Sunday, 26 June 2011

Unchained Melody

Week Eight: 22nd June 2011

Previously: Sralan decided that the world was crying out for the editorial skills of the remaining candidates, but that no one in their right mind would actually be willing to pay to read them, so as a compromise he set up a task that involved creating a "freemium" magazine. Natasha declared herself the editor of Tits, Yeah? magazine for Logic and made sure we all knew about it, while Tom and Helen clutched their collective pearls in sheer horror after every single one of her decisions. Over on Venture, Jim edited Old People Are Worthless And Should Just Die Already magazine, alienating his entire potential readership along the way with an ill-advised title, an appallingly-designed cover and a general misunderstanding of what they wanted from the magazine. Logic managed to sell all of their advertising to one agency and won the task, while Jim blamed everyone but himself for the failure of his magazine, chiefly Susan for being a "meek little mouse". Ultimately, Glenn was fired for being "an engineer", even though he was no more or less of an engineer at this point than he was when initially selected for the show, making this the third utterly pointless firing in a row. Can we make it four?

The phone rings at Entrepreneur Estates, and is answered by Zoe while we're treated to a strange shot of an albino spider crawling up...something. I don't know, it's still early. Give me time to have some coffee and wake up properly. NotFrances informs Zoe that Sralan would like to meet them all at "St. Pancreas International" (I'd laugh, but I always call it that too) and that they need to pack an overnight bag and bring their passports. The cars, as always, will be there in 30 minutes. Helen dries her hair. Jim emerges from the bathroom clad only in a towel; somewhere in the viewing audience, Ed Hunter nips off for a stealth wank. Zoe tells everyone they're going to St. Pancras International, and Leon wonders if they're going away. "Do you think?" replies Zoe, dripping with sarcasm. Leon gets excited about going on the Eurostar. Coincidentally, I went to France on business the day after this episode aired, and having never been on the Eurostar before, I was expecting it to be all glamorous and magical. Ultimately, it was kind of just a slightly dirty train. This is why you should never meet your heroes. [The one time I went on it, they made me sit backwards despite me requesting a forwards-seat and I felt really travel sick throughout. Boo to Eurostar! - Rad]

The candidates troop out into the waiting Apprentaxis as Melody wonders whether they're off to Paris or Brussels. Not that it matters, she'll have masses of influential friends there, wherever their final destination turns out to be. Tom's suitcase makes a last-minute attempt to escape from the boot; Tom has to get out of the car and put it back in with a mumbled "shit". This is possibly the most positive thing that happens to Tom throughout the next two days.

In Apprentaxi 1, containing Jim, Zoe, Susan and Leon, Jim wonders who hasn't been project manager yet. "Tom," the others all reply in unison. In the other Apprentaxi, Tom wonders if anyone else hasn't PMed yet, and is informed by Melody, Helen and Natasha that nope, it's just him. Back in Apprentaxi 1, Jim demonstrates his French skills to the others with a little Only Fools And Horses skit, the genesis of which the editors decide to ignore, and subtitle it to make him look like an idiot anyway. I'm against such practices, because I really don't think anyone on this show needs any help to make themselves look stupid. Melody surprises and delights the others in her car by informing them that she used to speak six languages - y'know, for when she's doing work at UN level. Helen and Natasha exchange a look suggesting that this is far from the first time they've been exposed to this particular branch of Melody's rez-hoo-may. She probably talks in fluent Swahili when she's pissed. Melody reminds the others, not for the last time, that she runs a global business.

St Pancras Station, which is apparently the venue for this year's Stock Footage Film Festival. Seriously, the exterior shots of the Eurostar throughout the episode are about as convincing as the exterior shots in Snakes On A Train. The station is deserted, so God knows what time they filmed this. Nick and Karren are waiting, of course, and Sralan rolls up to tell the teams that they're off to Paris, representing some "rather unique" British products that he wants them to sell to French shops. He's set them up one appointment with a leading French home-shopping brand, but apart from that, they're on their own. Half of the teams will be going to France right away to conduct market research. On products they haven't actually seen. Yeah, that's going to end well. Sralan tells Tom he's project-managing for Logic this week, and Helen is sent over to Venture to balance the teams, where they will get to make their own decision. Sralan adds that they all have individual order books, so they'd better bladdy well sell, even though he's not looking for bladdy salespeople this year. The next train is leaving in 30 minutes, so they'd better get going. Incidentally, there is a minimum 30 minute check in for Eurostar services for us mere mortals, so these bitches are getting special treatment.

In his Bentleyterview, Sralan says he doesn't want his next business restricted to the UK, so he wants to see how well these people can cope in an unfamiliar environment.

On Venture, Susan volunteers to be PM because her job involves a lot of product selection, but subsequently interviews that she knows nothing about France, has never been there, has never met a French person, couldn't point it out on a map, probably would struggle to spell it, etc etc. Over on Logic, Tom designates Leon and Melody as the advance attack team, at which point Leon confesses that he can't speak French, so he's just going to let the funky music do the talking. And by "the funky music", I mean Melody. Tom dismisses them with a cheery "ciao!", and I seriously hope that was just him being generally cosmopolitan rather than actually thinking that's how you say "goodbye" in French. I mean, his surname is Pellereau, for crying out loud. Which is French for "inventor who looks like Michael Sheen, if Michael Sheen didn't have a chin". On the Eurostar, Leon sing-songs "looking forward to breakfast!" and mimes biting the air, which Melody imitates. It's kind of cute. It's also super-gay, but it's fine, because Leon HAS A GIRLFRIEND. You'd think Leon wouldn't want to appear so keen considering he's on his way to Gay Paree, but maybe it's just spray tans that give him gay panic. Jim and Helen are also sent ahead for Venture.

The PMs and their chosen assistants (Natasha for Tom, Zoe for Susan) head off to examine the products they'll be selling. There are ten British innovations not currently available in France, and although the inventors of all of these products are there to show off their wares, for some reason the candidates' first encounter with them all will be in a giant room with no people in it. Susan and Zoe attempt to make sense of a toy costing €2, and ultimately fail, while Natasha declares an electric bike retailing at just under €1,700 to be "quite appealing". Susan tells Zoe that she's looking for volume, and therefore wants products with mass-market appeal. One product they try out is a child's bean bag couch, which unfolds to reveal a sort of airbed thing, only instead of filling it with air, you shake the couch so that all the beans flow down into it (rrp €325). It looks like it'd be a pain in the arse to set up/take down, but it appeals to Susan's inherent childishness, not to mention her smallness. Natasha likes it too, but she and Tom have slightly more trouble setting it up. Next, they look at a postcard box that has cress in it, retailing at €10. I like cress as much as the next person (did anyone else ever have to grow cress for a primary school project, and then you got to make cress sandwiches at the end of term? That was the BEST DAY EVER), but this baffles me, quite frankly. Tom thinks it's sweet, Susan takes an instant dislike to it.

Next Susan and Zoe look at a "flexible gadget grip and display podium" (at least, that's what Susan calls it, reading from her notes. Zoe simply calls it a "spider thing". Unless she's daydreaming about a potential Spider-Man/Fantastic Four crossover). It looks like a load of pipecleaners, and I think the basic point of it is for people who change their phones quite often to be able to simply adapt it to fit whatever shape of gadget they currently own, rather than buy a new one every time. It's a nice idea, though I don't think I'd pay €18 for it when I could probably make one myself that was about as aesthetically appealing. Susan thinks it's expensive but innovative. Tom and Natasha look at a teapot light. Not a light for your teapot, you understand, but a light shaped like a teapot. Why? How? Why? It's €140, and Natasha thinks it's a good option, but Natasha seems to have felt this way about pretty much everything. She's basically the Charlotte at this point. Susan doesn't like the light, prompting Karren to give a mymumterview that Susan rushed around the room and decided far too quickly what she liked and what she didn't. Karren thinks this is incredibly decisive, but also immature. Karren clearly hates Susan so much. I think Karren and I might be soulmates. [Make that a weird menage a trois - Rad] Montage of Susan asking Susan-type questions: "Are the French eco-friendly? Do the French go camping? Are the French very fond of their children? Do the French have arms? Do French people have houses with roofs? Can French people read?" Seriously, after her behaviour this week and last, I really want to see what would happen if Susan had to talk to an old French person. I think it would BLOW HER MIND. Karren, in another despairing interview, points out that you do not have to have been to France to know whether French people love their children, and that the whole thing is "beyond stupid".

The final product that we see is a booster seat for kids that folds into a backpack. Zoe makes more sense out of this product than I managed by suggesting that you can pack your kids off to someone else for a lift, and they'll have no excuses because the booster seat is right there in the backpack. Also, I guess if you're on holiday or something and renting a car, this might be quite handy, though I bet once the novelty of wearing the booster seat on their back had worn off, you would have a seriously tired and cranky child to deal with. Tom likes the baby seat, and feels there's a massive market for it.

Embarrassing Eurostar Stock Footage. Susan rings Jim and Helen to tell them that they're keen on the booster seat, and the chair bed. Jim suggests they call some shops selling children's things, and Helen takes the first call, getting as far as "bonjour" before realising that she has "forgotten...the...English", so Jim takes over and asks "je voudrais parler au responsible de magazine, s'il vous plaît?" No, Jim, that was last week's task. Also, that was you. Fortunately, the person on the other end of the phone realises she's speaking to two English people with little to no grasp of the glorious French language, and shifts into English to help them out. Tom and Natasha phone Melody and Leon, and say that they're keen on the pop-up postcard, the teapot light (Melody: "very British, yah"), and the carseat rucksack. Melody is instantly not keen on this one, wondering why anyone would want to do this rather than leave it in the car. And I can kind of see her point here [ah but it'd be useful for folks with kids who don't own a car, so these would work as portable seats for any car you take your kids in. As someone who occasionally gives lifts to people with kids, this'd be useful - Rad]. Nick bitchterviews that Melody is expressing dislike of products that she hasn't even seen, completely missing the point where the design of the task dictates that half the teams are supposed to be conducting market research on PRODUCTS THEY HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN. So cram it sideways, Nick. Tom tells Melody and Leon he wants them to do market research, "completely independent of your own personal thoughts" (at which Melody pulls a face, or rather several faces), and after hanging up, Melody sniffs that they've not chosen the right products for Paris, adding that it's not like it's MANCHESTER or something [They don't have shoes in Paris? - Rad]. Or indeed Birmingham, where no one can afford a wedding dress. And where everyone is SO POOR. Leon thinks they should call back and say they're going to Paris, not a car boot sale. "Or 'Up North'," adds Melody, not content with alienating the viewers of just one city.

Now, a chance for the teams to meet the makers of the products, before they decide what they want to sell. Wouldn't it have made more sense for this point to come before they phoned the candidates on their way to Paris? Susan and Zoe meet a guy with some sort of espresso machine, which he says has been growing "slowly and organically" in the market place. Zoe interprets this as "it hasn't done very well", and she may not be entirely wrong. For once. Tom and Natasha meet the inventor of the teapot light, who insists that it's a quality product, though Tom still seems unsure. Zoe and Susan meet the inventor of Spider-Thing, and are charmed: Susan loves the product, Zoe loves the margin. Tom and Natasha meet the inventor of the Cress Card, and book it because it also has a good margin. Both teams are taken with the backpack carseat, and Tom relates to him as someone who has worked "in the baby industry before" (likely translation: has donated to a sperm bank in exchange for money). Tom likes it, but is unsure whether it's appropriate for the meeting they have as arranged by Sralan.

PARIS PORN! This is a nice change. Leon et Melody descendent dans le Metro, and Tom phones them to say that he wants more information about tomorrow's pitch, specifically whether the carseat backpack is something they'd be likely to want. It's slightly unclear here regarding how much of this message Leon and Melody actually hear, since the signal's dropping out, but they obviously get enough of it to pick up on Tom's keenness for this particular product, and Melody checks, in a tone of disbelief, that he's more interested in that than the teapot.

Melody decides that they should ask people which of the two products they prefer. She asks questions in French, and one man scoffs at the very idea of the teapot light. She explains the carseat backpack to him, and he seems to already be familiar with the general idea, interestingly. He says it's a good idea. Melody is slightly surprised by this. Another woman, also on the subject of the car seat, responds "oui, je pense que c'est une bonne idée". Now, my French is a little bit rusty (as you've probably gathered from my occasional attempts to drop it into the recap to look clever) but Melody's translation of this, for Leon's benefit, as "she thought that it was okay" seems rather distant from the actual truth.

Jim and Helen also conduct market research, on the street rather than in the Metro. They ask a woman who has a baby strapped to her chest (smart thinking) which product she likes best, and she's keen on the backpack carseat. Susan phones up, and Jim says that the consumers are keen on the rucksack, so Susan and Zoe decide on the car seat and Spider-Thing. Back in le Metro, a woman tells Susan that lots of people in Paris use the Metro (imagine a person on the Metro saying that!) and another says that families often use the Metro together. Melody interprets this as a clear vindication of her feelings on the carseat, while Leon tells her "this is great! First-hand research, you can't even fudge the figures." Admittedly, the editing of the shots doesn't always indicate which translation Melody was giving to which statement, so I don't know how much she was just being shafted by the show here, but I don't think it's a massive stretch to assume that she may have editorialised to some extent when translating.

