Tag Archives: The Apprentice

The Apprentice: A petri dish of twonk

Top Twonk

Top Twonk

(Series 10, ep.8) The delicious smorgasbord of idiocy that is The Apprentice got turned up to 11 last night. We’re at episode eight –  or roughly stage two as laid out in Qwerty’s series opener blog. Some chaff has been fired. Plenty more left to sneer at.

We know their names. We could do a set of Apprentice Twonk Top Trumps card featuring those qualities of imbecilic delusion that make them so annoying. But into the mix, we got the pleasure of the Royal Bath & West Show this week (best cider bar this side of Yeovil), hot tubs, flat cap handbags and Nick Hewer looking hella cool on a ride-on lawnmower.

Team Summit comprised Bianca; sexist über-knob 1 James; Solomon; calm, collected Roisin and Sanjay. And Team Tenacity included domineering Aussie Mark; the adorable Paddington bear-like Columbian Felipe; sexist über-knob 2 Daniel and the normal-seeming Katie. UK1 James got to be PM for Summit, Felipe was made PM for Tenacity over Katie, for no explicable reason that I could see, other than the fact that she carelessly forgot to be born with a penis.

This is the episode where members of each team gets to select from a parade of random objects, which in this series included a pet finder and a flushable cat loo. It’s the sort of motley collection that you used to see on the Generation Game conveyor belt or as prizes on Sale of the Century. Teams decide what they want most, then the PM has a conversation with the manufacturer of said chosen objects to try to convince them they are right team to sell to. Continue reading

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The Apprentice (Series 10): Who’s gonna lose? (Apart from all of them, us, and humankind, obviously)

The-Apprentice-2014

I fink I’ll choose that tall skinny one at the back. Wassat you say? That’s the Shard?

I’ve picked up a few things over the many hours I have spent watching these ten – TEN, god help us – series of The Apprentice. To disclose fully, I’ve actually only seen nine. I missed the first series on the grounds of being a reality TV snob, but I soon got over myself. Anyway, I believe that nine is enough to have developed a certain instinct. Not for who the final winner will be as I never get that right, but for the likely losers. I think I can tell, with a fair degree of accuracy, who isn’t going to make it to the final two, even this early in the process. I know, I know. It’s great to think I haven’t completely wasted my time watching this bilge.

I will share my insights with you here, though I am having to look up their names as it’s too early for me to have learned them. As an aside, another thing I’ve learned is that remembering the apprentices’ names is a three-stage process:

Stage 1 (Episodes 1-4) No idea who any of them are apart from the two most twattish.
Stage 2: (Episodes 5-14) Know their names as well as, if not better than, members of my family.
Stage 3: (A week after the final) Can’t remember any of their names for the life of me.

So – fanfare – here are the people who aren’t going to win this year’s Apprentice.

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Young Apprentice: It’s for putting candles in

(Series 3, Ep.3) Although I’m tempted to shake my head sorrowfully at the woeful state of the British education system – imagine not knowing what a candelabrum is! Imagine not being able to even pronounce “candelabrum”! – I’m not going to. Ok, I suppose passing acquaintance with literature other than Harry Potter and Back-Stabbing for Dummies might have given the candidates a clue, but in the real world they’d have been on Google and found the answer in less than ten seconds.

Nevertheless, steam-powered technology (maps, Yellow Pages) was what they had to rely on, as well as initiative, teamwork and leadership. Sadly, the last three elements were not quite equal to the task. This week’s Moody Young Madam award went to Amy, who kept breaking off her conversation on the phone to yell at David to stop interrupting her. Even when he wasn’t interrupting her. Was this a cunning move on Amy’s part to position David as the bad guy, or are her nerves really on a knife-edge?

When their team lost, team leader Steven brought the warring factions back into the boardroom, hoping that either the two of them would self-combust, or the Baron would tire of David’s repeat appearances and fire him. David comes across as fairly sweet – he always looks like he’s about to smile, apart from when he’s actually smiling  – but his only strategy for dealing with people (get a member of the opposite sex to flirt with them) is not going to get him much further. Further than Amy, though, as she was at the receiving end of the Baron’s pointy finger and was fired. “You haven’t heard the last of me,” she vowed. Original. And, I’m almost certain, inaccurate.

Meanwhile, the winning team were lucky to scrape the win (although they at least knew what a candelabrum was and managed to buy one. And a car). Andrew must have been weak with relief, because he’d certainly have been right in the firing line in the boardroom. In previous weeks I’ve been quite impressed by Andrew, who seems like a sensible sort. As soon as he became project manager, his eyes acquired a haunted, fearful look and he never really got a grip on proceedings. Motor-mouth Maria was a bundle of righteous indignation throughout the episode, and made sure she got everyone primed to throw Andrew to the Baron if they lost. They didn’t lose, and got sent to Hamleys to play with some toys as a prize.

