Monday, 4 June 2012

Livin' La Vida Loaded

The Final: 3rd June 2012

I know it's the Queen's 105th birthday or whatever, but I fail to see why we all had to sit through 11 minutes of Gary Barlow: World's Most Tedious Man running around the world appropriating the music of other countries for his own ends and then make Her Majesty - a woman who has made a living from pretending to be interested in people she couldn't care less about - look like she'd sell Princess Anne to the Russians if it meant he'd just shut up and leave her alone. Anyway, a touch later than advertised, the show begins and - ooh, look, it's Dara O'Briain! ERRRRRR! (Slight pause for laughter.) He's standing in the middle of the You're Hired! audience to welcome us to the final, and tell us that we're just an hour away from discovering who out of Ricky Martin, Tom, Nick and Jade is going to become LordSirAlan's business partner. Considering the BBC's trying to save money by not having two people doing the same job, I would've thought they'd rather just leave this sort of thing to the continuity announcer. He reminds us to stay tuned afterwards for an extended edition of the companion show in which he'll be talking to the finalists and LordSirAlan himself. We won't be recapping that, but I'll drop in a few highlights if I'm not too exhausted by the end of the recap. Right, to business!

The titles remind us of all those who fell by the wayside on the way here. I miss Jane. And The Blonde Assassin. And Gabrielle. Everyone else, not so much. Last week: LordSirAlan summoned the teams to one of London's most exclusive shopping areas (just across the road from Abercrombie & Fitch) and instructed them to create an affordable high-end product. Ricky Martin and Tom, for Sterling, created the world's most boring male grooming brand, while an Adam-led Phoenix went for chocolates and, after a brainwave from Jade, BOOZY JELLIES! Sadly, their business model was rubbish, whereas Tom and Ricky Martin had done their numbers properly, so they won. In the boardroom, Jade eviscerated Adam and Nick, and Adam finally got his long-overdue firing.

Unusually, we begin not on a new day, but with Jade and Nick returning to Entrepreneur Estates, where Tom and Ricky Martin have laid on a little buffet for them. Awww. Ricky Martin thinks that now they're finalists, it's all down to the quality of their business plans. They pour some champagne and toast to being finalists, though I'm a bit sad that Tom doesn't shout "less fizz, more sparkle!" again, since that was easily his most endearing moment of the entire series. And perhaps not coincidentally, the moment when he came closest to truly embracing his inner capacity for evil.

The phone rings, and Tom ambles over to answer it. It's LordSirAlan himself on the other end, presumably having sent NotFrances home early to relieve the babysitter. It's tough being a working mum, you know. He instructs the candidates to spend the next 48 hours familiarising themselves with their business plans (i.e. trying desperately to remember the ridiculous shit they wrote on their applications in order to get on the telly, then think of ways to rationalise it when inevitably called on their bullshit by Margaret and/or Claude) and he'll see them in two days' time. Nick and Ricky Martin take a moment to let the enormity of this sink in, and Tom offers the most spectacularly awkward call to arms imaginable when he briefly forgets Jade exists: "Let the best...not man, woman, person win." At least, I hope I've punctuated that correctly, otherwise he called Jade a Not-Man Woman, which seems rather unenlightened of him.

This also serves as a handy opportunity for Helpful Voiceover Man to remind us of everyone's track records. Out in front is Nick, aka The Helen, [not me, though I took great delight in all the Helen is brilliant tweets last year - Helen] who was won eight tasks and only lost three, and has a 2-0 record as PM. He thinks his business plan is a fantastic "idea" and "concept" (note the lack of confidence in how it could be executed) and believes himself to be a strong candidate. Close behind is the youngest survivor Tom, aka The Wotherspoon, who has won seven tasks and lost four, and has a 2-1 record as PM. Tom interviews that he's all about STRATEGY and RISKS, and that his business plan is basically like his day job so this is all going to be very easy for him. In third place is a seemingly strong candidate about to fall apart in the interviews, aka The Paul Tulip is Jade, with six losses to five wins, but an acceptable 1-1 PM ratio. She thinks it's irrelevant that she's the last woman standing, because business is business, and she knows her plan is going to make money. Finally, revising his business plan in Nick's Garden Fortress Of Solitude, is the comedy contestant who surprised everyone by making it this far, aka The Simon Ambrose, Ricky Martin. He's lost five tasks, won six, has been in the final boardroom four times and has a 1-2 record as PM. He thinks LordSirAlan wants someone with potential, and that his business plan guarantees a return on his investment.

The next day, everyone gets dressed for the interviews. Tom and Ricky Martin admit that it's a bit daunting. Nick kisses his business plan as he walks down the stairs. The Apprenticars take them into the City, to New Broad Street House, a meeting place for "the big guns in British business", apparently. LordSirAlan arrives to tell them they're in the Institute of Directors, as one of them will be a director in the company that he'll be investing in, so they've got to impress him today. It's time for them to reveal their business plans to each other for the first time, so he wants a quick verbal pitch.[Y U NO make them pretend they're in an elevator? SADFACE - Helen] Let's take them all in order:

Nick: an "online platform" to revolutionise the online shopping market that will enable you to get ingredients for any recipe with a single click. LordSirAlan hears the word "online" and automatically approves, because "online" is the future, except when you're on a reality show and the internet is banned.  [I love how this show just discovered mobile phones last year and it's discovered the internet this year.  It must  be quaint living in Amstrad world - Rad]


Tom: a hedge fund that allows people to invest in wines as an asset. I don't know anything about wines or hedge funds, and this entire concept is going to go right over my head for the rest of the episode and possibly on into the future, so let's just call it a Pork Futures Warehouse and be done with it.

Jade: perhaps the most evil business plan in existence, she wants to open Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-CallCentre, the world's largest telemarketing call centre where all of our details will be sold to interested parties and we'll all be terrified of answering the phone ever again.

Ricky Martin: an "ethical and niche" recruitment organisation, looking at areas of therapeutics, new and existing drugs on the market and...at this point LordSirAlan is completely lost. Is it a recruitment agency, he wants to know, yes or no? Yes, it is.

Four of LordSirAlan's most trusted colleagues will be examining these business plans and grilling the contestants in great detail, and then feed it all back to him tomorrow to help him decide who's getting fired. The business pans are entrusted to Nick Hewer and Karren for safekeeping, and the candidates are left to stew.