Melody phones Tom and says that her research indicates that people here don't use cars very much, so the carseat might not have mass-market appeal. Tom asks for feedback on the teapot, and Melody reports that this was far more positive, and indicates that this is the better option. Nick pulls all sorts of blowfish faces in the background. Tom stresses to Natasha that three people on the team want the teapot, and he thinks he'd be a fool to go against that and pick the car seat, even though he passionately believes in it. Natasha's kind of bored of him at this point, so Tom tells Nick that they're going for the teapot lamp, and the postcards. Nick sends them off to Paris. [I don't get why they didn't go for the car seat and the lamp. I mean, the cress postcard thing? Why? - Rad]

Outside a café, Jim and Helen are cold-calling, trying to book appointment. Jim, without a shred of irony, begins one call with "'Allo 'allo?" Oh dear. He manages to book an appointment for "tomorrow demain" at noon. Melody calls up someone and asks if they speak English. He does, a little, so Melody continues the call in English. Leon doomedterviews that Melody's just got them six appointments, while he's not doing anything because he can't speak French. Even though Melody just made an appointment in English. And if you didn't pick Leon as this week's most likely boot when he openly admitted to NOT DOING ANYTHING, then I can only assume you have never seen this show before.

8pm. The other candidates arrive. "J'adore Paris!" Tom exclaims. Zoe and Susan gleefully display their products to Jim and Helen, as Helen fumbles her way around Spider-Thing and Susan once again earns super-lolz by demonstrating that she fits in the carseat. Susan's stature: the comedic gift that keeps on giving. Helen hands over a list of appointments for Susan and Zoe to attend, and offers to brief them. Susan says that this is exactly what she wanted.

Over in the Logic suite, Tom shows off the teapot light for Leon and Melody, to fits of giggles. Leon thinks it's expensive, and not what he pictured. Melody panics, having stood in strong support of this item, and backtrackterviews that this wasn't what she expected and it doesn't look like fine bone china. Tom interviews that he's disappointed with their reaction, but he thinks it still has strong selling points.

Huit heures le matin. Susan's team sets off to their individual meetings. Still at the hotel, Tom says that he wants everything to be fair, which Melody interprets as "the appointments that I spent time and effort making yesterday, you're going to take away from me?" Tom reminds her that this is a team game. Melody says that she's more than happy to set up some appointments for Tom and Natasha, but she's going to sell at the appointments she made. Tom: *dithers*

Jim and Zoe head off to a fancy boutique with an owner who speaks little English. The carseat backpack, which Jim claims to be "phenomenal popular dans le United Kingdom", is not well-received, and neither is Spider-Thing. Out on the road, Melody remarks that there's so much traffic. Indeed. If only, when attempting to discover how much the citizens of Paris use their cars, she'd actually LOOKED AT A ROAD instead of asking people who were on a subterranean railway system. I mean, who could've predicted this? She and Leon arrive at a ridiculous-looking design store, where the owner compliments Melody on her French. Melody shills the teapot light, doing a pretty good job of describing it as "contemporary" while also "classic". Because God knows in the 1920s you couldn't MOVE for teapot-shaped lights in the houses of the well-to-do. Le patron likes the Alice-in-Wonderland-ness of the product and places an order for 50, at a total of €3,250 for Melody's order book. Melody's hopes for a market for the teapot light are reignited.

Tom and Natasha head off to the fixed appointment at La Redoute, and Tom suggests flipping a coin to determine who gets to lead the pitch. Professional! Natasha counters with Scissors Paper Stone, and since Tom goes for paper and Natasha goes for scissors, she wins. I feel that both their decisions in that game were pretty much perfect as far as representations of their personalities go. They enter with their products covered over by a Union Jack (oh dear) and Natasha asks "parlez-vous Anglais?", and I hope that she at least had a back-up plan in case the answer had been "non." Natasha presents the teapot, in a pitch that starts well (singing the praises of bone china) and rapidly deteriorates (speculating on how people might say "that's fantastic!" upon seeing the product). Les Redoutes wonder what the minimum order would be, and Tom suggests ten. Nick duh-terviews that La Redoute is "one of the most formidable commercial organisations in France", and therefore ten units is absurd. One of the buyers questions whether they actually bothered to study the market properly before arriving at the ludicrous ten-unit decision, and Natasha attempts to salvage things by raising it to 50, but I think it's too late to save face at this point. In the car, Tom blames Melody for not researching La Redoute properly. I can appreciate he's annoyed that he asked her to do it and she didn't, but I think that reasoning only goes so far. After all, this appointment was set up by Sralan, and similar arrangements within the UK tend to involve large corporations that the candidates wouldn't have been able to gain access to by themselves, so a little bit of lateral thinking from Tom and Natasha here would've avoided that incredibly embarrassing situation.

Swish design shop. Jim and Zoe try to sell Spider-Thing, and land a trial order netting them €900. Meanwhile, Helen and Susan are heading for La Redoute, and Susan rings for a progress report, to discover that things are going slowly. In direct contrast to Tom and Natasha, Helen absolutely smokes the La Redoute presentation. It probably doesn't hurt that she was previously aware of the company, and has indeed shopped at La Redoute herself. She says that the carseat is a great product for the working woman, and when one of the buyers suggests the price is too high, she counters that the modern woman will pay anything for convenience, and she thinks their TARGET AUDIENCE OF WOMEN will consider this a reasonable price to pay, and not only that, but they can boast about being the first people to bring this product to France, showing how much they care about their customers' children's safety. Good answer. Also, the male buyer on the far-left of the table is very handsome. Not that this is relevant, but I thought it merited a mention.

Melody heads off to another home store, and sells some more teapot lights to another attractive Frenchman (that's it, I'm moving to Paris), while Leon also charms him into buying some Cress Cards. Outside, Melody and Leon discuss how they have great products that have gone down well with their appointments. From there, we segue ironically to Tom and Natasha, who are trying to fix appointments of their own, and Tom hits a wall with a woman who doesn't speak English at all, and ends up asking, in extremely scattered French, to speak to the "postcard manager". This appears to be one of many language barriers that give them problems. Tom closes a call by wishing someone a "bonne holiday" and signing off with "ciao!", so I'm guessing he really does think that's how you say goodbye in French. He is a DISGRACE to the name of Pellereau.

Stuck in the traffic that her market research told her didn't exist, Melody realises she can't get to all of those pitches, so she offloads one of her appointments to Tom and Natasha - one of the ones where she forgot to get a name for the contact. Heh. Tom runs his hands through his luscious hair.

Susan and Helen pitch at a design store, to a woman who seems unequivocally English, who likes the products, but not for her shop. She calls in for a progress report with Jim and Natasha, and Jim likens the process to "pushing treacle up a hill". Snerk. Susan advises them to keep an eye open for children's shops or mobile phone shops. Zoe's all "yeah, thanks, that hadn't occurred to us."

Tom and Natasha turn up to Melody's appointment at the interior design showroom, where they are told the teapot light is "an idea, not a concept", though the hard-to-please owner is more taken with the cress cards, and Natasha clocks up her first order of the day, for €1,015. Tom and Natasha are thrilled. Melody and Leon head to their final appointment, where Leon demands a chance to sell teapots instead of cress for a change. Melody is all "well, frankly I would've sold both products at every appointment but for some reason I pity you, so I threw you the cress as a life-line, but sure, non-French-speaking boy, go ahead. KNOCK YOURSELF OUT." The man who owns the shop is impressed with the teapot lights ("j'aime beaucoup!") and orders 35 at a total of €2,240. Then Melody sells the cress cards, saying she wants a big quantity order, and sells €3,800 worth of cards. Oh, Leon. That may have been the wrong time to assert your authority.

With all of their appointments over, the teams are hunting for random sales. Driving around Paris, Susan spots an independent phone shop that happens to have a big online store. She pitches Spider-Thing, very well I have to admit, and the woman in the shop orders 1,000 pieces initially, until Susan talks her up to 1,500 pieces at €7.50 each for a total of €11,250. "I've got Euro signs in my eyeballs now," Susan grins. She passes the tip-off on to Zoe and Jim to look for independent mobile phone shops and they run around the streets (with Zoe and Helen both bearing carseats on their backs, hee) looking for more places to pitch to. Melody calls Tom, who promptly drops the phone. Apparently she really is that scary. Leon asks Tom if he's made any sales. Tom non-answers that "we've had a lot of difficulties", and interviews that he hasn't made any sales by himself. They try to sell the postcards in a book shop, with no joy.

Sales time ends. Melody considers moving to Paris and setting up a business. Around 8 million residents of the UK respond "don't let us stop you". In the Apprentaxi Of Irony, now Jim and Zoe can see nothing but mobile phone shops as far as the eye can see. Back to smelly old England, and the boardroom.

The phone rings, and NotFrances sends them in. Sralan asks Venture if Susan was a good team leader. Jim thinks she made a bold move to become PM, which Sralan thinks is not the answer he wanted, so Jim responds that he didn't see a lot of Susan, but she led from the front when it came to sales. Susan explains that they picked the backpack carseat and Spider-Thing because she wanted products that weren't too niche, at which point Karren leaps into action regarding Susan's idiotic questions from earlier, like "do the French love their children?" and "do the French drive?" Helen, not having been present when this happened, quietly cracks up. Susan explains that she's never been to France, and Karren points out that you don't really need to have been to France to answer those questions. Susan responds that she didn't mean for it to be a naive (she pronounces it to rhyme with "knife") question, she just wondered if the French focused on products for their children, or are they more interested in electronics. Karren's all "then SAY THAT, you fucking idiot."

Over to Logic, and Sralan asks the team whether Tom was a good leader. Leon says that he felt Melody was more of a de facto team leader. Melody says that they didn't feel much of a PM presence from Tom. Tom says that he felt Melody was more interested in her own ideas than anything he had to say. The producers lean heavily on Sralan's shoulder, and he consults the rushes from a few days ago and asks whether anyone might have had a favourite product, Tom? Tom takes the cue and says that he liked the car seat, at which point Melody explains that her "market research" suggested that the Parisians used the Metro rather than cars. Sralan scoffs at this, and saying that every time he sees a picture of the "Trump's Elle-eye-sis" (no, really, this is how he says it) there's a bladdy traffic jam. Melody agrees that they discovered this was true later in the game, but FOUR WHOLE PEOPLE in their research said that the French didn't drive, and she couldn't possibly have ignored that. Sralan openly laughs at this. Sralan asks who took the pitch for La Redoute, and Tom says it was him and Natasha, before unwisely going on to add that they flipped a coin to decide who'd lead it. Sralan asks if they really flipped a coin. Tom: "Effectively." Oh dear.

Time for some numbers, then. Nick reveals that Logic sold strongly to small retailers, and brought in sales of €11,705. Karren reveals that Venture beat them on that front, bringing in €14,699. As for La Redoute, thanks to Helen's awesome pitch, Venture got an order of €214,000. And Logic? Got zilch. Melody is HORRIFIED by this, and her head is spinning Exorcist-style between Tom and Natasha as she tries to determine which one of them is the biggest fuck-up. Sralan declares this "an annihilation", and congratulates Venture on their record. Their reward will be flying lessons. They scamper outside and hug.

Reward time! I note that Jim is wearing an aviator-style leather jacket, just for the occasion. The instructor tells them to get used to the controls, because they'll be landing the plane. Judging from the amount of noise Susan makes, I think it's a testament to the human spirit of the person teaching her that he didn't just charge the plane straight into ground and put them both out of their misery. Helen grinterviews afterwards that she's worked out that, on the basis of the deal she made with La Redoute, she could've bought Sralan two of these planes. Heh. I love that Helen's suddenly getting a bit of an ego. It suits her.

Loser Café. I hope the tea is served in bone china cups, and that the teapot has a light in it. Tom says that they lost purely on the basis of not choosing the booster rucksack, and that he felt if he'd forced that product on the three of them, they would've deliberately not bothered to sell it to sabotage him. I think that's a bit of a reach, to be honest. I'm also not entirely convinced that he could've got the same size of order from La Redoute as Helen did, because he probably would've asked for a minimum order of three or something. Melody sniffs outside that of course Tom's saying they should've gone for the car seats now, but her job was to give him market research, and that's what she did. Sort of. After a fashion. Tom interviews that he's feeling vulnerable because he didn't sell anything, but is hoping that since Sralan isn't looking for a salesperson this time, he's still in with a chance.

Back in the boardroom. NotFrances sends them all through. Sralan asks who wants to open, and Tom takes the lead, saying that he feels they lost on the basis of one very big order. Karren points out that this isn't true, because they lost on independent sales as well. Tom tries another approach, saying that he was the only one to spot the potential of the carseat - however, this time the usual "the project manager didn't listen" approach is scuppered somewhat by the fact that the project manager who didn't listen was in fact Tom himself. Sralan tells Tom he should've gone with his gut instinct. Tom claims that he made this decision based on a lack of information on the major pitch they were doing, and he'd asked Melody and Leon to do some research, which they didn't do. Melody disputes the level of forcefulness with which Tom made this request (really, Melody? Claiming that you couldn't hear properly because of a lack of reception might have worked, but this feels like an automatic hiding to nowhere) and Nick chimes in saying that at 12.15 precisely, Tom called and asked them to look into La Redoute. Melody dances around the idea for a bit, at which point Sralan asks her simply to tell him if they looked into La Redoute. Here, Leon does everyone involved a favour and admits it didn't happen. Melody counters that she was asked to do market research - "chip in if you will, Leon" - and relayed all of this information back. Sralan finds the whole "chip in if you will, Leon" thing hilarious and points out that Leon really isn't doing much in this boardroom, and making it easy for Sralan to fire him.

