Thursday, 24 April 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

Episode five
Broadcast 23 April 2008

Last week, the teams took some photos in shopping centres. Helene’s team had a David Beckham lookalike but Lucinda couldn’t work the computer. Simon’s team set up a ‘glamour’ themed photo shot and ballsed it all up. Everyone started hating on each other, Simon was fired, and Joel recapped it all for you.

We open on the house, where Claire and Jenny chat. Jenny points out that it’s crazy Claire is PM again when five other people haven’t done it yet. Which, yes it is. Oh, hold on a minute, what’s that? Why it’s Sralan doing the obligatory mid-series turn up at the house and get the candidates out of bed routine. Claire goes up to get the others and says ‘Sralan's here, can you just put some PJs on or something’ which leaves me with a horrible mental image of candidates sleeping in the altogether. [Or indeed, sleeping all together. Ew. - Steve]

The candidates are all in the PJs, except Lucinda, who has a matching skirt and sweater, because she is ace in the wardrobe department. Sralan moves Matt Lucas to Renaissance. Claire is the Renaissance PM and Lucinda the PM for Alpha. He says she doesn’t think she’s good at sales or technology so he’s going to find what she is good at. Their task is to work with two ice cream firms that don’t work in London, to help develop several flavours to expand business into London, and the candidates need to go out and sell to trade. I would say this is potentially more interesting than the trade sales tasks in previous series. Anyway, you know the drill, the team that makes the most sales wins, on the other team someone’s ganna get fired.

Claire meets with her team and says to them to tell her if she gets overpowering. Nick winces, presumably he can see this isn’t going to go well. She says they need to think about flavours, and they must come up with a minimum of three. Jennie Celery suggests cocktails, such as pina colada. Claire interjects with vodka and coke: and really, so many jokes. Michael Sophocles says he’s just not sure a family will be going into the cinema to purchase a sex on the beach ice cream. Which is fair enough, so why not do Pina Colada and two other flavours?

Over at team Alpha, they are all about the health food angle: carrots, ginger, ginseng, gogi berries. Lee Mcqueen suggests ‘What about a nice cup of tea?’. I’m sure if tea ice-cream worked, someone would have made it by now, but it’s kind of cute. [It's kind of a brilliant idea all the same. I really wish they'd at least tried it. - Steve]

COUNTYSIDE PORN! For we are, lest we forget, in the country this week. Err, and some very twee music.

Claire and co in the cab. She says their tasting session is in the village hall behind the village pond. They laugh. Michael Sophocles jokes about there being a toothless crow with one arm there, and Claire adds that there will be someone with webbed feet. And seriously, I want them to get fired right now and for this to come back and haunt them. Renaissance are cunts. [It's particularly rich when they're on the same team as Kevin the Slack-Jawed Yokel. - Steve]

Voiceover man tells us we are at Bockingfold Farm in Kent, where Claire and team will represent farmer Alaistair. Look at him, he’s a sweet, kindly business man, with a look of the James from series one about him. I feel sorry for him already.

They have decided to make three ice-creams: berry mania (blueberry, strawberry, cherry), chocolate orange, cider and elderflower. Which: cocktails theme? Anyway, they all sound quite good, so fine.

Alistair tells them for chocolate orange they need to get fifty oranges and hand squeeze them – it’s laborious but gets the best flavour, and Claire says fine. Yes, fifty may be fine but what about when you have to make a large batch? Alistair then says to them that the secret is to be organised. Is this a portent of doom?

George Dawes, Sara and Alex are in the kitchen, cracking eggs into a funky little chute thing. Comedy music. Alex points out they have 1100 of them to get through. The voiceover tells us that Claire has taken ‘Jen’ and Michael to town. JEN? Where did that come from?

We are now at Downsview farm, East Sussex, with Alpha. And a moment, please, because THE BERET IS BACK. Maybe now all of Lucinda’s powers will be restored. They discuss flavours. They have already agreed on toffee apple and cosmopolitan. Lucinda suggests blue cheese and cranberry? There is a silence as everyone silently blees. The Best Salesperson in Europe suggests avocado. Lucinda goes a bit passive here when she says ‘I’m not an avocado fan but I’m not going to stop anyone else from putting that forward’. Anyway, avocado, toffee apple and cosmopolitan it is.

Princess Lindi has been made second in command, and sent to drum up business. They go to a local garage, where she says ‘I’ve come to bring you some good news (to you in David’s town this day is born a child…?). Oh there’s a local farm producing local ice cream (in a local shop for local people?) – and they have a free taste testing.' I was waiting for her to offer some kind of personalised service – spoon washing, perhaps - but sadly not. [24-hour spoon hotline! - Steve]

Alpha are in the kitchen. They have put avocado and chilli in ice-cream? Wrong show, surely, that sounds like the kind of MODERN! BRITISH! Food that will go to Glory at the Gherkin in Great British Menu. There is a lovely lady in the kitchen who seems up for a laugh. Lee smells an ice cream: perfection. Laughs and jollity ensue.

Unusually, Margaret gives a long piece to camera singing Lucinda’s praises and saying she has a nice manner and is doing well at managing her team.

Helene, Lee and the nice woman taste avocado ice cream and say it’s quite nice, and there is general bounciness all round.

Renaissance taste their berry ice cream, which is also nice, but Claire and her half are missing. Matt Lucas is concerned they are ‘almost gonna have to scrap the chocolate orange icecream’ (eh?). In an echo of the Renaissance poshos drink coffee scene from a couple of weeks ago, we see Claire and Michael Sophocles drinking cider.

Back with Alpha, and Raef is on the phone in a pub: ‘Hello, it’s Raef, I’m the CEO of Alpha luxury ice creams’. It’s half cringey, half LOL-worthy. Princess Lindi, The Best Salesperson in Europe and Raef are calling round people to get some potential custom. The Best Salesperson in Europe chats to a cinema guy who agrees to see them, saying to him ‘get ready to taste some of the best ice cream youse have ever had in your whole entire life’. He sounds unconvinced. Raef then businessprattles about one hit, that’s all you need, it just boosts you, its like a snowball effect in fact. The Best Salesperson in Europe says to camera ‘I’m very pleased with the independent cnemas, pyulral (sic) I managed to bag today. I’m very pleased with myself’. Anyone else think this is coming back to bite her later? The voiceover says that with six sales meetings secured, Lucinda’s sales team put down their phones and pick up their knves and forks. Dum dum durrrrr. Although, I know we are supposed to see this as a bit of self-congratulatory slacking off, but they do have to eat, right? Anyway, they all congratulate each other. It won't be for the last time.

Back with Renaissance, Clare’s team return with the oranges and stuff. They ask the kitchen team ‘shall we leave you to it?’ Alex and H from Steps bitch about it being a fucking joke. The voiceover informs us that no-one has been invited for the product tasting. Claire is shown in the car saying she doesn’t think a huge amount will happen around here, this might be the talk of the village, that there’ll be old ladies talking in the post office about it. And seriously, how patronising and offensive can you get?

They find the pond and village hall and decide to disturb a yoga class. I’m not convinced a yoga place is the best environment to find ice cream tasters, but whatevs. Michael Sophocles explains what they doing and asks if the villagers are around for a tasting at 8.30. They all say no, in unison. Heh, country web-footed, blind crowy yokels 1, Renaissance O.

Claire outside says ‘just think about it, they’re in their weekly yoga class in the village hall and in walks a random guy, asking them about ice cream’. Indeed, Claire.

In Lucinda’s kitchen, their ice-cream is finished. Lee McQueen tastes it and says ‘I’m telling you now that is a toffee apple (and when Lee McQueen tells you that’s a toffee apple, that’s a toffee apple). Helene laughs, and it’s all much jollier than last week.

Lee McQueen tells the lovely ice cream lady that they, no she, is gonna make millions. Awww.

Princess Lindi is in their local village hall , and in a primary school teacher fashion, explains what will happen and checks everyone has a spoon. She tells them ‘the thing you have just tasted is a cosmopolitan’. Woman 1: ‘I’m not sure. It tastes of nothing’. Princess Lindi: ‘so it’s a cocktail we’ve made into an ice cream’. Woman 2: ‘it tastes like mashed potato’. Seriously, villagers for the win.

The villagers are told they’ve just had avocado and a kid gag faces. A woman says it was actually quite tasty. People apparently like the toffee apple, too, so toffee and avocado go through. Princess Lindi saying she thinks they’ll have no problem making their sales and blowing the other team out of the water, it’s going to be a walk in the park, businesscliche, businesscliche.

The voiceover tells us that Claire’s team are still in the kitchen and are thirty minutes late for their tasting session. They arrive at their venue, where the lights are off and nobody’s home. Michael Sophocles tries his luck at the local pub. He collars two men and says ‘We really need some people with discerning palates who know about food to taste the ice creams’. Man 1 slurs: ‘do you think we are going to have discerning opinions after a couple of good bottles of wine?’ Absolute win. I LOVE THE VILLAGERS. MS: ‘well I think if you’ve got a good palate, you’ve got a good palate, no matter how you’ve had to drink. Look, I can see you're clearly busy…’ Clearly, they’re not, so this is just another case of Renaissance’s crack negotiators strike again. The man retorts back that yes, they are really busy (can he be The Apprentice, please?). They taste them anyway. In the car park. Seriously, the two drinking men from the pub are the only people tasting it. Nick is in the background making notes, presumably which say ‘ZOMG Alan employ the villagers instead of these numpties’.

Jenny Celerie asks ‘would your wife go for those?’ Man 2 says ‘I don’t have a wife but I think my sister in law would like them’. Man 2 says ‘my EX wife would like the first one’. Villagers approximately 8, 000, 000. Renaissance 0. And that, folks, was the sum total of Renaissance’s tasting session.

Alpha are at the house. Lucinda says she wants to mix up the teams, Princess Lindi with Helene and Lee, her with the others. The silence is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Lucinda says, ok that went down like a lead balloon. The Best Salesperson in Europe bitches that no-one liked it. Lucinda says 'oh well, we're all tired, lets go to bed'.

Drums of doom music, night to day London porn. [Though obviously London can never compare to Beautiful Cardiff. - Steve]

Alpha are all dressed up and full of pep, saying they have all great appointments, they’re a great team, come on let's do it etc. The two sub-teams remain as they were.

There is comedy bumbling music at the house as Claire holds a team meeting. The obligatory flipchart of business bullshit is out (drrrink). They apparently only have two concrete appointments. Alex bitches about how Claire and co had all day yesterday to make appointments, and they’d get fired if they were in telesales. [And Alex was doing...what? He bitched that he couldn't make the ice-cream because Claire hadn't come back with the oranges, so why didn't he use his downtime to make some sales calls off his own back? You are such a lazy fuck, Alex. - Steve]

Princess Lindi’s team are in an independent shop. They tell the owner the ice-cream is called avocadolicious. Its called what now? Lucinda and co go to their second appointment… at an ice cream parlour. Helene pitches. The owner points out they make their own ice cream. As they leave, Lucinda says it was a bit of a fuck up but let’s move on. Helene grumbles about the SALES TEAM OF AWESOME and says its not about quantity of appointments but quality. The car of overconfidence call Lucinda and say they got first order for a WHOLE 15 LITRES and give themselves big woohoos. Lucinda points out some of the stores they have been to have their own ice cream maker. Princess Lindi says we can still sell to them, Lucinda says if they not going to buy, they not going to buy, but you’re the sales team you know best. In car, The Best Salesperson in Europe asks Princess Lindi if she’s worried. Princess Lindi says she isn’t, she’s just pissed off about people telling her how to do things she knows how to do (which wasn’t the case, Lucinda was simply pointing out that half the leads were total crap). I sense she will be in danger of getting fiyud if Alpha end up in the boardroom.

