Sunday, 7 June 2009

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Welcome to the liveblog of the final of series five, and more importantly, of Margaret's last shift (sob). I reserve the right to go back in and insert observation, commentary etc after the event due to the pressures of liveblogging, and I'm sure some of my collaborators will appear in the next couple of says to comment, so do come back and see what you've missed.

So, we've had eleven weeks of catering fail, Pantsman, exercise 'boxes' and Lorraine's line of Irish per episode. We're down to two finalists - Kate and Yasmina, either of whom would fit the 'pretty competent one' box that winners so often tick, so who will be given the role of ballsy woman runner-up? We'll find out in an hour, but my money's on Kate to win... or maybe Yasmina...

Previously on The Apprentice... the five remaining candidates got ripped to shreds, and James, Lorraine and Debrabarr went home, and unusually, I felt sad for all of them. Normally there's at least one in this stage that I love to watch being chewed to pieces (Paul Tulip, for example).

The finalists piece to camera about how much they want the job, and Yasmina says it doesn't matter if you come 2nd or 20th as she really wants the job.

They go to Bankside in London for their final briefing. Yasmina's got her hair up and a swirly black and white blouse thing on, Kate a white blouse and grey skirt.

Here come the losers to be on the teams. Yasmina wins the toss and Picks howard. Kate's first pick is Ben (???), Y - Lorraine, K - Debrabarr, Y- James, K - Kimberly (Philip must be crapping his pants). Yasmina picks Philip and Kate takes Rocky. What this says about Philip and Kate's relationship, I'm not sure. I'm rather upset Paula the fierce and Noorul the poor aren't here. Someone in the chat room I'm in bemoans the loss of upside-down-mouth Anita. [What, no love for Mona? She went on a journey! She talked to a transsexual! - Steve]

The task is to make and market a brand new box of chocolates. Chocolate is, we're told, a 3.5 billion pound industry. In the offices of a 'top London ad agency', they have to decide on a target market. In team Yas, James ponders selling for men and Philip says 'what about quirky?' Yas brings the two ideas together and says to market at a woman to buy for men might be quirky.

In team Kate, Ben suggests going down the route of marketing to couples as chocolate can be sensual and then says 'it could be like having a threesome with your box of chocolates'. Um. Kate quite likes the his'n'hers idea.

The teams now need to come up with an idea for a box. Let's hope Kimberly doesn't get involved here. Ben draws a 69 on a page and says he's being 'deadly serious'. Kate calls him a fool, because it's romantic, not perverted, and he gets the huff.

Team Yas ask a focus group of men if their girlfriends buy them chocolates. They all say no, and they don't think women would buy chocolates purely for the men. Now, I'm no dating expert here, but surely men would like their partners to buy them chocs? All the men I know love chocolate, plus that chocolate flavour Lynx has gone down a storm, hasn't it? Anyway. Philip says it's a great misunderstood idea, like Pantsman - people didn't get it at the time, but they will do eventually. Yasmina says 'er no, that's not a good example'. They discuss product names - Cocoa, CocoElectric, and having a display of electric shocks. Eh?

Kate's team like the idea of pairs, two's company, perfect match. From nowhere, Kimberly says 'three's a crowd'.

Team Kate experiment with flavours - strawberries and champagne, lavender, sea salt - all nice, but all rather expensive for their 'mid-brand' chocolate. Do we know if price is a factor here? We know how much Sralan values profit over quality...

Kate asks if £13 (what it might cost) is a valid price point for a 'night in' box of chocs. It sounds more like a special occasion box of chocolates to me rather than a Friday night with a DVD type, but I suppose it depends on what they're aiming at here.

Yasmina's team love the idea of Coriander and Orange, which is surely more of a soup kind of idea? Now cardamom and orange chocolate, THAT is lovely, but coriander? They also discuss peppery caramels (surely salty caramels is more usual?) and chilli.

Kate's team settle on 'Intimate' for a name, which Nick rightly rubbishes, and links to 'feminine freshness'. [In fairness, it was originally 'The Intimate Chocolate Company', which I thought was rather good, but then the box design had INTIMATE in size 46 font and the rest of the words practically minuscule, which was what made it sound Tampaxariffic. - Steve] People in the chat room I'm in say it sounds like Tampax, and seconds later, Debrabarr repeats this exact comment. They throw some names around and settle on 'Choc d'Amour', chocolate of love.

8am, and the printers have sent a sample box. The cocoa elctric box is black with pink writing and a pink ribbon (how manly) which looks exactly like the boxes Thorntons use for Eden. It's a nice box, but is pink the right colour here?

Commercial time, and Kimberly resumes her role as director. Two models are sharing a 'romantic night in', feeding each other chocs in a vaguely porny way.

Yasmina's team get their sweets, they're round flavoured. They try the strawberry and basil ones and Howard pulls a face. Now Rococo sweet basil and lime chocolate, that's how you get basil in chocolate, my friends. Anyway, Margaret asks which she should try and they say chili. She tries one and says she's 'waiting for the explosion'. They ask if she wants another and she says one's enough, thank you.

Philip is trying to chorograph his team's ad. A nation facepalms.

Yasmina is directing hers. She tells the model, who resembles Ziggy from Big Brother to put one in his mouth. He asks if it's strawberry and basil, pulls a face and asks if he can spit it out. Heh. [Even better: Yasmina says "no." - Steve] [But he does anyway and hands it to her, how rude! - Fiona]

There's a bit of decor for the venue shopping, which I miss...

Kate tells Kimberly her advert is a bit cheesy and 80s and says she wants the girl to rip the man's tie off and then be seen with chocolate smeared all over her face. Mmm, sexy. She looks ridiculous, like a three year old after a meal. Nick says Kate's given it some 'bite', so maybe he sees something we don't. [Or he has watched films we haven't - Fiona]

The Cocoa Electric team look at the faces in their ad. They all look 'shocked', but shocked in a 'holy fuck what the HELL is this shite' way, rather than a 'wow! Unexpected pleasure' kind of way.

They decide to put their lightning logo in the centre of their ad and Philip nearly comes at his own genius and channels Lee McQueen with a 'now that's what I'm taking about'.

Kate PTCs that she's confident because it's the only state of mind she can have, but she might be different tomorrow. Yasmina says she's excited, it's going to be the biggest night of her life, and more exciting than getting married. Is Yas married? Can someone check? [I can't find anything one way or another - Fiona]

The venue for the launch gets everyone excited, and we see Kate rehearsing her speech and talking about their romantically themed flavours. Her team are setting up candelabras.

Yasmina rehearses and asks Lorraine if she makes sense when babbling on about electric shocks. Lorraine says 'erm, no not really' and Yas bemoans the fact that she'll never be Martin Luther King.

Kate's presentation and she pronounces it 'shock d'amour' which brings the other team to mind. Their slogan is 'for him, for her, to share' (not for teh gayz, clearly). She mentions the 'current economic climate' of course and says staying in is the new going out. Her podium is covered in roses. She tells people to taste the chocolates. There are six flavours, all with romantic names, [I saw 'couples caramel which is not so much romantic as shit - Fiona] but she doesn't tell us what they are. She tells us they cost £13. Sralan says £13 is a bit much. Kate says you can buy them in nice shops, supermarkets, duty free, er anywhere you buy chocolate.

Their advert looks rather cheap and the woman smearing choc on her face looks nasty, but the idea could be good with a bit of polish, I suppose. The box looks attractive, but rather small... Kate says she believes it's a romantic experience, and really more than just a box of chocolates.

A man in the audience questions their margins, basically pointing out they seem to be aiming a more high-end product at a more mainstream market, which I agree with. In a posh shop, you may pay £13 or more, but in Asda or Tesco, you're going to balk at going over a tenner, aren't you?

Team Yas. She's wearing a pink dress and Philip has a strip of pink Michael Stipe-like strip make up across his eyes. Of course. They have pink lighting anf a group of dancers dancing to Electric Six's 'Danger! High Voltage', which is a little tacky. Sralan looks confused.

People I'm chatting with discuss Yasmina's scar and whether she got it from Voldemort, thus inspiring the logo. Ouch.

Yasmina starts by saying 'let's talk about the concept' and says things like 'take some strawberrry and basil, what do you get? Cocoa electric'. The audience look befuddled. Yas presses on and says she knows they don't all have a box (fail) but they can see it's a nice box. They have 18 chocs and plan to sell for £6.

The ad shows people of both sexes (I presume they've gone away from the male thing then) reacting to eating a chocolate as if they are having an electric shock, with appropriate sound effects (and the Electric Six soundtrack). The problem is, they look as if they're having an unpleasant shock, not an exciting one. A woman in the audience asks why an electric shock is pleasant. Yasmina says well they didn't want to go down the lightning striking route (which could hardly be seen as pleasant either), but it was unusual. A man asks if the flavours work, Yas asks if he's tried them. He says, of course, that's why I'm asking. She says they've had positive feedback, especially about the strawberry and basil. Lots of people laugh. Oops.

Someone else says £6 sounds cheap. Yas says they can make them for 7p each so it'll work out OK. Some people giving vox pops say they love the concept but aren't sure anyone would buy a second box after trying them. Ouch.

Pre-boardroom chat. Yasmina doesn't think she could have done any more. Kate says she won't bitch about Yasmina but just tell Sralan why she should be the next apprentice. London porn. Dramatic music.

Boardroom. Sralan jokes to James about being prophetci and this being the chocolate factory. James says he's got Lorraine's gift. Lulz all round.

Sralan asks how they enjoyed it and Kate says she did, and her team all say she's great. Debrabarr says she thinks Kate would be a good winner. Kate explains about their laboured process of name choosing.

Sralan says that Yasmina's team went for the 'cheap end of the market', and I wonder if they would be better swapping round - couples for a night in would go for cheap, whereas posh high-end stuff tends to have weird flavours. Yas says their research showed men didn't buy choc and Sralan agreed. Sralan says their chocolate was shockingly bad and tasted really cheap, unlike the other team's chocolates, some of which were really good. He says she got there with the money but not the product (in a reversal of the Noorul/Paula cosmetics fight. I *would* liken it to the food week, too, but neither team produced quality then).