Leon explains that Melody did all the talking back in Paris, because she was speaking French, "of which I cannot speak". Except you just did. Apparently French isn't the only language Leon has trouble with, if that's what his grasp of English is like. He says that his contribution was to do some drawings of the products. Leon lies that Melody was speaking in French "the entire team" and he, just in case we've forgotten, can't speak French. Sralan points out that a lot of the people they went to see spoke English.

Sralan turns back to Tom, with reference to the teapot light, and explains that La Redoute sells a wide range of products, including lighting. He wonders why Tom went in with ten as a minimum purchase. Melody expresses surprise at this point that Tom did the pitch at all, since she thinks she and Leon have a better sales record than Tom and Natasha. I wonder if Tom might have been slightly more willing to let Melody do the La Redoute pitch if she hadn't thrown him out of her sandbox that morning regarding the appointments she'd set up. Nick makes this point for me, saying that Melody was greedy and wanted to do all the pitches. Sralan asks how many appointments Melody gave away, and it turns out to have just been that one, where Natasha made over €1,000 worth of sales of cress. Karren wonders at this point if Melody hadn't realised it was a team effort, since on Venture Jim made appointments for everyone. I think the whole "team effort" thing is belied slightly by the fact that they were given individual order books. Melody explains that she totally got the team effort thing, since she let Leon sell at some of her appointments. Leon's all "yes, that is what happened."

Sralan asks Tom who he's bringing back, and Tom picks Leon, for not doing anything, and Melody, for asking the wrong questions in the market research. Melody: "You should've given me that direction on the day. I sold €8,000, Tom - how much did you sell?" Ooh, burn. Tom declares this "irrelevant", which Leon and Melody vocally disagree with. Sralan calls Natasha "very lucky" for escaping this, as Melody sniffs that Natasha made precisely one sale, but nonetheless, Natasha is free to go back to Entrepreneur Estates, yeah?

Tom, Melody and Leon are temporarily dismissed. Nick thinks that people like Tom, while Melody pushes people too far, though they can't pretend she's a failure because her sales figures were impressive. Karren, since she can't advocate for the firing of Susan, wonders what Leon did besides drawing a teapot. Nick thinks Leon was dazzled by Melody, and thinks that both he and Tom need to stand up for themselves and be more manly. Out in the waiting room, Leon is all "excuse me, I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND, thank you very much."

The phone rings. Tom stands up. NotFrances tells them they can go in, Tom looks a bit embarrassed at having jumped the gun. Heh. Sralan points out that the carseat was the winning product here, and that Melody had spoken out against it after her market research. Melody agrees that her questioning had not offered widespread support for the idea, at which point Nick points out that she'd never been a fan of it. Melody adds that "common sense" told her people wouldn't want to put a car seat into a bag. Sralan says that she was wrong on that score, because it was a popular product: "do you know anything about products, Melody?" he asks. Melody says that she's not in product development. Sralan digs out her REZ-HOO-MAY and asks about her awards: Volunteer of the Year; Woman of the Future; Outstanding Asian Woman Achievement (I'm not sure that last one scans very well). Sralan asks her what she does to get these awards, and Melody explains that she works in the youth sector to improve the lives of young people. Melody continues that last year she set up her own business with no capital and no brand (and there's a bit more about it here, if anyone's interested). Sralan asks her what her business is, and she says that it's a global consultancy business, to improve young people's skills and help them with their own projects. That all sounds...reassuringly vague. Sralan asks her if it's a business for profit, and well, of course it is. When was the last time you saw someone from the charity sector on this show? He says that he's looking to set up a business with someone, not "another government" (although frankly given the state of the current one, I'd be willing to consider any alternatives he or Melody might have to offer), and Melody assures him that her business project is very profitable.

Sralan turns to Leon, and points out that he's been hiding behind the language barrier for the whole task. He reminds him that when he started out in business, his suppliers were mainly in Asia and he didn't speak any of their languages, but he had to communicate with them to run his business. Leon admits this was an "oversight", but that he was still selling during the task, and assumed that they were being judged solely on figures, and if it came down to who sold the which point Sralan interjects: "she did." He throws in another comment about Melody hogging the sales for herself, prompting Melody to grouse that no one else was trying very hard to set appointments up, and Tom and Natasha could've done their own. To my great relief (because despite everything that's happened this week, I still kind of love Melody) Sralan says he doesn't care if she was hogging the sales, because that shows fighting instinct and a desire to win. Leon chips in that he hasn't heard Tom sell anything. Tom says that his biggest frustration was the people he asked to do things not doing them. He thinks that Melody's biggest priority was "making sure her arse was completely covered", and I think that's a false lead: Melody's biggest priority was selling as much as she could. I don't think she particularly cared about covering her arse, because if she had, she wouldn't have done such a haphazard job of talking Tom out of picking the carseat.

Tom tells Sralan that this is the first time he's been in the boardroom, and it's not because he's won every task. (Sralan: "That's for sure." Hee.) Tom continues that on every task he's added value to his team, but Melody disagrees: she thinks that while he has strengths, he also has weaknesses, and the numbers on this task speak for themselves. Tom sold nothing all day. Tom makes a weak claim that he split the sales between him and Natasha, but Sralan reminds him that he had no sales, full stop, and wonders why that is. Leon: "Because you can't sell?" Tom then tries to lay the (big old plate of) blame for the failure of the La Redoute pitch with Natasha, even though he was the one who suggested a potential order of ten units, and Karren accuses him of not taking it seriously, because he suggested flipping a coin to decide who led the pitch. Tom: "We did an equivalent." Karren: "What did you do?" Tom: (realising how terrible this sounds) "We did...paper-scissors-stone." Karren: *look of utter disbelief* Melody: *look of unrestrained glee*

Sralan says that he wanted to give Tom a chance with his history of inventing, selling and distributing, because that appeals to him, but he's done fairly terribly here. Tom tries the patented Susan Ma "I run my own business" approach, and Sralan asks him for details of this alleged business. Tom says that he's created his own products, branded them, patented them, been to China to source the components, and sold 35,000 to his first distributor. He thinks he has the potential to be bigger than Dyson.

Time for a firing. Sralan likes Melody's hunger and her moxie, so she's safe for now. Besides, he points out that Tom and Leon are equally as responsible for her riding roughshod all over them as she is, since it's not like either of them tried very hard to tell her she couldn't. So it's between Tom and Leon. Leon did nothing, while Tom did everything wrong. The editors want us to think Tom's going, but he gets a last-minute reprieve, and instead it's Leon who's fired for being useless. Sralan tells Tom that he's being allowed to stay because of his potential, but he's rapidly running out of chances. He advises Tom to take a leaf out of Melody's book, because she's a tiger. I for one am very much in favour of a TOM AND MELODY SUPER TEAM OF AWESOME, though if Tom is to take a leaf out of anyone's book at this point, it should probably be Helen's. Or perhaps Susan's.

Leon hugs and kisses Melody. He does not do the same for Tom, because he has a girlfriend. Coatwatch: fairly standard, black and boring. Accessorised with a nifty scarf, but in a totally heterosexual way, obviously. Leon taxinterviews that he's disappointed to have been fired because he saw himself making the final and working with Sralan. He thought he was everything Sralan was looking for, but he just didn't see it. I've had post-breakup conversations like that myself.

Entrepreneur Estates. Zoe's wondering what the sales figures were like, and Natasha tells her that Melody sold €8,000 worth of product, which Jim thinks will have saved her. However, Natasha adds, Melody only created appointments for herself. Zoe sniffs that this is not really working in the team spirit. Seriously, Zoe says that. I'll leave a little pause here until you're finished recovering from your convulsive fit of laughter.

All done? Good.

Tom and Melody return to a fairly muted reception. Melody highlights the part of the boardroom where Sralan read out her list of awards and said how commendable that was, because that's exactly what Melody would do in this situation. Tom congratulates Helen for her unbroken winning streak, and Zoe thinks Helen's put herself on the radar with that sale [like Liz Locke? Poor Helen, so brilliant, so doomed - Rad].

Next week: biscuits! With popcorn. An emergency biscuit, perhaps. Tom and Melody attempting to be a super team of awesome. Should be good.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mag Men (and women)

Week 7 Transmission date: 15 June 2011

Last week’s episode was rubbish (ho ho). £6 separated the teams but thanks to the holy influence of Saint Helen, Logic earned their first win. Leon did nothing yet again, and avoided the boardroom yet again, whilst Zoe and Susan fought yet again and Edna was fired for no real reason other than Sralan didn’t really like her, she had an MBA and she hadn’t fulfilled her crazy potential so there wasn’t much point in keeping her on. At least she left in a pink pashmina.

This week! 5.45 am and a sleepy looking Melody (fully dressed and in eye make up though, so either she didn’t bother getting changed from the night before, or she’s a very quick dresser) answers the phone. They’re heading to Fleet Street and all the candidates think it’s to do with newspapers or media. I have to say, this is a somewhat logical location. Somewhat, anyway, given newspapers don’t really get made there now and I’m not sure many magazines ever did. They head to a building where Rupert Murdoch’s media empire once was before it crumbled and all that was left is a great glass elevator - or something, given we’re not told what the building actually is these days. Sralan tells the candidates that in this new age of newspaper decline the biggest thing to get into is free glossy ‘premium’ magazines, which “the industry” call freemiums. If this is true, then I snort at the industry. The candidates have to make one. Fun task but I think making a free newspaper would be even funnier (come on, it has to beat thelondonpaper. And the Grimsby Target). [I quite liked thelondonpaper. It was better than the Evening Standard, though I realise that's hardly a ringing endorsement. - Steve]

Jim is moved over to Venture and Leon to Logic. They haven’t lost good luck charm Helen, so let’s see if she can go for an unbroken run of wins only to become the Naomi/Miriam competent female pointless evictee come shopping channel week. The teams have to get advertising space. In the car to meet the ad agencies, Helen says they need to be prepared to sell their souls and make any old rubbish mag if it’ll appeal to the advertisers. Over at the ad agency, we meet the boss, and a bit of my soul dies a little when he is revealed to be Mike Soutar. Mike Soutar of Smash Hits! Ver Hits! Mike Soutar worked there along with Alex Kadis (bloke or ladybloke?), Sylvia Patterson, Sian Pattenden, Mark Frith before he became a tedious ‘celebrity’, and Kipper Williams on the cartoons in its glory days. Those journalists were my heroes dammit. OK, so he ruined it somewhat by editing a lads’ mag – but at least that was a magazine. Advertising wouldn’t be so bad if he created the adverts. But you don’t, do you Mike? If I’d ever won a Black Type tea-towel I’d be weeping into it now.

He tells them if they’re going to create a hit launch they need to understand their readers (except no-one’s actually going to read this, are they??) and meet their print deadlines.

Over at Team Cunt (aka Venture), Jim and Zoe meet – apparently it’s the first time they’ve worked together. Logic are led by Natasha. Tom wants to do a cute baby mag and that would have probably had the effect on me that the kittehs had on Steve, but Natasha wants to go for a lads’ mag, because they’re ‘for lads, yeah’.
Jim (Venture PM) is leaning towards over-60s. He says it’s a big market. We see him in a pre-recorded video interview saying he can take people’s hearts and minds and make them do what he wants them to do. A+ for the editors on that one. Zoe thinks the over-60s is challenging but seems to like something else. Glenn likes it. Susan has a face like a wet weekend as usual but goes along with it.

Logic flick through FHM. Tim thinks it’s a bit gross, Helen doesn’t think Mercedes Benz would advertise in it. Natasha says ‘porn sells’. Helen tries to say something about professional men but Natasha’s all BORING! TITS! ARSE! YAY! Surely there are enough paid-for mags doing this without the need for a free one?

Susan and Glenn are on the way to a bowling club to meet some old people. Susan wants to ask ‘what do you guys do?’ Glenn: ‘Bowl’. Heh. They have a focus group with some of them. One reads The Economist, one Viz. They all point out that normally over 60s wouldn’t touch magazines for their age group as it makes them feel old. One woman says she wants things that will suit their lifestyle – holidays, skiing etc. Susan: what about things to train your brain BECAUSE YOU ARE SO OLD, like crosswords? The woman: Absolutely not! And no knitting, either. Glenn suggests humour. They throw some names at them, including ‘Free 60’ ‘vita life’ (another lady: it’s like something I’d feed my cat’. Did she miss the bus to last week’s focus group?) ‘First Lady’ ‘Eternal’ – the older people think their ideas are stupid and Susan’s a patronising young upstart. I mean they were too polite to say it but that’s what they were thinking. The men laugh and say you want to face it head on so how about ‘Zimmer’. Susan fails to laugh along. She really has no rapport with any actual grown-ups, does she?

Logic have a focus group with lads. Helen and Tim lead it and the guys want a magazine with a higher tone. Helen phones back and says they were interested in the idea of business and making money, not tits. She tells Natasha they want tasteful and naked-free. Natasha’s all. Nah, tasteful isn’t a USP. We want to be like every other lads’ mag out there. That’ll be what makes us unique. She asks Helen to shoot names at them. They go for Covered. Melody likes it. Natasha’s like BOOORING.