First up, Tom is sent in for his interview with freesheet pioneer Mike Souter. Mike asks Tom if he'd say he was an experienced interviewee, which is just a dickish way of getting someone to say that they've never had an interview before, which is Tom's situation. Nick is sent in to meet Margaret Mountford, who needs no introduction. He greets her with "Margaret, nice to meet you", which got Stuart Baggs in trouble two years ago but is apparently fine now. [As my friend Linda pointed out, Margaret has a soft spot for a twinkly-eyed boy - Rad] Margaret points out that he mentions his own intelligence repeatedly on his own CV, and wonders if that's not a tad immodest. Ricky Martin is dispatched for former young entrepreneur of the year, Matthew Riley [I hate him so much after last year's interviews - Rad], who tells Ricky Martin that it's his job to ensure that LordSirAlan goes into business with the right person, and then adds that reading Ricky Martin's application made him want to be sick. So far, all this tells me is that I don't want to go into business with Matthew Riley, because he's kind of unprofessional and a douche. And Jade is sent to the most fearsome of all: head of Viglen, Claude Littner. He tells Jade that he's "underwhelmed" by her CV and her business plan. "It's a pretty grubby little business you're proposing," he sniffs. I'm not disputing that for a second, but since when did that matter? Most of the businesses that actually make money do it in a fairly grubby fashion. And let's not forget last year's winner, whose initial business plan was "arrive unannounced at people's offices, diagnoses everyone with back pain and sell them all a magic chair that will fix it", which is the sort of grifting chicanery that has existed ever since commerce was invented. I don't like the sound of Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-CallCentre any more than Claude does, but to suggest it's not viable simply because it's "grubby" seems a ridiculous accusation.

Jade attempts to explain the business, and how people will be making calls "with an easy script", so it's high-volume, and then passing on the leads of people to interested parties - mostly mobile phone companies, solar panels, and debt management companies. Claude objects to the cold-calling aspect of it, and the fact that they'll be hassling people who've already fallen into debt, and how that's "unsavoury". Again, I don't disagree, but: business. Business works by exploiting vulnerable people. Half the tasks on this show have actively encouraged that; let's not pretend we're suddenly above it.

Outside, the others have apparently been released from their initial engagements and, at Tom's behest, are taking bets on "how Jade's will be", on a scale of 1-10. Whether it's her business plan or her interview with Claude that's up for discussion is never confirmed, but the estimates are either 2 or 3, so it's safe to say this lot don't really view her as much competition.

Back in the office, Claude is looking over Jade's numbers, and notes that she hasn't actually provided a cashflow. Or a balance sheet. Or any costs for month one. Claude is curious as to how she's planning to operate without any overheads in her first month. Jade's all "oh, they've already been paid for out of the £250,000". Claude points out that this is not how it works. Jade, scrambling, says that the money will pay for the employee wages, the overheads, etc, and Claude asks her how much she's got left. Nothing, is the answer. "So in six months, you've blown it?" Claude enquires. I'm calling it: time of death, 8:59pm. Sorry Jade, it was nice knowing you, but I don't think there's any coming back from that.

Jade is released, and the others asks her how it went. Jade admits she "got absolutely slaughtered." Which, coincidentally, is exactly what she's quite like to do right now. Anyone got any English sparkling wine? Or some booze jellies?

Next up, Ricky Martin goes in to see Margaret. Truly, 'tis a meeting of expressive eyebrows for the ages. Margaret picks up on the part of Ricky Martin's application where he likened himself to Thor. "It's an extremely bold statement," Ricky admits, saying that he wanted to differentiate himself from the other people applying. "They're not all gods, you mean?" asks Margaret, drily. Ricky says that he wanted to put across the point that he's someone who can bring something fresh and new to the marketplace. Margaret asks if he sees himself as a reincarnation of LordSirAlan. Ricky Martin admits he wouldn't go that far, but that there are aspects of his success that he has emulated. Margaret: *eyebrow*. Ricky Martin: *eyebrow*. Sometimes words are very unnecessary.

Meanwhile, Nick's in with Claude, who thinks his business plan looks like "an academic exercise". He thinks it looks like an excellent piece of work for an MBA, but not for starting a business. Claude asks Nick to explain, in clear English please, what this business actually does. Nick explains that for any recipe on telly, or the internet, or in a book, his system will automatically allow you to purchase all the ingredients with a single click. I notice that for an intelligent man, he's made an unforgivable slip-up - his list of supermarkets which feature in the system has "+100's others". Bad Nick! No apostrophe there! Nick explains at length how it will compare prices at various supermarkets, and will let you buy things from different places into the one basket, which all sounds lovely but also incredibly complicated and possibly quite expensive, assuming you're paying delivery charges at all of these places. Anyway, Nick's explanation is interrupted by Claude snipping "do I care?" Well, considering that you asked him to explain it to you, I'm going with...yes? Claude thinks no one will be bothered with it.

Outside, the others debate Nick's chances. Ricky Martin thinks Nick needs to be careful not to come across patronising, and Jade adds that he needs to be careful that he's "listening". Interesting.

Claude calls Nick's product "an irrelevance" and Nick protests that Claude is not his target market. Nick thinks it could become a global big-hitter, and Claude counters that it's not worth the effort. Nick thinks this is unfair. And I'm sort of with him, until Nick starts going on about how "every household internationally" will want to use this system, and that it has potential to be "a Google or a Facebook" and then he loses me. It's a nice idea, and certainly one with some appeal, but it's not a revolution. It's an Instagram, maybe, but it's not a Facebook. Nick leaves, and Tom remarks that he looks like he's been dragged through a hedge, though I'm really not sure how any of us are expected to see the difference.

Next Tom goes in for his interview with Mike, who would like to read out a glowing reference on Tom's CV. Given that we all know at this point Tom's only ever worked in his family business, where do we all think this is going? Sadly, the show does not trust us to make this connection and so we're treated to an incredibly inflated segment in which Mike's all "OH WHAT A WONDERFUL REFERENCE, THIS PERSON REALLY THINKS YOU'RE WONDERFUL AND THAT YOU SHOULD WIN, DO YOU KNOW WHO WROTE THIS?" and Tom, inexplicably is like "...no?" and Mike triumphantly announces "LOL IT WAS YOUR DAD." Mike asks how much of the business plan Tom's father wrote, and Tom says none of it. "So it would be unfair to characterise you as a daddy's boy?" crows Mike. Unfair, yes, and also grossly unprofessional and really inappropriate. I know these people have all been brought in specifically to behave as dickishly as possible, but could they not have been professionally dickish, rather than just resorting to name-calling? Mike moves on to Tom's Pork Futures Warehouse and says that it's a very sophisticated plan, getting people to invest in wine. Bill Lawrence should really think about using this as the basis for an episode of Cougar Town. Just imagine how utterly appalled Jules and Ellie would be by the idea of investing in wine that you'll never drink. Tom tells Mike in no uncertain terms that his dad only joined his business after it had already posted revenues of £1.25m. I'm sure he mentioned in a previous episode that he joined this business as an existing family concern, so how his father features as a Johnny Come Lately in all of this doesn't quite make sense to me, but it's not a rabbit hole I particularly want to get lost in, so let's move on.