Renaissance are going door to door. Daffyd and co go to a cinema. The names of their ice creams are: Veryberry and Ciderlicious (a bit better than Alpha’s effort). Vikki Pollard tells the man that says more people are drinking cider, its almost the new champagne, which I suppose is true for a school-girl like her, but isn’t really the case for anyone else. Anyway, the manager says he likes them, they are good, but all products have to go through head office because they are one of 18 cinemas. They arrange another meeting back at three. Alex says ‘we are potentially gonna secure a MASSIVE deal’.

Notting Hill: The salesteam of WE IZ WIN meet with another cinema in the same chain as Renaissance, only they meet with the chain’s manager and head buyer. The Best Salesperson in Europe is quite pushy, saying ‘if you buy today, which I’m sure you will, you will have the exclusive cinema rights on these.’ They decide to order 100 products. A cinema man calls Alex and tells him Alpha made the sale already. Alex gets stroppy. He goes back in and the manager says they can’t do it. Kenny Craig says it’s game over and totally looks like he’s going to cry. When they tell Claire about Alpha, her face is a mix of impressed and how dare they disgusted. She says it’s a shame, really bad news for them but they can’t do anything about it now.

Voiceover man tells us that Claire’s door to door strategy only sold 30 litres. Claire goes on about how they’ve got to be positive, keep momentum etc. Sara makes a good sale – I like Sara, I think she might win this whole show, you know. [Me too. She's doing the whole stealth competence thing quite well. - Steve] Alex says its about big deals not small ones: if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail and that’s what Claire’s done. Anyone sense that if Renaissance lose, Claire and Alex will be having a boardroom bitch-off?

In an independent café type shop, a woman takes a small order. Nick says this is the perfect shop for them, and if they had one of these orders every hour they’d do well. Nick says he thinks they’re in trouble.

Lucinda and team go to specialist outlets, and piece about how the avocado ice-cream can be a starter or dessert (Great British Menu is soooo calling). Lee McQueen has fallen a little bit in love with Lucinda and says she has been brilliant: cool, calm, collected. She’s clearly a manager.

Princess Lindi is with the chief buyer of a chain of gastropubs. He asks for them to agree the prduct won’t go into other pubs for three months (so let's hope Lucinda et al haven’t sold to any pubs, eh?). They decide to do that. The man orders 130 litres. Princess Lindi says it was all so easy, and the TEAM OF TEH AWESOME SALEZ go on about how they are utterly amazing and haven’t a care in the world.

Bubbles DeVere and Alex finish some more deals off. Renaissance go to a final meeting at ‘a trendy bar and grill’. They make a deal for 200 litres, £800, which suddenly makes Alpha look a bit threatened for the only time all episode.

Back at the house, Alpha big themselves up in the kitchen to the others. They are all eating Muller yoghurt, not ice cream, which made me chuckle. Princess Lindi bitches to camera about how she was more of a PM than Lucinda. Claire says she feels a guillotine literally (drink!) inches away from her neck.

In the boardroom Sralan bigs himself up a bit by saying it was all about doing good deeds for farmers, which is almost as patronising as Renaissance’s village bitching, but anyway.

Over to Renaissance. Was Claire a good PM? Jenny and Damon Albarn say she was. I call lies. Sralan asks about their ice cream. Sara tells him about Veryberry being healthy. Sralan is all like: ice cream, healthy? Sara says that berries are full of antioxidants. SR: but all the fat…? Nick says they were trying to persuade mothers to give kids five helpings a day because of the five fruit and veg thing. Kristina and lollies to children springs to mind and why weren’t we shown this? Claire tells him about the cider one. He asks about their testing. Jenny Celery says they had fewer people than expected so got two guys from the pub who may have been slightly intoxicated. Sralan: ‘two drunks? I’m gonna have a flying guess at which one they liked?’ Heh. Sralan calls them on their uselessness.

We turn to Alpha. Their tasting went well. Helene and Lee say Lucinda was a good PM and Lee sings her praises some more. The Best Salesperson in Europe says that Lucinda’s been more positive but she wouldn’t say she was a great team leader. Princess Lindi bigs herself up, saying they managed to book six appointments. Margaret continues her four-series streak of being awesome by pointing out three of them made their own ice cream. Sralan chuckles and asks if they’d thought about that before. Raef babbles on about selling anyway, Sralan tells him he’d be wasting his bladdy time (drink!). Lucinda says she tried to mix up the teams, and Sralan says it was a good idea, he would do that himself. I think he is developing the Lucinda love. Has she been taking magic vag lessons off Swimbint from Hollyoaks? Lucinda says she got a very negative response and The Best Salesperson in Europe lies that she would have done whatever Lucinda wanted. So. Much. Haaaaate. [Oh, I don't doubt she would have done it, but she'd have moaned and whined and dragged her heels and done it as ineptly as possible on purpose, much like Claire and Alex did to Simon last week. - Steve]

Onto the numbers: Alpha, orders £1273.74. Renaissance: £1455.45. Seriously, what the fuck? They did not deserve that victory, and let’s hope they appreciate that.

Sralan says to them that it’s not just about sales, it’s about finding the farmer those new deals, its like gold dust to him. Claire cries. As well she might, she knows how lucky she’s been this week. I don’t share the Claire hate a lot of people out there do, but this week she should really have been fired. End of.

Their prize is a helicopter ride to learn archery and golf. What a shite prize. [I kept hoping someone was going to accidentally fire an arrow into Kevin, but to no avail. - Steve]

Sralan says that despite £1200 sales, Lucinda’s team lost (in other words, this is one of those weeks where both teams did quite well). He talks to Margaret and Nick and says they did some good for British farmers, and seriously, enough with the patronising already. Nick says Claire was a changed person after Sralan’s talk which: notsomuch.

In the café of crap, The Best Salesperson in Europe says she never bitched about the teams. Lucinda says it was the looks she was giving and some people in the team have a problem with her. Lee McQueen steps in and says there was no issue then we got in boardroom, now there’s an issue (Lee McQueen has become all awesome this episode. Lee McQueen and Sara for the final four, surely?) and bigs up his new TL4E some more. Helene pieces to camera that The Best Salesperson in Europe is a bitch, and Lucinda did really well. The Best Salesperson in Europe says she’s gutted as this was one of her best tasks, which is fair enough, as if I’d lost to the shower of shite that was Renaissance in this episode, I’d be pissed too.

In the boardroom of blue, Sralan says the key to the task was the leads, and asks what the marketing team were doing? Princess Lindi says they did their best, that admittedly some of the leads weren’t as god as they should have been, but they put their all in etc. Sralan calls her on her use of clichés. Lucinda says Helene managed an appointment through cold calling, despite being on the kitchen team [yeah ALEX - Steve], so why couldn’t the others? Helene says accountability needs to be with the sales force as the product was good. Sralan asks about the aborted team splitting up and Lucinda says The Best Salesperson in Europe was giving it all negative body language, and that Helene had expressed concerns about working with Jennifer. Helene turns and fake faces a ‘no I didn’t’, which is as bad a bit of boardroom turncoating as Alex last week. The ladies bitch a bit.

Margaret tells them off and brings up the cinema chain and them offering exclusivity without the chain asking for it. The Best Salesperson in Europe says she offered them it, she thought it was a good business deal. Sralan is incredulous: exclusivity for cinemas for the whole of London? On what basis would you do that? And he brings up the point of, you know, the farmer whose business this is. The Best Salesperson in Europe makes a bullshit excuse about them coping with the capacity, which Sralan pulls to pieces. Raef says they didn’t discuss exclusivity before going to the meeting and thinks Jennifer was just excited by doing the deal. The Best Salesperson in Europe then lands no longer BFF Princess Lindi in it about the pub deal. Princess Lindi says it was for three months and only for chains. Lucinda points out one of the other pubs they went to was a chain. Sralan says they no right offering any exclusivity whatsoever, they potentially lost the farmer business and had he known this earlier on, these sales would have been void.

Surprise surprise, Princess Lindi and The Best Salesperson in Europe are coming back in with Lucinda, and one of them IS GANNA GET FIYUD.

Sralan asks Lucinda if she used skills from her job, she said she did. He says ‘you’re in risk assessment, better start assessing the risk of you being fired’. Sralan says to Princess Lindi that she was put in charge of sales, and they lost on sales. She babbles on about nothing much before blaming The Best Salesperson in Europe on the exclusivity. He asks why she didn’t pipe up. She said she thought they may have lost customer. Sralan: ‘sometimes you have to, you cant give away the shop’. L: ‘I totally agree with you’. (Whatevs). [Seriously, the "why didn't you stop her?" bit was irrelevant. Once someone's put it on the table in a meeting, you can't overrule them like that because it makes you all look incompetent. Although they should have discussed things like this beforehand, and WINNAR OF SALES FOAR EUROPE should've known better than to offer it in the first place. - Steve]

The Best Salesperson in Europe and Princess Lindi bitch about each other and Lucinda looks there, looking a bit relieved. The Best Salesperson in Europe tells Sralan to ask any PM except Lucinda about her, she’s always given support. Nick says he’s always felt a chill in the air between her and the others. It’s not quite ‘lips for sin’, but a pretty good burn nonetheless.

Princess Lindi babbles at Sralan, he asks who should be fired, she babbles to get out of it and then says on this task Jennifer. The Best Salesperson in Europe butts in and says Lindi was complimenting her the whole task. They bitch at each other a bit.

Sralan talks to Lucinda: does he need a risk assessor? To The Best Salesperson in Europe: she screwed up big time, what she did was unforgiveable, she is cold with people, he doesn’t just need a sales person. But Princess Lindi was ultimately responsible, so Princess Lindi is fired.

He turns to The Best Salesperson in Europe and apparently she said on her application form that one of her weaknesses is giving idiots a second chance, well maybe it’s rubbed off on him because she has a second chance. Getting burned by both Nick and Sralan in quick succession is some going, it does not bode well for The Best Salesperson in Europe.

Back at the house, Alex thinks Lucinda is coming back, Raef thinks not, and most people seem to hate The Best Salesperson in Europe. They are all shocked at who returns.

Coat watch: a nice green belted thing. Good work, Princess Lindi.

In the house, Helene bitches about Lucinda calling her on her bitchiness, and seriously, I am really going off Helene now. [Also, The Best Salesperson in Europe repeated Sralan's line about the chill between her and the others, expecting a rebuttal only to be greeted with an appropriately frosty silence. It was awesome. - Steve]

Princess Lindi in the cab says that Sralan has not seen how special she is. Princess, why would you want some crappy job running one of his failing businesses like previous winners, when you should be sitting on a throne or something anyway?

That’s it for this week. Join us next week when our hapless anti-heroes have to create an event to sell greetings cards. One of the teams plumps for ‘singles day’ (as in being single, not 7”s, as the latter would be made of win, and this is a task clearly made of lose) and Jenny Celery makes a young boy cry. I call both teams doing badly, and someone getting fired.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

You can't take glamour to Bluewater

Episode 4
Airdate 16/04/2008

Usual bumph. Sralan says that he’s unique. His entire business empire is worth £800 million, which…isn’t that much really. A lot for your personal fortune, yes, but for your entire business in all its forms to be worth £800m isn’t that shocking, really. The people that wanted to buy Sainsbury were going to give over £10 billion.

So, last week the task was to set up restaurants in pubs. The girls thought it would be a good idea to sell tickets, which they got printed for free, thereby guaranteeing themselves money; cook curry, which is easy to do in bulk; and have a strong theme to draw in punters. The boys thought it would be a good idea to pay lots of money for their flyers; cook Italian, which requires more portion control; buy all their ingredients in Tesco; give their customers a half pizza when they ran out; and price things without knowing what they would cost. Surprisingly, the girls won. Ian was fired for being incompetent, unable to read a room, and kind of a liar.

