The Apprentice 2008 episode 5 review

Simon's away so Mark's stepped in to take a closer look at the latest episode of the BBC's ratings winner

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Yes, the cold and creamy dessert is the theme of this week’s episode, which proved to be another cracker.

First thing’s first, those credits. My god they’re good this year. As the tones of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights kicks in, Sir Alan tells the Sugar Babes and Boys that he’s the world’s most belligerent boss (not a very positive characteristic) and that he ‘doesn’t give a shit’ (ditto).

Clips of last week’s show over with, the candidates are woken up by Sir Alan of Sugar himself and we learn that this week’s task is to develop new ice cream flavours and sell them to trade. Team leaders are Lucinda (Alpha) and Claire (Renaissance). Claire of course was down for a team leader role after last week’s reprieve and, having been given a roasting by Sir Alan, she’s on her best behaviour throughout the episode. As for Lucinda, it’s time to see what she’s really made of. Up until now, it’s fair to say she’s done very little, other than act as a source of hatred for the other candidates. I can’t really understand why they all hate her so much. I wonder if it’s because she’s quite well spoken and well mannered and a clear case of inverse snobbery is occurring on the show. Perhaps we’ll end up with a Big Brother-style exposé after the series is done and dusted – Lucinda’s Life of Woe in Apprentice House.

On to the task then, and as the teams decide on some outlandish flavour choices – Avocado and Chilli take anyone’s fancy? – it’s time to organise some sampling sessions. It all goes a bit Pete Tong for Renaissance, turning up to their tasting at the village hall half an hour late, by which point it’s all locked up. Muppets. To rectify things, softly spoken Michael wanders into a pub and spots two guys propping up the bar. Naturally, with a few pints down their necks they make the perfect taste testers don’t they? Bless Michael though. Even when the blokes mock him he still has that same breezy demeanour about him.

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Taste tests over with and it’s time to sell sell sell. Alpha are chuffed as the sales team of Jennifer, Daddy Cool (aka Raef) and Lindi stroke each other’s egos and Jennifer in particular is giving it large in this episode. Strange as you’ve seen little of her prior to now, other than that preposterous claim of being the best salesperson in Europe. In this episode though, she is adamant that she’s amazing, she’s fantastic. She’s the best. Kind of like Dangermouse then. Renaissance cock up their sales attempts royally, having arranged just two meetings for the next day. Alex isn’t happy, slagging Claire off to camera. My wife says he reminds her of me. Not in looks though, just because he moans a lot and he’s northern. She’s got a point.

The next day’s activity is just as absorbing and, not for the first time this series, excellent editing rears its head as the Apprentice’s greatest strength. As the Renaissance sales team Alex, Kevin and Sara await a meeting with an independent cinema chain to wrap up a deal, they’re beaten to it by team Alpha. Jennifer arranges an exclusivity deal with the chain in the process so no other cinema can sell their ice cream across London – silly girl – although who else would want to sell these revolting sounding concoctions is anyone’s guess. Alex isn’t happy and marches his guys back in to the cinema chain to kick off, but it all ends without incident. Shame, as I really wanted Kevin to get stuck in there too. He was all too absent from this episode and I really missed him. It’s just not the same without his comedic stylings.

As the task comes to an end, Alpha grab a couple more sales, one of which with another exclusivity deal attached, and Renaissance grab a huge deal at the end of play, making the result a little less certain. Not that Lucinda’s sales girls are worried. Also, there’s a snippet of Jennifer slagging Lucinda off. Has this been left in the edit for a reason I wonder?

Boardroom time and highlights include Sir Alan de Sucre having a go at Raef for trying to sell ‘bladdy’ ice cream to companies that make it themselves, Margaret sniping at Lindi, Jennifer sniping at Lucinda and Helene being nice to Lucinda for once. Considering last week’s diatribe against her, this is something of a shock, as is the announcement that Claire’s Renaissance team have won. Nick gives Sir Alan a pat on the back for Claire’s change in attitude. ‘Your little chat did something with Claire.’ The Alan Sugar Appreciation Society is in session.

As they realise their game might be up, Lucinda’s team turn on each other under a grilling from Sir Alan. Jennifer turns on Lucinda and Lucinda turns on Jennifer, as does Helene. Sensing Helene might be on her side after all, Lucinda stirs the pot, saying Helene had commented Jennifer was a snake. Bad move. Helene denies all and promptly decides she hates Lucinda again.

For the firing decision, it’s between Lucinda, Lindi and Jennifer and Sir Alan centres on those exclusivity deals. Despite the fact that every bone in his body must have been screaming to get rid of Jennifer – she made the biggest mistakes in the task and she’s just a bit of a dodgy character – he fires Lindi, saying she was in charge of the sales side of the task. Technically true, but we all know the real reason. Once again, it’s a ratings winner. Get rid of the half decent, but ultimately quite dull, candidates and keep in the gobby ones. So, Jennifer stays, Lindi goes and on returning to the house it all kicks off again between Lucinda, Helene and Jennifer. Blimey.

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Next week, it’s greetings cards and a brief clip of a bare bottom is intriguing, but entirely unnecessary.

Oh, I nearly forgot. The business lesson of the week? As Sir Alan says, ‘Sometimes, you have to turn a deal down.’