Nick's in with Matthew now, who says that he wants shepherd's pie for tea tonight. Mmm, shepherd's pie. Matthew, like Claude, believes Nick's idea is fundamentally useless. I really don't get what their problem is with understanding it. Nick patiently explains that people might visit several different websites and want to buy ingredients for all of the recipes they find. Matthew is incredulous at this: "Who DOES that? Who has time to plan out what they're going to eat? What, Monday's lasagne, Tuesday's...who DOES that?" He says this like it's the absolute most ridiculous thing imaginable, despite the fact that a lot of people who are on tight budgets do exactly that, because it's a good way of keeping track of your money and making use of what you've already got. We actually saw a sheet of Nick's business plan that part of the functionality was given over to making sure you could use all your leftovers, so the whole "nobody ever plans their meals ahead" thing is a really idiotic attempt to rubbish his idea, and frankly just makes Matthew look like someone who never has to worry about money. Which, to be fair, he probably doesn't. But still: if you really think that nobody in the UK ever has to plan their life very carefully to make a small amount of money go a long way, you have no place in business. You should be in David Cameron's cabinet, or possibly in the House of Lords. Matthew, unwisely, takes it even further by claiming that families with young children would never plan their meals, because they just want to come in, make a quick meal and get the kids to bed. I would argue they're exactly the sort of people who would want to use this sort of system, because they wouldn't have time to go shopping every day. It's odd, Claude used to be the interviewer I had the least time for, but Matthew's disingenuous "man of the people" schtick is really rubbing me up the wrong way this year. [I loathe him.  See last year's recap for evidence - Rad]

Matthew moves on to the fact that Nick is already on business number three, despite his young age. Nick's current business is about QR codes, and Nick thinks he could make £2-4m out of it. Do people seriously still think QR codes are going to take off? Because they really, really aren't. Anyway, Matthew thinks Nick's crazy to want to start a new business when he already has such a lucrative (his sentiments, not mine) business on the go, and that he should focus on that. Matthew says that Nick's previous business partner thinks he lacks focus, and that's a very important aspect of business.

Ricky Martin is in with Mike, who wants to know why he goes by Ricky rather than Richard, given that he shares this name with a "famous Latino pop star". Ricky says that it works in his favour because people remember him, and that's very important in sales. Man's got a point. [I started warming to RickyMartin during the Stephen anialation but this episode cemented it. I hate that I was made not to hate him anymore - Helen] Mike moves on to some of Ricky Martin's other aliases, namely his wrestling alter-ego, Ricky Hype. Ricky explains that his hobby is professional wrestling (how can it be "professional" and a hobby? Surely it's either one or the other) and Mike cautions that he sounds more showbusiness than real business, and he wonders if people can't take Ricky Martin seriously in business because they can't stop imagining him wearing a pair of lycra pants. I would say that's their problem, to be honest.

Nick's in with Margaret now, who wants to know about his unconventional upbringing. Nick says that he was brought up all outdoorsy, where he was educated in camping, woodworking, firebuilding and sewing, and he never had a TV. He thinks not having had a computer for all those years made him want it more, and turned him into a bit of a geek.

From there, we go to Jade and Matthew, who has noticed that she refers to herself as an excellent businesswoman on her CV, and wonders if she did business studies on her degree or at college? Jade says that she studied graphic design, but there were business modules within it. He asks if she's sure about that, and if she has nothing else to tell him? Jade doesn't think so, but clearly suspects something unpleasant is around the corner. Matthew steels himself for his Poirot moment and is all "J'accuse, Mademoiselle! You took a Business Studies A Level and got an N!" Jade's like "oh, yeah, that" and Matthew's super smug about this, crowing "oh, that little bit of information!" Wow, yeah, you'd really have made her look shifty and untrustworthy there if you hadn't been questioning her ABOUT HER DEGREE. Maybe it's just because I tend to think of "college" as synonymous with "university", but I wouldn't have assumed that question was about my A levels either. Maybe think about asking less ambiguous questions next time if you're looking to catch someone out, Matt?

Now Margaret is poring over Tom's CV, where he has described himself as a "BNOC" - a "big name on campus" at university. I bet he was also known as a "completely original campus king" and a "big, elevated likely lad, entirely no doubt" as well.

Then, quick as a flash, Tom's in with Claude, who wants to examine the business plan more closely. Claude has spotted that Tom wants to launch a fund to raise £25m to invest in the wine industry. Claude thinks that's a lot of money to raise in a company that's untested with a young guy at the helm. That, and watching five seasons of Brothers & Sisters taught me that the wine industry is exceptionally volatile, especially if you've got secret siblings popping out of the woodwork every couple of years thanks to your philandering late father. Tom concedes that it's a big leap, but he knows he can do it. Claude wonders why a person would choose to deal with him, rather than someone more established. Tom says that he's already had demand for this from his existing clients. Claude then finds another page of Tom's CV where he says he's "well-rounded" and picks holes in this, but I think he's rather reaching now, having failed to rattle Tom's calm demeanour by calling him an untested man-child. Claude doesn't think Tom can raise the money, and therefore the concept is flawed from the outset. [And on his CV he said he looks like Olly Murs!  A) He doesn't, B) On his CV! and C) Like comparing yourself to that twat in a hat is in anyway a good thing - Rad] [That whole list wasn't given nearly enough attention - Helen]

When he leaves, Ricky Martin notes that Tom was in there "for ages", and he and Nick get Tom to rate his experience (so at least they weren't only doing this to Jade, I guess), and Tom says it was a two. A number two. Hurr hurr hurr.

After that, Ricky Martin goes in to see Matthew, who thinks Ricky Martin clearly has the experience in recruitment, but what about being a business start-up? How's he going to react when he has no clients and all his staff are useless? Ricky Martin actually responds pretty well to this, saying that the entire process has demonstrated that he doesn't easily cave under pressure, and that his degree in Wrestling Biochemistry (or whatever it was) helps him to understand the industry, and that he can take a sledgehammer to any brick walls in his way.

Then Jade's in with Mike, who wants to hear more about Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-CallCentre - specifically, the four web addresses that she'll use to gather her data from. He asks if these addresses she has listed are valuable assets, and Jade says they are, and she has purchased them. Except apparently not all of them, because one she's listed, chooseenergysupplier.co.uk, he owns. He bought it just now. Jade, trying not to laugh, says she might have to buy it off him. Mike's all "okay, make me an offer." Oh, Jade.