The phone rings at 6.20 in the morning. A woman answers, but I’m too disappointed that it’s still not Alex in tiny pants that I don’t care who she is. To add insult injury, they show us Raef in the shower. Which, ew. They have to meet Sralan in half an hour. Jenny Celery thinks they’ll be doing canal boats, for some reason, but instead they got to the Wallace Collection in Marylebone. Or Marry Lee Bun, according to voiceover man [Was I the only one that noticed Raef looking around thee room with an 'o yes i iz no art, i iz b kulchered' expression on his face? - Rad]. There’s a big shot of The Laughing Cavalier. In the normal tenuous Apprentice way, Sralan tries to talk about art (and fails) before saying that there are some portraits here and so the teams will be taking photographic portraits of people. Because that’s the same. Simon is like ZOMG YES PHOTOS! We shall see why. Sralan tells the contestants that he’s found them the biggest shopping centre in the world ever ZOMG. As though it was just lying around and he stumbled across it.

Sralan is ANGRY and UPSET about all the BAD ATMOSPHERE among the teams, so in a Shock! Twist! he’s going to muddle them up. Jenny Celery, Sara and Claire go to the boys. Raef, Lee and Kevin go to the girls. In a shocking departure, the team with the most profit wins and someone gets fired from the losing team.

They’re going to Bluewater to take the photos, where ‘Shoppers are known as guests’. There are 27million of these guest a year.

Simon is like GIEF leadership! He’s very very keen to be in charge. He talks about his 170 IQ [And at this point, my notes read 'Simon to be fired' because I figure proclaiming your intelligence on this show is always a sign of imminent doom - Rad], so I lose all respect for him immediately. He doesn’t really earn it back during the episode. (Spoiler!) Alex and Claire, particularly, demand to know why he should be leader. His best friend is a cameraman so he knows about lenses and photos and the lingo, and he knows Bluewater because he’s from there. [I believe he may also actually say 'these are my people' - Fiona] Alex wants him to stay on the ball. Simon says he’ll stay calm. And if not, he’ll get fired, so it’s okay. Claire says she doesn’t care if he gets fired, she wants to win the task. Which, yay – refreshing change from looking who to blame from word go. [If only she'd kept up that attitude for longer than 30 seconds. - Steve]

Helene will be in charge of the other team. She tells us she has balls. Kevin tells the team that he is really good at selling. Helene puts Raef and Lucinda in the back room to do technical stuff. Lucinda protests, strongly and clearly, that she can’t even use a mobile phone; she doesn’t know how to use a digital camera; she is a complete technical incompetent and it would be a terrible idea to put her in charge of anything involving technology. Helene is like ‘suck it up and do as you’re told, stop being difficult’.

Simon wants to put Alex as second in command; Alex is being a twit and being all ‘are you sure you want to do that? Don’t abdicate responsibility’. He very clearly wants absolutely nothing to do with the role. Simon’s like, ‘okay, Claire, you do it.’ She says yes. Alex looks all screwface and pissed off and it’s like, don’t say you don’t want it then get pissy when it’s taken away. You’re pretty, but you’re not so pretty I can’t think you’re a twat.

Simon chooses a beauty and glamour theme, because women who shop in Bluewater are orange-skinned chavs and it’d be nice for them to look nice for once in a while. That is literally his logic. In the other cab, Claire says he’s a toddler and too emotional.

Simon looks for props for his glamorous photo shoot. Simon lies on the floor to show what he means by glamour. Sophocles doesn’t think it’s a theme. He says that it’s just a word, and I kind of see his point.

Both teams will print photos onto anything, not just paper – so mugs, jigsaws, what have you. Helene goes to a digital printers. Raef is in charge of processing images. Lucinda is in charge of the computer. She’s still a bit scared of it.

Helene decides to gets a lookalike for her theme. Del Boy. Queen Victoria. Cherie Blair? George Clooney? A really old Britney Spears, who makes me want to cry. [Not wanting to be an utter bastard, but "Britney" was not trim enough for that tight red PVC catsuit. - Steve] Cherie also does Thatcher. Then a Beckham lookalike comes in, accompanied by romantic Italian strings. Lindi drools. Beckham is the winner.

Simon is still looking for props. And you know what store is synonymous with glamour? That’s right. Poundstretcher. That’s where Simon looks for nice props with Sara and Michael. The rest of the team learns how to use the printer. Simon phones. Claire says ‘you called us’ and he’s like ‘oh yeah’. He’s found some cheap sparkling wine. Claire asks if he got glasses for the wine. He says that he’s looking for champagne flutes, and that Claire shouldn’t call him an idiot. She’s like, ‘I didn’t, you cunt, I asked a question. It’s easy to forget things.’ Everyone hates Claire, it seems, but it’s points like this that I don’t see the problem with her. She was right. Simon is going to look at frames, for the pictures. Claire and Alex are like ‘you’ve delegated products to us. We’ve priced it without frames. We don’t need frames.’ Simon’s, like, ‘I want to look at frames, and I’m the boss, so I’m going to, and you bastards with your logical pricing structures aren’t going to stop me, because I’m the BOSS.’ Simon is also going to cut up his shirts to dress the customers in, to make a nice dress shirt [Everything about Simon's idea for the photoshoot gave me the heebiejeebies - Rad]. Sara is in charge of glamourising the women and playing with their bra straps to make them look sexy. Don’t look at me like that. I’m just reporting what happened.

180,000 shoppers are expected. Stop advertising Bluewater. Teams can only accept payment once the photos are printed. Well, good. Lucinda is in charge of formatting things on the computer, Rafe is printing things out. Helene ‘oversees’. The word oversee has its roots in the Old French ‘oversee’, which literally means, ‘to do nothing at all except bitch people out and consider yourself above doing work because you’re The Boss’.

Simon’s like ‘listen to me’ and fires more random babble at his team and sets up his spot, which gets busy busy. Their glamorous backdrop…isn’t. At all. It’s red. And it appears to have some giant mushrooms? Which might be seats. But it ain’t glam. There’s not even any leopard print.

The Beckham shoot is £15.99 [£15.99!!! - Fiona] a picture, plus more for other stuff like mugs &c. They’ve spent £590 on materials and stuff for the shoot, so they have to make that much before they can turn a profit. All costs are deducted from proceeds.

All Simon’s team are selling. Alex is like, let me do it and stop telling me what to do, because I can do it well if you let me. Jenny Celery says they’ve spent 20 minutes arguing rather than taking photos. Claire tries to make a comment, Simon says ‘don’t tell me how to manage’ even though she was just saying one thing and basically babbles like a cunt and acts like one and still has a massive stick up his arse about how he is The Boss.

Kevin comes in and tells the backroom team to make mugs in 20 minutes. There’s a lovely little edit that runs thusly:
Voiceover man: ‘The only person trained to use the equipment…’
Lucinda: ‘Oh fuck’
Voiceover man: ‘… is Lucinda.’
Lucinda says, ‘I don’t know how to do this.’ Lindi sells more stuff, unaware that the printing is fucked. Raef fucks up a mug. It seems that his whole role is peeling off the sticky paper from the printed items, which: give that to Lucinda the technical incompetent. I’m sure she can peel a sticker [And probably better than Raef and his kerrazy upside-down method- Rad].

Simon’s team sell. Sophocles is charming, trying to get some ladies to have a photo. Simon is gross, doing the same thing, being all ‘don’t make me pick you up and put you on the chair!’ [I thought Sophocles was just as gross, to be honest. He sounded like he was going to take them away and cut them up in bin bags once he was finished photographing them. - Steve] They’re charging £24.99 for platinum package of portrait, keyring, and jigsaw. Who the fuck would want a jigsaw of their own face? How Cubist. £580 invested, so that’s how much they have to make back.

Simon says he is David Bailey. Renaissance – finally, we know which team remains which - log their shot numbers so that they can process the photos. But no-one is printing the pictures. Claire goes off to print stuff with Alex and Jenny Celery. The shot numbers don’t show up on the computer, so the log of numbers is rendered useless. They tell Simon that, but it doesn’t register, or he doesn’t really care, or something, cos he just carries on with photos. We see a girl with her kids saying ‘bored now, leaving.’ Margaret says ‘they is leaving lol, this team is teh suck.’ [And can I just say here: the woman in jeans with a bit of purple cloth strung round her top half and a brooch flung on to make her look 'glamourous'? She has the biggest sympathy of the night from me - Rad]

Lucinda still can’t work the computer [Which - why apply to work for Alan Sugar then? Also which - what the hell have you been doing for the last fifteen years? - Rad]. She says, ‘I managed to burn a CD this morning, I don’t know how.’ She says that she really shouldn’t be doing the technical stuff and Helene’s like ‘it’s my decision!’ and it’s like, ‘yeah, you decided to assign someone something she specifically said she can’t do. Good going, Brains Trust’ Nick is not happy. A soundtrack of ominous Windows noises suggesting errors of various kinds are occurring. Lee says to stop selling so they can clear the backlog. Best idea anyone has for the whole episode. The stand closes. AT THE MOST BUSY TIME OF DAY. They try to make it seem like a mistake, but it’s clearly a good idea.

Montage of Bluewater. Yo Sushi. A child. People wander about.

Simon’s team still can’t work the numbers. People are getting pissy. Simon calls Claire to the sales floor. Simon says his team are not ‘pulling in my direction’ and that Claire is impossible to manage. And again, everyone else seems to hate her and agree with Simon, but from my view, she was just trying to tell him not to be a retard and/or an arsehole. [True, but she started saying that long before he started being a retard or an arsehole, and it's the same thing she was doing to Sara last week. I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Claire sucks. - Steve] He’s makes Claire go back and forth, describing the people and the shots so that they can get printed. It’s a 10 minute walk.

Simon’s team are printing things wrong. A guy is like ‘yeah, this is bullshit, where are my photos?’ There is a ‘rogue photo’ floating around. Alex and Claire look at a jigsaw and say ‘he’s on crack’ but they mean Simon, not the little boy in the photo. Simon is like ‘fuck fuck fuckity, I’m shutting the stall.’ He says to camera that if he loses it’s his fault cos he last control and he’s depressed and tells the cameras to leave him alone. Twat. Boo hoo. It’s not because you lost control, it’s because you were trying to hard to have it and shouted down everyone. [Again, as I saw it, faced with a team like Alex and Claire who were determined not to listen from the word go, he didn't have much of a choice. But again, it's all a question of perception, I guess. I'm not trying to undermine you. OR AM I? - Steve] [Well, I thought all three of them were pretty nasty pieces of work this week and hated them all, I don't think it has to be an either/or situation - Rad]

Helene’s team aren’t selling. Or printing. Lucinda says. ‘Do not speak to me like that!’ Helene goes on about how she spent 11 hours in the kitchen on the restaurant task (she said it was 10 earlier) and she didn’t want to do it, so Lucinda should do this. They squabble. Lucinda says she can’t do stuff, and Helene says ‘Raef makes mugs all the time!’, presumably meaning they’re all doing things they’re new to. She goes on and on about how she didn’t like being in the kitchen’ and if she is so shit that she can’t see the difference between making people do things they don’t want to do and making them do things they are incapable of, then there’s not much hope for her as a manager. Lucinda attempting to sell herself as a businesswoman when she can barely turn on a computer is a separate issue, but does really make her suck, quite a lot, lovely as she is. [And...does she not know what sort of business Sralan is in? - Steve]

Claire reassures Simon they broke even. Helene can only print onto standard A4. For £15.99. Jesus fucking Christ. Lucinda says she’s ecstatic to print onto paper. Apparently, though, some people are willing to pay £16 for a photo on A4 of themselves with a David Beckham lookalike. Who knew? [The David Beckham lookalike for the win. He was awesome, especially when he rivalled Margaret and Nick for disdainful stares at the candidates. - Rad].