Glenn and Susan ring back and say the focus group hated the names and they need to be satirical. Zoe: Coffin Dodgers? Glenn: Pension Mention. Because that’s HILARIOUS and not at all weird. Jim: I don’t think we should mention pensions. Heh. Glenn: Old Boot? The Old Soak? Susan: What’s a term that you call an old person? Jim: Golden Oldies? Susan then tries to be all poetic and looks to the sky dream-like going ‘young-hearted. Old looking but young hearted’ whilst Glenn’s all young at heart, young at heart at her. How is it that these two so misjudged the focus group, when Zoe got it straight away and she wasn’t even there? Zoe suggests being hip or ‘Hip replacement’. Jim jumps on this, despite it being a rubbish name. Glenn likes it and Susan sulks. She asks if it’s a bit too sensitive. Jim asks if they’re all on board. Susan says no but she’ll support it anyway. Zoe says it’s needs to be about 60 being the new 30 and getting fit and active, getting into fashion etc.

Leon is doing a front cover with a drawing of a stick man suggests they have innuendos like ‘how do you blow your load?’ Natasha loves it. She wants the cover to be a ‘dirty secretary’. Helen asks if it’ll appeal to their target market, thinking of the focus group. Natasha ‘well, what we’ve got to remember is our focus group was focussed’. Er? She basically ignores the focus group as have all apprenti in every series ever. The photo shoot is a woman in a bikini, business jacket, hard hat and straddling a surfboard. Not sure of the logic here. Karen looks all ‘this is a feminist fail’ and tells the camera that the advertisers won’t want to stand next to anyone in a bikini. Um?

Susan asks her models to ‘do something spontaneous, like ‘Woah’’. They look like they’re posing for catalogues. There is a potentially interesting shot of them boxing, but Glenn goes for a boring hugging shot. Zoe and Jim look at sample layouts. Zoe likes a kind of funky angled one. Jim goes for a static conservative cover. Zoe worries that they’re straying from the brief and taking the irony out of it. Jim says ‘I’m just playing with it’.

Natasha and Melody go into the street asking men how they blow their load. Most of them look rather frightened. Leon takes a photo of a man’s boxer shorts but HE’S NOT GAY REMEMBER?

Jim tells the designer to put articles on the cover about insurance and holidays. Zoe sulks. Melody decides she suddenly loves working on a lads’ mag. Natasha tells Tim and Helen they’re going with ‘how to blow your load’. Helen and Tim are all ‘no, that’s gross, are we not raising the tone?’ Natasha’s all ‘no, sorry, bye’. Natasha’s not exactly leading a team here, is she? It’s just her own ego trip.

Venture are talking about who will pitch. Glenn says he just pitches when he’s there and Susan says she’s never pitched before. Jim thinks the team should be more enthusiastic? Sour Susan, Sulky Zoe and Gormless Glenn, enthusiastic? Wrong team, Jim. They all volunteer him.

The magazine proofs arrive. They’re both quite well designed inside with rather dull covers, and both the complete opposite of the mags the focus groups asked for. They’re on the way to meet the media buyers who will be buying advertising space.

First buyers – Carat. Leon pitches and says it’s nice looking at naked women [OKAY LEON, YOU'RE HETEROSEXUAL, WE GET IT - Steve], but they want to focus on the money aspect. The media buyers say it’s a crowded market but Logic say they’ve got articles about making money so that’ll stand out. They all know their figures in terms of the advertising space – Natasha says the back cover ad will be free if the buyers purchase all the advertising, at a cost of £103,000.

Jim pitches to Carat. They hate the title Hip Replacement. Jim says the demographic don’t want to be patronised. Carat asks their prices. Jim says it’s on the rate card. Carat say we don’t use the rate card, we negotiate. Jim says they won’t negotiate. Oops. Susan remembers Nick wants her to be their Cassandra so says she’s worried they’re being too tight about the prices. Jim doesn’t seem to understand.

At Mediacom, Logic are bitching about who will pitch. Helen thinks Leon did well last time. Natasha says alright, but she is ‘uber, 110% (DRINK!) taking the last one’. Natasha then tries to pitch all over Leon and it’s incredibly messy and rude and horrible and reminds the ad agency that ‘we are a lads mag, yeah?’ The ad agency lady says their spend has massively gone down because people don’t understand lads as they are now. Natasha doesn’t really understand this but does offer to drop her prices to £1500 a page after the lady balks at them.

Jim’s pitch this time is much more assured and confident. The woman says she bought into it, but isn’t keen on the name and thinks their articles are a bit patronising. She asks if they’ll be willing to do £2000 a page and they say yes.
Melody suggests they do a softer pitch. Natasha says no, because they’ll get raped (well, she says they don’t want to drop their pants for them but it equates to the same thing). Ugh, Natasha is vile. She then pitches to the third agency, Maxus, with a ‘yeah’ as every third word. The advertisers asks how men will feel about ‘blow your load’. Natasha’s only response is ‘it’s a lads’ mag, yeah?’ They say it’s like they’ve gone back in time to the 90s and the magazine will offend about 80% of men. Middle advertising man looks like he’s about to burst – and it doesn’t change when Venture come in. The lady at this ad agency says they have someone in a CARDIGAN, although they like the travel feature. The agency identify a gap in the market and suggest they get a 50% discount. The agency say some people give away advertising for free. Jim says he preferred 50% and they end up going for that. Jim’s been really unconfident in all these pitches – so much for his Jedi mind tricks.

Boardroom time, and Natasha looks smugger than the tea shop and organza ladies from shopping week put together. She tells Sralan that it’s a Lads’ mag but with business. Sralan ‘like the FT with a swimwear section?’ He asks Helen and Tom about the focus group and they tell him what they wanted. ‘So then you made THIS?’ Natasha says advertisers could be people selling ‘alco-ho’ – I do not want to know what that is – and strip clubs. Tim and Helen cry that they tried to make it classy. Sralan likes that they did a feature on last week’s task.

Jim says that everyone on their team wanted over-60s except Susan who sat on the fence in case the idea was rubbish and she could use being against it as her defence in the boardroom. Sralan says the Hip Replacement joke doesn’t really work. Nick says they came up with some ropey names like Pension Mention and Coffin Dodger. I liked Coffin Dodger myself, it seemed to go with the focus group, but there we are. [I liked Coffin Dodger too. If you had the right editorial approach, you could in theory make it work. Not that I would trust this batch of lamebrains to get it right. - Steve]

Figures. Maxus didn’t like Covered but spent £9000 anyway. They took £12000 for Hip Replacement. MediaCom thought Covered was dated but took £7500 and £16850 on HR. Carat hated HR and bought nothing, but they liked Covered and bought every page for £60,000. Sralan says he doesn’t like Covered’s front cover, but they win, so they get to go fencing. I’m glad they got a shitty prize because Natasha was a dick (A BIG ONE. COS SHE’S A LAD INNIT. YEAH) this week. Melody kills everyone at the fencing. Sadly not literally. Natasha makes a terrible breast-related joke I won't lower myself to repeat.

Loser café. Susan pouts and swishes her hair. Glenn says they lost because of the first pitch and not lowering the prices. Jim says it was because they didn’t like the name. Susan says it was because of the market. Zoe says you can’t back out at this late stage. Susan whines that the team were opposed to her ideas. What ideas, other than ‘Old looking but young at heart’, princess? Jim tries to blame everything on the name – the name he was very keen on when Zoe suggested it. Susan whines that she didn’t like the name. Sralan tells Zoe that the concept of 60 is the new 30 isn’t in there. Zoe says they changed the font behind her back. Jim says she was there and they argue a bit. I’m not clear which of them is telling the truth although we did see Zoe arguing for a different masthead. Jim said all he wanted for the cover was ‘a young couple who are younger than their age’. Makes. No. Sense. Jim says the photo they went with was the only one they could use. Glenn and Zoe point out there were lots of other photos that Jim ignored. Sralan says the content is patronising.

Sralan moves onto the pitching. Jim says the failure is down to contribution and cowardliness, and then says a lot of percentages very quickly which make no sense. Susan says she ‘put her hand forward’ to pitch. Liar. Jim says they should stop defending against her because they’ll look like they’re shooting Bambi. Jim says OK she did say she’d do it but in a half-hearted way. Nick points out that Jim didn’t negotiate. Sralan asks why they didn’t negotiate with the first one but did with the others. Jim says they went into the others ‘more informed’ – Sralan says you realised you cocked up, more like. He then asks who was to blame. Jim says Susan, closely followed by Glenn, closely followed by Zoe. He then says ‘I was the project manager that they loved, and then led them to defeat’. Jim’s full-on lost it, hasn’t he?

Sralan, Nick and Karren talk about Jim always covering his arse, Susan being a mouse and Glenn being average. I am really hoping the winner of this series is in the current incarnation of Logic and that they are not Natasha. Or Leon.
Susan whines that she has her own business as her defence. Sralan says ‘oooh, the mouse roared’. Is Susan a mouse? I’m inclined to think of her more of a one stringed violin being played constantly. Or fingernails down a blackboard. Jim says she sometimes whispers and sometimes she doesn’t say anything at all, and she didn’t say anything on pricing. Nick points out that she did suggest they slash prices, and that she was ‘at it all the time’. In your (quite frankly disturbing) dreams, Nick. Jim says he pointed this out in the third pitch. Sralan smirks. Nick’s all ‘Susan smells of roses and kitteh’.

Sralan calls Glenn a Del Boy then says he’s an engineer. I don’t entirely see the logic here. [That's because this is Venture. Ho ho ho. - Steve] Glenn says he’s done things himself. Jim says he had to rescue his pitch. Glenn says Jim’s a control freak. Nick says he is a control freak.

Karren says he’s a passive aggressive. I don’t think he’s that passive about his aggression. Jim says he made mistakes and he feels the noose tightening on his lack of negotiation. He says Susan should be fired for being all style and no substance. Susan she says she did everything he asked. He says she didn’t pitch. Jim points out she brought no enthusiasm to the task. Susan plays the ‘I want this Sralan’ card. I am this close to stabbing my telly. I just hope she’s fired before my turn to recap comes round again. She then plays the ‘I am 21’ card. Glenn says ‘stop playing the age card’. She says when they were 21 they did nothing, unlike her. I do NOT get why people on YerFired were cheering her name later on. Alright, there are several horrible specimens of humanity on this year’s show (*Cough* Jim. *Cough* Natasha. *Cough* Zoe (although I actually secretly like Zoe)) but she is one of the vilest.

Sralan says Jim never takes responsibility, Glenn has no USP and Susan shouldn’t use her age as an excuse but he doesn’t like engineers so Glenn’s fired. Pfft. I hate Susan but even I think Jim should have gone that week. Sralan says he’s ‘saw a glimmer’ in Jim somewhere, so he’s saving him for interviews to be ripped apart, and he can’t get rid of Susan or Nick would cry.

Coatwatch: Black I think. We don’t get to see it much. Stripy scarf. Taxinterview – Glenn never failed at one thing. Except impressing Lord Sugar. At the house, they all think Jim or Susan will go. Zoe looks gutted, presumably because she was seeing Glenn at this point. Next week: the International trip! Back to Paris, so presumably the French have forgiven the apprenti for Makro cheese! Hooray!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Too ... many ... possible jokes about rubbish

Week 6: 8th June 2011

Last week, the apprentices were tasked with creating pet food. Team Logic were so bad, so very bad, in the eyes of Sralan, that they lost to the ever-triumphant Galvanised, despite the fact that Galvanised's product was called 'CatSize. Cats' Eyes. Because cats have eyes. And are the size of cats. See their light. See, they're light! The light that they have because they are Cats' Eyes. And their size is smaller. So they're light! But they are still CatSize. Because they're still cats. That have eyes' and was sold via the medium of a gay cat talking Polari. Ellie went home because she never done nothing, Vincent Dinosaur went home because he did stuff but kind of sucked, and Jim's blatant manipulations came to the fore so much that even Sralan noticed.

Edna answers the phone. She looks really worried the entire time. NotFrances tells her that they're going to Smuggler's Way, to wear hi-vis gear, and that the cars will be there in twenty minutes. Susan and Melody both seem averse to steel toe shoes. Edna gets all hot and horny about the thought of going to a building site to the extent that she says she needs a cold shower. Builders, Edna? Really? To each their own. [All things considered, I'm surprised Ellie got out alive. - Steve]

In the car with Jim, Melody asks him to explain why Logic sucks so horribly, horribly badly, though she couches it in terms of the name. 'That's why I came up with the name Venture, cos it's a winning name, and now I'm not on the team!'. Whatever, Melody, it's no Galvanised.

They get to Smuggler's Way, a big dump in south London. Sralan spends about fifty minutes saying 'Where there's muck there's brass' and moves Helen to Logic because the teams are unbalanced. The teams have to collect waste, dispose of it, and make profit. Someone will be fired. And so on and so forth.

In the car, Natasha says she's worked in construction and property for years, so will be good at this. Helen looks on impassively.

They go off to anyjunk, which was started with a single truck and is now a super-duper big hayooge mega business, so think on, Apprentices. See what you can do etc. The boss man says useful things, including 'You make money by charging people to take away waste'. Remember that for later. He also says that people will know the ropes so don't rip them off, basically, and that it costs about £115 a tonne to dispose of rubbish.