Ricky Martin goes in to see Claude, as Tom confides to Nick that he hopes Ricky Martin gets as good a grilling as he did. Ah, camaraderie. In the interview room, Claude tells Ricky Martin that he's been looking forward to meeting him, because he's an enigma. His "personal statement" (i.e. reality show application form) is, per Claude, "the most crass, obnoxious, infantile personal statement that I've had the...not really a pleasure, that I've had the opportunity of reading." Ricky Martin has described himself as "the best business partner on the planet" and how he will teach "an old dog new tricks" when he partners LordSirAlan. Claude thinks this is a tad disrespectful. Ricky Martin agrees that it was immature, and that he regrets including it. He's such a showman - he could not possibly look less ruffled by these accusations. Claude moves on to the business plan...which he was quite impressed by. It was interesting and well-written. So why, Claude wonders, did Ricky write such bollocks on his "personal statement"? Er, to get on the telly? This is the weird disconnect of this show - these people have to make themselves sound like egomaniacs or arseholes or egomaniac arseholes if they actually want to get on the shortlist in the first place, and then the show tries to convince us all that they genuinely believe it, even though everyone watching knows exactly why they wrote those things. Ricky Martin comes close to taking the aforementioned sledgehammer and shattering the fourth wall, admitting that he basically said those things for attention, but now he's grown in the process and he has realised a lot about himself and he's a very different person. Ha! Now this is what I like to see: he's taken the show's attempts to wrongfoot him with their reality TV tropes and smoothly transformed it into a trope of his own: the all-important Journey. To be honest, I think he deserves to win just for pulling that off so effortlessly.

Continuing, Claude thinks that in These Troubled Times, it's a poor time to start a business like this. Ricky Martin disagrees; the economy is "picking up substantially" and this field of recruitment is actually doing very well. He's got specific figures to back up his assertions as well, and even Claude is forced to admit that sounds plausible to him. Bloody hell - after all these years, who would've anticipated that Claude Littner would ultimately be defeated by a wrestling biochemist?

Nick's in with Mike, who wants to know what sort of return LordSirAlan could expect at the end of year five. Nick predicts £145m.

Matthew asks Tom if he has any qualifications in wine or hedge funds. Tom does not. Matthew thinks it sounds like a big risk. Tom thinks that no one would question him if he had Lord Sugar as a 50% stakeholder.

Margaret points out that Jade hasn't stuck at any one job for very long. Jade says that it's about gaining experience and making more money, and that her business plan is about using the contacts that she has. She thinks being successful in business is about common sense and relationship-building, which is what got her this far in the process.

Ricky Martin tells Claude he has a simple business model, but it can go big and expand throughout the UK and throughout Europe, and Claude says that he comes across as someone who has thought very hard about his business idea.

Nick tells Mike that he's built his prototype, and now needs money to make it work. Tom tells Matthew he hasn't let anyone down in his life, and he's not going to start now.

That's it for the interviews, and the candidates retreat to the holding area to exhale for the first time in six hours. Nick thinks he's got a good chance, but it's not definite at all. Ricky Martin doesn't care if they found a few flaws, because pobody's nerfect. Exeunt Apprentices.

The next day (presumably) at Entrepreneur Estates, the candidates leave for the last time, wheely-cases trailing behind them. They've got a car each. This show's carbon footprint must be enormous. Tom thinks he's in pole position at the moment, but wonders if he's been too ambitious. Jade is adamant that she's a strong enough candidate to be in the final, and she knows her business idea will make money.

At the boardroom, the Advisors arrive to meet with LordSirAlan while, outside, the Apprentices troop into the atrium. NotFrances barely gives them a second look; she's too preoccupied with trying to stop baby Chloe from climbing into the photocopier. The babysitter cancelled at short notice, you see.

LordSirAlan tells his advisors that he's a pensioner now, so he doesn't want to work too hard. Margaret starts with Jade, and explains that her model is passing on leads to interested parties, and receiving a premium for doing so. Matthew says that his concern is that people don't want to be disturbed at home with pointless phone calls. Oh well, best dismantle the entire telemarketing industry, then. Mike says that her business plan was flawed, because she hadn't bought all the web addresses that she said she had, and he decided to teach her a lesson by buying one of them from under her HA HA HA. [Actually that was kind of funny, unlike anything else he said - Rad] Claude thinks she's a great saleswoman, but the numbers in her business plan were completely nonsensical. Karren points out that she's sticking to a business she's been in for a long time and knows well. Margaret brings up the job-hopping thing, and how Jade said that each time she'd been promoted and then moved on to bigger and better things. Nick thinks she's persuasive face-to-face, but that is not what she'd be doing in this business.

They move on to Ricky Martin, and Claude laments his awful "personal statement" again. LordSirAlan wonders if in "this modern age" it's necessary to come up with a load of crap rather than get to the point. If by "this modern age" you mean "reality television", then yes. Mike thinks the irony is that Ricky Martin had the most simple and straightforward idea of anyone - a niche recruitment business that he's passionate about. Claude says that he was sleepless with excitement over the prospect of ripping him apart (ha! I love that Claude is basically openly admitting to playing the panto villain for dramatic effect here, that's rather endearing) but actually ended up being "mesmerised" by him, and he thinks it was a very sensible business plan. Karren cites Ricky Martin's Journey (see, they're all falling for it!) but Margaret worries that Ricky Martin can't be trusted not to say something silly in a business environment.

Nick next, and Margaret thinks he's obsessed with his "unconventional" upbringing. Claude thinks he's very bright, but isn't sure the idea is all that clever or necessary. Margaret thinks he's aiming at people who watch a cooking show on telly and go straight to the internet to download the recipe. LordSirAlan doesn't think that they've got Britain's Next Top Social Network on their hands. Mike brings up the £145m potential profit that Nick cited after five years, and they declare it unrealistic. Karren says that whenever a task has centred around an internet site, Nick has excelled at that. Yes, both of those times.

Finally, we have Tom. Karren thinks Tom likes the prospect of being a big gamblin' risk taker, and Matthew says that Tom has lived a charmed existence, which I'm totally sure is an assertion he's qualified to be making. LordSirAlan chuckles that it can't be that charmed, because Tom's a West Ham supporter, ho ho ho. Claude is concerned by Tom's lack of experience, and Karren points out that this is very unfair, because at the age of 23, she was running a football club, and that plenty of people are skilled at business at a young age. Nick chips in rather obsequiously that LordSirAlan was one of those people when he was younger, and he got involved in lots of businesses that were potentially risks. Mike thinks it was one of the best business plans he's ever read, and Claude thinks it has potential to make a lot of money, but Tom might need to tone down his ambitions.

The interviewers leave, and don't even acknowledge the waiting candidates as they pass them, because they're all jerks. LordSirAlan calls up NotFrances and gets her to send the candidates in. Couldn't he have just told Claude to send them in on his way past? Honestly, all this unnecessary work that's being created in this episode. Once they're in, LordSirAlan talks to Jade first, and she explains that if you buy the right data and sell it to the right people, it's potentially very lucrative. LordSirAlan is concerned for his reputation if he's behind this organisation that rings people up at home and annoys them. Once again, I feel compelled to point out that this criticism would've been every bit as valid in week one as it was now, so why put Jade through the whole process only to go "nah, your business plan isn't right for me". That's the one part of this new format that really doesn't work for me - all these assurances that everyone's got a brilliant plan, only for several of them be dismissed for the most superficial of reasons in the final episode. Jade points out that the business is entirely legal, and she has a lot of experience in this industry and knows how to get results. Karren thinks that Jade is very enthusiastic, but that her business plan just fell apart in the interviews. LordSirAlan asks Jade about the part where the money runs out after six months, and Jade counters that yes, it does, but money starts coming in after three months.