The team jump to her defence and say she's fabulous and a great talent. In her Irish moment of the week, Lorraine says they're both great finalists. Philip doesn't stick up for Kate, in a further moment of 'hmmm' about their relationship.

Nick says he was sitting with some top chocolate people who said they;d hire both of them, and Nick says he was really proud of them both. Aww. We then see some snippets of Nick, Margaret and Sralan saying how great they are (but we don't know which comment applies to which of them contestants).

Sralan says this will be the hardest decision EVER as they're both great and asks them to tell him their best bits.

Kate says she liked winning her pitches and people working well with her. Sralan says she's a good presenter and liked, but he needs more than that. she says she's got 'good business skills'. He asks what her ambition was, and she says she wants to work in a company to become a commercial director. He says 'so title means a lot to you' and she says it's the kudos and achievement.

Yasmina says her highlights were learning things she hasn't done before, and she was nervous last night to pitch against the personal pitcher. She says she was pleased to win three PM-ships [Pleased she got that little trufact in there - Fiona] and liked being a good project manager or working alongside good ones. He says you, unlike Kate, have your own business, twenty staff, that's an achievement. He says 'do you understand my dilemma?' She says, yes I do understand, but I feel that letting me go would be a big risk. Sralan says he doesn't want to put 20 people out of work. She says they won't be as her brother will keep them in work.

Kate may have given a better performance in the task, but Yas gave a great boardroom there...

Sralan likes them both, but he's worried about where Kate would fit in in his organisation and what she would do. He says to Yasmina that he got 'made' in his own business and didn't need anybody else, he could do it himself, and he thinks she can do it herself too, and if he took her on, would she resent him in the next few years. He says they're the best he's ever had in the final in this boardroom (and aside from Ruth Badger, I'd agree). His instincts are telling him... big pause... Yasmina, you're hired.

Kate looks gutted but says she's pleased for her. Yasmina promises to be the best apprentice he's ever had. Margaret smiles.

And on that note I'll leave you there, before we have to face a future without soon-to-be-Doctor Margaret Mountford, sadly (and without Sralan (or even Ludallan) if the Tories have their way). Personally, I'd love them to take a break so they can come back and have to call Margaret Doctor Margaret (and Nick can get himself a funky title in that time), but ratings matter, so we'll see you for series six no doubt (or even Junior Apprentice).

Saturday, 6 June 2009

In which that horrible ruddy-faced bastard does not appear

So, after weeks of cleaning things and cooking things and selling things and going on the telly to sell things, we are down to the interview stage, if by interview you mean ‘see how well the contestants handle being insulted to their faces for several hours’.

We get the usual bumph and then the recap of last week’s episode, where Debrabarr excelled at being the sort of almost-human that does well on shopping channels, and Howard went home.

The comparatively late time of 6.30. Kate answers the phone with no make-up. The cars are coming in 30 minutes. She stomps about rousing people. The Humanise Debrabarr Edit continues apace, as she sits in a tracksuit and singsongs ‘We’re going for interviews!’ to Lorraine like a small child, then gives Lorraine a bit of a pep-talk and a hug and tells her not to worry about the interviews. Yasmina to-cameras that she’s never had an interview and not got the job. Lorraine to-cameras that all the rest are looking forward to interviews, but she’s bricking it.

A kind of dull and repetitious introduction to the candidates. Debrabarr is a bit mean. Kate is unflappable. Lorraine has six wins and is the most successful (Yasmina’s 3 for 3 record as project manager would like to have a word) and has a spotty CV because she spent time raising her kids. Yasmina is going to be brilliant at the interviews, she says. James says he’s the best candidate. Yuh-huh. He makes an unpleasant analogy involving his arse and Alan Sugar.

At Viglen’s offices, Sralan’s like ‘no tasks lol! Interviews though! 3 of you will be bladdy fired! Lol!’

The four rottweillers are (and as ever, I reserve the right to misspell their names, because they’re asses) Borden Chatchuk, CE of Viglen; Claude Littner, ex-assassin of Sralan; Karrrren Brady, MD of Birmingham City; and Alan Watts, a bladdy lawyer [presumably to prove that he doesn't hate them after all - Rad].

There’s a weird badly-edited confusing montage of interview clips. We see several of them saying ‘Pleased to meet you’ to the interviews, which: sigh. The correct, polite, thing to say is ‘How do you do?’ when meeting someone for the first time in a formal situation. [I didn't know that. Never let it be said that this blog isn't educational. - Steve] Kate just wants to get started. James thinks it’s like waiting to see the headmaster.

Claude tells James his CV is ‘exceptional’ – but exceptionally bad. He goes on for about twenty minutes about how James has far too many telecoms-specific terms in it; though he does complain about ‘SLA’, which is ‘service level agreement’ and isn’t that bizarre, really. [Seriously. I've encountered that one in nearly every job I've had. - Steve]

Kate tells Bodrun about herself – first class degree, marketing for a coffee chain, so on. Bodrun is impressed, but asks why she’s there. She says she wants to work in another industry, and get the chance to progress. As she comes out, the other candidates are amused that she’s smiling. She says ‘I always smile’ and then does a funny little twitch, which is either her taking the piss out of her own smiling façade, or is it legitimately slipping. Either way: heh.

Karrrren asks Yasmina about her restaurant. She and her brother were working in a restaurant and decided ‘Rah! No more making money for The Man! We shall make money for ourselves!’ Claude looks at her CV, and we get to see that she is owner, finance director and waitress of her restaurant (Claude has written ‘Why not MD?’); that she was fired from a housekeeping job in the Alps; and that her hobbies are eating nice food, horse-riding, and surfing. He praises her website and says the restaurant looks lovely. He then gets into her figures. 4.5% of her turnover was profit. She gets a bit flustered and says ‘bottomline profit’ and then gets confused between gross and net profit. Then Claude pulls out her accounts, to her astonishment, though he says ‘they’re public documents’ and she calms down. Then he tells her off some more about what she claimed her turnover was – she said it was £8,000 a week, but her accounts didn’t show £400,000 for the first year. She asks if it says £370,000 and he refuses to tell her. Which, yeah. C’mon Yasmina. Know your own figures [seriously. Has she never watched Dragon's Den? I know it's not the same show, but surely the same principle applies - Rad]. She’s dressed like a pilgrim. She comes out and tells everyone he was nice, and it was enjoyable. [or not! - Rad]

Lorraine says she’s nervous, Yasmina reassures her. Lorraine goes to see Karrrren – ‘Pleased to meet you!’ GRRR! – and Karrrren asks about Lorraine’s CV, which claims she has ‘a special gift’. Turns out this is intuition, and not firing pingpong balls from her cooch. Karrrren then picks her up on the fact that she says her job was May 07 to present, when in fact it was May 08, and asks why she LIED. [She should have said 'because lying on your CV wins you this show' - Rad]

James says the guy interviewing Debrabarr will be more scared than she is. Claude says that she’s got a great degree and so on, but she’s not a team player and seems a bit ruthless. Debrabarr says she’s ambitious, but she doesn’t want to ‘ruin’ anyone else, and she doesn’t really like the term ruthless.

Claude tells James off for saying that his job was ‘putting a leash on people who spunk money up the wall’ and then asks James why the hell he said he brought ‘ignorance’ to the table on his CV. James claims it’s a good ignorance. That’s okay then. Lorraine says that James said he was there for the challenge, and Debrabarr is all ‘Nuh-uh! He don’t challenge himself no how!’ Alan calls James immature. James gets het up and says that he doesn’t want to be seen as the joker, and has achieved everything asked of him. You weren’t asked to lose all those tasks, sweetness.

Claude asks why Kate’s CV says her greatest challenge would be working in an all-female team. She starts off fine, saying that she has worked with men more, and that’s her comfort zone, but then says that women have more ‘emotions and bitching’ but she does acknowledge that it’s a generalisation, and only her experience. Still though. Poor show, Kate.

Alan says one of Debrabarr’s references say she’s arrogant and tells people to fuck off. Does she? Yes she does! He then says that if you have to swear to communicate (fine so far), it shows that you’re arrogant (WRONG). If you have to swear to communicate it shows that you’re too inarticulate to express yourself any other way, which, by the way, is a bigger flaw in a businessperson than arrogance. Interviewer FAIL. [I don't like this assumption about people "having" to swear. I don't HAVE to, I just fucking choose to. - Steve] Then Karrrren dives in and says that her colleagues says ‘you love her or hate her, but lots of people hate her’ and ‘she thinks she’s the dog’s bollocks’. Debrabarr literally snorts with laughter at this and responds brilliantly, basically saying that yes she’s driven, yes she’s passionate, and if you see those qualities in a woman, it’s easy to turn around and call her a bitch. Karrrren, who, by the way, is wearing this bizarre white smock thing, with like a cummerbund with a blue pattern on it – looking like she’s inspired by Lady GaGa’s china outfit and got a bit muddled – goes on about how she’s a successful businesswoman, but nobody calls her a bitch. Debrabarr doesn’t even dignify that shit with a response and just stares at Karrrren. Outside, they ask if anything was nice at all, and Debrabarr says ‘Yeah! “Pleased to meet you”!’ and laughs beautifully. She really should laugh more.

Karrrren then goes to Kate, oooh, you’ve got trouble with emotions in the workplace, but you had emotions for Philip, didn’t you? Kate’s like, nah, not really. Karrrren’s like ‘oh, but it was a problem for other people!’ as though Lorraine wasn’t using it as a brilliant boardroom tool as opposed to something the actually gave a shit about. Kate says it’s ‘a nonsense’ and people’s own binniz be they own binniz. Karrrren’s like, so you’re not whinging and moaning then? Kate’s like, well, yeah, I am now and we see a flash of personality for a second, but she locks that down with a quickness to ‘everyone has the right to whinge and moan’ sometimes. Karrren, all smug like she’s just struck the coup de grace says, but that’s your greatest problem! Women who whinge and moan! I caught you out! I am the fucking Sherlock Holmes of Apprentice interviews! Much like Debrabarr, Kate doesn’t even respond.

Alan has a big go at Yasmina that her mother remortgaged her house to raise finance for Yasmina’s restaurant. As though she held her mother at gunpoint, rather than this grown woman making her own decision. What a bullshit thing to complain about.