I find this task really really odd. I once worked in facilities management. It was dreadful, but I do remember a fair bit and there are Waste Carrier Licences and Waste Transfer Notes and hazardous materials rules and the WEEE directive to consider, and I'm not remotely convinced that they're doing this properly and possibly are falling foul of many many rules that they're breaking.

Leon and Glenn both say, in short, that they want to do the heavy lifting because they're so masculine and manly and grrrr butch and totally have a girlfriend and hopefully being shown lifting things will counteract the terrible pall cast over Leon by spray tanning a dude once. Susan says that she's got no experience, but will be PM if nobody wants to. Not super-enthusiastic, but I didn't doubt that she was willing to do it. Zoe pulls the first of a million sour bitch faces and says 'Right, I'll do it, we're wasting time by talking about it'. Susan just said she'd do it. Shut up. Zoe is just straight up repellent this episode, you guys. She to-cameras that she turned a company around from loss to profit, and she doesn't like talking, she likes doing blah blah. Leon asks if they're not going to vote and Zoe says you can, if you like, but that's something that a gay would do, are you sure you want to Leon, why not be manly and just get up and do it and make Zoe PM because she's wicked? Glenn and Leon then vote for her, suitably chastened, and she's PM [Has Leon been PM yet? Has Leon done anything useful yet? - Rad].

Over at Logic, Melody says whoever can get a win needs to be PM. Superstar Helen says she'll do it and Logic are still kind of punchdrunk from losing so much so just roll over at the first sign of somebody showing competence and authority. Tom says that they should be looking for metals and high-value stuff to make the profits by selling it on; Helen agrees and there we go.

The teams get dressed in their rubbish-collecting outfits to go off and find random trade. Wait, that sounded wrong. Rubbish-collecting trade. Tom and Jim, and Glenn and Leon, are the ones roaming the streets. The rest are going off to see some of Sralan's patented pre-arranged meetings.

Tom and Jim drive around, with Jim on a loudhailer saying they're collecting junk. They park outside a house and Jim just yells at the house; nobody comes out. Tom then asks if they can just steal a barbecue from outside somebody's house. Jim tells him no. [Sometimes I wonder if Tom's aware he's being filmed. - Steve]

Natasha and Melody squabble. Helen tries to rein them in. First of Sralan's contacts is a refit of a bar; Voiceover Dude tells us that to get rid of their waste, the builders would 'expect to pay about £100'. There's a whole lot of stainless steel sinks; because of this, Helen decides to take it all away for free because they can make a profit on selling it on. Karrren queries the wisdom of this. Once they're outside, Melody also isn't sure about the quote, and takes Natasha to task for claiming expertise when she works in construction recruitment, not construction proper. Natasha claims that she didn't do any such thing. She totally did. They bicker on and on, mostly only notable for Natasha saying 'the horse, the train has left the station'. I'm Team Melody in this argument, but they're both being fairly objectionable. Natasha to-cameras that none of them would know what to do, but Melody handed her 'a big plate of blame and said, “There you go, fancy a bite?”'. Shut up, Natasha.

At the bar, Susan and Zoe argue round and around about how much the rubbish weighs. Susan just says 'Are you sure it doesn't go over a tonne?' and Zoe just goes OFF on one about how she's hasn't got scales in her head, she can't weigh stuff with her eyes, it's not a simple question because if it was simple Susan wouldn't be asking it. So unpleasant today. They end up offering to take it away for £150.

In the car, Susan says she would have done it for free. Zoe asks if she's trying to sabotage it. Susan looks bewildered.

Logic gets the contract, because they're doing it for free. Melody doubts it's a good idea.

Glenn and Leon get £110 to take away some builders' waste. Then we get a montage of Tom and Jim, basically running around, diving into skips, rooting through bins, knocking on doors saying 'Can we have your old metal taps bikes sinks doorknobs metal anything metal can we have it?' and failing utterly.

Sralan's next contact is clearing office furniture. Helen again offers to do it for free; Melody again voices her doubts. Then, Zoe and Edna and Susan discuss it. Zoe wants to offer £100 to clear it all; Edna agrees but Susan says it should be higher because it's not competitive enough. Zoe's all, what, you moron? Susan says that they're paying to take it away, right, so they can sell it? Zoe asks if Edna is 'on my hymnsheet'; Edna is. Nick pulls an epic sourface. Zoe says she doesn't know what's in Susan's head and just about stops short of calling her retarded and pushing her down the stairs. Susan says maybe she got the wrong end of the stick. Nick to-cameras (clearly from earlier on, at anyjunk) that he 'hopes they were listening to the briefing. That'll be the briefing where the man said to charge people. Oh, Apprentice misdirection! You so cunning. Zoe offer £100; the dude's like 'What?'; she goes down to £80. In the car, Susan says she feels like an idiot [she IS an idiot. An idiot among a gang of idiots, but still - Rad].

Furniture dude, unsurprisingly, goes for the team that isn't charging him. He calls Zoe and tells her that the resale value is high, so he thought he'd get something for the furniture. Susan says 'So he did want money for the furniture? So I'm not an idiot'. Zoe notably does not apologise to her. [This was all so stupid - Zoe and Susan were both right and both wrong all at the same time. The task, it makes no sense - Rad]

Back at the house, Zoe has a weepy breakdown and says they messed everything up. Well, somebody did. Glenn gives her a pep talk.

Next day. We're reminded that they can sell stuff and have to pay to dump the rest. Zoe gives a little 'Go team!' speech that's quite nice, and when she's smiling and not being an awful dour generally unpleasant bitch, I don't dislike her nearly so much. She sends Edna, Glenn and Susan off to make appointments; she and Leon will follow behind.

Logic's clearance contract is hard work; they're moving two tonnes of rubbish up two flights of stairs. Karren waffles on about chop chop!, basically.

Melody secures a contract with a man who's willing to actually pay to take away stuff.

Edna has got a contract to clear some plumbers' waste; there are copper cylinders (they look like boilers or something) and a load of general crap. The man's offering £100 and two cylinders as payment. Susan jumps in and says 'The thing is, two doesn't cover the cost. How about £100 cash' and Glenn jumps in and says 'and three cylinders' and Susan then repeats 'and three cylinders' and Edna says otherwise they're making no money. Susan then asks what he'd sell them the two big cylinders for; he says £40 each and they'll definitely make more than that. Susan says, then, give us £20 and all the cylinders. The man agrees, saying the yard has to be clear and clean. I recapped that a bit stream of consciousness, but it becomes relevant. Glenn's contribution was to say 'three cylinders', Edna just made general smalltalk about profit. Susan did the negotiation, and secured the cylinders. Leon and Zoe are on the way; Zoe says she didn't want to put Susan on physical tasks. Leon agrees that she's quite little, Zoe says 'she's very weak'.

Melody sends people off to do the clearance job she secured. The builder dude wants to give them £250, Jim wants £300. Jim goes 'meet in the middle'; the dude says '£260' and Jim's like 'that's not the middle' and gets a bit aggressive; Helen shuts him up and accepts £260. Clearing the rubbish means they have to push back the office furniture job.

Zoe reassigns Edna to rubbish clearance and takes Susan off it because she's so tiny and weak, and to-cameras that she's feeling more positive. [To be fair, you could just imagine Susan whining that it was so heavy and being a total fucking martyr about it - Rad]

Melody and Helen go to a reclamation yard, selling off the old flooring from the bar clearance. Melody asks for £200, the bloke say he won't go a penny over £120 because it's not worth it for him. Melody, impressively, doesn't bother wheedling, and just shakes on it. Karrren nods approvingly and says that their strategy of going for stuff with retail value has worked.

Tom, Jim and Natasha dump the first load of builder's waste, and pay £110 to do so. They worry about time and cost, and phone Helen to suggest not bothering finishing. To their credit, Helen and Melody both look appalled by this suggestion, and Helen says they're not going to leave a client with their job half-finished. Tom says okay, and then they'll go off to the furniture job ASAP.

At another yard, Glenn and Susan find Moar! Copper! Cylinders! and buy them. Edna turns up to help Zoe and Leon clear the original copper cylinders and the yard. They get it done; Edna asks if they can have more money because it was more than the thought. The dude says no, but it's all very good natured, and he praises Zoe and Leon for clearing the yard so thoroughly.

Back at the builders', the builder has added loads more bags of rubbish. He says that he hasn't, but the deal was to clear it all. He's blatantly fucking with them. Jim gets all up in his grill, like he's going to stab him in the throat. They clear it all anyway. Melody says they're messed up for time; they've still got to get the desks.

Karrren and Nick give boring interviews about the teams they're following.

Melody and Helen take the scrap metal – the sinks and stuff – to a dealer. The sinks aren't all steel and are part iron. He offers them £393. Melody talks him up to £400, and then £410. The rest of Logic gather the furniture from the office clearance.

Zoe's team sell off their copper and metal and make over £900; she praises them and is cheerful and not hateful for a bit.

Logic sell the furniture to a dealer for £300.

Melody has a weird little moment about how wonderful it was to be covered in dirt and dust and grime and how it made her feel like a bad girl who ought to be spanked. I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

Susan says to camera that 'Zoe made so many bad decisions on this task, I don't even know where to start. She was just sad, pessimistic, with a horrible attitude throughout the task. I never ever want to work with her again'. It would be bitchy if it weren't all demonstrably true [If I had Susan Ma on my team I'd be a grumpy sod too - Rad].

They go into the boardroom. Sralan goes on about muck and brass and you all done made a business today, I done make a business once.

Sralan goes to Logic, and talks to Helen. She explains that they didn't charge and that it was a high risk but that's on her head. Karrren calls in Melody; Melody says that she thinks their time is worth money, but it's all very respectful – just a 'this was the approach that I think was better'. Sralan talks to Tom and Jim about their scavenging day. Melody talks about her builder job that she secured and says it was great; Tom and Jim are like 'not so much, we got ripped off'.

Across to Zoe; she kicks off by lying that 'everyone was putting their hand in and out' to be PM and she can't be doing with faffing so she took charge and was PM. Not what happened. Leon and Glenn said they wanted to be butch little soldiers and carry stuff; Susan said 'I don't mind doing it' and then Zoe went 'I'M DOING IT STOP FAFFING I'M BOSS'. Susan says she put herself forward, Nick dives in and says Zoe was emphatic. That's one word for it.

They lost the pitches; Zoe admits that she got it wrong, and thought they should be charging for the services. Edna explains how she found the jobs with the boilers; Glenn tries to talk down Edna's role in getting the jobs. She is having none of it.

Money time: Galvanised made £706 profit after fees and so on; Logic made £712. Logic finally win! Helen is unbeaten! Tom is beyond delighted. It occurs to me that without Melody talking that guy up from £393, they would have lost. Well done, Melody. [I hadn't thought of that. Well done indeed Melody. - Steve]

Logic get a treat at a spa; lots of shots of sex jacuzzi fun times.

At loser cafe, Zoe looks morose. Susan thinks she shouldn't be fired because she's 'the brains of the operation'. Easy, girl. I like you [really? Wow, you have a much greater tolerance of whine than me. She actually made me feel violent this week - Rad] but come now. Glenn says he shouldn't be fired because he always gives 110%, Leon had no ideas and 'Edna – poor'. You mean Edna who got the jobs that meant you weren't totally whitewashed? Fuck off, Glenn.

Back at the boardroom, Sralan says he appreciates people who admit their mistakes and who put themselves forward, but you shouldn't necessarily ALWAYS do it. Zoe says yeah, but are we going to sit around having a chat and a vote and HR process or are we going to get on with 'the bloody task'. Which would be fine if Susan hadn't already put herself forward, albeit halfheartedly.

Zoe says her strategy was family businesses, going for metal for the high value. Susan's like, 'first I've heard' and Edna backs her up. Zoe apparently discussed this with Glenn.

At the copper cylinder meeting, Glenn claims that he got them up to three. No you didn't, Susan did and you dove in. This goes round and round and round and round. Zoe reckons Glenn did it because … she does? Sralan wants one name for who closed the deal for the cylinders. Glenn, to his credit, says it was Susan. Edna keeps trying to say it was collective. It was so Susan [yeah, but Edna made it happen, so it was a Susan/Edna tag-team. Glenn can fuck right off, mind - Rad].

Zoe without a moment's hesitation says that she's bringing back Edna and Susan. Leon and Glenn go home. They step out. Nick says Edna takes credit she isn't due, and that Susan was the one who got what was going on but doesn't stand up for herself. [I thought that Susan blundered into correctness rather than arriving there through intellect or acumen, so having Nick as Susan's personal cheerleader for the next few weeks is going to piss me right off. - Steve] [Me too. Also - for why no Leon in this boardroom? - Rad] Zoe was a mess on day one but pulled it back on day two. They go back in.

Susan asks why she's there. Zoe says if you can run a task without someone, they don't need to be there. Zoe says what did you do on day one; you kept on at me and were distracting. Sralan wants Susan to respond, so she asks Zoe to be quiet. She says that if Zoe had listened to her, they could have secured the pitches. Certainly the furniture one, they could have. And on day two, she 'secured the first appointment for the job' and she got the extra cylinders. Zoe says that Edna made the appointment, ACTUALLY! Susan's like, yes, of course she did, but I sealed the deal. And yes Susan probably slightly mis-spoke but her meaning was totally clear and Zoe jumping on it like that is just gross in so many ways. It was already established that Edna made the appointment. Shut up, Zoe.