Tom's next under the microscope, and LordSirAlan wants to know how the whole business is going to work. Tom explains that he has been approached in recent years by people who want to include fine wine investment as part of a pension investment plan. LordSirAlan points out that he's constantly approached by people who want to use his property portfolio to set up financial schemes of some sort; proposals that he has never agreed to and which ultimately end up going "tits up". Tom assures him that his Pork Futures Warehouse is different, because it's all about choosing the right wines. LordSirAlan says that there are no guarantees in this sort of industry, and that all it takes is for an analyst to change their mind about the demand for wine in Asia (I can't quite believe I just typed that), and the bottom falls out of the whole thing. Tom's resolute, though, and says that businesses are expanding into Asia, and wouldn't be doing that unless they thought it was robust. Well, yes, but that doesn't mean they're right. I mean, I'm sure you could say the same about all those investment banks who bought into subprime mortgages and ended up going bust. LordSirAlan asks Tom if he's trying to run before he can walk, and Tom says, essentially, no.

Then we come to Ricky Martin, who gets gently ribbed about his "personal statement", specifically the part where he suggested that LordSirAlan was at the stage of his life where he had to start thinking about "succession planning", leading LordSirAlan to ask with heavy irony whether he needs to let his kids know that they've got a new Dada coming. Aren't LordSirAlan's kids all well into adulthood by now? Ricky Martin puts some Journey on the stereo and talks about how he's learned through this process that actions speak louder than words and he should keep his trap shut a lot more. LordSirAlan is pleased that Ricky Martin wants to start a recruitment business "in what I would call a nish market". Ricky Martin says it's a big industry and he wants to work with the organisations who know of him, but don't currently work with him. LordSirAlan scoffs at this, but Ricky Martin is not to be swayed: he's placed a lot of people and has a lot of testimonies to back himself up. LordSirAlan points out that Ricky Martin has even allocated funds for the Christmas party in his business plan, and Ricky Martin says he wanted it to be as detailed as possible. They actually get a Christmas party at Ricky Martin Incorporated? I'm totally going to work there.

Last but not least, Nick and his strange computing system that no one understands. LordSirAlan wonders why he wants to put that much work into it. Nick says people go shopping for ingredients, when what they're really looking for is recipes. "How do you know that?" asks Karren, and Nick replies that it's what he does, it's what his friends do, it's what he understands people do. Well, he's probably just sunk himself there - that's the absolute worst kind of anecdotal market research that no one's going to take seriously. LordSirAlan then gives an elaborate pantomime of how he expects this system to work (a fairly simplistic take on it, by my reckoning) and returns to the well of whether it's worth the effort. Nick says that he has a prototype that's already out there and working, and that he has a far more innovative idea than everyone else. Ricky Martin says that it's all very well him saying that, but he has no experience in the industry he's aiming for. Nick retorts that he's been running a software company for "18-24 months". What, like software for the under-twos? Ricky Martin wonders what will happen when Nick gets another idea and runs off to implement it without getting any profit out of this one.

The summing-up music plays, and LordSirAlan says he can see light at the end of the tunnel for all four business plans, but he has to make some decisions. He's worried about the potential for Tom's business going wrong and what that would mean for his reputation, because it could be a calamity with his name tacked onto it. He knows Nick's a valuable commodity because all the other candidates wanted him on their team, but he's not sure about the business model. Ricky Martin has a workable business plan with his experience behind it. Jade's a great salesperson and very enthusiastic, but he's not sure he wants to put his name on something that involves disturbing people at home. I thought he'd already done that with this show, but there you go. Anyway, he's not going to mess around, and while he's enjoyed Jade's "presence", he doesn't want her to be his business partner, so with regret, she's fired. "You're fired" is a ridiculous thing to say to someone whose business plan you're rejecting. I know it's the show's catchphrase, but do they really need it in this final episode? Jade wishes the others luck and scurries out.

LordSirAlan weighs up the remaining plans, and thinks Tom might need to rein in his ambition, while Ricky needs to clamp down on his own madness. Nick is obviously intelligent, but LordSirAlan can already feel himself getting dragged into the enormity of his business proposal, and he doesn't really see where the money is, so for that reason, Nick is fired/excused/rejected as well.

So we have our final two of Tom and Ricky Martin, and LordSirAlan asks them to step outside while he has a final chat with Nick Hewer and Karren. Karren thinks Tom's business is a risky business (and I'm sure there is no shortage of viewers who would like to see Tom doing this), but Nick thinks it has the potential to be a very exciting one. LordSirAlan is reluctant to do business with other people's money, though. On the other hand, there's Ricky Martin, who Karren thinks has great credibility in his field, and we shouldn't rule out the wrestling biochemist because he's the safe option. Again, I can't quite believe I just typed that.

The top two are summoned back in, and LordSirAlan says that he might be interested in Tom's Pork Futures Warehouse once he's developed a level of comfort with it and with Tom, but he thinks they need to work together a bit first, and he reminds Tom that he put the feeler out there for a smaller scale version of the project. It's not quite a Helen's Bakery moment, but Tom says that he'd certainly be up for discussing that and would be a fool not to consider any offer on the table.

Ricky Martin's business is a lot simpler, but LordSirAlan sees echoes of himself in there, as Ricky Martin just wants to do what he did and leave a firm he worked for to start his own business. Ricky Martin says that he has the experience, and now it's his time to run forward. Feeling mischievous, LordSirAlan asks Ricky Martin if he'd invest in Tom's Pork Futures Warehouse when he's made his millions; Ricky Martin demurs, because even though Tom's brilliant, he doesn't like wine. Heh.

So essentially it comes down to the safe option versus the risk taker, though Tom points out that his option is safer in many ways because he's already founded a business, where Ricky Martin has not.

The music kicks in again, and it's time for LordSirAlan to make a decision. He admits that he quite wants to have a bit of a gamble, and Tom's business offers that "devilment", but Ricky Martin is more of a sure thing. So does he go for the devil, or the safety? [I love that he called Tom the devil.  Even though it was clearly Jade with her seven circles of hell pyramid call centre scheme - Rad]

Ultimately he decides...to play it safe. Ricky Martin wins! And this whole process was entirely worth it to see the look of barely-veiled disappointment on Tom's hipster wine-loving face when he realises he's just lost to the guy who was probably cast initially as the joke candidate.