Karrrren asks if Lorraine is tough. She claims she is – dealing with her husband leaving her and her daughter being ill. Karrrren asks if she rubs people the wrong way, and Lorraine is like ‘Apparently! Who knew?’

Claude tells Kate she’s Little Miss Perfect – she says nobody is perfect – and that even though she’s clearly very very competent, and even in this interview she’s well within her comfort zone – but she’s not passionate. Kate says that she is and says that at 16 she was the youngest person to be put forward for the McDonald’s management programme (managing in her tone of voice to express ‘this is a little bit ridiculous, but it does still prove my point’) and that you can’t achieve excellent results without having passion.

Debrabarr tells Alan that the biggest thing she’s learned the past ten weeks is how her personality may impact on other people, and even though that was hard it was brilliant, because at 23 she has the opportunity to transform that. Perfect answer.

James says blah blah blah he doesn’t want to go home yet.

Debrabarr has never had so much negative feedback in one day, but really wants to be the Apprentice.

Back at the flat, they eat dinner and Cheers! each other. Lorraine’s second Irish line of the episode tells us that she’s a bit shocked and she says that if she gets this it will show she’s more than what she’s achieved so far.

To the boardroom. NotFrances’s computer has no icons at all on the desktop.

Sralan’s interviewers chat to him, Nick and Margaret. Alan starts off on Lorraine. She talks too much but doesn’t answer the question. Karrrren goes off on one about the special gift and intuition. Bordun goes on about how she claimed to read minds. We see in a clip she said no such thing, but that she was able to mirror people. He asks what he’s thinking, and her third Irish line of the episode says he doesn’t know if she’s for real. Margaret defends her, saying she makes the right call when others don’t, but doesn’t know when to shut up about that. Others say that she’s not right and wouldn’t cope with the stress.

Claude says Yasmina actually shows entrepreneurial spirit, and has her own business, but that she didn’t do that well once he questioned her accounts. Alan asks why would she want to be back on the ladder, rather than running her own business. Claude then goes back to that bullshit well about her mother’s mortgage. Karrrren tells him to shut up because the restaurant is a success and so it was a good risk. Claude says ‘Hindsight is great!’, all petulant, and srsly, what the hell is your damage, Mary? Sralan then reminisces that his parents used all their savings to buy him a car, so shut up Claude. Nick says parents make sacrifices, so shut up Claude. Karrren (now wearing a nasty blue dress that appears to be made out of some rubberised material an has funny little peak sleeves like the uniforms in Captain Scarlet, and as we will see, again with the weird patterned cummerbund) says Yasmina is great.

James didn’t have a good interview with Karrrren. He recognised that it wasn’t good. She gave him one opportunity to say something impressive, and he said he wanted Sralan to be Willy Wonka and give him the keys to the factory; he couldn’t stop joking. Bordun says he’s got some impressive achievements. Nick says he’s lucky and ‘shimmied through’.

Karrren was very impressed with Kate, but perhaps she was too good, and a bit robotic. Interview flashback to Karrrren and Kate, with Kate saying that she definitely isn’t boring, and anyone who knows her would say that. Nick says, as a genuine suggestion, ‘maybe she hasn’t got a personality!’ Karrrren raises her complaint about bitchy emotional women again. They conclude that unflappability isn’t a bad thing and that Kate would be a great employee.

Karrrren says that Debrabarr’s references were harsh, and Alan says he wasn’t convinced by her argument that she’s learnt to moderate her personality. Bodrun says she might upset people. Claude says she’s young enough to be able to change. Sralan says she’s got some nasty ways, but some great qualities. They all agree that she’s very mature for 23, (although 23 isn’t the magical age of 24, so she doesn’t carp on about it), and has some great qualities but could be risky.

The interviewing folk leave. Margaret says they’re all good but none are perfect, but that would be too much to ask. NotFrances sends the candidates through. Sralan wants them to tell him why they should get the job. Who wants to kick off? Nobody responds. Eventually James does, saying that he doesn’t look great on paper, and has lots of losses, but he thinks he and Sralan could be a good match. At this, Kate’s eyes practically bulge out on stalks. James prattles on about how he’s not just a joker blah blah blah.

Sralan moves to Debrabarr. They’ve forgotten that she’s just 23, but can she curtail her attitude? She says that she’s taken on the negative feedback, which has been hard, but she’s now willing to adjust her personality if that’s what’s necessary. Sralan says she needs to conquer herself before she conquers the world.

He tells Kate that the interviewing people considered her robotic; she awesomely says ‘I’ll take that as a compliment’ and says that she’s very composed and controlled. Sralan says he’s never met anyone that controlled who is successful. She says she isn’t always like that, but in interview situation, it shows strength of character to stay composed and not get flustered. Sralan says that he’s a bit old-fashioned and doesn’t like storyboards and spreadsheets and so on; Kate says that’s great, and it’s about acting appropriately for the situation.

Lorraine has had some tough times and Sralan does believe she’s tough as an ox. However, she’s been a focal point of conflict, and has been a bit more critical of people than others. She was a bit shocked by the feuding and so on. Sralan’s like ‘that’s nothing compared to these CREDIT CRUNCH times!’.

Sralan asks Yasmina why she wants to curtail her freedom by coming to work for him and she says that she feels a bit wasted in the catering industry, and she wants to develop her skills and then get that freedom back later. He asks if she’s one of the most credible, and she says definitely.

Sralan, verbatim: ‘Debra, leopard, spots. Will it change? Won’t it change? Young.’

‘Yasmina. Here for the right reason? Dunno.’ Cue HWUH? face from Yasmina.

Lorraine might not be right, Kate always has the right answers. He tells James there’s nothing wrong with being friendly, but he’s a corporate man and that don’t exist at Sralansugarindustries Incorporated, so with regret he’s fired. James thanks him, and says it’s been brilliant.

Debrabarr starts to cry. Yasmina, seated between them, has an arm on Debrabarr and Lorraine, reassuring them. Sralan sends them out for a breather. Sralan, Margaret and Nick says James is great. Notfrances sends them back in.

There will only be two people in the final. HOORAY! He tells Yasmina he’s concerned about her commitment because of her restaurant. She says that she didn’t want to do the graduate training programme like everyone else (cue slight bitchface from Kate, who did one) and wanted to learn about business from the grassroots level. Kate’s received lots of compliments, but she’s clinical and robotic. She says that she’s performed well and achieved results, and you don’t do that as a robot. She claims she’s not short on personality but manages to seem like a total robot while doing so. I think Kate’s issue is that she’s so into this ‘being professional and composed’ mode, which is a good thing, that she finds it hard to let it slip and let herself come out. I don’t believe she’s a robot, she just has incredibly strict Work-Life boundaries.

Lorraine starts on about her tough background, and Sralan basically says ‘I’m sympathetic, but shut up’. She says that she’s learnt when to push herself forward more and will take it with her for the rest of her life. Sralan says to take that with her now, cos she’s fired. She thanks him for the opportunity. She and Debrabarr share a touch as she leaves.

Sralan says there are three awesome people left, basically. He tells Yasmina that the big hiring computer would tell him not to hire her cos she already has a business. He tells Debrabarr that if she manages her character, her reputation will manage itself. She says she can do that. He says that’s just words. She says no, she’s done it over the last ten weeks and will continue doing so. [Which is true, and is also pretty much what Claire did last year - Rad]

Sralan says, ‘Kate, you’re in the final’ and it’s bizarre to watch. First you have her very professional ‘thank you Sralan’; then a ZOMG!!! Face; then professional calm; then ZOMG!! again.

He tells Debrabarr and Yasmina there is nothing between them and it was a tough decision. He’s not worried about the person who’s leaving. Debrabarr, you should be proud of yourself, and I wish you the best of luck, you’ll be successful in the future, you’re fired. And, because it’s awesome, Debrabarr verbatim: ‘Thank you very much, each of you, for your feedback, and I’ll take it with me, and be a success’. Sralan tells her to keep in touch. She grins hugely and hugs Yasmina and then Kate. Nicest firing and best firing response ever. [It almost felt like Debrabarr fired Sralan, somehow, given how she totally came out on top. It was awesome. - Steve]

Yasmina can’t seem to process that she’s in the final. It was the toughest decision he’s had to make, and walking out that door might be his biggest mistake. He doesn’t want them to let him down, blah di blah. Back to the penthouse! Kate and Yasmina hug and prance in the lobby.

Now, I love both Kate and Yasmina, so this is an awesometastic final. And last year’s four-way final was ricockulous. But a three-way Debrabarr, Yasmina, Kate final would have been amazing.

Londonporn. The girls gossip in the back of a taxi. Very excited, blah-di-blah.

Next week (or rather, on Sunday): the fired candidates come back (obviously) (Yasmina: ‘Awww!’). They have to design and launch a new box of chocolates. Debrabarr says ‘It looks like a box of Tampax.’ Philip choreographs something. I generally like to predict who’ll win by which fired candidates they take, but as Kate appears to have Ben, and Yasmina appears to have Philip, they’ve got an albatross each, so who can say?

[Join me tomorrow LIVE! For a Liveblog! And crying about Margaret quitting - Rad]

Sunday, 31 May 2009

As seen on TV

Week Ten
TX date: 27th May 2009

It's the task we've all been waiting for, says the BBC announcer. Dude, you're not kidding. I reserved this recap at some point during last year, because the home shopping tasks are generally epic. But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I?

London porn, 'Dance of the Knights', job interview from hell, etc. The opening of this show gets a bit samey after a while, doesn't it? I wish it had titles like the American version. Come on, don't tell me you don't want to see Yasmina attempting to smile naturally for the camera right up in your face every week.

Oh God, I just paused on James with his legs wide open doing his labour face in the birthing pool. That's five years of therapy, right there. Last week, the teams sold baby stuff at Earl's Court. Lorraine PMed for Ignite with a handy pushchair and some headgear, while James and Empire attempted to flog birthing pools and rocking horses with little success. Eventually, Ben's ultimate wish to "let me FUNUSH" was denied forever and he was sent packing. Six remain!

