Is there any job in television right now that’s as cruel, yet deviously fun, as editing together an episode of The Apprentice? After treating us to a lengthy chant about how losing wasn’t in his vocabulary – he couldn’t even say the word, although he was able to blurt out “get to Tesco and pick up some ingredients and black bags” with alarming regularity – Ian was a dead man walking from two minutes in. That bit where he asked for a commitment from everyone around the table? I couldn’t have cringed myself into a smaller ball if I’d tried. And I really did.
The other project manager, Sara, fared little better. She’s a strong personality – we know this, because she, er, kept telling us – who also got infected with the curse of the pep talk. She too sat her down and told them how she was going to run things, how she’s a strong personality, and they subsequently looked at her as if she’d just tried to convince them that Howard The Duck was the best film ever. A good start it was not.
The task this week, that was over just 35 minutes into the show (at a point, fact fans, where if you look in the background you could see Sralan’sTrustedAdvisor Nick smiling, rather than adopting his usual semi-permanent tut), was to take over a London pub and sell food in it. The teams needed to theme their pub, and as usual, the ones with the most profit one.
Neither team really covered themselves in glory here, and for the second week running, I managed to twig the three heading for the boardroom within twenty minutes. This isn’t me being smug (alright, maybe a little smug), more that for three series straight, I’ve never managed to get it right once. Either I’m getting savvy to how all this works, or The Apprentice is getting a little, dare I say, simpler? My suspicion is the latter.
As usual though, the task was a hoot. The girls’ team, save for a disagreement over whether to adopt a Bollywood or English theme, chose the former and it paid off. In spite of the fact that they failed to cook anything palatable in time for the lunch crowd (and given the muck that was slopping round in a big pan, I’d question the evening meal content too), they’d got their house in order come the evening, had cunningly sold tickets in advance, and – crucially – kept their costs low. They sold less food, but every time the programme cut back to the boys heading off to Tesco again, the conclusion was fairly clear cut (perhaps the budget to the show was covered by Club Card points). Oh, and Sara has a strong personality, she asked me to remind you.
The boys’ team was where the real action was. The bloke out of Little Britain was appointed Head Chef, while Ian seemed happy to be told what to do by, well, seemingly anyone. Lots of mistakes were made: food was priced without costs being worked out, the failure to go the wholesalers pleased the local supermarket no end, and they spent more on menus and marketing than the other team, well, spent entirely.
As usual, the person who speaks up and makes constructive points gets dragged into the quagmire, and so Simon found himself in the boardroom with Ian and Little Britain Head Chef. This was in spite of the fact that Simon had repeatedly warned that they need to stop and sort out of the costs. Seemed quite sensible from the comfort of my armchair, but it’s a potentially sackable offence in the world of The Apprentice. There’s a business lesson for you.
Sralan naturally ranted and raved a bit, threw in one or two swearwords to appear naughty, but soon seemed to have it down to Ian, who kept blaming his Head Chef, unaware that Little Britain Man had a name of his own (er, I might even look it up for next week), and Little Britain Man The Head Chef (whose made up name is getting longer as this review progresses. Hang on a sec …[heads to Google].. yep, he’s called Kevin) who kept blaming Ian. The result was fairly clear though, and the man who didn’t understand the word ‘lose’ was soon made all-too-aware of the word ‘sacked’.
Sara’s personality remained strong throughout all of this, which was a relief.
Mid-season Apprentice usually throws up two or three cracking episodes, and while this wasn’t golden, it was certainly entertaining. The theme pub idea wasn’t bad, and it’s certainly better than dragging out the old “go and buy these 10 items” that I suspect will crop up later in the series. Sralan also fired the right person.
Lucinda is my prediction to go next week. From the short preview, she seemed to be crying and mouthing off a bit again. I felt sorry for her last week, too, when GingerKatieHopkinsWannabe went for her. But early signs are that sympathy will evaporate around the same time next week.
Read our review of last week’s episode here.