They pack up and go home and blah.

Boardroom. Lucinda has her beret on! They say, ‘Morning Sralan’, like at an assembly. Sralan asks what Team Helene sold. Kevin says they did not make stuff. Helene says it was cos Lucinda was shit. Sralan says, ‘Why didn’t you say you wee shit?’ Lucinda says that she did, repeatedly. Helene outright lies and says that Lucinda didn’t say she couldn’t do it. Nick says she should have shuffled the team, and she was wishy washy. I wouldn’t say wishy washy so much as completely bullheaded and refusing to change her decision about Lucinda, because then if she lost she wouldn’t have a scapegoat.

Simon’s theme was glamour. He generalises about ‘dowdy’ shoppers being made pretty. Claire tries to disagree but Sralan shushes her. There were some ‘ordering issues’, which Simon reckons lost him a couple of hundred pounds. Sralan is like ‘You couldn’t print either? You’re shit too? Fucking hell!’ Simon’s team made a £73 loss. Helene’s team made £145 profit. They get sailed to the Isle of Wight on a yacht for a dinner. Yeah, well done. That’s £145, between Helene, Lee, Lucinda, Kevin, Raef, Lindi, and the invisible other Jenny. So, just under £20 each for a day’s work. Yep. That’s the way to make your fortune. [That was my thinking too. Even if you were only running a team of three, which is probably the bare minimum you could get away with, you wouldn't have made enough to earn a decent wage between you. - Steve]

In perhaps the best Apprentice moment ever, Sralan says,‘Interestingly enough, I’ve got to go off now, I’m going to have LUNCH, with the PRIME MINISTER’.

Helene thinks she has a lot of credibility and Lucinda should stand up and prove herself, but she’s shit and won’t. And, kind of, yeah. I love Lucinda and her nice clothes and saying ‘fuck’ in a posh voice, but being lovely doesn’t necessarily mean good at business. Helene’s still a bitch, though. [I liked Helene until this week. I am sad now. - Steve] [Me too. I even have her in a sweepstake and as an avatar and everything. Now I am torn as to whether to use another sweepstake pick, Keisha from I'd Do Anything instead - Rad].

Jenny Celery is taken aback by the loss. She was certain they’d won. Simon says people want to abdicate responsibility but he’ll fight his corner. Back into the boardroom. Sralan asks what happened when Simon was leader. Claire said he was like a missile that would go off in your face. Sralan thinks she shows no respect. ‘You’re in the team, and the team’s got to win.’ Sralan still loves Simon and rips Claire a new one for about five minutes about being rude and a bitch and mean and unmanageable. Margaret says they didn’t communicate enough and treated Simon like dirt.

Simon says that Alex said he didn’t want to be second in command. Alex says he didn’t say that, that he didn’t back down. Margaret says ‘you stepped so far back from it, you were practically out of the room’. HA! Love Margaret. [Even better was when she looked witheringly at him and said "ALEX! I was THERE." Margaret is so awesome. - Steve] Sralan says there was panic from 10.30 til 1 o’clock. Jenny and Alex say they didn’t know what was going on on the ‘shop floor’ and there was no communication. They didn’t know there were angry customers and so on. Sralan asks whose fault it was. Alex says that originally he thought Simon, but, ‘hearing it now’ he thinks maybe it was Claire’s fault. And that’s awesome. I’m sorry, I know it’s turncoaty and two-faced and backstabby, but people not being able to read Sralan’s massively sign-posted opinions bugs the hell out of me. Alex was specially blatant about it, but he just sucked up to Sralan, which is what you do to win this shitty show. [The look on Jenny Celery's face as all of this happens suggest she agrees with you. She looked simultaneously disgusted and admiring of Alex's toadiness. - Steve] Simon brings back Alex and Claire. Nick says Claire failed as a link. NotFrances sends them back through.

Simon says Claire was dismissive and unmanageable. Claire tries to speak. Simon says that she doesn’t know how to speak to people, she’s dismissive, rude &c. He said ‘I’m project manager’ and she said ‘don’t be autocratic’, is his evidence of this. But he was being, he spent the whole day saying ‘I’m the MANAGER’ and not listening to people. Claire and Alex communicated badly, yes, but he refused to listen also. Sralan says that Claire’s application form said she was basically a bit of a bitch and he’s not sure he likes bitches. Which is a lie. He just doesn’t like brunette bitches. Claire says that Alex is lying for saying he didn’t know what was going on. Simon says everyone is trying to pass the buck. Simon says that he was all good on the floor, making people laugh and getting customers. Srlalan says that makes it worse: ‘I drummed up a lot of business and then screwed everything else up!’ Sralan says Simon lost him money. Simon says it won’t happen again. Sralan’s like damn straight, bitch. Claire thinks she’s a scapegoat. Simon says she’s not, but he could have made a lot of money ‘this morning’ if there weren’t the problems. This morning?! The Apprentice LIES!! How can that be the same day, if Sralan went out to LUNCH with the PRIME MINISTER and they spent the whole day at Bluewater?.

Claire says she was bold and took chances and that she doesn’t want to be one of those people that flies under the radar for weeks and doesn’t get fired because people forget they’re even there. Sralan yells at her. ‘I’m sick of looking at you!’ and ‘Get out! Get out that door!’ and then ‘Get out that door and back to the house. I’m sick of looking at you and you’re PM next week.’ Then, with a sense of crushing inevitability, he says to Simon, you can build a wall, or dig a trench, but you can’t manage my portfolio. ‘With regret, you’re fired.’ Yeah. He was shit. He was awesome in the first weeks but exploded spectacularly as PM. NotFrances tells him the cab’s ready, and he says ‘Thank you Frances.’ Which, what a gent, but what? She’s NotFrances, not Frances. It must be like Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy from Pokemon. Okay, the Franceses look different, but there must be a factory somewhere. CoatWatch. Black. Plain. Nice but unadventurous. Much like Simon.

Raef, wearing a pink jersey, says Claire will go. They do a drumroll and Claire comes in. Claire announces that she’ll have to be PM next week [Which I don't like. She's already been PM and there are a stack of people who haven't had a go yet - Rad][Its alright, no one else liked it either judging by their faces!- Fiona]. Awesomely, Lucinda looks worried by Claire being PM. She twiddles her glasses.

In the cab, Simon says ‘I give it my best shot.’ You gave it your best shot. Past tense is your friend. He says he made everyone smile in the shopping centre, again. Not really the best business credential.

Next week. Alex in a vest. [I hate him, but yay! - Steve] And something about being an Apprentice. But mostly, Alex in a vest.


Photographer Terry O’Neill, Fi Glover and Trevor Nelson are the guests.

Simon says that he sucks and is a loser and deserved to go, and that ‘if you lose Sralan money, you’ve got to go’. He’s fairly stoic. He thought he’d go through a trapdoor when he said ‘Alan’ instead of Sralan.
They laugh at Simon’s photos, particularly the old woman draped in a purple sheet, which is not glamorous, so much.
We get a little recap of Lucinda saying she can’t use computers, then Helene denying she said it, a little loop of Helene saying ‘You didn’t,’ about five times. Fi Glover hates Helene. Simon thinks Helene is actually straight down the line. Sure. If ‘straight down the line’ means ‘bitch’, then yeah. We get to see Jenny Celery’s lizard-eyes dart side to side when Sralan tells off Claire. It’s awesome.
When Sralan said ‘get out that door’ Simon thought ‘I’ve got a result here’ but when he went on to say ‘back to the house’ he realised he was doomed.
The majority of the audience thought he shouldn’t have been fired, which is nice.

That’s it. You’re Fired isn’t really very interesting.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Cooking Up Trouble

Episode 3 Aired 9 April 2008

Its business as per usual for the first 1 minute and 24 seconds. If you haven’t committed the London porn and catchphrase montage to memory just yet click here.

Previously on The Apprentice, dirty laundry was the order of the day. The boys managed to win a contract with a hotel and washed, dried and ironed theirs. They won the task, got sweaty and bonded. The girls meanwhile wasted time airing theirs in public and lost. Shazia’s whimper as the axe swung down still makes me feel slightly tearful. But that was last week people, live in the now.

Its 6am, it's dark and the phone starts to ring. I am hold my breath without realising it, ‘please’ I beg ‘let Alex’s PJs be in the wash’. My heartfelt plea is rewarded with... shit, it’s the Celerie...In a rug? And she already has a damn scarf on! Its Francis, Sralan would like to see them at the Tate Modern and the cars will be there in 30 minutes. Little tousled heads are poking out of doors, Celerie heads back upstairs shouting 30 minutes and the ballet of revolving shower doors (is Claire wearing her pearls as she comes out of the shower?) and electric toothbrushes begins.

Does a nice aerial shot of the Tate Modern count as London Porn? Sod it, DRINK. It’s raining as the candidates stride purposely into the building and on to the escalators. Oh, it’s a bit from the opening credits, as they stand still on the escalator Sralan is striding purposely through the galleries to their meeting point. Nice juxtaposition there.

Sralan is talking about how the Tate is a great example of the ‘redeployment of a building’. I guess this has something to do with this week's task but I am distracted by Lucinda’s outfit. This week she is resplendent in a tartan beret which seems to have heather pinned to the side. Possible of the lucky variety she bought from a passing gypsy to repel Celeries evil eye. She is also wearing a very fetching green scarf/shawl/pashmina and a monochrome skirt [I kind of hope she stays quite a long time purely for outfit watch. I can't wait to see her eviction coat - Rad].

OK, so the task, take two pubs and put on a theme night. Pubs are suffering in recent times (and for this I sincerely apologise. I stopped drinking when I got pregnant 3 years ago and it seems I sent the whole industry into decline. Whoops). It sounds straightforward, so to help the teams bugger it up comprehensively, Sralan is not letting them choose their team leaders, he is doing it for them. Step forward Ian and Sara. The team that comes back with the most amount of profit is going to win, the team that doesn’t is going to lose and from within that team someone is going to get fired [I thought this was a bit early for Sralan to choose PMs. Isn't it usually week 4 or 5 when he does that? Dammit, I need my formula intact. - Rad].

The nice voice-over man expands slightly. The teams have 24 hours to transform a pub into a fully themed restaurant serving a range of 3 course meals in a style of their choice. I am a bit disappointed they aren’t actually being asked to organise a piss up in brewery, it would have made my job easier. In the girls car, Sara is trying to be a friendlier team leader than Alpha enjoyed last week. ‘If I am talking too much and not listening, please tell me’ rabbits Sara, ‘Just slow down for a start’ suggests Helene ‘The problem is I go too fast, you know when I was at school....’ interrupts Sara. ‘You’re doing it now’ interjects Helene with a smile and the opportunity for a fascinating insight into Sara's school days is lost. Listening is clearly Sara’s strong point then.