6am, and Lorraine trudges down the hall in her PJs to answer the phone. Sralan requests their presence at Ally Pally (or Alexandra Palace, if you want to be pedantic about it), and they need to bring an overnight bag. Everyone fumbles about in semi-darkness to get ready in a frankly inadequate amount of time, and James admits that he'd like Sralan to see him be capable of winning a task for a change. This is accompanied by footage of him filling the steam iron with water from the kettle, which doesn't exactly fill me with confidence. Howard VTs that they are close to the finish line and today could be his last day, but he doesn't think about it like that, because he doesn't think it will be - he sees himself in the final and he thinks Sralan does too. And at this point, four-and-a-half minutes into the episode, I knew Howard was going home this week. Thanks, editors!

Ally Pally, north London. It is windy. Everyone stands on ceremony as Sralan pulls up un AMS1. This is where the first live television broadcast came from, and so we segue into this week's live TV challenge - home shopping, hooray! Sralan has arranged with "a TV company" for the teams to go and see products on live TV - the team who sells the most will win, and the team that does not will lose, and one member of the losing team will be fired.

In AMS1, Sralan interviews that this is one of his favourite tasks (yay, me too!) - it's about choosing the right products for the right target audience. He is not, repeat NOT, looking for TV presenters. "And don't we know it," mumble Miriam Staley and Naomi Lay from wherever they are these days. The teams head off to Peterborough on their way to Britain's "second biggest TV shopping channel". Only second? Was the biggest one too busy, or something? Anyway, I assume it's Ideal World they're off to. In the Ignitaxi, Howard volunteers to PM. (Also, seriously? Isn't this meant to be the credit crunch Apprentice? Make them take the fucking train!) Lorraine thinks they should choose products that reflect their personalities. Howard corrects her that they need to pick products which reflect their target market. They arrive, and it is indeed Ideal World. Empire, meanwhile, still haven't decided who will be PM. It's between Yasmina and Debrabarr - Debrabarr wants to be PM every week, but also doesn't really give a rat's ass. Yasmina really does want to be PM, so Yasmina is PM. "Happy?" asks Yasmina. "No, not really, but it's the best of a bad bunch," replies Debrabarr. Yasmina asks if Debrabarr might be a little more enthusiastic, and the answer is basically "fuck off", although said in as unaggressive a way as it's possible to say that. Seriously, Debrabarr is weird. She VTs that Yasmina can sometimes stifle the other strong members of her team.

The teams have two primetime slots which would normally shift tens of thousands of pounds of crappy craft accessories. Before choosing their products, the teams watch a lady selling Bridget Jones-style slimming pants. Each candidate will have to take their turn at directing from the gallery and presenting in the studio.

To begin with for Empire, Yasmina calls a meeting and tells everyone to go with their gut instinct. She advises her team not to go for anything too expensive. The team splits up - Yasmina accompanies James, while Debrabarr goes off on her own. Jasmina examine a Water Pik, which James shoves in his mouth and remarks "that's really quite painful" - possibly, I'm guessing, because there wasn't any water in it, fool. Debrabarr plays with a nifty remote controlled car for £14.99, down from £29.99. More products: a hair grip for Debra, a "grabosaurus" for Jasmina (essentially a large set of claws for picking up leaves and stuff in the garden). James thinks it's an excellent thing for his father. Jasmina are also shown a window-cleaning kit, of which two parts appear to be magnetic and leap together in Yasmina's hands, causing her to go "wargh!". Ah, if only I knew how to make gifs, I would be making one of that moment for sure. Next is the Polo Pancho - 100% man-made materials, ladies and gentlemen! "You can get polyester that's man-made?" James clarifies, hilariously. Nick facepalms in the background. Jasmina try on the Polo Pancho, which looks hideous, but is only £9.99. Yasmina thinks it's a good product.

Meanwhile, Ignite are rehearsing, and it is going badly. Lorraine is attempting to flog a sat nav, and keeps encouraging the viewers to exceed the speed limit and crash their cars. Kate gives Lorraine handy selling points over the talkback, and Lorraine replies to her out loud. A member of the gallery crew turns and looks at Margaret, all "is she for real? SERIOUSLY?" Lorraine talks about accidents again. "She can't talk about accidents!" frets the professional director. Lorraine goes to pieces, and then the rehearsal is over. "That is what you call car crash television," giggles Lorraine afterwards. "I don't even know why I'm laughing, because I'm not going to be able to sleep a wink tonight worrying about this."

It's up to Howard as PM to decide who has to do a solo slot when they go live. Kate has a go at flogging the sat nav in rehearsal, pulls a lot of "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing" faces and leaves a lot of dead air. The director gently coaxes Howard to get her to speak, and Howard just sits there looking a bit lost. The director gives him some options, and Kate manages to get to the end, somehow.

It's Howard's turn in front of the camera, and it's only at this point that I realise he looks just like he ought to be working for anyway. Lorraine tells him he looks handsome on camera, and Howard giggles. Howard is actually surprisingly good in his rehearsal.

Time to decide who flies solo. Howard asks his team for any feedback they might want to give: Kate is pleased her slot didn't go smoothly because it's good practice. Lorraine tells Howard that he looked and sounded great on TV, which would've been fine if she'd stopped there, but she sticks a shoehorn into her mouth just to make sure her footwear slips in nice and easily, and adds "no offence Kate, we all know you're very good". Kate, apparently, does not take this well and starts pouting, prompting Lorraine to claim that Kate's giving her "dagger-eyes". "I will give you dagger-eyes if you keep saying that," snips Kate. Lorraine attempts to stop digging by telling Howard that the camera likes him, and shuts up. Kate tells Lorraine that comments like that are disruptive to a team, and sometimes you need to just not say anything at all. And really, I'm no Lorraine fan, but when asked for feedback on the team's performance, is "I thought you were the best of the three of us" really that offensive? Perhaps a lot ended up on the cutting room floor here, but it does rather seem like Kate was quick to take umbrage at an insult that wasn't really there. Howard decides to put Kate on her own, and he will go with Lorraine - which is a fair enough decision, based on the evidence he has to hand, because he thinks that Lorraine needs to be supervised, and clearly if he leaves her in the same room as Kate there'll be nothing left but a pile of hair and claws after half an hour.

On Empire, Yasmina has chosen Debrabarr to present solo - presumably before they've even rehearsed. Debrabarr demonstrates an onion slicer while Yasmina VTs that she'd totally employ Debrabarr to work for her, but she'd put her desk in a soundproofed box and make her sit by herself at lunchtime, or something. Jasmina rehearse their double act, and I do mean double act, because they take it upon themselves to start acting like a couple, calling each other "darling" and referring to non-existent times where they got lost on their way to a restaurant because they didn't have a satnav. Well, they've got more chemistry than Alex and Claire, at least. The only problem is that they spent so much time on their skit, that they don't actually say anything about the product. Debrabarr tells them to smile, and Yasmina pulls out a terrifyingly stilted grin that is likely to give me nightmares for weeks. Hmm, maybe I don't want US-style opening titles after all.

It's 5.15pm, and Ignite are picking their products. Howard and Lorraine look at a product that takes care of the hard skin on your feet. "Instinctively, I like it," says Lorraine, who's really taking the Cassandra thing too far now. Next they look at a set of polystyrene cats, which you stick sequinned pins in to make them look slightly less terrifying. Only slightly, mind. Howard interviews that none of them watch shopping channels, so their personal feelings are irrelevant. Lorraine and Howard play with an air-guitar with an infra-red beam, which looks quite fun. Kate examines a low-fat chip fryer, and a hideous leather jacket with leaves stuck all over it, which comes in bronze, silver and gold tones. It's not quite as hideous as the Wolf Spirit jacket, but it's not all that far off. Only this jacket isn't even funny, it just leaves you with a deep sadness inside you where your soul once was.

Howard and Lorraine play with a £229.99 toy dinosaur, that develops a personality the more you play with it. Lorraine's first Irish line of the episode comes in when she attempts to stop the dinosaur from being spoiled by holding it by its tail: "Now, you see, you don't like that, do you?" It is ridiculously cute, but Howard points out that you could buy a Nintendo Wii and several games for the same price. Lorraine thinks that it's different, and that parents do spend that sort of money on children. Probably not outside of Christmas, I shouldn't think.

Lorraine VTs that Howard doesn't take risks, and she thinks the next apprentice has to be a risk-taker.

The teams return to their hotels, and look at the products they'll be selling - but the twist (in as much as it's the same thing that happened the last time they did this task) is that each section of the team will be shilling the products that the other one picked. So, Howard and Lorraine must sell Kate's hideous jackets and chip pan, both of which are over £100. On Empire, Debrabarr is selling the "dinopick", as Yasmina puts it ("Grabasaurus, you muppet!" - James), at £24.99 - their most expensive item - and the £9.99 polo poncho. Jasmina will be selling the remote control car and the three pack of elasticated hairgrips at £17.99. Yasmina thinks they haven't got any high-risk products, because everything is a sellable price, so they can go for volume. Back at Ignite, Howard and Lorraine show Kate what they've picked - the sequin-pin cats, and the air guitar, which is £14.99.

The next day, the teams have some time to get to grips with their products, so Debrabarr tries out ways of wearing the polo poncho, while Howard declares Lorraine to be the queen of all things chip-pan related (which Lorraine disputes, because she's not actually used it yet). Presumably it's quite a lot of time, because the next thing we know it's "prime-time" (which in my experience starts at 7pm, back in my TV scheduling days) and they're about to go on. Sralan, of course, is watching at home. The clock in the studio, by the way, says 5pm. That totally isn't primetime by any stretch of the imagination. Jasmina begin the evening's entertainment by demonstrating the remote control car, and Yasmina gets an unfortunate case of verbal diarrhoea: "Look at that! It's so easy to use, isn't it? Such a great gift. Look at the lights on it! It's just absolutely gorgeous. I mean, I love it, don't you love it, James?" In the gallery, Debrabarr tells Yasmina to stop talking and for James to talk about the price. She has to say this three times before anyone actually listens. In doing so, James looks wildly from left to right trying to determine which camera he's on. Ouch. They move on to the hair grips, and start out well enough with a bit of a skit along the "is there something different about you?" lines, but it all goes wrong rather quickly when Yasmina says the price is £9.99, despite the price on screen (which is the correct one) showing £17.99. They give out the wrong price at least four more times before Debrabarr corrects them, and there's another awkward moment as Jasmina give out the correct price. Then they demonstrate on a model, and Yasmina makes a bit of a pig's ear of it as the real director pulls a face in the gallery. Time for James to turn on the patter: "If you're not fast with this, you're going to be last with this, so stop spying, and start buying." I can't imagine Noel Edmonds is having any sleepless nights after this.

