The Apprentice episode 5 review

Fashion takes centre stage in the latest episode of The Apprentice. So how did it shape up? It went something like this...

Week five. The Fashion Retail Academy. An overnight bag. No Melissa. And a job this time to choose and sell a pair of fashion labels in the middle of the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

In a sense, it’s a clothing-based variant of last week’s task. And with Liz and Paloma chosen to lead the teams, it was down to business fairly quickly, with only Alex doing one of those silly to-camera talking head bullshit pouring exercises, where he talking about leading people to honey, or something like that.

On the other team, we learned that Jamie doesn’t like fashion, which for some reason inspired Nick to turn up his nose. Not sure why, but good on you, Nick. As it turned out, he was set to become the star of the episode.

Jamie, then, managed to reveal that not only did he know nothing about fashion, he also knew nothing about how not to offend the population of Manchester. He’s probably safer staying south of the M25 in future after some of his comments in this week’s show.

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Off, then, to looking at the various outfits. To be honest, I was with Jamie here. I couldn’t tell one from the other here, but again, Nick’s silent comedy routine was doing the business, staring at the young female models with a reawakened interest.

From what I could tell, there was some budget stuff, sparkly dresses, posh dresses and some a few other things that seemed to induce coos. Not from Nick, but you probably worked that out yourself.

As usual, both teams overlapped on one designer, the sparkly dress seller, who went with Liz’s team, given that they were more excited. Paloma’s mob then were tempted by the firm selling recycled clothes at expensive prices instead. They were to pay the price.

After that, though, Paloma was left relying on Alex’s extensive knowledge of, er, the Trafford Centre, as she challenged his choice of location to sell their choice of clothes. Not surprisingly, this was rumbled as an exercise in arse-covering.

The teams then started filling in their empty shops in the Trafford Centre, which by this time of the year will surely be temporary Christmas tat outlets. There was clearly no crossover with what was being sold here.

Paloma’s store, to be fair, looked quite smart. Called One, it looked strong, but Alex was continuing to exert his retail expertise. The editing was making him the early favourite for the chop.

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The other team was in trouble, meanwhile. Its store was called The Collection, but it wasn’t open for the best part of an hour after the shopping centre opened. Cue a visit from the centre manager, who clearly wasn’t there to get his face on the telly. Oh no. There wasn’t much incentive to stay in that particular shop, mind. Nick, meanwhile, had noticed Stella in a short dress in the shop window, and had concluded it looked a bit like an Amsterdam knocking shop. He was having a nice time.

Meanwhile, Alex’s choice of promotional stand for the One store appeared to be a half marathon away from the main shop itself. Again, those magical crosshairs began to appear across his mush. But, to be fair, it did look for a minute like his team might win, to save him from the sack.

That said, The Collection appeared to be doing better business. Their products were cheaper, and they appeared to be getting footfall. Nick noticed the young girls buying dresses, and appeared to be very impressed. By this stage, I was beginning to suspect that this was his favourite task of all time.

Alex, meanwhile, secured a bit of video promotion that was screened above the people eating their chips in the foot court, and sales for their team were starting to roll in, too. At The Collection, Nick was getting less impressed. Not only was the only promotional material a bunch of flowers, but the young women had stopped modelling the dresses. This did not impress him. Instead, the team arranged some quick discounts, and adopted market seller yelling at people tactics. And Jamie complained. Silly Jamie. On a different week, that might just guarantee you a seat in the boardroom.

The shutters then came down after quite an interesting task again, but one more, nearly half of the show was given over to the results, bollockings and firings. Can we please just have a little more task? That remains the most interesting bit. It somehow seems less fun these days when Baron von Sugar and his scriptwriters turn up.

Still, Nick didn’t look impressed when the man Sugar implied that he’d spent more than a bit of time in Holland. That was clearly an untruth. Yes.

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The results, then. It was, just about, Liz’s team that won, and straight away, Alex’s name popped to the top of the likely-to-be-fired list once more. Because, at that stage of the task, who else could it be? It’d take someone opening their mouth and saying something stupid for that not to happen, right?

Still, at least we had to ensure a minute or two of watching the winning team going off to the races and drinking booze, all at the licence payer’s expense. The weekly plea, then: can they cut this bit? Please? Primarily, because it’s shit.

We did eventually get to the boardroom, and it was the losing of the sparkling dresses that was the first salvo fired by The Baron. But also coming in for criticism was the higher priced line of products. Eventually, though, Alex came under the limelight. He made a justified point that he secured the advertising spot on the screen, but that just prompted The Baron to wiggle his chin a bit.

Paloma, ultimately, brought Alex and wide-eyed Sandeesh into the boardroom, and there wasn’t an obvious candidate there that would damage the ratings if they went. Thus, it was a fairly open boardroom, at face value.

Sandeesh didn’t get off to a good start, with an attack that all sounded a bit hollow. And she was also given the impression of just agreeing with whatever The Baron was saying, which he doesn’t like. Never a good thing. Paloma then accused Alex of being an irritant, and the director promptly cut to Nick, who was, by this point, wishing he could get back to Manchester.

He woke up when The Baron asked him whether Alex was irritating. Nick gave him a ringing endorsement, assuring The Baron that Alex “was not totally irritating”. Blimey, remind me to ask him for a reference. But it did begin to look as if Alex was saved, and that Sandeesh was going to have the trigger pulled on her. Then Paloma started talking again for no obvious benefit, and kicked off another argument.

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The Baron, then, saved Alex, and gave him another chance. And the firing finger of doom? It as taxi for Paloma, whose mouth in the boardroom cost her the job. Don’t expect, though, Sandeesh and Alex to be too far behind.

I did quite enjoy all of that, though. It wasn’t a bad task, not quite as good as last week’s, but it does seem fairly obvious already who the next two or three people who are set for the chop are. We’ll find out in seven days’ time if said people can last another week…

Read our review of the fourth episode here.

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