The boys have the Duke of Hamilton pub. Team leader Ian commits to giving, a 110%? No clear and concise management to ensure that they get the next treat from Sralan? NO DRINK. In a frankly scary move Ian asks to go round the room and get their individual commitment to winning this task. Rafe is up first and he is giving…YES 110%. DRINK! [Oh Rafe, 110% is so over. It's become the catchphrase of contestants on The X Factor. Why not come up with somethign new like 341% or something? - Rad]

We are treated to the interview clip of Ian's ‘There are winners in life and the others that I can’t spell, can’t say and won’t say’. Am I the only one shouting LOSER at the TV whilst making the appropriate hand signals? So to the brainstorming, getting the theme right. Hang on a KFC minute, did someone just say chicken in a basket? American Dinner, says Lee McQueen. Alex suggests mash, sausage and pies etc. It’s a pub known for its award winning ales so traditional English makes most sense to me too hot lips. Michael suggests Italian, pizza and pasta. Yes for once I agree with him they are quick and easy to cook. Whoa hang on there, ‘light bulb moment?’ ‘shoot it down or keep it up there?’ Alex looks as confused as I feel [me too. What the hell WAS that? - Rad] but they’re off. Italian flags, white table clothes, fake moustaches and faker accents for those waiting tables. Why have the Chuckle Brothers just sprung to mind? Sealed with a cry of Renaissance and all fists in the middle of the table together.

Seriously, do boys do this because they daren’t risk slopping off for a quick hand shandy? [And once again, one of my co-writers brings to mind unpleasant mental imagery about the boys from Renaissance - Rad].

Over at the King's Head, we have the girls. Jennifer Maguire suggests a murder mystery night. Sara looks like she’s chewing a lemon. Claire suggests classic English: also a good idea. Sara has swallowed her lemon and suggests Bollywood night. Hmm. Who’d want curry rather than a pie in the middle of the afternoon, interjects Claire. Frankly, right now I’d have both and then head over for an Italian but I’ve been on a diet for 5 days. [I did think Claire's piece to camera about how she totally disagreed was going to be one of those moments where she would either be totally vindicated or totally fired - Rad].

Sara's ‘rounding it up’, which is candidate speak for ‘we are doing my idea so suck it up.’ Oh, Nick seems to have voted for Bollywood too, I wondered where he’d got to [this episode was generally great, but it had far too little Nick and Margaret for my liking - Rad].

The boys are dividing up roles. Kevin is head chef with Simon as his side kick. I bet he cooked in Bosnia too so he is sure to rock at this. Ian tells Kevin he’s shit with no personality, he didn’t phrase it quite like that but ‘everything that comes out of that kitchen, on your head be it.’ Wow, the buck's already being passed and they’ve barley started.

London Porn.

Jenny Celerie, Jenny Maguire and Helene are in charge of promotions while Sara, Claire and Lindi are in the kitchen. The kitchen girls head off to a local Indian restaurant to basically steal their menu while the boys brand their night. ‘A Taste of Italy at the Duke of Hamilton’ suggests Rafe. They love it so much they repeat it several times in ecstasy. ‘Oh, and we can all feign Italian accents’ he continues clearly on a roll. ‘Write it down’ Ian is instructed but didn’t Simon make that suggestion earlier? No time to worry about that, Ian doesn’t know how to spell accent. The rest if the table spell it for him. That is nice the way they are all bonding isn’t it?

‘So they don’t poison anyone, both teams get a kitchen advisor’ says voice over man. Thank fuck for that!

Kevin tries out his ideas, he’s a culinary adventurer apparently. So what Italian delights can we expect? Spag Bol and Carbonara with bacon…or ham…or chicken and crème fraiche. Is he waiting for Jack the advisor to tell him he’s right or will he keep naming random food stuff indefinitely? Baked mushroom with salt and pepper pureed into a sauce? His resemblance to Matt Lucas is doing nothing to help the fact this is descending into a comedy sketch. Margaret’s not impressed either. £30 latte machine? Coffee as a desert?! Wash that man's mouth out with tiramisu [Coffee is in no way a dessert, I agree. However, to not have proper coffee for an Italian meal would also be ludicrous - Rad].

While the kitchen team head out to get ingredients, the marketing team of Rafe, Alex Ian and Michael put the finishing touches to their glossy and expensive menu. They just need the prices so they call Kevin. '£4.25 for soup?' scoffs Ian, ‘where is this pricing coming from?’

‘Well you price it then’ snaps Kevin and in a retort which has already gone down in the annals of The Apprentice as both toe curling cringey and magnificent, Ian replies, ‘I am concerned, Lee McQueen is concerned...’ he expands on his concerns but I can’t hear or see through my own laughter or tears.

I’ve calmed myself now, its OK. Simon's smacking his fist into his hand and getting all excited about dealing in absolutes and facts. Is he back on his time in the Army or the price of a Panini? I’m hungry again, I would cop for the episode all about food wouldn’t I.

London Porn.

The girls get free Saris for them to wear in return for free advertising at Bollywood night. They also go for tickets (are they menus too?) to sell and get them printed for free. Get in the girls and I suspect Sralan will approve. But Nick is concerned a dog's dinner is all they’ll be serving if they don’t pull their fingers out and actually get some food.

Sara and Claire are not getting on, but really its quite restrained as arguments on this show go.

Michael calls to question the pricing. Kevin’s getting haughty at being questioned. He has paid £4.25 for soup in Guildford. Sadly he is over ruled. This pricing and buying of ingredients has ‘one whole chicken per pizza' written all over it.

The boys stand around a market trying to work out what ingredients they need and in what quantity. Kevin’s calculation of tomatos to bowl to customer equation just made my brain bleed a bit. Alex calls, he has negotiated the menus down from £2 each to £1 each. Ian asks if Alexs thinks this is a good idea, well Alex just negotiated 100% off, so yes he does.

Eh? Would a 100% off not mean they were free? Does he mean 50%? Cos my maths is shit but not totally non existent. Anymore of this and I shall have to lie down. Ian is getting Alex to make the call, what a pussy.

The boys door to door giving away their expensive menus, the girls are selling their free ones for a fiver. Is it a menu or a ticket? Anyway it gets you straight to the front of the queue and doubles as a £5 off voucher. They are smart. Meanwhile Simon can’t even record an answer phone message for the telephone bookings. This is less impressive but I’ve just realised that Renaissance Events fits well with an Italian theme and I do like it when things fit.

London Porn. Drink!

The boys never did buy anything from the wholesalers. I assume the sellers withered away and died when Kevin calculated tomotoes. So instead, it's Dolmio from Tescos [The spectre of cheese from Makro looms large - Rad]. Ian has a calculator that he uses to keep track of their spending, and the figures are not pretty. Why not just choose Tesco Value pasta sauce as it's loads cheaper, and every little helps? (I’m sorry I tried to resist but like Jordan at a premiere it just popped out.)

While the boys spend over £300, the girls have done their shopping locally for less than £100. That’s good but Sara’s bought the wrong spices. That’s a bit of a pain but not like they are a major part of a curry, oh, hang on…. [Spices from MAKRO! DRRRRRINK! Also: who buys spices from Makro rather than an Indian foods wholesaler? Also also: Indian food without Garam Masala or Cinnamon??? Fools. - Rad].

Meanwhile, the boys have forgotten ciabatta bread, black bags and a tin opener. They ask the sales boys to pick them up but they are not happy. Lee McQueen in particular is not happy, he swears quite a bit so Ian hangs up and goes himself. Nice strong management skills there.

The girls may have sold 45 tickets at a fiver a pop (which is er……£225? God no more maths please) but lunch is not ready to be served. In fact I don’t know what’s in that pot but it shouldn’t look like that.

The boys are open though and here come the orders. I am disappointed to note a lack of dodgy Italian accents on Rafe and co’s part but its probably for the best. Kevin’s upset because people are erm ordering items from the menu but they aren’t meant too, he’s not doing the full menu. He gets a bit shouty cos ‘that’s what chefs do’. Whatever blondie - chefs wear hats too.

Lunch is off but did Sara (that’s Sara not ‘Sarah’ Helene) actually take responsibility or not? I am not sure because they are all yipping at once again. The boys are back off to Tesco again, and so far the food they have managed to serve is tasteless, cold, disgusting and bland. Oh, Dolmio that’s not going to help your sales. Lee McQueen is not happy, he’s in the kitchen and he don’t want no backchat (fools - sorry but he is definitely channelling Mr T) as he just had to give away 2 main meals. Lee McQueen has tips for successful Italian cooking, these include removing the skins from tomaotos and ensuring that spaghetti is cooked. Lee McQueen has a point (and I pity the fool that don’t listen to Lee McQueen)

Back in Tesco, the boys haemorrhage another £123. Just think of all those club card points and vouchers for schools though. Meanwhile the girls have secured themselves a Bollywood dancer from somewhere. Jenny McGuire just needs to get him some music. English, rap or Indian’ he enquires. There is an Irish woman in front of you dressed in a sari who has recruited you to dance for a Bollywood night so what do you think Einstein? Tsk. Luckily Indian is ‘alright.’

The girls start welcoming customers. What’s this personalised service they are inflicting? Intimate, personalised service Lindi? No! I don’t want to be interrogated , I don’t want to chat, I don't want to know your name. I want you to serve my food and then fuck off so I can talk to the person I came to dinner with. *shudders* [Princess Lindi is obsessed with personal service? Remember last week's 24-hour pants hotline nonsense? Can't wait to see her as PM... - Rad].

The boys are outside having a pep talk before service starts. Kevin appears to be running this, who is the team leader again? *checks notes* Oh, Ian.

Michel seems to relish saying words like ‘massive’, 'meat’ and ‘filling the hole’. [Must you lot always be so filthy? - Rad] Shame then that despite spending a lot of money in Tescos they are running out of food again, items like pizza. But Ian has a cunning plan - he’ll just serve people half a pizza instead of a full one. I can see that going down well. Off he sends Michael, those plates are artfully arranged but still half full and the customer (because he’s not dead) rumbles Michael straight away. 'The chef made me do it' squeaks Michael before removing the offending plates and running back to the kitchen.

O dear, here comes the dancer to end Bollywood night. I can’t watch, this is painful (and unrhythmic) and what’s Nick doing right down the front? If he’s not careful Patrick Swazye here is gong to give him a lap dance.

O the horror. No! No more. My eyes.

Thank god for London Porn (drink. It's time for the boardroom, so lots of bluster from the team leaders. I want to win, I gave it my all etc etc.

Now the Boardroom tends to make me lose a bit of interest if I am honest. They squirm, squeal and backstab and rarely do it with much class. However the total silence that meets Sralan's question as to whether Ian as a good team leader is riveting and painful. Simon says sometimes ‘silence is thunderous’: a poet, a cook and a laundry assistant on a par with Dot Cotton. If I wasn’t ideologically opposed to his accent I could fall in lust with him.

Simon is actually quite keen to show how he did the more menial parts of the task. ‘I was the bus boy Sralan, I chopped onions’. ‘Ah Chopper Smith’ Sralan replies. Simon has been given a nickname, high praise indeed and Sralan must like him because he doesn’t shoot him dead on the spot when Simon mistakenly calls him Alan, nice recovery mate, amazing what I shared love of football can do eh? I try and not think about Simon having more than just physical abilities.

So was Sara a good team leader? It's Claire that steps up and says yes, there were a few initial problems, but they over came them. Sralan turns his attention to their tickets. He is practically purring, not all the ticket holders turned up which made them money for nothing and the girls started their service in profit, that’s got to be a first? He is obviously impressed because he doesn’t really lambaste them for not being ready to open at lunch.

So to the figures. The boys had takings of £844.97 but they spent a whooping £543. This gives them a piddly £301.97 profit. The girls took £795 but with a total spend of only £190.73 they win with just over twice (that’s the last bit of maths my brain is bleeding) the profit, a grand £604.27.

The girls win an evening in a country house being taught to cook by a professional chef, is it just me or I that a bit of a bus man's holiday? [Ah, Busman's Holiday. Now there was a show. - Rad]

The boys are off to the greasy spoon. Ian has lost, similar to a word that’s not in his vocabulary. Like that quote was never going to come back and bite him on the bum!

The girls make crumble and drink and get on, that won’t last.

