilst Sam noticeably (to Claude) doesn’t offer to step in with his high end skillz (“Lets focus on these boards…” sees potential customer “are you into watersports madam?” – customer runs away). There’s no way Jess is going to let Sam win the task innuendo competition though and she hits back by trying to interest punters in a “full facial snorkel” (kinky!). I’m surprised she doesn’t manage too crowbar in Seaman Stains and Master Bates quite frankly. She tries modelling the snorkel for effect but Paul tells her she looks “like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie!” (more David Cronenburg surely?).

Things pick up for Courtney and Grainne when they pitch to a bloke who runs a Jetski training company who wants four and they pass him on to Nigel the vendor when he wants to negotiate a bulk discount, having done everything right. “I’ll take over” Nigel informs them and they are ecstatic.

Meanwhile Sofiane does a legs akimbo calendar boy pose on the boat whilst Frances tries to tempt customers with a “couple of extras” and they look worried she means Sofiane’s bollocks rather than free life jackets. “Are you happy to go ahead?” she asks “Go on – it’s got a canopy!”. “Yeah go on” says the silly rich man as though he’s buying a big chocolate bar at the WH Smith till. However the voiceover warns ominously that all sales only go ahead after credit checks by the vendors.

Poor Dillon’s luck doesn’t improve when he tries to bulk sell all the stock to trade at the end of the day and the shop woman buys one fecking fish cushion for her dog to chew.

Back in the boardroom and Frances does a big gulp when Grainne mentions casually that they may have bulk sold four Jetskis. Dillon says he took Lord Sugar’s comment about selling as a “challenge” (Sugar “It was”) before blaming the weather for his poor sales whilst insisting he “engaged every single person”

Alana’s asked what she did and she’s disarmingly honest “I stood by the waterboards all day”. K’s excuse for not selling is having “all this PM admin work to do”. Chinny. The Titans are asked if K was a good PM and tumbleweed ensues until Alana says bluntly he’s a not a good leader.

Over on the other team Frances suggests Sofiane was “quite excited by the Jetski” which isn’t enough for Karren (“It’s fair to say VERY excited!”) although her diss goes right over Sof’s head as he wistfully declares he “sort of fell in love with the Jetski”. Jess is pulled up on her porky pies and nobody bothers to ask what the frick Trishna did all day, although she does at least pipe up in support of her PM.

The subteams scores are in and Nebula sold £2580.68 whereas Titans only sold £188.90. But surely the high end sales will swing it. Er no it doesn’t matter as to Grainne’s horrified disbelief not one of the Jetski sales went through (she misses a golden opportunity to blame this on Nigel the sarky vendor man who took over the bulk sale) whereas somehow Frances and Sofiane shifted two speedboats giving Nebula a total score of £40480 against Titans £188. Frances is moved to tears of relief and gratitude which Karren like a complete fucking bitch points out helpfully (“Do you want a tissue Frances – are you crying?”) because for all her supposed feminism she doesn’t mind showing up another woman for showing vulnerability.

Nebula get sent to do rowing with one of the British double gold medal winning rowers (no, not those ones – one of the ones nobody has heard of apart from maybe an answer on Pointless).

Sugar dismisses the rest disdainfully like he’s Charlie Brooker (“Go away”) such is his rage at their world of fail. In the Bridge Café Sam starts smugly sowing his seeds (“Courtney and Grainne should be worried”) until Alana points out he didn’t exactly put his case “that strongly” which K grasps upon like a drowning man holding onto a watersports board (“If you had showed passion I would have selected you”).

Back in the boardroom and K admits it is a “very very horrible day in business for me”. Grainne and Courtney are accused by Claude of putting all their Jetskis in one basket and not touting for trade from passing customers. Courtney suggests that all the other tasks Titans won were down to him. Sam moans that the water board things were hard to sell as they needed to be attached to a boat (Sugar “You were at a BOAT show!”) and Dillon backs him up (“I’ve seen Sam sell”) until Karren slaps him down (“What are you his spokesperson? Why don’t you talk about yourself?”).

Dillon reckons K let the task down but K says “A captain is as good as his team” and is adamant his name’s “on the board” to which Sugar responds yes for shittest task fail evah, before trying to liven up the format by announcing he doesn’t even trust K to bring anyone back and firing him for being “a diabolical PM”. Oooh! K’s still living the dream (delusion) in the Taxi of Doom where he declares he will build his own billion dollar “unicorn” business (Unicorn because it is a fantasy?).

Grainne is asked to suggest one person to bring back and she poises her knife expertly above Sam’s back, complaining that he is “just gliding through the process” (pretty much as Grainne is doing). Dillon’s asked to choose someone else and he can’t bring himself to say anyone, coming precariously close to dooming himself. And then under pressure he suggests himself (Doh!) and Alana for being “weak sellers”. Karren and Claude both think Dillon is too nice and knows too much about cushions, but also think Alana needs to put herself “forward” (this is the same Alana who won her task as PM right?). Back in the room and Sam gets the most flack for disregarding PM instructions like a maverick and his repricing of sweets against Alana’s recommendation in the task she won is mentioned, which he denies. Despite it being on film and everything. Dillon isn’t doing himself any favours claiming he’s not at his best “selling twelve apples for a pound” (which is a freaking bargain by the way! Hope his business plan isn’t a greengrocers) and that he prides himself “on my talent”. Alana sees which way the tide is turning and admits she does herself a “misjustice” by clamming up in the boardroom. Karren says she suffers “from a lack of confidence” but for once adds a bright side “it’s a great shame as you have a lot to offer”. Somehow she survives as Sugar suddenly remembers she has run her own business.

Sam’s fed up with being “accused of being a silent assassin” pointing out that he “top sold” in every task. Dillon insists he’s “not just a nice guy but can be really aggressive” and tries to look hard. “I’ve created money from air” he adds but Sugar cuts him down “being a nice guy is not enough to win this process” before firing Sam for not being a team player (“It’s nice to have nice people in business so Dillon you can stay” – eh?!). Sam follows K in the Taxi of regret (it’s like Strictly Come Dancing tonight) but he seems reasonably upbeat.

Back at the house Dillon snarls it’s “No more Mr Nice Guy” – cue a clip of him dressed as a sailor singing shanties in next week’s task. I am Dillon hear me Rahhhh!

Liking: Dillon , Sofiane, Alana

Wearing thin: Jess

Unconvinced by: Paul, Courtney, Frances, Trishna

The real silent assassin: Grainne

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