A coatless Ricky Martin gets into his cab of victory, and says that this is the recognition that everything he's done has been worthwhile. He thinks he and Lord Sugar are going to be a powerful force to be reckoned with. They will, indeed, be the reflection of perfection.

So there we have it. Let's just round things off with a few You're Hired highlights:

- Jade knew she wasn't going to win, because she was present in her interviews
- You really haven't lived until you've seen and heard Jade saying "you have to give it some strategy" in the most sarcastic voice imaginable, giving it full-on air quotes.
- Jade is exploring some business possibilities right now, one of which may actually be BOOZE JELLIES! HOORAY!
- Gabrielle was looking at everyone adoringly from the audience, but especially Nick.
- Those awful choads who won series three of The Restaurant are somehow still in business :(
- Woman In Business Jo Malone thinks it's entirely acceptable to suggest to Tom that if business doesn't work out, he should totally take up modelling. Somehow I suspect that if a male panellist had said this to, say, Gabrielle, people would not have received it especially well.
- Ricky Martin got a lot of sun on his honeymoon.
- Ricky Martin's mother calls him Richard.
- Ricky Martin's wrestling routine involves getting spanked.
- Ricky Martin is giving up wrestling. :(

That's it for this year. Thanks for reading, and hopefully we'll all be back next year to go through this all again with another group of weaselly young upstarts!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

I don't think you're ready for this jelly

Week 11 - 30th May

Last week!  The ‘high-end’ theme continued as our Apprenti acted as agents for Key Noir (aka Quinoa, which sounds no less silly),[I'm not changing it - Helen] a jumped-up Groupon with ideas above its station.  Ricky Martin ate a bunch of scallops, Tom and Adam wandered around in a daze and Jade defeated all in her wake via an hour of trampling the Sanctuary into the ground until they surrendered.  Marcus Wareing turned up but there was sadly no Johnny Mountain-style flouncing from the Apprenti.  Stephen sucked like a super-sized Dyson and he was resoundingly fired.  Gabrielle was also fired, seemingly for being too nice or something.  And also for committing the heinous crime of thinking fish foot spas might still (a few months ago) have been in and were in any way ‘high end’.  I’m only going to miss one of those two.

At the Apprenti Blockbusters Big Brother mansions and LordSralanSugar wants to meet him at Burlington arcade.  Adam appears to be sleeping on a mattress in a sunken hole in the floor.  Poor Adam – put down and patronised all series and forced to sleep in a hole. [He's from The North, this lot probably assumed he was used to it. - Steve]

Ricky Martin interviews that he’s the last member of Sterling and he’d like to take on all the others, tag-team style in this week’s challenge.  In the cabs, Adam, through a bleary-eyed fog, hopes this task will mean getting his hands dirty (in which case why didn’t he go to the factory?  Whoops, spoilers).

They go to Burlington Arcade, one of those small shopping arcades seemingly every city except Sheffield has (and no we do not count Chapel Walk), which is in the West End and sells LUX-HU-REE goods.  Ricky Martin standing on his own <3 <3.  LordSralan reminds us that we’re in recessionary times (what happened to THESE TROUBLED TIMES) but luxury goods still sell to some rich people.  Like evil bankers and those in the government amirite? [And people in structured reality shows. - Steve] The teams have to launch some luxury goods, pitch them to industry experts and himself and whoever he decides he doesn’t want in the final will go home.  He might even make up a vague reason why their team lost or somefink.  Tom gets to join Ricky Martin and suck all the fun out of Sterling.  (He’s competing with Gary Barlow for how much of a funsponge one man can be.  Even pissed he was a bit boring).

Now, this next voiceover bit is interesting.  We see shots of products from Cath Kidston, Hotel Chocolate Molten Brown etc and helpful voiceover man tells us that premium products with an affordable price tag are trends which keep on growing.  OK, everyone?  Got that?  Each team must create a luxury range, make a pop-up shop  and then do some pitching.

Ricky Martin volunteers to be team Sterling’s PM.  Tom, realising Ricky Martin would surely be a goner if he lost three times as PM (although probably not in this series with its PM-firing rate) says ‘oh yeah, I’d totally be PM too but I’m happy for you to do it’.  They decide to go for a male grooming range and Nick (H) oldterviews that these are young men and they have quiffy hair and they’re clearly into all this nonsense.  Ricky Martin and Tom discuss that this idea could either be ‘heritage’ (LOL) or modern and Ricky Martin butters up Tom by telling him his look is very fashionable.  Tom: I agree.  Hee.

Adam is PM for Phoenix and looks for ideas.  Nick2 says the ‘biggest market’ is confectionery.  Adam says hot chocolate is a good idea.  Nick2 says he’s owned a coffee shop in the past and thinks hot chocolate is an under-served market.  Adam says hot chocolate a few times.  Nick2 says they want a brand with a clear message, then Adam says ‘I want a bit of everything’.  Oops.  Adam says he wants to work with Nick2 on creating a brand identity and a business model as he feels that’s the main part of the task.  He then sends Jade to make the products as she’s a girl and she eats nice chocolates, yeah. 

Tom suggests to Ricky Martin that they use the words dapper, debonair, the grooming guild. ["The Grooming Guild" could not sound more like an internet paedophile ring if it tried. - Steve] Ricky Martin likes Men’s Choice.  Tom tells him that sounds like pr0n. [THAT sounds like porn?!?!?! - Steve] 11am and Tom arrives at a LUX-HU-REE salon and tells the men working there that ‘heritage, tradition’ is a new trend for men. [That doesn't sound like porn in any kind of universe, but after the other names, I want it to be - Helen] One of the men says  using the products on the men in the salon is their best way of making sales.

Adam and Nick2 are brainstorming name ideas.  Or rather Adam is reeling off a stream of consciousness: Chocoloco, Lovely Chocolate, Chocstop.  Nick2 says this is a luxury brand, so he’s written down CoCoCo, CoCoCho, ChoChoCho, I ChooChooChoose you and ChooChooChoo a train across the floor, DoDoDo come on and do the Conga, YouYouYou, it’s conga night for sure.  Adam says ‘it sounds like a train’.  Nick2 says yes, but it’s a CHOCOLATE TRAIN, which is amazing.  If my two-and-a-half year old nephew is the market, then yes.  Adam suggests Chocolate Bar ‘you know, like Chocolate Bar.  Chocolate Bar!  It’s chocolate and it’s a bar!’ [See, they're light! - Steve] They then phone Jade and she suggests Sweet Thing for being cool and quirky.  Which: notsomuch, but they go for it anyway.

Adam and Nick2 go to a Chocolatier and eat chocolates.  Karren points out that they just ate chocolate and forgot to ask anything about BIZNISS, other than the best selling product (salted caramels.  Still?  Has that trend not gone the way of nibbly fish yet?  So 2010-11, surely?  And I say this as someone who likes salted caramel).  EXCEPT – this chocolatier also sells jellies (as do my favourite independent chocolate shop in Sheffield, who also sell sweets.  And hot chocolate.  And probably as do many similar shops).  Adam is rather enamoured by the jellies.