Zoe bitches on about how Susan criticised her, but if she's so great why didn't she do it herself? You've got to take risks! You've got to go for things! I really can't express in words why I'm finding her behaviour so vile right now. You'll just have to trust me that my hand are curling into claws with Zoe's every word. [As are mine with Susan's. Fight? - Rad] Edna jumps in to say she didn't put herself forward because she didn't think she had the skills.

Sralan addresses Susan again, and tells Zoe to shut up for a minute. What did Zoe do wrong? Susan says she had no strategy and no ideas and gave them no direction and they didn't get the pitches because they didn't listen to Susan. Sralan says that Zoe has to admit they'd have got the furniture for even £50. Susan says that she said they should be buying it and Zoe made her feel like an absolute idiot, all 'I can't believe you'. Zoe says that no no no, she said 'Have I got this wrong?' God, what a lie. Either it's a lie or she just has no idea how she comes across. You didn't ask if you'd got it wrong, you asked if Edna was on your hymnsheet, the hymn being 'Yea Verily, Susan Is A Subliterate Retard Who Doth Walk With The Animals'.

Edna says that nothing that happened on the second day was to do with Zoe. Edna made the appointments, and made the right ones. Zoe was sucky and morose and fell apart and was bad for morale, both Edna and Susan say. Zoe says that at the start of the second she was motivational and positive, which is true. Shame about the rest of the time.

Sralan moves across to Edna and looks at her CV and starts taking it apart, about her 'proven abilities' and what not. He clearly doesn't have a moment's time for her or her CV. She says she trains executives to be better at their jobs – Nick asks if Sralan needs training; Sralan doesn't think so. Then Edna says that she's got an 'MBA in Innovation and Entreprenuership' and god, why not just get up and piss on the desk if you want him to fire you so badly? At this point Susan and Zoe could have just got up and left; there's no way Edna's coming out of this alive.

We move on. Nick tells Susan that she often speaks a lot of sense, put needs to stand up for herself. She agrees, and says that Zoe made her feel really small by shouting at her, and people don't listen because she's young. Sralan says he doesn't mind, he was young when he started his business at 17. Susan started her business at 17, too, JUST LIKE YOU SRALAN! And even if Edna hadn't already doomed herself, Susan definitely just saved herself with that.

Sralan says he likes that Zoe admits she was wrong, but that only goes so far. Edna is highly qualified but she takes credit for a lot of things. He tells Susan she's very young, she says 'yeah' and he's like SHADDAP I'M TALKIN'. He tells her she's done some great things and some bad things. But he's giving her another chance. Zoe lost control, but Edna – they're just not going to gel. He wishes her well, but she's fired. Well, that's that crushing inevitability dealt with, at least.

Sralan won't forgive Zoe again, he claims.

Cab Edna says she's got three degrees, and will be successful in whatever she does. In the cab back to the house, Susan and Zoe disagree some more. Susan tells Zoe to be professional and that she shouldn't yell and stick her finger in people's faces. Zoe says 'it's only because you're such an annoying twat'. Susan, quite rightly, says that Zoe wouldn't talk to anyone else in the process like that. Zoe says she would, but I'm so sure [I would totally talk to Susan like that as well, if I could refrain from wringing her neck - Rad].

At the house, they all seem to want Zoe back for some reason alien to me. Zoe and Susan come back. As back at the house moments go, it's pretty disappointing.

Next week, they're launching magazines. 'Pension mention, or something like that?' 'I don't think we should mention pensions'. That's all you need to know, really.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Pet peeves

Week 5: 1st June 2011

Previously: Sralan was not looking for bladdy salespeople, but to inject a shot of £250k into someone's business idea. Sadly for Ed Hunter, Bread-Slicing Alex, Hot Bespectacled Gavin and Felicity The Actress Looking For Work, it won't be them. Last week, the contestants were charged with the task of succeeding where Tim Campbell couldn't and launching Amsbeauty in shopping centres. Specifically, shopping centres in Birmingham, where everyone sounds like a squeaking hinge (per Natasha) and is horrifyingly poor (per Susan). Zoe PMed for Venture and did a good job at stroking people's calves, while Susan's claim that she could totally sell eighty treatments a second turned out to be untrue, and it was TOTALLY UNFAIR of the others to point this disparity between her perceived ability and her actual ability out to her, at which point Susan ran upstairs, slammed the bedroom door, and wrote a lengthy capslocked post in her Livejournal about how no one understands her. Meanwhile, Logic performed all of their beauty treatments on invisible people while project manager Felicity concentrated her efforts on the highly lucrative endeavour of selling shitty strands of clip-in hair that match no one's actual hair colour for 25p a throw. As a result, Melody, Tom and Ellie stood around in the treatment room for three hours discussing which of them was going to have sex with Vinnie Disney first. To the surprise of no one, Zoe's team won the task and was rewarded by meeting a sadless hatless Katya from Strictly Come Dancing (and also Robin Windsor, but: meh) while Felicity took Ellie and Natasha into the boardroom, claiming that Ellie's complaining somehow contributed to their failure, but in the end, the fact that Felicity returned a BLADDY LOSS on Sralan's investment meant that she was, of course, fired.

Now, it's 6am, and the phone is ringing at Entrepreneur Estates. Glenn arrives to answer it with just a towel covering his lower regions, thereby ensuring that he will have a Big Gay Following for the rest of the series [The Big Gays are welcome to him. Blee - Rad]. The Disembodied Voice of NotFrances announces that Sralan wants to meet them at a creative agency in Fitzrovia, and that the cars will be outside in 30 minutes. Again, since the drive to central London from Richmond surely can't take much more than an hour at that time of day, I wonder what the hell kind of creative agency is already up and running at 7.30am. Glenn relays the message to the others, most of whom already seem to be up and about. Leon's early morning hair is adorably floppy, although it kind of makes him look like he's being portrayed by Chris Lilley. Tom does a little towel-dance for us, and reveals that he has very hairy legs. For reasons that I cannot quite fathom, he dries his legs after he has put on his tight neon underwear. Is that not a bit counterproductive? Tom wonders what to wear to a creative agency. I assume this will be an excuse for all the men to show how totally creative they can be by not wearing ties, or alternatively by just wearing a REALLY CRAZY TIE. Ellie will be working very hard to keep out of the boardroom again, she tells Edna.

Driving in darkness. Apprentaxi one carries Glenn, Edna and Susan, as Glenn remarks that creative stuff is right up his street. I love Edna for the fact that she can't quite hide the note of disbelief in her voice when she replies "really?" Of course, Glenn is a designer and creates stuff from a briefing on a day-to-day basis. Apprentaxi two carries Natasha, Vinnie Disney and Ellie, all of whom are thinking that they really, really need to win. Now in daylight, they arrive in central London to ad agency TBWA, which I shall be calling TWAT, because I'm childish and consider that funnier. In the lobby within, the ever-impassive Nick and Karren are waiting, but Sralan is not, for instead he is appearing via video. Sralan tells them they're in one of the country's most-awarded ad agencies, who look after some of the biggest pet food brands. It's a big industry, and a crowded market, where any newcomer needs to be an innovative product. Their task, then, is to make and brand their own unique pet food, and make a TV ad to sell it. Hooray! Advertising task! These are always fun. The team with the best campaign wins, the other team does not.

Nick announces that they have already been briefed by Sralan on the subject of team leaders, and Vinnie Disney will be leading Logic, while Glenn will be leading Venture. They've got three days for the whole task, and KITTEH! Sorry, all these montage shots of adorable pets are going to be a bit distracting for me. To begin with, the teams must pick their market. Vincent, hilariously, begins by asking "who's got a dog?" Ellie has, and Tom's parents have, while Melody totally dog-sat for Barack Obama a few times but doesn't like to talk about it. There is a bowl of what appears to be M&Ms or Skittles on the table, just to really ram home the fact that we are in a CREATIVE AGENCY and not a corporate environment, because these two could never be the same thing. Ellie suggests Gnashers, for something to do with canine hygiene, while Natasha suggests Petites Healthy Treats. I totally miswrote that as Healthy Threats the first time, which I think extraordinarily appropriate when discussing Natasha, so I'm going to leave it here for posterity. Vincent spurns the latter idea, since they need to be creating food, not occasional treats. Vincent bragterviews that his charisma can overpower certain people; they may be good, but he is better, with his current unbroken spell on the losing team and everything. He suggests a horrendous-sounding advert featuring "the old-school labrador that everybody loves" (except, y'know, cynophobes) and "the it-boy, the pug, you get them together, they don't like each other too much but at the end of the day, they become pals" and OH MY GOD STOP THIS AWFUL HIPSTER IDEA RIGHT NOW. The best part of all of this is that Vincent has created this theoretical campaign based around their new product, which will be called Pals. Tom and Ellie point out that this is, in fact, a well-known existing brand that would get them one fucker of a lawsuit from Pedigree Petfoods.

Jim tries a different approach, saying that owners love their pets' healthy coats, and therefore (and this pun really works best when said with Jim's native Norn Iron accent) Fur Play is his suggestion for a name. This will in no way cause problems when a nice, unassuming pet lover attempts to google this exciting new dog food and accidentally ends up here (NSFW). Tom asks who they're intending to appeal to, and Vincent says that their target market is all dog owners. Oh dear.

Over at Venture, Glenn is leading a brainstorming session about cat food. We are thankfully spared the part where Leon insists that he can't get involved with anything cat-related because he has a girlfriend. Their ideas seem uniformly awful, including Purrari (as a pun on Ferrari, but when written down looks more like a play on Polari to me) and Edna asking about cats with really long hair in a sentence that seems to go nowhere. Zoe suggests one about cats taking over the world, and Glenn suggests "spa day for a cat", before bragterviewing that he's better than everyone else on this show, and how he is a catalyst. I'm sure that's from an interview filmed right at the very beginning of this process, but still, props to the editors for the stealth pun. Helen chimes in with a suggestion of slimming cat food. Edna interviews, in yet another completely new accent, that Glenn's approach to leading the brainstorm is rather messy and unhelpful, and she's not really sure what they're achieving. Glenn attempts to rally the troops with the phrase "no guts, no glory", which is rather unfortunate when you consider they're about to make pet food.

At this point, the teams split - half go to Lincolnshire to make the food itself (which turns out to have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the task, so I bet they're all feeling pretty thrilled about that), while the other halves remain in London to build the brand. In the Logic Apprentaxi, Vincent tells his subteamm, consisting of Jim and Natasha, that he doesn't want to go into the boardroom with too niche of a product - they're trying to "hit everything". Jim suggests "for every day, there's Every Dog", which Vincent likes.

At 11am, Vincent's team meet with a focus group of dogs, dog walkers, and a vet. One particular canine snarls at Vincent quite aggressively, so I guess his charms only work on the human race. The vet is not sold on the idea of a one-size-fits-all approach, because different sizes and breeds of dog have different nutritional requirements. Vincent explains that this is does not fit in with their plans. Focus group over!

Outside, he phones Melody, who's in a taxi somewhere in Lincolnshire with Tom and Ellie. They have been coming up with their own ideas, but Vincent sells them EveryDog, with possible future brand expansions of EveryCat, EveryFish, EveryPotBelliedPig, EveryTarantula and so on. Tom, again, express concern that they're targeting too broad a market and wonders if they shouldn't be trying to fill a particular niche (which is, indeed, what the brief was, although he doesn't specifically mention that part). Vincent decides to make an executive decision here and go for EveryDog, because "it's brilliant". He also feels very positive about Secret Signals. Tom is still unconvinced.

Leon, Zoe and Helen are sorting out branding for Venture, throwing around ideas like "give your cat a break" (I assume this is for KitKatFood). Leon suggests "Lucky Fish - the CATch of the day", which is utterly stupid, because everybody is going to assume that is fish food. Unfortunately, Leon thinks this is the best idea in the history of forever: "do you know what, guys? Shall I just become the apprentice?" No, really - he actually says that.

They go to Battersea Cats & Dogs Home (or, in BBC-speak, "south of the river, a pet rescue centre"), where a cat digs its claws into Leon. Seriously, these focus groups are making their feelings KNOWN. Helen pitches the Lucky Fish commercial, which focuses on the goldfish in a bowl that is left undisturbed by the cat because the food is so good. And that's actually quite a good idea, so I think the flaw here is that "lucky fish" is a slogan, not a brand name. The focus group humans disagree with me, however, and think it's a good name. Also: KITTEH!

On the way to Lincolnshire to mix snouts and entrails, Glenn (with Susan and Edna for company, lucky him) has a brainwave: there are cats' eyes in the road, and wonders if they can make something of this, "going off on the old 380-front" (I assume he means either 180 or 360 [maybe it's the circumference equivalent of 110%? - Rad], although either way it still sounds like creative corporate tosspot speak). He comes up with Cat-Size, as in the weight of cats, and believe me, this will be explained A LOT throughout the show. He describes an terrifying sounding world of competitive feline weight-loss, a world that I emphatically do not want to live in (seriously, if you want your cat to lose weight because your cat has been identified as overweight, that is one thing. If you want your cat to lose weight, as Glenn suggests, because NEXT DOOR'S CAT IS THINNER, that is so fucking wrong I can't even begin to tell you). And let me transcribe the next bit for you verbatim: "I've gone for the tagline 'see their light', as in 'they are a lighter cat', but 'see the light in their eyes' and whatnot. You know, like the light of a light, the light inside..." At this point, 6.29 million viewers turned to each other collectively and said "what the actual fuck?"