Time to switch: Jasmina run up to the gallery while Debrabarr takes the floor. And here's the biggest surprise of the episode: Debrabarr is actually rather good at this. While still not actually sounding like a human being in any way, she softens her voice a bit and sounds about as ingratiating as Debrabarr is likely to get. She demonstrates the polo pancho, and on James's instruction to tell the audience how lovely model Sheila looks, starts giving Sheila the flirt eye and going "how stylish do you look?" Seriously, I can only apologise for the fact that my command of language cannot do justice to the amazing weird brilliance of Debrabarr on Idealworld. She even calls her "regal", it's amazing. Next, Debrabarr moves on to the grabosaurus, and seems to be really getting the hang of this - very calm, very informative, and even friendly, in an aloof sort of way. And they're done - coming off the air, Debrabarr cringes "that was terrible!" even though we all know it wasn't.

Ignite prepare to go live. Howard is worried that Lorraine will panic and deviate from the script. First of all, they're shilling the jackets. "What a lot of bling," remarks Sralan in his office. Lorraine does seem to be doing rather better this time around, quite possibly because it's a lot easier to be natural when you have someone there to interact with. She tries on the jacket, and works up a bit of pattern with Howard about how she'll definitely wear this to her next party, but she might not invite Howard to join her because she's got a long list to get through. It's charmingly insincere in the way that people on shopping channels inevitably are. Before we know it, they're on to the kitchen to sell the low fat chip fryer, where Lorraine takes the lead and does quite a good job. Seriously, if the basis for winning this task were how much you improve between rehearsal and performance, Lorraine would've walked it. Kate's direction, quite good during the first segment, rather falls off here, amounting to little more than "who likes chips? We like chips! Chips chips chips!" Lorraine tastes some chips, and Sralan complains that they're talking about the product without giving out the web address or the phone number. Howard offers Lorraine another chip, causing Sralan to groan. Lorraine starts talking about how she doesn't normally let her daughters have chips, in her second Irish line of the episode, and still no info is given about the phone number.

They're off, and Kate takes over. She speaks in a very odd, overpronounced way while selling the sequinned cats, and desperately tries to convince the viewers at home that the cat has a personality because it wears a bell. Up in the gallery, Margaret cracks up. She seems to be having an awful lot of fun this year. Kate moves on to selling the infrared air guitar, which sounds awfully tuneless because she doesn't strum it very much. "I'm just having such a fantastic time!" lies Kate. "This is so much! I'm releasing my inner rock goddess!" She even does some headbanging. This is the most embarrassing thing I've seen on TV all week, and I saw Susan Boyle try to flash her knickers during her concession speech on Britain's Got Talent. Finally, it's all over. Mercifully. I've almost turned myself out with all the cringing at this point.

The teams return to Sralan's boardroom, and NotFrances sends them all through. Howard cops to being PM for Ignite, and Kate and Lorraine say that he was a good team leader. Sralan tells them off for taking too long to explain the low fat fryer and not spending enough time talking about the price and how to get it. He also tells them that the animal craft kit was a tough sell, and Kate says it wasn't exciting to demonstrate. However, Sralan says that the jacket and the fat fryer were good product selections because they were of high value. Note how they were the two products Kate picked. I'm just sayin'.

And with that, we move over to Empire, who banked on much cheaper products. Sralan says that in his opinion the higher-ticket items like the fryer were better bets, and that their product selection showed an excess of caution. He addresses James's stumbling in front of the camera, and reads out a viewer feedback e-mail thanking Ideal World for their new comedy hour. Hee.

And so it's time to find out how much was sold. Nick gives the results for Empire - total sales of £1,541.88. Margaret gives the results for Ignite - total sales of £1,376.73. Which means that, volume-wise, Team Yasmina must've really schooled the others. Sralan congratulates Debrabarr, in particular, who sold lots of ponchos, apparently not far off how many the channel said they would sell during a normal slot. Nick says that Debrabarr was very good, and the channel staff said she took to it like a duck to water. Redemption edit! The reward is going off with an aerobatic flying team for a private flight. Team Yasmina zoom out into the antechamber and hug each other with glee. Back in the boardroom, Sralan tells Ignite that compared to the channel's forecasts, the sales of the hideous jackets were abysmal - they may have picked the best products, but they didn't execute it well. He dismisses them. After they've gone, Nick says they should, by rights, have stormed this, and it shows bad salesmanship.

Is it can be reward tiem nao? Team Yasmina strut out in their flying gear and take to the skies. This does look like a pretty kickass reward, in all fairness. I'm not saying I wouldn't have vomited, but it looks awesome.

The Crumbling Remains Of Loser Café. Kate is disappointed to have lost by about £200, and that they could've won if they'd only shifted two more fryers. Howard VTs that he's ready to fight his corner, and he thinks Lorraine should go. Coincidentally, Lorraine VTs that Howard should go because he's not a risk-taker. Back in Loser Café, Lorraine says she'll go in there defending herself rather than attacking Howard or Kate, because if she bows out, it'll be with integrity and grace. Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose.

Boardroom 2: Electric Boogaloo. Sralan says that as it's week ten, there's a lot from the past weeks for him to take into consideration, though he'll be focusing on this task first of all. First of all, Sralan raises the sales figures - only one animal craft kit was sold. Howard says that he and Lorraine know nothing about the craft market, but picked it because they thought it would be easy to demonstrate. They'd hoped it would be an impulse purchase. Sralan counters that he's looking for a business flair - people who can spot something that's worth something, even if they don't like it themselves. Howard sticks to his guns that he thought it was a good product, leading Sralan to be all "aha, so you think Kate did a bad presenting job, then?" It's totally like the three-pronged calling attack in Mean Girls, with Howard as Cady, Kate as Gretchen and Sralan as Regina. Meanwhile, Lorraine sits next to them, writing "Philip is the nastiest effing skank I have ever seen" in the burn book. Howard protests that Kate was a good seller, but they wanted to focus on the air guitar - wrong move, because according to Sralan, they sold less than 10% of what they should've sold with that too. Asked for her opinion, Kate claims they weren't easy products to demonstrate, adding that she gave her all on the guitar and doesn't know what else she could've done. Sound like you weren't preoccupied wondering if there were any Toffee Crisps left in the vending machine, maybe?

Margaret wants to know why they didn't go with the dinosaur. Lorraine says that she wanted that one and should've pushed it through on her instincts (drink!). Howard is asked if he was nervous about the price, Howard says he was, but he considers Lorraine's idea of pushing that product to have been weak. Margaret points out that it was a good product, and a different product, but Howard says that he wasn't sure if people would spend that much on a novelty item, and that he ultimately "wasn't comfortable with the dinosaur product". It's okay, Howard. Show us on the doll where the dinosaur product touched you.

Kate chose the fryer and the leather jacket, lest we forget. Sralan points out that they are the top-selling items in their categories, but Howard and Lorraine only sold 5% of what they'd expect with the jackets - if only they'd sold two more, they would've won. Howard explains how he was concerned Lorraine didn't understand the fryer product - that she did well on the night, but that the presentation beforehand was lacking. Sralan turns to Kate and says that he's complimented her on her presentation skills in the past (though let's not forget "I've heard of bellinis" too quickly, shall we?), but he wonders if it all went to her head, because he thought she was robotic on the TV. Kate doesn't think she was terrible, especially not compared to those losers Lorraine and Howard. Wow, she really does not like having her telegenicness challenged, does she? Kate sold a total of £277 worth of goods, compared to Debrabarr who sold £940 worth of goods by herself. Wow, that is one hell of a blowout right there. Kate blinks.

Who's responsible for the failure of this task? Kate thinks they should've pushed the fryer more, and that Lorraine didn't even know the instructions were in the recipe book. "Well, it's very straightforward," counters Lorraine. "You just put the fat in, put the chips in and turn it on, Sralan." HA! I loved that. Howard asks if it was that straightforward, why was she not more prepared? Lorraine asks if she's being set up as the blame here? Kate says that if they'd sold two more fryers, they wouldn't be here right now, not that she's pointing fingers or anything. Also, Kate's left eye looks kind of lazy here. Lorraine thinks Kate's passing the buck, and isn't taking responsibility for the failure. "When the chips were down, I stood up to the mark." Hee. Sralan asks Lorraine who should go - she thinks Howard, because the whole thing was too structured from the outset.

The dramatic music kicks in, and Sralan is ready to take into account everything that's happened in the moments leading up to this, so he sends them all outside while he ruminates, as well he might. Margaret says that Howard would have things running like clockwork. Sralan thinks that Lorraine is always too steps behind, but Nick thinks he's underestimating her, because her gut instinct is so often right. Kate maybe thinks she's better than she really is.

NotFrances sends them all back in. Sralan tells Howard that he considers him to be a bit of a cautious man. Howard asks why that is. Sralan says that the sort of person he's looking for can't just do the same thing all the time. Howard says that he's a good communicator and works well in teams, but also works well as a leader. Nick thinks Howard isn't a warrior. Howard refutes this, saying that he's very ambitious, but Nick thinks Howard's actions belie his alleged ambition.

Over to Lorraine - she thinks that she's been at the forefront on every task, and believes she has natural business acumen. Sralan asks why she wants to work for him, and Lorraine says that she's spent ten years out of business raising her children, and this is a fantastic opportunity for her.

Kate's turn. She says she's been a strong team player, hence this is only her second time "in the bottom three" (this is not American Idol, Kate), she's put herself up for the big jobs, she's not a one-trick pony, she's really ambitious and she really wants to work for Sralan. Sralan says that nothing great has been achieved by enthusiasm only. Try telling that to Anneka Rice. Sralan thinks Kate's slipped back in his estimations: while she says she's not a one-trick pony, he feels she might be. Howard is a "steady Eddie" - we're going through tough times at the moment, and the winner of this contest needs to be "something special". So...we don't want someone calm and risk-aware looking after things in the months following a near collapse of the banking system? O-kay, then. Lorraine talks a good game, and Sralan doesn't think her age is a problem, but her "slow burner" comments worry him because sometimes she makes her mind up too late in the game.