In a warehouse, they  have an interior designer to help them create their pop up shops.  Tom says charcoal, dark grey, heritage heritage heritage.  Adam wants colourful.  Jade phones and asks about the product range.  She suggests marshmallows, hot chocolate and chocolate ‘plates’.  A plate of chocolate does sound pretty epic.  Adam says he wants jellies because they’re the next big thing.  Nick interviews, very seriously, that he and Adam have fallen out over the jellies.  Adam wants red with vanilla ice-cream and he wants fluorescent blue with Gino Ginelli (Tutti Frutti what a cutie!  Take a Gino home with you!) [Can anyone remember the name of those fluorescent jellies we had in the 80s?  I spend a stupid amount of time trying to find the name and failing in my dedication to this recap. There was a yellow one, a pink one and a blue one – maybe some other colours too – Rad].  Adam says the products are all sweet and some people don’t like chocolate, so they can have jelly.  It’s all dairy and gelatine!  Won’t anyone think of the vegans?!  At the sweet factory, a man blowtorches a marshmallow whilst Jade says she always dreamed of having a sweet shop.  (We all did, Jade, but the jars in those things were tiny and it just wasn’t like the advert said.  AND the stickers on the Pepsi cans were always wonky).

Ricky Martin boringterviews that they’re making shaving balm and moisturiser and… zzzz.  Tom’s influence is rubbing off on him, and not for the better.  NEEDS MOAR SANDALWOOD.  Tom wants to use Gentry.  Ricky Martin doesn’t get it.  Ricky Martin suggests they stick with New Tradition.  Tom hates it.  Eventually they settle on Modern Gentleman.

Nick2 doodles a love heart in a circle on some paper as the Sweet Thing brand and says they should use a capital S and a capital T because teacher taught them that this was how you wrote names.  Jade phones.  She’s had an inspiration, and the inspiration is this: BOOZE.  Booze will solve all ills.  OMG youguize, Drunken jellies!  Remember when you were at university and you chucked vodka in some jelly and put it in shot glasses!  That was fun! 

I am worried about the amount of booze the candidates seem to be needing to help them get through this year’s series.  Someone’s BIZNESS PLAN needs to be to set up an alcohol rehab centre for former Apprenti.  Adam doesn’t like drunken jellies, Nick2 whines that they have too many products, but neither comes up with anything else so they stick with it.  Jade interviews that the other two are meant to  be doing branding but she’s doing everything.  Now come on, Jade, Nick2 drew a heart.  In a circle.  Branding!  She eats some of the pear cider jelly, which is apparently very strong.

Tom is with the designer mocking up labels.  They’re that standard ‘men’s range’ blue  you used to see in the 1980s and 1990s with white type and some criss-crossed lines on them.  It’s a design so boring he’s even sending himself to sleep.  He worries that it might be a bit boring – even though everything he touches seems to turn to dull.  Because he doesn’t actually have a creative bone in his body (oh for Gabrielle right now) he sticks with it.  Nick whines that Ricky Martin is at the factory whilst Tom is doing everything else.  Even though it’s a two person team and if the PM doesn’t go to the factory they always get balled out about it.  Essentially: shut up Nick.

On the way to set up their shops, Nick 2 discusses their brand: luxury, ethical and fun, targeted at ‘females’ aged "fifteen to old".

Sweet Thing paint their shop blue.  Their logo is black, and a variation on Nick’s love heart drawing.  Modern Gentleman (*cough*) go for charcoal.  Tom looks utterly serious as he paints.  Ricky Martin says they need to hurry up so they can get on with the ‘fluffy stuff’.  I am pretty sure no fluffy stuff will be allowed anywhere near Tom’s vision of boring. 

Sweet Thing’s products arrive.  Adam likes the jellies.  They also have salted caramel honeycomb ‘discs’ (where are my plates, dammit?) and hot chocolate.  Karren asks about the RRP.  Adam says £2.99 and Nick2 £4.99.  I think, actually something in the middle is probably about right for their market, so a £3.50, £3.99 kind of thing.  But then I actually visit a chocolate shop on a regular basis unlike these guys.  Karren says ‘that is selling at the moment for £2.99?  Or £4.99?’  Nick2: ‘Exactly’.  Where is Mr Notebook Hyphen Calculator when we need him eh?  Jade’s also booked a cocktail expert and suggests customers can pay £5 for a little cocktail and some sweets and they can tell you which ones complement each other as if it were matching wine to food.  But mainly it’s about getting pissed.

Potential customers and industry experts go and visit the shops.  Nick2 says they sell the most ‘chocolatey chocolate’ you have ever tried.  Oh piss off, Willy Wonka.  Jade’s sales STRATEGEH is, effectively, BOOZE.  Nick2 tries to sell those hot chocolate stirring sticks which were in vogue about three years ago (and Gabrielle was berated for the fish thing) and people are generally having a good time – largely due to Jade plying them all with cocktails.

At Modern Gentleman, everyone’s in boring grey jumpers and smelling products.  The shelves are pretty bare and very grey.  Ricky Martin says their aim is to be a small shop.  Nick says they’re strong on the business side but they are really pedestrian and boring and their shop looks like a closing down sale.
Sweet Thing’s customers like the shop, the products and the packaging.  Adam wants them to sell to hotels and supermarkets :’the more arms to this business the better’.

Ricky Martin shoves some poor man from the industry into a chair and offers to do him a cut-throat shave.  The poor man looks utterly terrified.  As you would be if a wrestling biochemist strapped you to a chair and started waving potions and razors about.  All the ‘customers’ moan about how boring the Modern Gentleman shop is.

Back at the house, ‘the Sweet Things’ price up their products, mostly at £2.99.  Nick2 says this will be a 60-70% margin.  ‘The modern gentlemen’ work on their detail.  Tom says ‘let’s framework this’.  I don’t know what that means other than it being ludicrous BIZNESS speak.  They decide to put their package in a BOX to make it stand out.  [No, no, OUT OF THE BOX – Stephen].  Ricky Martin interviews that they will need a killer pitch.  But never fear, his name is Ricky Martin, and he is the king of all pitches.
Morning, and Nick2 sits in the garden in some weird pod thing, which is obviously That London’s poncy version of a shed.  Except it has glass walls, so your tools and bikes would be nicked in an instant.  Design error, That London. [Don't blame us - we don't have gardens in That London. It's a John Lewis thing, and they're about the same price as a studio flat in my area. - Steve]

Pitching time!  In the crowd: Debenhams, House of Fraser, Green & Black’s and Bull Dog, some sort of male grooming range, apparently.  Why no Insignia?  It’s got everything, you know, from shampoo to shower gel – deodorant and aftershave – one all over smell. (I’m not sure why this recap is sponsored by ads of the 80s either, other than I’m suffering hangover-induced madness today).