In London, Logic Subteam Vincent are casting for their commercial. The first dog brought in does not meet with their approval, presumably for not being sufficiently EveryDog in its look. Vincent mistakes a golden retriever for a labrador. Jim asks whether a pug can stand on its "back hind legs" (as opposed to its front hind legs?) or jump. Theatrical Dog Lady, witheringly: "No." So it's not for them. They find a terrier called Scramble that has done lots of adverts and also a Midsomer Murders. Natasha explains that they're trying to pitch a "healthy heart and joints" thing in their commercial, and asks if he can do anything amusing. He is good at jumping up and down. They decide to cast Scramble and the golden retriever.

Snouts And Entrails Central. Tom, Ellie and Melody make dog food. This is utterly irrelevant to absolutely everything, so I'm just going to skip right past it.

Over on Venture, Zoe calls Glenn from a supermarket and pitches Lucky Fish to him. Glenn is disgusted, and doesn't think it's right. In turn, he pitches CatSize to them, and asks if they like it. Helen, Zoe and Leon are quick to reply that they do not like it, and Zoe informs Glenn with great annoyance that they've just spent the whole morning building up this brand identity, only to have all their work entirely disregarded by the team who were meant to be cutting up pigs' intestines in Lincolnshire. Leon points out that it also went down well with the focus group. Glenn makes a decision and opts for...CatSize. He too passionately believes in Secret Signals. The branding team, after terminating the call, express their annoyance at having wasted a morning.

Glenn, Edna and Susan surround themselves in snouts and entrails FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER, and then move on to design. CatSize: See Their Light/See They Are Light/See The Lightness That Is Theirs/And Whatnot is go. Edna chews a wasp.

Over on Logic, Jim is photographing the pooches for EveryDog. After last week, when he got all weirdly pervy about the massages, is anyone surprised that Jim's also a photographer? No, me neither. He can totally make your modelling career happen! Vincent instructs the handlers to have the dog "on all fours". Once again absolutely astounded by the idiots she's forced to work with, the lady with the dogs clarifies if he actually, in fact, means "standing up". Jim grabs lots of shots of dogs smiling, because they love EveryDog. Outside, Nick notes that Vincent is leaning on Jim quite a lot, "and it's a sort of a Batman/Robin thing: okay with you, Batman?" Nick appears to be under the misapprehension that Robin was Batman's project manager, when everyone knows it was clearly Alfred.

Tom, Ellie and Melody work on the branding for their food. Tom wants them to stress the health properties of the product, while Melody frets that it doesn't look "premium" enough.

Leon, Zoe and Helen cast for a cat for their commercial. Leon rejects a sphinx cat due to hairlessness (BODY FASCIST!) and then proceeds to basically call the cat ugly, awful and an affront to humanity, much to the annoyance of the cat's owner/handler/whatever [Harsh but fair, though - Rad]. Glenn calls in with the still-awful "see their light" tagline, which prompts all three of them, Helen especially, to dissolve into uncontrollable giggles. Leon: "Do they have a torch with them?" Glenn continues to explain the pun, THEY ARE LIGHT BECAUSE THEY HAVE LOST WEIGHT, apparently not getting that if you have to explain the pun in this much detail to people actually involved in the creation of the product, it is obviously a really shitty idea. He asks if they get it. Helen: "Yeah. Well, we don't 'get it', but we have got it written down." I'm really enjoying Helen this week. They end the call, and Leon, Zoe and Helen have another giggle about how they thought it was awful when they first had it explained to them and now they've got all this detail they now realise it is officially the worst thing since Pantsman. Glenn sulkterviews that the other half aren't taking this seriously, and need to be put in their place, because he as PM "deserves respect". Oh, Glenn. You deserve exactly what you are getting: complete and utter derision.

With all the legwork complete, the teams head back to the house. In the car, Glenn logs a complaint call with the others about how he doesn't appreciate them laughing at him, because they should be professional and offering constructive feedback. You know, like when they pitched their idea to him and he said "I don't like it, we're going to use mine instead." Helpful, detailed feedback like that. Zoe, in the first thing she has done all series that I've actually approved of, curtly informs him that he treated them poorly when he dismissed the idea they'd spent the whole morning working on, and that he needs to earn their respect - and then hangs up on him without giving him a chance to respond. I know that last bit is a dick move, but then Zoe is a bit of a dick, and Glenn is a lot of a dick, so it's not like there are any innocent victims here.

8am the next day, the packaged and labelled pet foods arrive at Entrepreneur Estates. I think Melody ends up being a little bit more on-the-nose than she intends when she unveils their efforts by saying "are you ready for our masterpiece that is dog food?" The design of CatSize goes down well, even with the members of the team who laughed at the branding. Vincent instructs his team to focus on the four Ps - product, place, promotion and price. He picks Melody for the pitch, and Jim rather loftily informs her that she mustn't forget that they're selling something, so she'll need to be passionate. Melody's all "yes, thank you, I am in fact a functioning adult who is aware of such a thing as 'commerce'." Glenn tells his team that he wants them to win, and that will only happen if they're all on board and enjoying it (cue well-timed shot of Edna and Leon exchanging an uncertain look). Glenn nominates Leon to do the pitch, and Leon mealymouths that he's happy to do the pitch, but doesn't want to talk for 20 minutes. Glenn, essentially: "Tough shit."

Time to head off and film the TV ads. The set for the CatSize commercial is a kitchen in nearby Kew. We are introduced to Ruby the cat, who speaks for us all when, in the first shot of the commercial, she walks straight past the CatSize pouches with a total lack of interest. Ruby to project-manage next week! They get the shot.

Noon. Leon, Edna and Susan are writing the pitch for CatSize. Glenn calls in for an update, and Leon somewhat bristlingly asks if Glenn's aware that he's basically taken on all of the day's tasks for his team and left them with not a lot to do. Leon points out that this means he's basically got five hours to write a 20 minute pitch, and wonders, post-call, if this is a strategic move from Glenn to sandbag him. Susan points out that Glenn would be sinking the entire team if he did this, so it's also possible that this was a vote of confidence in Leon's abilities.

Logic commercial. They are recording heartbeat sound effects, using Tom's heart. He does some press-ups so they can have a sample of a heart beating faster, which I'm sure is in no way connected to a desire to show off doing press-ups. Vincent records the tagline "EveryDog: playing the part for joints and heart", which sounds like an off-cut from that episode of Friends where Chandler had decided he wanted to be in advertising and was pitching ideas like "bagels and donuts: round food for every mood".

In Ealing (REPRESENT!), they have found an EveryDog house, and Natasha is directing the commercial. They get the golden retriever to run across the garden, and then to devour EveryDog noisily in a kitchen. Natasha's direction, unsurprisingly, involves a lot of punctuating her sentences with "yeah?" at the end, talking about her "vision", and getting annoyed when Ellie points out what seem like entirely valid continuity problems, yeah? Ellie interviews that her voice is not being heard.

Glenn, Zoe and Helen, meanwhile, are recording the sound track for their advert, with the actor they've cast as the voice of Ruby. A male actor. Hmmm. Glenn asks him for a female voice, and the actor's like "...right?" He has a first go and sounds like a fey upper-class male cat, if you can imagine such a thing. Helen asks him to go higher, and they like this take, while someone mocks the apparently oblivious actor (who's in a soundproof booth) about having spent three years at drama school to do this shit. The tagline has now evolved to including the phrase "you watch your weight, watch theirs" (horrible horrible horrible) and Helen still hates "see their light" and asks if it can be whispered instead of spoken. Heh.

Vincent and his half of the team arrive in time to see the final cut of EveryDog: The Commercial, which Jim declares himself "100% happy with". Only 100%? On this show? How half-hearted. They watch the commercial, and Jim says that he thinks everything has come together.

The next day. Glenn, Leon and Susan are in one Apprentaxi on the way to the pitch. Leon is looking nervous and Glenn is offering some apparently unwanted words of support. In a Logic Apprentaxi, Melody tells Vincent that she hopes he gets his first win. I'd say she does so condescendingly, but: it's Melody. Like she has any other way of operating.

TWAT. A group of in-house experts arrive for the presentations, including UK president Robert Harwood-Matthews and creative director Mark Hunter (who has, since this episode was filmed, left the agency and gone to work in LA, just as a matter of interest). Also present are representatives from Mars Petcare, Mark Johnson and Susan Blount. Susan opens for Logic, and her opening speech includes "I give you EveryDog, ladies and gentlemen." Had I been there, I would've been a bit disappointed that she wasn't literally intending to give me every dog. She explains that it's a clear concept that pushes boundaries, and going for everyone was a bold decision that they thought long and hard about. D'okay, Melody, if you say so. Logic play their advert, which is fine apart from the over-amplified heartbeats on the audio track basically giving everyone who watches it severe palpitations. The TWAT creatives laugh at the advert, though at this stage it's hard to tell if that's a positive sign. After the presentation, Mark Hunter points out that most dog owners like to think of their pet as unique, and wonders if a broad approach would put them off, as it suggests a lack of individuality to the dog. Jim says that it's all-encompassing, and they've gone for a one-size fits all approach that makes it easier for the consumer to make a decision in a crowded marketplace, which totally doesn't answer the quesiton, but whatever. Outside, they congratulate themselves and bark. No, really.

Leon pitches for Venture, and begins by telling them that over half of the cat population is overweight. At this point I feel their presentation is sorely affected by the lack of Nargis from series two running through the room screaming "DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE SIX MILLION CAT OWNERS IN THE UK AND A THIRD OF THEM ARE IN LONDON?", throwing calendars everywhere, before being removed by security. He stumbles over his words a bit and seems slightly unprepared, though I don't think anything like as much as the editors probably want us to think. He's not as articulate as Melody was, but in the sphere of great car-crash presentations on this show, it doesn't even rate. Their advert is also fine - amateurish-looking as the ads on this programme inevitably are, but the narration on it is quite sharp, and it doesn't feature Sian Lloyd anywhere, which is usually a sign that they've got things at least half-right. Although frankly I think they missed a trick by not casting George Galloway as Ruby. Robert Harwood-Matthews asks about the name, and whether it's as clear as it ought to be. Glenn: "CAT SIZE! THE SIZE OF THE CAT! LIKE CATS' EYES! SEE THEIR LIGHT! SEE THEY ARE LITE! CLIPS! ECLIPSE! ECLIPSE CLIPS!" Or something like that. Seriously, the only way they are ever going to market this product is if you get a free Glenn with every purchase to explain to you what the fuck it's actually all about. And that, to be honest, is a pretty big disincentive towards buying something in the first place as far as I'm concerned. Outside, Leon describes the pitch as "gruelling", but Glenn reassures him that he did well.

The experts feed back to Sralan, saying that one pitch engaged them while the other was slightly patronising (and they can be as vague as they want here, there is no way in hell he's not talking about Melody right there). On the petcare professional side, Susan Blount thinks one advert didn't make the most of the imagery that it had, while Mark Johnson doesn't think the proposition is all that engaging. Mark Hunter says that both teams made the same mistakes of playing into the usual conventions.

Boardroom. NotFrances sends them all through. There are shots of print campaigns that we've not seen prior to this point - Logic have a Usual Suspects-style line-up of dogs to ram home their brand message, while Venture have a "slimeline your feline" poster on the side of a bus. Both PMs squint appraisingly at the work of their opposing number. Sralan turns to Logic first, and asks about Vincent as a team leader. His subordinates are effusive in their support. Vincent explains that they wanted to create something that wasn't niche, that appealed to everyone, etc. Sralan gets in a good "with your track record, Winalot wasn't an option" crack at Vincent's expense. Vincent explains their plan to expand the brand for other varieties of pet, which is in itself not a bad idea, and Sralan likens it to the easyJet/Hotel/Internet/Trousers brand, only less orange. Although obviously Vincent's in charge, so probably still a bit orange. They screen Logic's commercial in its entirety, and Sralan declares it "quite funny". Vincent points out that the dogs enjoyed the food, even though that part of the task was and still is utterly irrelevant to the end result. Sralan asks who came up with the EveryDog brand, and Jim puts his hand up. Not wanting to give away too much credit, Vincent points out that he led them down this road on the subject of "every", while Jim was the one who came up with the actual name.

Sralan turns to Venture, and asks Glenn how CatSize came about. Glenn says that he was looking for a USP they could run with, and settled on the fat cats. At this point I'm disappointed that the Logic didn't have the same idea for their dog food, because "for fat bitches" would have been an amazing slogan. Sralan asks Glenn to explain the actual name, and DEAR GOD SRALAN DON'T WE'LL BE HERE ALL DAY. Glenn walks us through it another twelve times until the point where everyone is bleeding directly from the cerebral cortex, and then they screen the advert and my boyfriend and I have a heated debate about whether Ruby is gay or not, in which I take the position that he's not gay, just posh. Y'know, like Leon. After viewing it, Sralan claims that he's got the general idea of the brand, but thinks the ad is more like a radio spot than a TV one, because it's all in the script and there's not a lot to actually look at.