So Ian, you lost and you are happy to take some of the blame but really its Kevin’s fault. Kevin meanwhile is not worried, not vulnerable and did a great job so he’s alright. For both his sheer arrogance and the fact that his little piggy eyes are too close together I almost want him to be fired but I think he probably is safe. Choose wisely Ian.

London Porn.

Sralan has the boys back in and he’s annoyed because they took more money than the girls but still lost, ‘it’s the epitome of blowing in the wind’. Hang on, blowing in the Wind is a Bob Dylan track, or is that Catch the Wind? either way, Sralan, the phrase you are looking for here is pissing.

So in a roundabout way Sralan says whose fault was it? Ian says Kevin and Kevin pulls a face. This bit's always like being back at school, eventually someone will retort with ‘well you smell’. Kevin’s right that Ian did use Kevin’s position as head chef to shift responsibility to him. Every question he is asked he is bouncing it over to Kevin. This won’t work, everyone knows the team leader needs to accept just enough responsibly for failure to show a degree of humility but not too much. Who else is in the firing line? Simon. Well now you are up shit creek with no fucking paddle me old mucker because while you seem as incapable of reading the room as you are at leading a team, everyone else has realised that Sralan loves Simon. Difficult communication style? You just gave Simon more rope to hang you with. I pity the fool.

Can Lee McQueen’s voice get any lower or gravellier? Anyway in conclusion, they buggered the whole thing up because they didn’t do basic costing and Sralan is bitterly disappointed, they haven’t got a ‘bloody clue’ DRINK!

Ian’s bringing back Kevin and Simon. At this point in a certain chat room I happen to frequent 10 people virtually scream READ THE FUCKING ROOM!

Whoa there Nelly, what’s with Francis sex chat line voice there [Was that Frances or NotFrances, though? They are really confusing me with receptionists this series - Rad]? She just purred at Sralan, is she after a pay rise?

O dear Ian’s gone into full on whine mode, they didn’t help me *sniff sob*. Not more sums Simon! This is how food works people, you buy a loaf of bread and some peanut butter for £1.50, make 25 sandwiches (big loaf of bread) which you sell for £1.50 each. £1.50 for a peanut butter sandwich? Not fucking likely but I take your point.

Kevin is back labouring the point that he eat in a lot of Italian restaurants so he knows what’s popular and what to cook.

The bitch fight over who organised the ‘motivational talk’ at 5pm rages. The crux of this seems to be who was actually in charge. We all know that Kevin looks like Matt Lucas so maybe that’s why I am expecting ‘yeah, but no but yeah.’ Did Kevin get the team together for a motivational pep talk asks Sralan (who now sounds as exasperated as I feel)? Kevin says yes, Simon says yes, Ian was ‘at Kevin’s meeting’ but he says no. Well despite Ian's constant interruptions about the fact they took £800 (er yeah but you still lost) we are back to Vicky Pollard.

Oh, I give up and Sralan's also had enough. For a gut-clenching moment it seems like there may be a repeat of last week's firing fiasco, not Simon? Kevin? He speaks a great game but is it smoke and mirrors?

Simon needs to show he can do more than graft, he needs to lead too [And I hated him for this. I was with the guy right up until he pulled the 'make me PM' card. - Rad]. He also needs to stop interrupting Sralan, not once but twice, come on learn from your mistakes! Phew, he is safe, (Anyone care to place a bet on who’ll be Renaissance team leader next week?) Simon may just have come in his pants.

He may work to very high morals and be an honest individual but he is a gonner and there is a collective punching of the air as the undeniably pretty and spineless Ian gets the chop. He doesn’t beg or plead but maybe the realisation that he is a loser is starting to hit home. Outside the boardroom, he sort of hugs Kevin and then looks at his hands as if they are dirty.

Coat Watch- bit non descript and black mid length, nice collar. Ian is pretty isn’t he? [He looks similar to Rhys off Hollyoaks, who is also pretty, and also a bit of a bastard - Rad] I think his eyes are blue whether he’s in the boardroom or not.

Kevin and Simon return to the house. Simon pronounces Ian was 'a dead man walking' and Kevin let him talk and then ‘nailed him to the ground‘, did he watch a different show to me?

Next week they are photographing people in shopping centres. This concept leaves me slightly non plussed, [Me too, I'm sure we're overdue the go shopping for things off alist and get all confused task. I want to see the crap negotiators from Renaissance offer to pay more, not less, for things - Rad]I’m off to lie down.

[EDIT: Ian Stringer now has a website. He spells programme (as in TV programme) the American way. So much for being a media professional. Cock. - Rad]

Thursday, 3 April 2008

A load of old pants

Episode 2: A Dirty Job
Original airdate: 2nd April 2008

You know, the best thing about recapping The Apprentice is that the first three minutes or so of every week's episode are exactly the same. Sralan Sugar, hard to please, vast business empire, on the hunt for an apprentice, blah blah etc. If you want more detail, refer to Rad's recap from last week.

Previously: Sralan sent the teams to sell fish on the streets of London. The women were disorganised, but not as disorganised as the men, who underpriced their lobsters and failed to negotiate well with the customers. Both teams performed poorly, but the women performed marginally better, so they won, and Alex brought pompous Raef and Nicholas the Victorian Drag King into the boardroom, whereupon Nicholas was fired, experiencing failure for only the second time in his life, but surely not the last. [Poor Racey Lacey.-Joel]

Sunrise. London porn. The phone rings. Unaware that the correct attire for passably fit men when answering the telephone first thing in the morning is nothing but a pair of skimpy briefs, as demonstrated by Simon Ambrose last year, Alex instead chooses to sleepily wander downstairs in a Superman t-shirt. And matching boxer shorts. That sound you just heard was the noise of my erection withering and collapsing under the weight of such disappointment, never to be seen again [Waaay too much info there, Steven. They were cute, but no green pants - Rad]. Small respite arrives in the form of shirtless Ian, who's quite buff and hairy, but not distractingly so. I approve. The Disembodied Voice of Frances [Thank goodness she's back after that nonsense with NotFrances last week - Rad] tells the teams to go to their computers. This is all very Charlie's Angels, so again I approve. The teams troop across the house in their sleepwear, and Sralan appears on QuickTime video [on an hp laptop. His selling Amstrad presumably means we won't get to see any more of their kerrazy electronic contraptions this series. For shame. - Rad], claiming that he's been called away on an urgent matter. Probably a market shortage of e-mail phones in Kidderminster. Sralan tells the candidates that their challenge for this week is to bring back money to the boardroom "from virtually a zero position" - their task is to run a laundry business. Sralan has provided the laundry premises, but the contestants must find the punters, price the service, do the actual laundry, and return it all to the correct people (nb. this will be important later, so remember that). [Not really that much of a zero position. Giving them the laundry? Slackers.-Joel]Shazia looks a bit tearful watching this, for some reason. Sralan informs us, and Sketchleys, that when stuff comes back from the laundry that he doesn't like, he slings it back at them. He doesn't just return it, he slings it back at them. Because that's how you behave when you're a working-class boy made good, don't forget. The team that comes back with the most amount of money wins, the other team does not, and somebody from the losing team will get fired.

Narrator Mark tells us that each team has a laundry, but the premises are only available until 2am the next morning. I have no idea if that's standard laundry practice or just an arbitrary deadline to add a heightened sense of drama, and I'm sure I will never know for sure. All the laundry must be returned before they're due back in the boardroom tomorrow afternoon. Margaret and Nick will be watching, of course.

The teams choose PMs: Raef volunteers to lead the boys "if you're behind me", and several of them murmur "110%". GAH. Raef tells us that he is happy to be PM, because this is a chance for him to prove himself after the fuckup that was last week. Raef then demonstrates why absurdly posh people should never use the phrase "kick arse". Lee marblemouths that Raef is not sufficiently "wuuuurrrrggh" to be a leader. No really, that's what he says. Raef airily states that he will "take this, uh, you know, straight by the...uh...", leading several other team members to prompt him with "horns?", which I'm sure does little to inspire their confidence. Ian interviews that Raef has mannerisms that are unlike those of the rest of the team, possibly because Raef is the secret lovechild of Prince Charles. Ian says that Raef will need to pull his weight [I just noticed tonight that either Ian or Lee, the chisselled one, anyway, looks a bit like Rhys from Hollyoaks - Rad].

[Award winning saleswoman - Rad] Jenny Celery volunteers to lead the girls, and no one objects. Jenny informs Team Alpha that they're going to brainstorm, lay some foundations, and then work their cotton socks off. Meanwhile, Raef is delegating: Ian will be knocking on doors, and Simon, adorably, admits that he has laundry experience "in Bosnia", and waxes poetically about the many hours of ironing experience he accrued during his time in the army. He is just the cutest thing, I swear. He tells the boys that there are a lot of opportunities to fuck up, and points out quite rightly that even losing one sock is enough to lose a residential customer, prompting Raef to put him in charge of admin and logistics.

Upstairs, Jenny Celery [wearing a scarf that is knotted like a tie in a very WTF? moment - Rad] has been lecturing Team Alpha on sales for an hour, apparently. Foreshadowing rears its ugly head as Jenny bats away all attempts at questions from her team, and Sara interviews angrily that it's all very well planning what you're going to do, but you can't spend all day doing that. Margaret tells us that Jenny plays favourites, and her favourites appear to be Shazia and Helene, while Lucinda, it is safe to say, is not one of her favourites. She is also not wearing a beret of any sort, to the disappointment of an entire nation. She does, however, sport a chiffony lilac scarf as she interviews that there are already cliques in force amongst the girls, which she finds "irksome". To demonstrate, Lucinda tries to make a point about pricing to Jenny Celery, who stares at the spare from where she hears a voice but sees no real person, and absently tells the voice to speak to Helene instead.

Stealthy music plays as the boys come up with an idea: there are some "industrial-strength" irons in the house (and since we see them later, I really don't think that's accurate - they're common or garden domestic irons, as far as I can tell), which they plan to "reserve" by bringing them into Boy Space and hiding them away so the girls can't get them. Bad boys bad boys, what'cha gonna do? Michael Sophocles (I always have to say his full name, because it's fabulous) runs around gathering and hiding all the ironing equipment from inside the house. Raef interviews that the boys are going to "execute" this task with the "success" and the "vigour" that they need to, from which we cut directly to a shot of Raef outside, dropping all of his papers on the ground and walking all over them. Heh. This show's editors are for the win, let there be no doubt. [Srsly. They make the show. Dammit. Obviously they make the show, what with the editing and putting together footage. But they MAKE the show.-Joel]

The teams head off, but there is dissent in Team Alpha: they can't decide how to split the team. Raef has sent half of Renaissance out to go door to door touting for business, and Ian lets out some kind of war cry which sounds a bit like "hoo-cha!" and instantly makes it clear why he was the sort of person to inflict that horrid World Cup version of 'Is This The Way To Amarillo' on the universe. Narrator Mark tells us they are in one of London's "affluent suburbs". I'm guessing Chiswick, but I don't know. The girls have little luck with their initial doorstepping attempts. [There's a wonderful shot of the girls on a doorstep, with a disembodied posh lady's voice saying 'Not interested!'-Joel]

Narrator Mark tells us that Sralan has lined up some big business customers for the teams to pitch to, the first of which is a large hotel needing its bed linen cleaned overnight. Renaissance sensibly call some laundry services to get an idea of what pricing they should be aiming for, and we hear that a single bedsheet is 45p. In the car of Team Alpha, heading for the same meeting, Jenny Celery displays her acute saleswoman nous by suggesting a one-size-fits-all price of £4.99 per item. It's been a while since I outsourced my laundry, but I'm fairly certain that's expensive even for a single specialist item at high street prices, so to suggest that as a blanket (no pun intended) charge to a corporate client expecting a bulk discount is beyond absurd. Sadly, not one of the team considers this, and Princess Lindi even goes as far as to say she's "very confident" with Jenny Celery's pitch. Narrator Mark informs us that the job is 1,000 pieces of laundry, which normally costs the hotel £200, just in case we weren't fully aware of the scale of the epic fail we just witnessed [And here I note that Helene Speight is a Global Pricing Leader. I don't know what that is, but presumably she should have been able to help them price things more sensibly? - Rad]. [Maybe she prices globals.-Joel]

Alpha goes in to pitch first, with Princess Lindi and Jennifer leading the charge. Nick and Margaret are sitting in on the meeting. To the manager's credit, he reacts levelly when Lindi quotes him £4.99 per item, even though his face suggests for a second that he's expecting Ashton Kutcher to appear at any second. He asks if that's their best price, since it would come to £4,999 altogether. Jennifer, rather weakly, as though she's suddenly realised how insane this sounds, confirms this. Princess Lindi, to her credit, instantly starts to try and brazen out the pitch, offering the manager a "24 hotline" with "personal account managers". The manager tells them their price is "not beneficial". Princess Lindi asks how much he usually pays, and while he refuses to be drawn on a precise figure, he tells them it's "in the hundreds". Jennifer's face falls [but she's the best salesperson in Europe. She should have been able to clinch that. - Rad].