So who goes? Howard, duh. We all saw that in the first five minutes. Howard shudders, thanks Sralan and leaves. Sralan tells Lorraine and Kate that it was a very tough decision, that he hasn't got time for "ordinary people". They're dismissed. Howard hugs them both goodbye, and it seems fairly friendly. Coatwatch: difficult to tell because it's blurry, but it appears long and dark. I've been really let down by the coats this series, quite frankly. Howard taxinterviews that he's gutted, because he wanted to make it to the end. If Sralan thinks he's risk-averse, he'll try to be more maverick in the future.

Back at Crackden Apts, everyone's sitting in near silence. Kate and Lorraine's return is met with squeals. "Four girls and one boy!" chirrups Debrabarr. "I feel like Hugh Hefner," remarks James. Ew.

Now just five candidates remain. Next week: interviews! Shock horror: Debrabarr is asked if she's ever told someone to "eff off" at work! The only thing surprising me there is that she didn't reply "no, I told them to fuck off". James claims he "puts a leash on people who spunk money up the wall" for a living! And "a number" of people are fired. Please God let it be a two-person finale this year. The four-way last year was beyond ridiculous.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Maybe Baby

For those of you not paying attention, this programme is a serious attempt by Sralan Sugar to find a dogsbody to pay a 6 figure salary to for doing some stuff for his company Notamstrad.

Last time the hapless hopefuls had to re brand Margate. Ignite decided to re-brand the sea side by not re-branding and aimed for families. Empire shot for the moon and targeted the gays. Mona was so far out of her comfort zone she needed a passport to come back, MarGAYte was overlooked as a tag line and with regret Mona was fired.

The 'answering the phone first thing in your undies' sequences have been a let down so far. And this week - argh a Ben torso shot and Debra in her PJ's - no need!

They are off to meet Sralan at University College Hospital. James VT - he knows he is skating on thin ice and Sralan is waiting for it to crack. In the cars they are guessing what the task will be be based on their destination. Howard suggests whatever they think they should go for the opposite and they'll be closer. Debra thinks its a race to administer mouth to mouth to the largest number of presumably dying volunteers. The team with the most left alive win. I think not although it does sound like a reasonable idea for a Big Brother task. [Well, you can volunteer if you want, but I wouldn't put my life in the hands of anyone in that house - Rad]

In a maternity wing, Nick looks very uncomfortable and they are all wearing nice blue shoe covers. They have to have a stand at the Baby Show, choose 2 products from those offered and the team who sell the most (and makes the most) wins.

Its time to mix up the Magnificent Seven. Ben and Yasmina go to Empire and Howard to Ignite. Interestingly Sralan picks the mums and dads as the team leaders meaning James leading Empire and Lorraine leads Ignite. Yes they have procreated - are you scared yet?

Before we go any further I should tell you right now. I am a woman, I have given birth twice, I am not cutting them any slack this week and I fully expect Ben to invoke my wrath more than usual.....

Shots of babies and the Baby Show. I want to say baby show porn but obviously that's wrong. Anyway some babies are cute, some not.

The first job is to pick the 2 winning products that are going to fly off the stand and make the teams a fortune. Lorraine has been to the Baby Show previously as a mum and says she went to get furniture but ended up buying lots of impulse purchases too and suggests this as a strategy, 1 high end item and 1 impulse type buy. This is wise.

James and Ben are already disagreeing. James is not so fussed about timing as getting the products right which is OK up to a point. They have 6 hours to choose the products. Start the clock!

In the cars some classic conversations:
James randomly announces 'One thing that is really important when you’re breastfeeding is the mother needs to be happy. Because if she is a little bit anxious there is something in nature which switches off the tap in her breast.' (He is correct sort of although I suspect the majority of Apprentbitch readers will not be so bothered about this trufact so I will abstain from any further comment)

Debra has learnt something new. 'James! I didn’t know I had a tap in there mate!' (She has no soul and no heart so why not tittaps?)

Ben actually makes a funny, that's funny: 'Do you know the left one is hot and the right one is cold?' Is he actually going to be less of a cunt this week?

In the Ignite-mobile Howard seems pleased Lorraine is in charge rather than James. 'How many people is James going to ask “when is it due?” when they are not pregnant?'

In Holland Park James and Yasmina are viewing the 'latest' birthing pool. So basically its a big paddling pool but with sturdier sides for the labouring woman to lean over. Course James is straight in demonstrating full blown labour. Only a person whose never done it will mock it but I stop swearing at him when it becomes apparent he does seem to know his stuff. Mags looks like she finds the whole thing slightly distasteful. The woman showing them the pool tells them she took 5k in 3 days at a baby show. Pound signs flash in their eyes. James knows the pool will target a smaller market but with potentially higher return.

Debra and Ben are looking at a protective head cap. I can tell you every mum I know thinks these are stupid. Ben says he wants his kids to get cuts and bruises. Nice. 'Its CODSHIT' says James. Indeed it is. They sort of look like those velcro hats you wear to play that game where you catch the ball with your head - or did I imagine that?

Meanwhile Lorraine views the take off pushchair - it collapses quickly and easily. Wins. I actually want this pram, I never want anything I see them trying to flog. I feel this is a good sign. But somehow I think it will prove harder for anyone other than Mr Demonstrator to collapse and put up. Its priced at £135 - not bad for a buggy but a little high end for a stroller, (come on people keep up). Still they'll throw in a changing bag.

Kate and Howard are looking at shoes for babies - with high heels - these caused outrage in the parenting community when they came out. Even the woman pitching them says shes had death threats - OK I am exaggerating but only slightly. These things are pointless and foul and really whatthefuck? I will not launch into a rant because it will be incoherent and mostly involve 'argh' over and over again. [I echo your 'what the fuck' and expect a Daily Mail expose by the middle of next week - Rad]

Debra and Ben are looking at rocking horses, built to order by a man wearing pressed jeans and a nice shirt. Known as best rocking horse makers in the world, they sell to kings and queens and the price tag to match - £1500 plus VAT. Eeek. Ben mounting and rocking in any sense turns my stomach. They love the horses. If they sell one they are quids in -this is true but oh so risky

Now Lorraine is in the birthing pool. Its not complicated guys, you get in, it makes the worst pain of your life a bit more bearable. The selling lady is getting a bit biological now and encourages Lorraine to find but her coccyx and pubic bone. Nick looks worried as well he might and Lorraine declines to grab her crotch on national TV.

Now Kate and Howard are at protective head gear HQ. It may be nice to see kids wearing the gear but the kids don't look happy. The kid is thinking 'fuck you mum I look like a total Dick on national TV'. In the car Kate says she wants to play on the guilt factor. Grr like parents need anymore guilt heaped on them and if your 6 month old falls over as in they were stood unaided never mind walking, you have a prodigy on your hands so you need to call Mensa not stick a thud hood on them. (I trademark that name right now by the way)

James is now at the buggy take away and he likes the pram. Lorraine has decided she wants the pushchair and the birthing pool. Howard agrees and says only 2% of women have births at home so we'll go for the pushchair and to balance it go for the 'thud guard'. Lorraine corrects him that its 2.2% but whatevers.

Debra and Ben go for the horse, the horse, they are all about the horse. At gun point from James they are forced to choose something else, they suggest the pram. James compares the buggy that folds differently to a laptop that folds differently - like you'd be bothered. I'd LOVE to see a laptop that folded differently and anyway and he has kids? I'd kill for that pram! I can only assume he has never had to collapse a pram under pressure and the gaze of a whole bus full of cunts and then hold aforementioned pram for the whole journey. He plumps for the pool.

Back at Crackden Towers, Lorraine is trying to demonstrate the buggy, you know the one that comes up and goes down easier than a tarts knickers? She may have broken it. It's pissing her off. Howard says they need to be able to smoothly put it up and down. Thankfully the hat just goes on your head.

£1700 of horse next door. James' pep talk consists of - sell the bloody (bladdy?) rocking horse.

On the way to Earls Court James is determined someone will buy the horse. If sheer force of will alone can make it happen they'll be OK, they are all straining so much they appear constipated. Lorraines notes that if the other team have chosen the horse then 1 sale will blow them out the water. [A risky strategy but sometimes it works on this show - Rad]

At Earls Court they have prime sites and start checking out the competition, Ignite aren't worried - until they see another stand with the take away buggy. So not exclusive then. Lorraine is kicking herself for not checking whether others exhibitors would have it and shes kicking the buggy because she can't work it.

9.30am they have 7 hours to sell. Yasmina is selling the birthing pool by giving a ever so slightly graphic 'my brother was ripped from my mothers womb' birth story. Lorraine tries to demonstrate the buggy. Badly. Customers not impressed, Howard not impressed, Nick says Lorraine is making a complete 'Horlicks' of it. Not as good as codshit. Now the customers showing them how to do it. Face palm.

Customers are giving Empires 'stable' a wide berth - so they take the prices off.

Yasmina sells a birthing pool. It's pulling in the preggy ladies - in fact some look like they might need to use it there and then. James describes how it opens everything up so far the baby jumps out - have forgiven his labour impression but worry he may get done for false advertising when these women actually give birth.

The toddler hard hat is selling well - just my opinion here but actually like many similar products it's stupid and can actually be dangerous as it gives parents a false sense of increased safety. Howard seems to think it babysits and entertains the kids, 'just make sure hes still in the room' (but basically you can ignore him).

Horses not happening. They are still under starters orders and other such horse race inspired witticisms.

Lorraine's team have got finally got the buggy licked. Mr Fiona really wants one now, I am resisting the urge to google them.

Empire have now got kids on the horses, for free rides . Ben says its not just a rocking horse, but an heirloom. One dad pissed off cos he can't sit on it too. Debra is realising if they don't sell the horse its her and Ben that pushed for it.

