(Series 9, Ep.3) Last week, Christine Mulgrew cruelly snatched the sixth form’s trip to see A Streetcar Named Desire from under their quivering, culture-starved noses due to budget cuts. As part of Simon’s appeasement attempts, he offered them the fun of doing an Apprentice-style activity.
This week, Christine tried to take that away from them, too, because there was no money to pay for it, what with spending money on a classroom assistant for a Mandarin class where only one of the pupils is learning any Mandarin (but more of that later). Luckily before the sixth form went on strike again and holed up in the canteen and pelted the teachers with statues of oversized broccoli, Simon stepped in with a generous offer of putting up the “seed money” himself. He’d gone to all the trouble of bringing a smoke machine to school (goodness knows why he had one of those knocking around indoors), so he was obviously keen.
Christine was supposed to be the Alan Sugar figure, but she was too busy getting excited about George being asked to roll out Mandarin across the whole area (but more of that later) to bother about growing a grizzly beard. So Lord Sugar’s role was taken by Simon, who was also playing the part of Karren Brady to George’s Nick Hewer. Nicely unbiased there.
It was the usual boys v girls contest. The girls went with the daringly original scheme of a cake sale (and had to endure the usual daringly original sabotage attempts with salt and cold ovens, though not with “mystery spices”), and the boys decided to do house clearances and were in luck when Princess Windsor, in a strop with her husband over the Mandarin classes, gave them free rein to fill their shopping trollies with George’s Chinese bric a brac and sell it.
So why was there trouble in the house of Windsor? Well, the fact is that, despite having a facility for languages (he’s good at French and Spanish) and obviously having a great affinity for China (the bric a brac and the wife), George is not very good at all at speaking Mandarin. In fact, he’s at ordering food in a restaurant level, apparently. Princess has been doing all the work and getting no credit, and now that Christine is expecting Mandarin to be rolled out over the area, Princess’s workload has just shot up and she’s not happy.
Meanwhile, she’s acquired an admirer. Young Kevin Chalk, so recently embraced into the Barry family at a ceremonial feast of Generic Fried Chicken, has been bedazzled by the radiant beauty and linguistic skills of the lovely Princess and kissed her. It’s Jonah Kirby and Miss Montoya all over again, but this time with the added danger that Dynasty Barry will have Kevin’s testicles for earrings if she ever finds out.
In other news, Audrey has a new online penpal called Moira, but hasn’t realised that it’s actually another phase in Lisa Brown’s campaign of revenge. Nikki Boston still apparently has nothing to do but get excited about Kacey Barry’s boxing potential. And cringey dialogue of the week award once again goes to the always reliable Kevin Chalk for the excitement-loaded utterance: “Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry!”