Renaissance go in to pitch, represented by Raef and Kevin. Kevin quotes the manager £556 for the whole job. The manager is encouraged by this, and thinks there's room to negotiate. The manager (whose name is Scott) tells them he's looking to pay "around the £200 mark", so Kevin offers to do the job for...£200. Can no one on that team haggle, even a little? At least go in with an offer of £350 or something and see if you can get him to bump it up a little. Why not chuck in a couple of free lobsters while you're at it? Anyway, Renaissance gets the job, and outside they celebrate gleefully. Michael Sophocles, who was apparently sitting in the hallway guarding their coats while the hardcore negotiations took place, kisses them both on the cheek. Scott shows them to the laundry, which fills five large pallets. It's Kevin's turn to look thoroughly dismayed. Clearly he learned nothing from his attempts to interest Mr Mann in alternatives to a pirate memory game. Obviously his negotiation skills amount to nothing without Margaret the quadriplegic in the back room to call on for assistance. The boys load the laundry into their van - it takes up the whole of the back and quite a lot of the front seat. "That's an awful lot of laundry to do for £200," laments Kevin. And whose fault is that, eh?

Lee and Alex are selling door-to-door, and I've got to say that pairing these two up for the domestic rounds was inspired. If these two fine-looking gentlemen came to my doorstep, I would buy whatever they were selling. Paving slabs, double glazing, the Watchtower - you name it. I would be putty in their hands. Michael and Ian are on the other team, and take some orders for bedding. Alpha, on the other hand, keep striking out. Claire phones Jenny Celery for a progress report, and Jenny responds "we haven't won the contract, so it's becoming more and more obvious that the domestic market is going to be where the greatest margins are". I have no idea why that sentence made me laugh out loud, but it did. Lucinda winces. Margaret interviews that really at this stage they just need any business at all. Alpha abandons the residential area and heads to the high street, soon after closing a deal with a restaurant at a more reasonable £80 for the whole shebang. They bring in what looks like a lot of business.

The next set-up meeting is a fishmongers'. Jennifer and Princess Lindi go to inspect the pile, and Jennifer suggests offering £8. Princess Lindi thinks they should go higher, so they pitch £10 to the disbelieving fishmonger. Princess Lindi bargains him up to £15 with the ironing thrown in. Fishmonger Man can't believe his luck. The boys go in afterwards and Kevin pitches £49.50, which Fishmonger Man declares "a fair price", but he tells them that the girls quoted him less than half of that. Raef tells him they can't match that, so Alpha wins the business. [Good job girls. Good job.-Joel]

It's early evening, and Jenny Celery, Princess Lindi, Sara and Jennifer are going door to door, and manage to drum up some more business. Half of Renaissance (Ian, Simon, Lee and Alex) sets off, following Raef's orders to make a start on the hotel's bulk of laundry. It's sitting, rather unsecurely, in the pallets outside the premises. You can tell by their reactions that the four boys are acutely aware of having just been royally shafted. Simon rings the others to remind them of the magnitude of the task ahead; Michael Sophocles fobs him off by assuring him they were be there to help out ASAP. In the background, Kevin and Raef are mumbling "Just do the laundry!" Twats. Ian, Simon, Alex and Lee shed jackets and ties and get stuck in, while Raef, Kevin and Michael Sophocles giggle in the car about some of the stains that were on the hotel's laundry. Again: twats. Pleasingly, every time the camera cuts back to Alex, he appears to have unbuttoned his shirt further. The four guys look like they're doing a pretty good job [they did, and I thought Simon was particularly awesome here - Rad]. [This pissed me off so much. When a man who ran army laundries for several years tries to tell you something about laundry, might be an idea to listen.-Joel]

Alpha are still in transit, fretting about the things that have gone wrong so far. Helene calls Jenny Celery (or possibly the other way around, it's not clear) and Jenny, looking increasingly with every passing second like Doon Mackichan playing a parody of a clueless businesswoman in a Smack the Pony sketch, starts rambling on about asking Lucinda to come back to her with information on tumble-drying earlier, and complaining that Lucinda did no such thing. Lucinda takes the phone from Helene and curtly informs Jenny Celery that no such request was made of her. Jenny Celery, ever the professional, sticks her tongue out and waggles her head as she listens. Lucinda continues, saying that she is more than willing to help, but insists that Jenny not pin questions on her that she was not asked to research. And yes, she went on a bit, but the kernel of what she was arguing was fair enough. Jenny Celery hangs up on her and bitches that Lucinda is behaving like a "spoilt, silly little girl".

Renaissance Laundry. Raef has landed another order to clean butchers' jackets. Michael Sophocles rings a hot and flustered Simon, who tells them it's about time they came back to do the dirty work themselves. Alex's shirt is now fastened by one button only. Hey, I'm just here to report the facts: this gives me no pleasure. Honestly. Raef patronisingly tells Simon that they have been busy "making money" but that they're on our way. I think we all just got a little look-see into what it would be like to be married to Raef, and it really is not an encouraging thought. Simon tells the other hot, sweaty laundry boys (and in fairness, again, picking Lee, Alex, Simon and Ian to be the ones getting hot and sweaty was another good move - imagine if the teams had been reversed, who would've wanted to see Raef and Kevin stripping down one button at a time? Not I) that they're on their way, while the three breadwinners order lattes like the clueless swines they are. Glorious juxtaposition of Ian and Simon working hard, while Raef and Kevin daintily sip coffee in their car. The editing on this show is a work of art, I'm telling you.

Some time has clearly passed, since it is very dark now, and the hot sweaty boys phone the prim boys for a status update. Simon goes to great pains to point out how they are literally sweating over their task; Kevin, hilariously, says in all earnestness and with a touch of indignation, "so are we!" Then he ducks out of sight because he thinks he can see Gargamel on the horizon, trying to kidnap him. More shots of the laundry boys working and the latte boys bitching. "I can't stand whiners," whines Raef. (Another shot shows Alex's shirt more fastened than it was a minute ago - clearly this has been edited out of chronological order, or Alex is just teasing us, the little scamp.) Ian phones Raef again, and Raef claims to be three minutes away. Michael Sophocles shakes his head (and is it just me, or does he bear an uncanny resemblance to Martin from Green Wing?). "How many times do they need to be told?" wonders Raef to no one in particular.

Half of Alpha goes to do laundry. Shazia takes charge of labelling and organising the laundry so they can be sure that everything is returned to the correct customer. Jenny Celery is still touting for business. Princess Lindi interviews they need to get as much business as possible in order to beat the boys. The Three Mochateers return to Renaissance Laundry, to much relieved cheering from the laundry boys. Everyone mucks in. Simon interviews his concerns that they now have to deliver on all the business they've secured. In a glorious throwaway moment, we hear Alex say that he can "smell burning" and Simon (I think) rushes to remove some sheets from a presser, blowing out a tiny tiny fire as he does so. Hee!

It's 11pm. Jenny Celery has amassed £100 of new business and returns to the laundry with her extra washing. Shazia tells them about their great system - she's labelled the machines so they know what belongs to who. They get to work, but Narrator Mark says that the laundry must close in two hours. So it took Shazia one hour to explain her labelling system? It must be more complex than we saw. Helene interviews that they didn't expect to have so much to do so late in the day, and that they'll have to take some of it home. Shazia plots to return home to bagsy the irons before the boys get back, unaware that the boys have already secured them. Jenny Celery grants her leave, and she takes off with Princess Lindi, Claire and Jennifer. They trawl the house, only to reailse what we already know - there are no irons.

Elsewhere, both teams are finishing up in their laundries. Jenny Celery is packing up laundry to take home, but without Shazia on hand to help explain her obviously complex system. Sara finds some laundry without a label. Ruh roh! Renaissance folds its final sheet. There is much celebration, though the music editor misses a trick by not having 'Land of Hope and Glory' cued. Michael Sophocles wipes the "sweat" from his brow, despite the fact that he was only there for thirty seconds. Renaissance Laundry is closed for business.

Things are frantic at Alpha Laundry; Jenny Celery is trying to usher everyone to just shove everything into bags to take home, whereas Lucinda is a fan of the "shake and fold" technique which she thinks will save them having to iron things at all. I've got to say, if my laundry service pulled that shit, they would be getting some seriously soiled smalls in my next batch. Jenny Celery tells Lucinda to stop faffing and just shove everything in the van. In the car, Jenny Celery tells Lucinda that she "just wants to highlight" how appalled she was with Lucinda's behaviour. In front of Helene and Sara. Wow! Professional. Lucinda looks as though she has tuned out of Jenny Celery's frequency. Would that we could all be so fortunate. Jenny Celery busts out the incompetent manager's standby, that the whole task went to shit because she was too occupied with managing Lucinda. The fact that Jenny Celery barely acknowledged Lucinda at all during the task except to snipe at her as she walked past does not appear to have been taken into account. (For the record, I don't care for Lucinda much, but Jenny Celery is clearly a bitch on wheels and I would side with Satan himself if the only other alternative were Team Jenny.) Lucinda attempts to defend herself, and Jenny Celery refuses to let her get a word in edgeways, going as far as to tell Lucinda that she may not speak until Jenny Celery has finished. What a horrible, petty woman. Although in all of this I pity Sara, who's sat in the back with both of them, quite possibly wondering if it's too late to get a sex change and join Renaissance. Also, Sara is really pretty. It's not especially relevant, but I just thought I'd mention it. Jenny Celery continues to passive-aggressively browbeat Lucinda, including using the ugly construction "is that not fact?" You know what? I'm not going to recap any more of this exchange, because it is beyond tedious and I'm sure you get the idea by now. Sara is finally spurred into action, telling Jenny Celery that she zooms in on one little thing: "You focus on one side of the story, and then attack." With Jenny Celery's attention momentarily diverted, Lucinda cries quietly in the back seat.

As that half of the team arrives home, Princess Lindi notes that Lucinda appears to be crying, which merits an "oh for fuck's sake" from Jennifer. Nice. [Jenny is a stone-cold bitch, but I kind of agree. In the words of Martha Stewart, 'Cry and you are out of here. Women in business don't cry, my dear.'-Joel] Devoid of irons, the girls vote to get some sleep now and get up early to finish.