O no! A customer tells them another stand is telling the buggy for £100 meaning that anyone who was interested earlier in the day and planning on coming back has gone to the competition. With 15 minutes to go another exhibitor is after a horse but wants £200 off. Debra pushes for full prices and pushes some more. She even offers to work for a day, for a week if he buys it at full price. Drop the price woman, they can't drop the price Debra says whatever and they loose the sale.

James feels like he's been dumped, his football team's lost and he backed a losing horse. Ho ho.

Oh James. I have grown to really like you. If he has sense he'll take in Debra and Ben 'if' he looses.


Ben lays straight into James. James confirms the products chosen, risky strategy says Sralan. James gives a surprisingly comprehensive reason for not choosing the pushchair - too expensive. And as noted earlier it is more expensive than for a basic stroller but I think he underestimated the USP.

Lorraine was a good team leader, Kate describes their strategy of high and low price items. Ben justifies why he didn't choose the head gear. Sralan calls Lorraine on getting totally busted by someone else under selling her
Empire - sale £722
Ignite £1660.89
Treat - National Portrait Gallery to meet Gerald Scarfe for a caricature each - quite cool but quite low budget. [Cool for us, rather than them, surely? A Scarfe caricature, whilst acurate, is rarely flattering. Still, better than Myleene playing the piano or Kathryn Jenkins warbling - Rad]

At the National Portrait Gallery - champagne, carnival of animals (- fossils) and a man with a voice like sex and a wicked pen.

Loser Cafe. Debra tells James they should have gone for the buggy and James should be fired. Ben also says we should have got the buggy not a birthing pool. What short memories these 2 goldfish/piranhas have. Like the horse wasn't a problem?

Sralan and Nick start on the everyone needs a buggy and 2% need a pool. Fuck that - its the horse that shit all over it. Debra takes it on her sizable chin and admits the horse was a distraction, suddenly Debra was pushing for the buggy? when? Debra and Ben have definitely decided to tag team James.

Yasmina says they choose the pool because the seller had a proven track record. They get into some random calculations. The pool was at a reduced price so people were coming to them.
Sralan doesn't understand why they couldn't give the reduced price for the horse. There was no special offer Ben, leaving a deposit is not a special offer Debra. £1500 is better than £0.

James is bringing back Ben & Debra but if he could he would take in Debra twice if he could. Sralan notes it's the 4th time all 3 have been in the last 3.

Mags doesn't know how they didn't ask for a discount, Ben thinks too much of himself, Debra is over powering and James is disorganised.

Ben is all don't fire me I have raw acumen and talent as per. Sralan say so like where? Ben gives more bluster with no back up. He can complete at world class level, bladdy sandhurst - Sralan NOT impressed: he was a Jewish bugler. [He also referenced Sandhurst types not being able to cook on a bean can a la 'cheese from Makro' Paul, which made me LOL - Rad]

James is a senior manager but he is a nice guy who makes sensible decisions. I can get on with people he informs Sralan, Debra would have half notamstrad on strike in a day. Sralan tells him not to worry his pretty little head about that and anyway there is no room for Mr nice.

Turning to Debra, Sralan tells her that Nick and Mags are not your fans. He continues that shes alienating people, causing aggro and is a BLADDY WOMAN. Debra responds that her personality might be abrasive but she is good at her job, passionate and fearless and 'that's me' - but she's not ruthless. She wants to go from a lump of coal to the diamond he wants - zirconia snorts Sralan.

Debra, after prompting from Sralan, takes responsibility for the horse while still managing to blame James. He responds by making the point that he would have been a shit PM if he had given them the mandate to choose items and then ignored their opinions.

The verdict:
Ben is showing promise, Debra - no one likes you and James you're nice but you are maybe too nice. There is light at the end of the tunnel, Ben shakes his head, but the light's gone and BEN is out!!

He sits outside and weeps slightly.

Debra has escaped because she is belligerent. Remind you of anyone?

Debra hugs Ben - god he is tiny

Coat watch - black and boring.

Mags says Ben's raw material is good. I am so confused, he wasn't that much of a cunt this week. I actually think it should have been Debra rather than him and I didn't think I'd ever hear myself say that! Everyone says they'll be shocked if Ben has gone and shocked they are.

In the taxi Ben is adamant he is better than James and he is still tearing up. All these babies has made me soft and for a second I feel a glimmer of compassion for him.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Summer gays , drifting away

Previously on The Apprentice... Our hapless heroes thought they were going somewhere exotic but they went Oop North. Mona didn’t go for any of Sralan’s ace leads put pulled off some awesome negotiations. Lorraine’s team picked some rubbish items and Philip, Ben and Kate couldn’t be arsed to sell anything. In the boardroom Philip was a dick, Lorraine snitched on his relationship with Kate, Kate wiped the floor with both of them and Philip was fired, which was a joke. According to Philip.

It's 5.10am(!), and NotFrances calls. Mona, barely awake, answers the phone. The cars will be with them in half an hour and they have to take an overnight bag. Sunrise over London porn.

This week’s tenuous venue is the Millennium Dome the O2, built ‘about ten years ago’. Yes, Sralan, for that big thing that happened ‘about 10 years ago’ called the millennium. Anyway, it rebranded successfully (allegedly, although I defy anyone to see a picture of it and not think of it as the Dome first) and so they’re going to rebrand Margate. Considering the wealth of creative brandng talent on show so far this series, I bet Margate can't wait. They're surely kicking themselves over Philip's firing last week when he could have come up with a wonderfully inappropriate concept this time around as well.

The teams have two days to come up with a ‘marketing makeover’. In team one, everyone wants to be the manager, especially Howard, but Debrabarr tells him he can be the subteam manager if he wants. I can't work out whether she's incredibly harsh here or just incredibly awesome by deciding she's PM and not engaging in any debate. It's pretty forceful, whatever.

In team two, Yasmina and Kate are wearing matching waistcoat/tanktop combos. Yasmina wants to be PM and everyone else agrees.

Mona apparently knows Margate well and says ‘it’s all about families’. Which, yes, it's a seaside resort, that stands to reason. Howard and James say that’s not rebranding. Howard asks how they feel about the gay market. Mona says she’d rather go with families but the others want to actually rebrand as per the task remit, so the gays it is. Mona PTCs that Kent is not a place for the gays and no gays are in Kent. Kent says no to gays!

Over in team two, Lorraine says with the ‘economic downturn’ (drrrink) more families will want to holiday in Britain. The team quickly agree to sell to families.

Lots of London porn and twiddly classical music.

In team two’s car, Lorraine is working a Jenny Celery-esque scarf and discussing things with Ben and it’s all rather amicable. It's actually quite amazing how the dickwipe quotient in that car has decreased by about 110% (drink!) since Philip left - even though it still has Lorraine AND Ben in it.

Mona and James discuss how they need to find out what’s going on in Margate.

Team one – Empire, apparently – are casting for their models. They have two men and Howard asks if they’ve ever done any same sex modelling? They say no. Howard then gets lots of boys to touch each other up for his and Debrabarr’s pleasure.

Margate, we are told, is ‘just another faded seaside town’. Cue lots of shots of broken glass and boarded up shops. However! Margate needn't be sad, as the candidates will fix all of this! Or! The producers have just dealt the Margate tourist board a nasty blow.

Mona and James talk to the locals and say they want to rebrand Margate. The locals say ‘that’s our job’. They mention attracting the gays. The locals are all well up for it, but Mona keeps trying to talk them out of it. Kent is up for the gays after all!

Yasmina and Kate, still in matching outfits, audition for the ‘perfect’ mum and dad. They get people to flash their legs and chests. These auditions are really just an excuse for a good old perv, aren’t they?

Ben and Lorraine are looking for something to make Margate special and attract young upwardly mobile (hello 1987) families. They settle for a nice shot of some rockery in what’s either a park or a crazy golf course, I can't really tell, with a view of the sea behind. Ben VTs that Margate is hardly the Seychelles. He comes up with a slogan ‘shellebrate family fun’ and phones Y and K with this. They lol and are all ‘NO WAI’. He then says something about it being the epitome of British culture and they LOL some more. Lorraine suggests seeing it through children’s eyes and they are up for that.

Mona talks to a pre-op transsexual and asks if Margate is for the gays and then asks what her sexuality is. She is told about waiting for the op and asks so ‘are you a boy or a girl’ and says 'you can't tell' (which: you could tell a mile off, sorry) seems rather shocked by the whole thing. Oh, Mona. The complete horror of this exchange doesn't work so well in recap but it's essentially something only to be watched through the gaps in your fingers.

James phones back and says everyone’s thought it was time to move on from the blue rinse brigade, and they’re onto a winner.

8am, the morning of the photo shoot and it’s all fogtastic. It will be interestinf to see if Sralan can blame then for the bladdy weather in the boardroom. I wouldn't put it past him. Lorraine and Ben call Yasmina in a panic and she’s all ‘get a nice shot, we want background with lots of space in’ and not really getting the whole weather situation.

Over at team gay, five models are pretending to be lesbian and gay. The lesbians are clearly in a three-way setup. Progressive! Not only is Margate embracing the gays, it's embracing threesomes! Brilliant! Mona asks them to pose. James hangs on to a pole-dancing pole. Nick says it’s all looking a bit stiff and wooden (heh) and they’re not getting much direction. I'm not entirely sure why Howard isn't in team Margate, as being the creative one, it would seem to make more sense.

Ben is taking control of team nuclear family and making lots of square ‘framing’ gestures with his fingers to show he knows what he is doing, right. It's all very Michael Sophocles, film director, except even crapper, which I wouldn't have thought was possible.

In London (because there are no design guys in Margate, clearly), Yasmina lays out her leaflet, whilst Debra and Howard are struggling with their posters – Howard thinks there’s too much text and there should only be four words. The design guy sits and stares into space. Debrabarr's, all 'I dunno, four words isn’t many'. Howard says you’re not listening to me, which, no, she’s just not convinced, Fishy. At this point I assume they'll come up with a compromise, you know, more than four words, but less than oooh, let's say ten. Let's see whether this happens, shall we?

James is taking a shot of two ‘gay’ men with ice-creams and says ‘not too much suggestive licking guys’.