Next time: The candidates have to organise a tea party. Absolutely no scope at all for anything to go wrong there.

Posted by PLA          (all our Apprentice reviews here)

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Young Apprentice: Cookery book task

(Series 3, Ep.2) I’m going to find it hard to be too critical of the participants in Young Apprentice, because I’m mindful that they’re only a tiny tad older than PLA Jr and, without wanting to sound patronising (and probably failing), a lot of their mistakes are down to them just being young. Nevertheless, they’ve put themselves forward for what we must call “the process,” and they’re not short of self belief, so I doubt they’d be devastated by anything I’ve got to say anyway.

This week, Baron Alan wanted the teams to produce cookery books, and the usual statistics were trotted out about it being a multi-billion pound industry blah blah. The Baron took his big wooden spoon out to mix up the teams, sending Maria, a girl, into the boys’ team, and replacing her with Steven, a boy.

Maria had clearly been on the receiving end of a motivational speech or two about women having to work hard to make their voices heard in the workplace, and she decided from the outset that the way to do this was to shout louder than all the boys working together. If any of them dared to make a squeaking sound of objection, she smartly told them that, as a woman, She Must Be Heard. Despite this, the poisoned chalice of being the Project Manager fell to Sean, with his “dragged through a fashionable hedge – forwards” hairstyle (as Chris Ramsey described his own hair in the marvellous Hebburn).   Continue reading

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The Apprentice Final: A walk in the park with added hand grenades

So The Apprentice is over for another year. The “boardroom” has been dismantled and returned to its former glory as a corner of a warehouse somewhere. Office workers in the more prestigious buildings of London can work happily knowing that they won’t be buzzed by helicopters filming attractive shots of all the buildings Lord Sugar isn’t in. And Tom Pellereau – inventor, speccy-geeky bloke and all-round nice guy – can settle into his new career as Baron Sugar’s business partner in his new venture, Chaises Pellereau (I’m giving them that name for free. It has a bit of a ring to it, I think).

So what did we learn in the final episode? Or, at least, the first hour of the final episode because I don’t do the Dara bit. As soon as the pointy finger has been pointed, so has my remote control, and I’m off in search of other entertainments.

Well, one thing I learned was that the man with the lovely eyes from Viglen, Bordan Tkachuk, has been replaced in the interview process by a couple of people with fairly standard eyes. This was a cause of great sadness to me, as I’d been looking forward to a stare-off between him and Jim.   Continue reading

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The Apprentice 711: Columbus at the Coliseum

Gratuitous pic of Tre from Series Three

In the normal run of things I don’t generally miss an Apprentice candidate once they’ve felt the wrong end of the pointy finger. I think back to the start of this series and can barely recall those who fell early. Alex? Felicity? Edward? (I had to look them up.) Even ones I thought I’d miss like Ellie (too normal for her own good) and Edna (off her head; leather gloves) are gone from my affections. Watching The Apprentice makes Roman emperors of us all. We sit on our comfy thrones watching funny little people doing crazy things for our amusement. If one of them gets gored by a lion, or whatever it was that went on in the Coliseum (why should I be expected to know this when other people think Columbus was the potato guy?), we just say ‘Who’s next?’ The Apprentice juggernaut is far bigger than its candidates.

Very occasionally a personality impresses itself so indelibly that it is remembered after its sell-by date. Stuart Baggs from the last series for instance; and I’ve always had a soft spot for Tre from Series Three because he was so stroppy and interesting. I might have to face up to the fact that actually I just really fancied Tre. But generally I don’t miss anyone after they’ve gone, except Margaret.

All that said, this week I did find myself missing Melody and her over-defined enunciation just a bit. I would have loved to have seen her in Helen and Tom’s team, insisting that ac-tu-ally it was Charlie Raleigh who liked to smoke potatoes and Byron studied poetry at Yale with Al Gore. I would also have been interested to see if Helen and Tom still decided to choose a nodding BNP bulldog equivalent of a restaurant with Melody present. Say what you like about Melody, go on, you know you want to, but she certainly didn’t look ‘100% British.’ Which was the best thing about her.

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The Apprentice: Tat for tits

This episode began in Enfield, in a warehouse full of cheap plastic tat. Chandeliers, sponges, bales of towels. It was like the massed crap-heap of years of rejects from the Generation Game conveyor belt. Something inside me felt the sinister grinning pile of gnomes were looking on and mocking. So. To the task. Each team was given a trolley full of miscellaneous stuff to sell, “worth” £250. The concept, Lord Sugar explained, was to “smell what sells.” Sniff out what products can be shifted, then restock and keep “flipping” for profit.