To sum up, Sralan thinks Venture's idea has a good, strong USP, even if their advert sucked. Also, their packaging was pretty much ready to go out. Logic, on the other hand, had a funny advert, but their marketing idea was fundamentally flawed, because the idea of a one-size-fits-all dog food is basically a nonsense, and could be seen as insulting by pet food shoppers. The final decision is down to Sralan, of course, and he thinks that because they had a consistent through-message, Venture get the win. Despite having a complete arse of a marketing campaign that makes literally no sense whatsover. I mean, I'm not arguing that Logic deserved to win either because their product was shit, but if ever there were a case for a "no one wins" scenario, like Donald Trump pulled on The Apprentice USA in response to the equally meritless Shower With Your Clothes On/Cucumber Porn And Gay Chefs commercials that his candidates came up with in season three, then this would be it [surely every advertising task ever would be it? - Rad]. Anyway, Venture's treat is tennis with Pat Cash and they'll be knocking a few balls around. Except Leon, who can't, because he's got a girlfriend. As they leave, Vincent and Tom can be seen with their heads in their hands, realising that five consecutive losses really do not look good. Sralan reminds Logic that their brand was very, very wrong, and that they need to go away and identify a scapegoat.

Queen's Club. Apprentices in tennis whites. It looks like the outfits were show-supplied, as Leon and Glenn are wearing the same shorts. Serving. Volleying. Tennis ball hitting Zoe in the vagina. Edna yelping. Susan and Zoe being quite good, it seems. Pat Cash signs all their racquets. Leon swipes away at a ball in a very girly fashion. The end.

Loser Café. General silence. Tom interviews that although he was right about the flaws in their idea, he's not feeling that great about it right now. He points out the others that they committed commercial suicide by basically establishing their rivals as 'everyone'. Vincent Disneur agree with this (have to sneak that pun in while I still have a chance) and seems to think that Sralan's only objection was the actual name of the product. He interviews that he was a good PM, and all the team agreed that. Natasha thinks the finger of blame is pointing at Jim, and wonders whether Vincent will place his personal friendship ahead of the clear business decision.

Back at the boardroom, Logic sit on the Leather Sofas Of Loss tapping their fingers against the sides. NotFrances sends them back in. Sralan opens by saying that he had a dream recently that he walked into the boardroom and "you lot" weren't there. At least, not at first. Because shortly afterwards, Vincent entered wearing just a robe that slowly began to fall from his body, BAMCHICKAWOWOW. Or maybe not. He reminds Vincent and Tom that they have lost every week and are basically fucked at this point. Vincent begins by pointing out that everyone thought he did a good job as PM, and Sralan points out that they didn't know they'd lost at that point, and that people on this show tend to be somewhat fickle. Heh. Vincent explains that they all agreed on the theme of a mass product that could hit all the market. Sralan points out that the focus group told them at the very beginning that this was a bad idea. Tom's all, "well, this is brand new information, thanks guys." Nick chips in that the vet told them it was fundamentally against pretty much everything that animal healthcare experts currently believe in, and that it was the clearest steer they could've got. Tom points out that the rest of the team was not told this, and that as far as they knew, the focus group was wholly in favour of EveryDog. Ellie adds that they were in fact told by Vincent that the vet had been in favour of EveryDog. Now, we only saw brief snippets of this conversation, so I don't know if that's actually true, or whether it was a case of just lying by omission: that Vincent didn't tell them that the focus group hadn't really gone for it, and therefore everyone in the other subteam assumed that meant they'd liked it. Either way, it's pretty poor management on Vincent's part. Vincent brings up that they wanted to expand the brand into EveryCat, EveryFish etc, at which point Karren makes an excellent point: "But that's the point, isn't it? Pets are special to their owners. You might as well have called it Any Old Dog." I think Karren's doing a really good job this series. I almost don't even miss Margaret any more.

Tom says that they made a good ad, billboard and product, but their marketing strategy was bad from the outset. Sralan notes that he was indeed told Tom had objected to this strategy at an early point, and asks if he'd done so in a manner that made his feelings very clear. Tom says that yes, he did, and "put [his] neck on the line". Sralan turns to Natasha to ask about the commercial, and Natasha immediately adopts a CYA strategy by saying that she tried to divert attention away from EveryDog because it was too broad and she had nothing to work with. Oh yeah, that's really smart, Natasha - trying to make an advert that ignores the product. That always goes down so well on this show. She says that she tried to focus on their USP, yeah? That was hearts and joints, you get me? She got no inspiration from EveryDog, check? Jim chimes in that this is horseshit, because Natasha put her hand up for EveryDog when they were deciding on a theme. Sralan, in turn, points out that Jim practically leapt out of his chair to take credit for the EveryDog idea earlier on. Jim retorts that that's an exaggeration. (It isn't.) Jim thinks he came up with the name around the branding that had been decided on, and Sralan points out that the brand and the name are pretty much inextricable at this point. Jim falls back to everyone having agreed on this brand, as if that counts for anything. Karren asks, all circumlocution aside, whether it was him that came up with the name. Jim: "Well, listen to this..." Karren: "Is it your name? Yes or no, Jim." Jim snots that perhaps Karren would like him to sit mute and not "contribute any creativity" in future tasks. I think, Jim, that Karren will be chiefly responsible for you remaining mute for the rest of your life if you sass her like that again. It's hard to talk with your vocal chords tied around your testicles, after all. Sralan says that sitting mute isn't required, but once you've opened your mouth, you need to stick by what you said. He's not happy that people are trying to talk their way out of accountability for the failure. Jim grouses that he's not being held responsible for the overall marketing direction, because that was signed off by the PM and the rest of the team. Ah, the old "if you fire me, you'll have to fire EVERYONE" strategy. Sralan thinks that Jim might have something in common with dog food, in that he can't tell if he's made of brains or bollocks. At this point, Vincent speaks up that they all agreed on EveryDog. Jim, with a look of utter disgust that anyone could have even considered he might not be the best at everything: "Exactly. It's a moot point." Sralan thinks that Vincent seems to agree with Jim an awful lot. Jim huffs and twitches and rolls his eyes that it's not a personality contest, and really, someone is trying very hard to Paloma himself right here. Sralan essentially tells Jim to shush and let Vincent talk his own way into a firing, and Vincent blathers on that he does think Jim's better than a lot of the other contestants, although obviously he's not as good as Vincent because Vincent is the best, but Jim is maybe the second best, definitely better than Edna and Glenn and that sulky girl, what's her name, Chloe?

In one of the most ham-headed moves of the entire episode, Vincent wonders - ALOUD, mind you - whether he should try to do "something tactical" and bring in people he doesn't think deserve to be fired, or should he bring the right people in. Oh, Vincent. It's really not a tactical move if you openly admit that you're doing it, you goon. Sralan says that he wants Vincent to focus on this task and not try to do his job for him. He turns to Jim and says that Jim seems to be placing the blame squarely on the PM's shoulders. Jim says that he didn't "categorically" say that, and once again returns to the well of "we all agreed on this". Tom - and interestingly, Melody - says that they agreed on it once they'd basically been outvoted, because they know how this show works and to not do so is essentially suicide, because if you lose you'll end up in the boardroom for having been an unsupportive influence. Sralan says that he sees a lot of people suck up to the PM to cover themselves, and he's more interested in the task than your arse. Well, I would hope so too. Jim breaks out the obligatory "I'm not here to win friends", which means any chance he had of winning is officially GONE.

Time for Vincent to decide who's coming back, and he picks Ellie and Natasha. Sralan sounds disappointed with his choices, but sends everyone else back to the house. Jim, in a final attempt at Palomafication, asks for one final thing: that Sralan makes him PM on the next task. Sralan tells Jim that he's heard a lot of things about him from Nick and Karren and he's "got your card marked". He tells Jim that he'll be PM when it's time, and not before.

While Vincent, Ellie and Natasha wait outside and simmer (I've got really into Top Chef recently, and I love that they refer to their equivalent of this as "The Stew Room", because that's just absolutely perfect), Sralan, Nick and Karren discuss the strange power that Jim seems to have over everyone. Nick thinks Vincent was scared of him, and that if he brought Jim back, that he would never have survived the carnage. Sralan points out that both Nick and Karren have said they've not seen much of Ellie. Also, Natasha's advert got good feedback from the ad agency, so Karren is questioning Vincent's decision-making here.

NotFrances sends the three of them back in, and I love how they all get up even before she starts speaking to them. They've heard the Amsphone ring, they know how this works. Sralan asks Vincent why Natasha and Ellie are here. Vincent says that as a dog owner, he expected insightful information from Ellie, and didn't get any. Ellie counters that she said a lot of things, but was generally ignored. Ellie adds that she came up with ideas for the advert and had a few good ideas, and that she surprised herself with how much she came up with. Sralan says that they're five weeks in, and he really doesn't have a lot to go on as far as she's concerned. Ellie responds that perhaps her voice isn't being heard as much as some of the others, and she needs to work on that. Natasha is unsure why she's here, because her advert was well-received, and Vincent says that she had no questions to ask and no opinions to offer. Sralan asks if Jim offered a lot of opinions, and points out how eager Jim was to take credit for the idea before they knew the outcome of the task. "And yet he's sitting back at the house now!" Sralan continues to fume. "And he don't give a damn about you, I can promise you, I've seen that type before." Is it just me, or did this conversation just take a slightly unsettling turn? I feel like this isn't so much The Apprentice right now as it is Sally Jessy Raphael or something, and Sralan is pointing out to Vincent that he needs to ditch that no-good man who doesn't mean it when he tells him he loves him. Even Vincent looks slightly distressed at the idea that his beloved Jim might actually not really give a shit about him after all.

Natasha chips in at this point: "Tom's voice wasn't heard, Vincent, because you were so far up Jim's behind, you couldn't see the wood for the trees." And thanks to that mixed metaphor, I'm going to be haunted by the concept of Jim's arse-forest for years to come. Vincent's all "I think the Headmaster is a marvellous Jim, and this is the best Jim I've ever been to." [Best joke of the recap, Steve. Bravo - Rad] He insists that Natasha and Ellie didn't contribute any ideas, they counter that any ideas they had were summarily dismissed because Vincent was too busy listening to Jim.

Sralan points out that of the two adverts, Natasha's was better, so effectively she did her job well. Vincent says that he's not disputing that, but that Natasha only pipes up when it suits her. Sralan wonders why Natasha is in this room. I offer the fact that she is a relentlessly awful human being, and deserves to be fired purely for being Natasha. Having said that, on the basis of this task, she probably doesn't deserve to be here. Still: FIRE NATASHA ANYWAY! IT'LL FEEL SO GOOD! Sralan thinks Ellie pipes up at the wrong time, because she's forceful in the boardroom when the chips are down, but he sees no evidence of this fire in her during the actual tasks. Vincent made a total mess of things, and if he'd listened to other people, he might have avoided that. Sralan says that Ellie and Natasha are blaming him for the failure, and he's finding it hard to disagree.

On thinking of who he has to start a business with, Sralan notes that he hasn't seen much of Ellie, and doesn't think he can go into business with her, so she's fired. Ellie: "Okay. *huge sigh*". Heh. Ellie departs. Sralan tells Vincent that he's too in awe of other people (read: Jim) and is playing a risky game in terms of strategy by bringing the wrong people in, and in order to send a message that he will not put up with such fuckery, he's firing Vincent as well. At this point, the idea that Natasha will be the only person to survive this boardroom starts to bring me out into a cold sweat, and I begin making ill-advised comments on Twitter to this effect. Natasha is clearly looking jittery as well, but she's told that she got on and did her job, albeit on a false errand, so she's safe and can return to the house. DAMMIT. I like double firings in principle, but this one felt a bit lame. I thought Ellie was fired for the sake of making it a double firing, rather than any particular reason why she should've gone. And since Donald Trump once fired four people in one go, I was kind of hoping that if Ellie had to go, Natasha would at least be going too, yeah?

Natasha exits, and she and Vincent politely offer each other the best of luck for the future. Sralan says that he's sick of Vincent, and that he brought the wrong people into the boardroom for the wrong reasons, while Ellie has been here five weeks and shown him nothing. You know what this means: DOUBLE COATWATCH! Ellie's is red, double-breasted and belted, and rather nice, if a little bit Don't Look Now. In her taxinterview, Ellie says that she's not a forceful, in-yer-face person, so if that's what Sralan's looking for, then she's not it. Vincent (sort of a biscuit colour, accessorised with grey scarf, collar popped) is very surprised to have been fired, and thinks we haven't seen what he's been capable of. He thinks perhaps he wouldn't have been fired if he'd brought Jim in. Hate to break this to you, Vinnie, but you were toast no matter who you brought in. The only person whose stint on the show you might have saved by bringing Jim back to the boardroom is Ellie.

Entrepreneur Estates. Jim is still boring on about how difficult it is to assign blame. Natasha returns, and tells them that she's on her own. Glenn finds it almost impossible that this has happened, and is all: "You're on your own? Two have gone? Vince and Ellie have gone? See their light? See that they are light?" Natasha says that Sralan openly said that Vincent sacrificed himself for Jim, and that that was the wrong decision. She tells Jim that she has no idea what sort of hypnotic voodoo Jim did to convince Vincent not to bring him back. Jim thinks that in terms of contribution to the task, "yours and I's" (OUCH MY GRAMMAR HURTS) was equal, so she was no better than him in that task. Literally no one is convinced by this.

Ten candidates remain. Next week: rubbish! Actual rubbish. See you then!