Ben is back ‘framing’ again and says ‘none of this horrible stuff; more of the sea, less of Margate’. The Margate tourist board put their collective heads in their hands. Lorraine thinks the shots are too boring (families sitting down) and wants an action shot with them jumping for a beach ball. In London, Yasmina receives the photos and bitches that they don’t have enough empty space for the text. Ben rings and she says ‘Ben you dickwad, where’s my empty space? And you Lorraine’. Lorraine’s all ‘you don’t put text on photographs in posters’ which: when was the last time you saw a poster, Cassandra?

Debrabarr and Howard have a discussion. Debrabarr suggests comparing Margate to Manchester and Brighton, as the next big gay destination. Howard says ‘thought you knew about Margate?’ It all seems very civil.

Yasmina asks Lorraine what she thinks of the poster. Lorraine says 'I think the photo should be the centre'. Yasmina says 'we need to finish it and then talk about it afterwards'. Lorraine’s all ‘that would be too late, numpty’. They then have a big fight. We see the poster and it’s a random image of a child and parent doing pottery with a slightly random font choice - a nice font, but rather formal for a child-oriented thing. Kate tries to bridge over the troubled waters a little.

Team gay aren’t convinced by their leaflets because they don’t have enough content and the design guy doesn’t have enough time to get all the content on. It’s not clear whose fault this is. They leave a big space in the bottom right hand corner, which Nick points out and they decide they have to leave it. In the taxi, Debrabarr says she’s pissed off they didn’t finish the leaflet. Howard asks if there’s an image, a colour, anything in the gap. Debrabarr says no, they left it empty. Howard pulls the face of one who knows they've just lost.

They now have to pitch to ‘industry experts’ and the people of Margate. First to hear the pitches are two industry chiefs and a tourism expert.

Kate’s team show their posters and Kate gives a reasonable presentation that sounds confident and mentions how they played on the British weather. One exec asks if they took their logo off, would they recognise it as their campaign? They say yes, the blue is key, the ad execs say, well not really. The logo is a wave with margate on, and the design is all blues and whites, which is quite nice, but it all looks rather formal rather than ‘fun’.

Howard pitches for team gay. He starts by asking ‘do you know Margate?’. One exec withers ‘yes’. Their posters are ridiculous and I can only deduce that their graphic designer is either a fake, or hates the gays/the candidates, because regardless of the 'creative direction' of the candidates, no graphic designer worth their salt would even contemplate something that looks like this. They've used ugly as hell fonts and a nasty beige colour that all looks so amateur, and there are several paragraphs of text on each poster, although some of their photos could be nice if used differently. Essentially, it looks like a year eight poster produced in a PSE lesson to promote some sort of 'issue'. Howard fudges the blank on the leaflet saying it’s for adverts. One ad man says ‘posters should be under 10 words, yours has 70’. One ad lady says ‘your leaflet isn’t finished, is it?’ Mona says it’s a work in progress, and really, just hold your hands up and say you ran out of time.

Pitching to Margate. Kate pitches through children’s eyes. Slogans say things like ‘see the children enjoy themselves’ and ‘award winning sandy beaches’ which seem more parent-oriented to me, but, hey. One lady says Kate’s pitch was ace but the leaflet image looks like an oil slick and she thought they might offer something different. A man says it’s solid, safe and pedestrian, they want to promote arts and culture and there’s nothing there. Kate says some nonsense about long-term strategy and this being the first campaign in a lengthy rebranding. Oh Kate, you know how this show works by now, and longevity is never a factor (except when offerng exclusivity on other people's products like Princess Lindi and The Best Salesperson in Europe).

Howard says people associated Margate with dull, grey, old people and the camera pans to some older, grey haired officials. Ooof. Howard explains their publicity better than he did with the execs. A woman says nice pitch but dreadful visuals – we can’t read the posters. Howard says, yeah, you’re right. The man who told Kate they were safe then tells them off for limiting the marketing just to the gays. What the hell does Margate want? Howard says where the gays lead, everyone else follows.

Boardroom time, and there’s a shiny blue screensaver on NotFrances’s desk to match the shiny blue lighting and shiny blue eyes. Mona is now wearing Kate and Yasmina’s shirt/tank top uniform.

He asks Ignite how they came up with a family theme. Yasmina says they had a bit of discussion. Sralan interjects as to why she was PM. She says they all wanted her to do it. Sralan: hmmm. Sralan asks about their ideas and the others try to claim they had some brilliant ones. They go on about children liking the beach and Sralan points out there weren’t any children on their rather arty beach shot. Surprisingly, Lorraine doesn't bang on about her unused beach ball photo here.

He asks who put themselves forward as Empire team leader. Debrabarr says she and Howard wanted to. Sralan asks how did you decide? Howard says they agreed on a compromise. If compromise means Debra telling you what you're doing, then sure. Howard explains they chose the gays because it was all about rebranding. Sralan says yes, but your marketing sucks. Howard says ‘we had some clear points’. Sralan says, yes, very clear and shows two blank sides of paper. Fail. He asks Debrabarr who was weakest on their team. She says James and Mona.

The marketing people marked the teams out of 10. From the Margate jury, Team gay: 4; Team nuclear family: 7. From the pro jury, Team gay: 4; Team Nuclear family: 7. It seems to boil down to them having nicer looking publicity and an actual slogan, which is fair enough, even though they didn’t really do any rebranding, and if they'd lost, you just know Sralan would have taken them to task for this. They win some fast car driving, which is probably a bit more fun than laughter yoga. James almost cries.

At the car track, Ben has an orgasm to the camera and they all whoop a lot. Last year's apprentices collectively shudder as watching the fast cars evokes the memory of the supercar task.

In the café of doom, Mona says the fail was because Margate hates the gays (even though they clearly love the gays as we all saw). She then asks if Debrabarr only left an hour for the leaflet. Debrabarr says we wanted to wait for you. James says we lost because our leaflets and posters were shit and turned around in five minutes. Trufax.

Sralan says they made a bold statement about going for the gay market, then whispered the message. Howard says ‘we didn’t want to alienate people’. Sralan says the people were all up for the gays, you just sucked. Sralan says the posters were confusing. Margaret says they should have one big picture and only ten words. Howard says they wrote too much text. Sralan says who wrote it, you or her? Howard and Debrabarr say they both did. Sralan says Mona, you live in Kent, so why didn’t you give them hints? Mona says yes I live there but Debra didn’t listen [to my homophobia]. Sralan says Nick and Margaret say Mona doesn’t have many ideas and where’s her creativity? Mona says she found locations and spoke to a gay, which must mean she's creative and progressive, right? James says she was inappropriate at times. Mona says it was because she was uncomfortable with the subject. Mona says she didn’t agree with the concept. James says whatever your own opinions you need to leave them aside and get on with it. James has come a long way from the doofus of the early weeks, hasn't he?

Sralan says this leaflet isn’t finished. Debrabarr flusters and Nick says you said it was designed for advertisers. Margaret says they didn’t like being lied to and it blew the trust between advertisers and clients. Sralan: 'you’d have been better off saying to them…' Debrabarr: ‘I had Mona in my ear for 15 minutes and couldn’t get on?’ Sralan: 'exactly'. James says he and Howard had no responsibility. Mona says she and James were shocked that nothing was done when they arrived. Debrabarr says the Margate team weren’t creative enough. No-one takes any responsibility. Debrabarr: is it just the images and text that were wrong? (Well, no, it;s the lack of them in the case of the leaflet) Sralan: maybe it’s you. Debrabarr’s bringing back James and Mona. Sralan says you couldn’t bring Howard back because he did loads, although he was also with the 'designer' so I'm not entirely sure he should escape all culpability.

Margaret says they didn’t get a lot of support from the team in Margate, Sralan says Debrabarr needs to think on her feet more and stop lying, although surely you end up lying if you think on your feet too much?

He asks James for a rundown as he hasn’t had much time to talk to him in recent weeks. James says Debrabarr is a bulldog and difficult, but at least she's consistent, whilst Mona blows hot and cold. Debrabarr says Mona wasn’t up for it. Mona says ‘why did I talk to a gay person if I wasn’t?’ Debrabarr says they gave her limited ideas. James and Mona said she thought their ideas were great. Sralan asks who was responsible for the lousy posters. James says Mona was responsible for 15 minutes and Debrabarr for six hours. Debrabarr says I was sat in front of the computer but I needed my team and I wish I was you two sat out eating fish and chips. She and Mona fight a bit.

Sralan tells Mona she sits in the background and doesn’t do anything. Mona says ‘with all due respect Nick and Margaret are not always there and don’t always listen'. What's with the candidates trying to hate on Nick and Margaret this series? Sralan says she just says what she thinks people want to hear. Sralan accuses James of also taking a backseat. James says he doesn’t. Debrabarr asks what he did. He says he sorted out all the photos and didn’t have time to look at the posters. Sralan says he’s playing a clever game to make sure he doesn’t get brought back into the boardroom. James says if he’s looking for someone who says yes Sralan no Sralan three bags full Sralan, that’s not him, he's not a knucklehead. Unfortunately James, that's exactly the kind of person Sralan wants in his organisation.

Sralan says Debrabarr is bossy and can’t afford that in his organisation (but she'll be a good one to come second, or to go out in the rottweiler stage). He says James is a court jester, but he’s not looking for that, and with Mona he doesn’t see any creativity and has to think abot where she would slot into his oh-so-creative organisation. He thinks she might be right at the end of the pier in this process. Mona, with regret, you’re fired. He’s going to keep his eyes on James. I'm not getting why Sralan still hates James so much. I mean, he sucked royally at the start, but he's seemed pretty competent recently, and everyone else seems to like him.

Coatwatch: boring black but with a fetching green scarf. Note to other candidates: if you must wear boring black coats, accessorising is the way to go.

In the cab we hear that Sralan was wrong because Mona’s a stronger candidate, but she’s not going to cry over it.

Crackden apts. They’re not sure who will be back. Lorraine really likes Debrabarr but thinks she’s gone. Ben hopes it's James because to send back the weakest would be an ideal situation for him, because he knows he's going to get fired soon anyway. They return and Debrabarr says she’s ace so she knew she wouldn’t go, and she thought James would go before Mona. Ouch.

Next time: the candidates scare small children at a baby goods sales fair.