7am. Alpha calls a meeting, but Lucinda doesn't show until the meeting ends. Jenny Celery asks Lucinda to generate some invoices and they snap at each other, to everyone's great surprise. The boys, for their part, return the irons since they have no use for them. It was a cheap trick, but I do at least give them props for not being any more assholish about it than they already had been. Team Alpha does the ironing. Margaret turns up and voices her surprise that the girls have not yet finished. The suited and booted boys head off to return their laundry. The girls take another hour to finish, and there is still confusion about which laundry goes back to which person. I don't see this ending well, somehow. Shazia tells Claire that they shouldn't have left early because they were in control of what was going on. Well, yeah [I was really confused about what happened - did Shazia get told to leave, or choose to, or what? - Rad]. [I got the impression that Shazia suggested that someone secure the irons and Jenny sent her home to do it, rather than someone who wasn't in charge of an integral part of the proces. Jenny knows how to manage, you see.-Joel]

The boys return their laundry to their satisfied customers. It looks like they did good work, in fairness. In the Alpha Cab, the girls have a plan to maximise revenue: Princess Lindi thinks they should aim for at least a 15% tip from all of their customers. Lucinda is wearing a black cap, a sleeveless top with a plunging neckline, and fishnet tights. I'm hardly a prude, but that's not really acceptable business attire, is it? They return the laundry, and actually ask for tips, which is pretty cheeky, although also kind of genius: given that the majority of their customers were plummy sorts with obvious breeding, they wouldn't dare not give a tip if directly asked for one, lest their place in Debrett's Peerage become jeopardised.

Renaissance return the linen to Scott and his hotel - he hands over the agreed £200. They cheer. Note that all of the boys who did the actual work are not present for this ceremony and celebrate on their own. I'm guessing it's not just the girls who have cliques.

Jenny Celery drops off her domestic laundry, and attempts to be charming by apologising for the fact that she's come to collect money. It's about as convincing as Kevin's Fisher Price business suit. Jenny Celery tries to get away without giving a guy his change, but he calls on it. She busts out an unconvincing, possibly spur of the moment motto: "If you're happy with our service, please give us a tip. If you're unhappy with our service, please give us a tip on how to improve." The chap doesn't sound too impressed, but agrees to tip them a couple of quid. One woman checks her laundry before she offers a tip and finds that she's missing a checked shirt. Jenny Celery goes to look for it, but is informed it is not in their van. The involuntarily tipping man from earlier reappears with his cute posh son, who is in his pyjamas: they've got two shirts that belong to someone else, and are missing two of theirs. And they don't know which ones are missing because it was the lady of the house who handed them over in the first place. Oh dear. Narrator Mark warns that if the teams lose the clothes, they face fines. Jenny Celery returns the missing shirt to the first lady, who declines to tip them. Another lady spots that she's missing four pairs of boxer shorts. Claire rings the other van to see if they've got the missing items, but Princess Lindi informs her that everything has been returned to the correct customers from their end. D'oh! Shazia begins to look worried, as well she might.

Boardroom! Sralan asks Alpha who the team leader was, despite the fact that the team leaders always sit in the middle of the table, so it's obvious. He asks if Jenny Celery was a good team leader, and Claire says they had their ups and downs, but overall they were happy. Sralan asks Jenny Celery if her team worked well for her, and Jenny Celery singles out Lucinda as someone she had issues working with, not realising that this makes her look every bit as bad as it will make Lucinda look. Margaret mentions the lost items of clothing, and Sralan is not impressed; he asks Margaret to deduct £50 from the girls' total. He asks the boys if Raef was a good team leader and gets a firm chorus of approval.

Numbers: the girls' team took a net profit of £195.55, so it's obvious that the boys have won since their hotel order alone was worth more than that. Nick tells us that Renaissance's profit was £328. Their reward will be going to the Ritz for tea. Alpha will be returning to the boardroom so one of them can be fired. Outside, Michael does literally the gayest dance I have ever seen (and I've recapped Same Difference) and there is much homoerotic hugging. They have tea at the Ritz, and it is swanky. Simon interviews that he can't figure Raef out, claiming that even the officers he worked with in the army weren't as distinguished as Raef. Raef congratulates the team on a job well done.

Alpha retreat to a café for a summit. Princess Lindi says that she thought Jenny Celery was a great team manager, and every time she did something good, she got praised. So apparently this isn't so much big business as it is Crufts. Helene interviews that it's daunting to head to the boardroom. Shazia interviews that she doesn't believe she should be in the boardroom and will fight to be Sralan's apprentice. Jenny Celery is happy to go to the boardroom because she thinks Sralan needs to know what's going on in the women's team at the moment. Quite why Jenny Celery thinks she's qualified to judge this, I have no idea. She clearly doesn't even know what's going on inside her own teacup.

Establishing shot of the Gherkin at night [London porn - drink! London does actually look quite pretty in these shots though - Rad], to fool us all into thinking that Sralan Sugar's offices are anywhere at all inside the M25. Sralan summons Alpha into the boardroom. He tells Jenny Celery that her first pitch was underprepared, and asks her if the quote of £5,000 didn't sound ridiculous to her. Jenny Celery says that everyone was in agreement and she is not an expert on pricing (but interestingly does not mention that Helene is a "global pricing leader", whatever that is). Sralan rightly points out that one does not need to be a pricing expert to realise that £5 is too much to launder a pillowcase. He points out that you can buy a pillowcase for £5, and a disembodied voice (I would assume Margaret, but it doesn't sound like her so I have no idea who it was) says you can buy five for that. Heh. Nick tells them that their quote of £15 for the fishmonger's laundry was equally as ridiculous. Sara points out that when they went in they got £10 extra. "Yes, asking for tips!" spits Margaret with disgust. Sara splutters while Sralan asks what gives. Princess Lindi admits this was her idea, and Sralan tells her that their business should not involve tipping because they are not waiters - they should not expect to get extra money for doing the job they were contracted to do in the first place. He asks Jenny Celery if she condoned it, and she slyly admits that they were looking to maximise profits to beat the boys, so she considered it legitmate.

Sralan asks what other angles they were trying, so Princess Lindi mentions the 24 hour hotline. Sralan is not impressed by this, and asks who on earth would ring up to ask how their pants were doing. The man has a point. He asks who was responsible for losing the laundry. Lucinda explains how some people were sent back early, and that the people who were in charge of knowing what went where were sent back in the van. Helene pipes up that those delivering back the residential loads went through the embarrassment of missing garments because the last load was not labelled. Shazia explains that she was trying to secure an iron to get the job done, but Sralan is unmoved, and appears to be placing the blame for the lost laundry entirely at Shazia's door.

Next, Sralan asks Jenny Celery about her set-to with Lucinda, and asks if this was because Lucinda did not "step up". Jenny Celery says that it went beyond that; Lucinda actively caused trouble. She expands on this by pointing out Lucinda's failure to attend the 7am meeting, despite three separate members of the team attempting to wake her (and this reflects very poorly on Lucinda, I'll admit). Lucinda protests that this was not deliberate and she is being scapegoated. Sralan asks for Helene's input on why they failed the task. Helene says that she doesn't think it can be pinned down to just one person, and that what's clear from this whole scenario is that they do not gel as a team. I like Helene; she's opinionated, but she seems fair. Lucinda claims that this all comes down to the accountability of the project manager, a suggestion which is dismissed by Helene, who says they all have some degree of accountability. Sara joins in, and they all start arguing amongst themselves. Sralan says he's sick of listening to them all arguing, and that they clearly wasted time bickering when they could have been getting on with the job at hand.

He asks Jenny Celery who she'll be bringing back to the final table, and she opts to bring Lucinda and Shazia. Sralan dismisses the rest of the team, but not before telling them that they were a "bloody shambles" (drink!). Sralan, Nick and Margaret confer: Margaret thinks that Jenny was so fixated on being PM that she lost track of what was going on around her. She thinks Lucinda had her good points and her bad points. Sralan wonders if this is a case of clashing personalities, and instructs Invisible Frances to send them back in.

Sralan asks Lucinda why he shouldn't fire her. Lucinda over-earnestly tells him that team motivation and working within a group is one of her fortes, which causes Sralan to chuckle. She says that she was never wilfully detrimental to the task. Sralan turns to Shazia and asks her the same question; Shazia says she is an opportunist and a do-er, and that she doesn't know where she went wrong on this task, which is in all honesty probably not that clever a strategy. Sralan asks Jenny Celery where Shazia went wrong, and Jenny Celery says that Shazia lied and complained and "manipulated with other people". Shazia is very much "wtf?" in response to this, as am I, but I think Jenny Celery is officially Beyond The Edge Of Reason at this stage. Jenny Celery then moves on to the one genuine hold she has over Shazia; that she did not adequately perform the task to which she was assigned. Lucinda declares this "selective amnesia", to which Jenny Celery snits "be quiet". Lucinda points out Jenny Celery's habit of claiming to have allocated tasks to people when in reality she (allegedly) had not, and Jenny Celery snits that Lucinda has no idea what went on because she was in bed asleep. So the entirety of Shazia's lying, complaining and manipulation occured solely during that 7am meeting? I guess she's really not a morning person.

Jenny Celery tells the other two that the entire process has felt like she was "breastfeeding" them, a visual which I feel fairly sure in saying is made entirely of DO NOT WANT, and Shazia reiterates that she doesn't understand why she is in this situation because she delivered on everything she was assigned. This is clearly not true, and is not a sensible strategy. Sralan accuses her of leaving the laundry unattended; Shazia argues that she did so with Jenny's permission. She adds that Jenny didn't get to the laundry until 11:30, and when she did she brought more laundry than they could cope with. Sralan rolls his eyes. He asks if there is a personality clash here. Jenny Celery lies through her teeth that this is nothing to do with personality and entirely a business-related clash. Lucinda and Shazia attempt to interject at various intervals, at which point Jenny Celery gets a murderous look in her eyes and starts droning "Can. You. Be. Quiet. Please." repeatedly. Margaret does a facepalm. Sralan asks Lucinda and Shazia who they would fire, and they both name Jenny Celery. Jenny Celery claims that neither of them have supported her one iota, and appears to be on the verge of tears as she denounces both of them as entirely incapable of being Sralan's apprentice.

It's judgement time. Sralan says it's a difficult decision because he has very good reasons to fire all three of them. He tells Lucinda she's been accused of not co-operating, and Jenny Celery that she is unable to control her team and he has to hold her [fully, apparently. And yet also, apparently not - Rad] responsible for not being able to hold them together. He then rounds on Shazia and informs her that the most heinous of her crimes was deserting her colleagues and the laundry. Shazia shakes her head and pleads under her breath, but to no avail: Shazia is fired.

Sralan tells Lucinda and Jenny that their behaviour does not speak well of them, and that they should be grateful he hasn't fired all three of them, but he's given them another chance.

And seriously, that was such a bullshit firing [totally. My notes at this point consist solely of a very large WTF? - Rad]. Shazia cocked up, yes, but far too much of that task fell apart for the blame to not lie ultimately with Jenny Celery. I can only assume she's being kept around because she "makes good telly", even though I'd rather pull my toenails off with rusty garden shears than put up with her any more.

Poor unfortunate Shazia gets into her cab in a flattering black coat, and blames Jenny Celery for stitching her up, which I don't think is that far from the truth. Jenny Celery and Lucinda ride back to the house in silence. Claire and Princess Lindi cheer for Jenny Celery's return. Alex is wearing a black vest. Again, just the important facts is all I'm reporting here. Lucinda drags her rolly-case back down the hallway.

Next week: the teams sell pub grub. Sara wants to do a Bollywood night. Kevin fights with Ian. Alpha is awash with infighting. And the boys are breakin' dishes up in here (uh huh) all night. Somebody will get fired. Just for a change.