Venture featured Susan, Jim and Natasha, none of whom I like very much. Natasha thrust herself forward as team leader, but signally failed to grasp the fundamental “flipping” concept. To Jim’s credit, he worked incredibly hard to sell the cheap nodding bulldogs and rubbish umbrellas to passing members of the public – and had a clear grasp of the concept of the task. At one point Nick Hewer actually smiled in his presence and said, approvingly to camera, “I’ve never seen such an abundance of baloney. But people like him, and I quite like him – now.”

On the second day, Susan also sold like a demon. It is Natasha who wins my coveted award this week for being the most passive-aggressive, deluded and unpleasant twonk in the pile. I have found Susan rather irksome in previous tasks, but she was doing a grand job here, whilst Natasha did very little. When Susan mildly pointed this out, Natasha, behaving like one of those nasty girls we all knew at school, had the nerve to snap at her:  “Stop embarrassing yourself.”

Later in the boardroom, Jim pointed out that, however hard he tried to sell, it had been a struggle with Natasha’s dismal leadership skills and lack of strategy. I liked his phrase: “It’s very difficult to push treacle up a hill.”  Sadly though, her team won, so she couldn’t be fired, but it should have been her sent, not on foot, but Verruca-Salt-like, down a chute-of-shame to a new life and a decent haircut. Lord Sugar was hacked off her team “won” despite a fine he imposed for Natasha’s failure to reinvest, and he took their prize away as punishment. Jim, Susan and Natasha went miserably back to the house where Natasha basically dumped all her own crap and insecurity on Susan’s shiny hair. All very unpleasant. Continue reading

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The Apprentice news: No final task this year

The interview round is always the most pleasing episode of any given series of The Apprentice because we get to see our hitherto cocky contestants brought down to size under the withering scrutiny of Baron Alan’s industry bigwig chums. With bullshit detectors set to maximum strength, the fearsome foursome rip CV’s to shreds and reduce grown men and women to quivering wrecks.

This year’s interview episode is also set to be the series finale, as apparently the traditional final round, where the two remaining finalists go head to head to do a spot of ninja-level events planning, has been scrapped. Instead, four people will remain at the interview stage, where they’ll be delicately grilled by scary business types Claude Littner, Mike Soutar and Matthew Riley, as well as the marvellous Margaret Mountford. Baron Alan will listen to their opinions and then ignore them and make his own mind up before peeling £250,000 from his wallet to enable the winner to start up a business with him.

The previously fired contestants usually get to return in the final show to help (or hinder) the finalists, but this year they’ll have to be content with a banquette in the You’re Fired! (or Hired!) studio for the final episode, which will be screened on 20 July.

Posted by PLA          (all our Apprentice blogs can be found here)

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The Apprentice: Taking the biscuit

It’s week nine for our entrepreneurial elite, and a relaxing Sunday in Apprentice Towers is disturbed by a late night knock on the door. It’s his Lordship himself. They must have edited out the swearing that this surprise visit would have generated amongst the inmates.

What possible task couldn’t have waited until Monday morning? Were our heroes required to parachute into Palestine and secure a lasting peace with Israel? Or fly to Africa and design a lifesaving mobile water purification unit? No. Their task was create and sell a new brand of biscuit. There was some travel involved though – Lord Sugar had laid on a trip to a development kitchen in Wales, or ‘Wows’, as he calls it. It’s not all bad then.

Venture, this week, comprises Natasha, Helen, and Darth Jim. Jim must have been delighted as Helen has proved unstoppable so far. Also, he likes Helen, as she’s ‘passive’. Goes with his ‘passive aggressive’ then, as diagnosed by Karen last week. In any event, passive or not, Helen puts herself forward and no one feels like arguing. This is a guaranteed cert with her form.   Continue reading

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The Apprentice 708: Unchained Melody

Melody, you're fired

I never feel entirely comfortable with The Apprentice until we reach this point in a series, when there are only eight contenders left and they all get a seat in the boardroom. It makes me edgy that until then, some of them have to stand. I don’t know why it makes me edgy, I’m not a psychologist or anything. Oh god so I am. Okay well I still don’t know, I just like it better now they can all sit equally, okay? Although of course there’s nothing equal in The Apprentice, not when you’ve got hilarious self-parodies like Melody Hossaini, whose claims to have worked for the UN and with Al Gore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa hold water right up until the point when you think, hang on, you’ve swapped that for a chance to appear on a tawdry – if compelling – telly show?  Hmm. Something doesn’t quite add up here.

Anyway clearly Al, Mother Theresa and Jesus all breathed quiet little sighs of relief when Melody skipped on to her next global achievement, for she is the walking talking embodiment of the phrase ‘would try the patience of a saint.’ Her insanely high levels of self-confidence mean she has no room left for any of the more likeable human traits: a sense of irony, a sense of fair play, humility, and a theory of mind (the understanding that not everyone thinks exactly like oneself. Told you I was a psychologist). She is so pushy she makes the showbiz mother in Gypsy look reticent; so big-headed, Jeffrey Archer is a relative model of modesty. In short, she is Top Telly.

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