Ricky Martin and Tom rehearse their pitch.  Ricky Martin dreams of them coming out with their own razor blade.  You guys, Ricky Martin is kind of scary today.  The pitch is off to a bad start when it doesn’t begin with ‘My name is Ricky Martin’.  He should be fired on the spot for that error.  Ricky Martin says that he and Tom like to take pride in their appearance, but neither of them talk enough with their friends and family about their grooming methods, and this has caused them to have to fork out thousands for years of therapy to overcome this regression.  (Has anyone in the world, ever, had a conversation about ‘grooming methods’ with their friends and family?)  But!  Modern Gentleman will overcome this!  They will save the UK!  And then Europe!  Their products cost £8-10 which is, according to Tom, affordable.  Tom says they will have a flagship store in London to attract a key customer base.  They know their figures for the barber experience and the products.  They’re asked about their sucky branding.  Tom says it’s in the middle of the bottom and the top end.  But Ricky Martin says they will get a BOX and that will make everything right in the end.  The feedback from the experts is that they pitched well but the product and brand sucked.

Sweet Thing next.  Jade says they want people to be ‘bombarded’ by visuals, smell and most importantly BOOZE.  Adam says they’ve tried to achieve affordable luxury for Christmas, birthdays, Easter and Valentine’s Day which will be their busy periods.  So, seeing as birthdays happen all the time, every day then?  Adam then flusters.  Jade is asked about the BOOZE.  She says they’d need a licence but it’d be about £1.50.  She then screams at Nick to give them PRICES.  HE says they’re in the middle, more expensive than cheap and cheaper than expensive and they will have a flagship store in London and another one in Manchester.  As long as they’ve discovered shoes.  And then they’ll also sell in supermarkets.  And other stores.  LordSralan asks if the flagship shops would be loss-making.  They’re also asked about the range.  Nick2 says they’re a confectioner, not a chocolatier or sweet company.  The feedback is that they’re confused but the product is delicious.  They don’t have a lead product though.

Boardroom time!

LordSralan points out Ricky Martin has sucked at being PM, and Ricky Martin’s all LOL Third time’s the charm, eh?  He says he and Tom were ‘passionate’ about male grooming in the most boring manner imaginable.  Tom has sapped all Ricky Martin’s power.  LordSralan tells them their product was boring.  Tom says yes it is but in the future we’d have a lot of text about the key active ingredient and how that would help the consumer.  Interesting!  LordSralan says their shop was boring and empty.  Ricky Martin says, that’s LUX-HUR-REE, duh.

LordSralan says Sweet Thing’s shop was more interesting and asks them about their BIZNESS STRATEGEH.  Karren reminds them that they forgot to actually ask about business strategies or the Holy Margins.  Jade says she came up with the products and the name and blabs a lot about how good the name Sweet Thing was.  Nick2 says Jade came up with some good things.  Adam says he and Nick2 had ideas too, sir.  Karren snorts that their ideas sucked: Chocolate Holster (!!!), Chocolate Heaven, TchoTcho Choc

LordSralan says that he was at the pitches and he also listened to the ‘bizess advisors’.  Modern Gentleman had done their research and pitched well but their shop and product were rubbish.  The other shop and product were good but Sweet Thing couldn’t pitch for toffee.  Or chocolate.  Or jelly.  But for paying deference to the Holy Margins and because LordSralan wants Tom and Ricky Martin in the final, they win.  They don’t get a treat though, because he can’t be arsed.

He says Sweet Thing didn’t have a clear plan or enough attention to detail. Loser CafĂ©.  Adam is sad that he lost but he thought they did OK.  Nick 2 says Adam is rubbish and needs to be fired.  Jade says she did everything so she’s quite happy to go to the Boardroom.  Adam, looking every inch the defeated man, pretends he thinks there’s no way it will be him who is fired.

In the boardroom, LordSralan asks about pricing.  Adam lies it was Jade because she went to the factory.  Jade’s  all WTF?  Nick2 says they wanted to pitch a price in the middle of posh and cheap.  LordSralan says the price is too cheap for a luxury store and too expensive for supermarkets.  To be fair, this exact same criticism would apply to Modern Gentleman, but no-one seems to care about that.  In a recap of Azhar’s final days, everyone throws the word STRATEGEH around a lot.  Nick 2 says there was no strategy.  Adam says that’s everyone’s excuse when a task goes wrong and they all had the same vision.  LordSralan says they had a lot of different products but they weren’t known for a standout product as each high-end type place has one standout product.  Adam admits he wanted the jellies.  Sralan points out that it all went wrong when they opened their mouths.  In a moment which is now destined to be used in YouTube mashups until the end of time, Nick says ‘Tom and Ricky drilled each other for an hour and a half before the presentation’.  Well, anything to relieve the tension, right?  He tells them off for not doing the same.  Apprentice three-way bisexual action DENIED.

Nick2 says they had no direction and apologises to Adam, but it’s Adam’s fault.  Adam says it’s the first he’s heard of it.  Karren tells Adam he decided the men would do the important stuff and they sent the little woman off to make nice chocolates.  Adam blusters about.  LordSralan asks Nick2 about his coffee shop (which he used to have – no suggestion whether or not it went under).  Nick suggests Nick2 could have been more persuasive in pushing forward the hot chocolate idea.  Nick2 lies that he did try.  Karren says he didn’t try very hard.

LordSralan and Karren say Jade did everything well.  Adam has no real skills apart from selling, but he’s enthusiastic.  Nick2 didn’t jump in and take over.  Even though he wasn’t PM and you don’t generally like it when PMs get usurped, LordSralan.  He thinks Nick2 is playing a game.

Adam is asked why he should remain.  He thinks he’s the best candidate, at which Jade pulls an epic face.  He says Nick2 has skills, but everyone can use a computer and Jade is supposed to be a promotion and marketing expert but he hasn’t seen that.  Jade says Adam’s a good salesman, but is that what LordSralan needs?  He isn’t creative and he has no strategy.  Adam says he’s been in business THIRTEEN YEARS and Jade calls herself a marketing expert.  She says she doesn’t, she works in direct marketing.  Is that telesales?  Jade thinks Adam should go and Adam thinks it should be Jade.  In a moment of epic trolling and STRATEGEH, Nick2 turns on Jade and says he doesn’t think she gets on that well with people and he’s decided he will actually take all the credit for the voucher task last week.  Jade’s like – erm, no, I won that singlehandedly and Nick2 says ‘actually that was me, in my opinion, not you.’  Jade then gives epic boardroom and says that the other two always listen to her so it seems a bit daft that they’re singling her out.  Nick2 says ‘I can’t say your ideas were terrible, because we didn’t have any, but they still sucked.’  Jade asks ‘if you’re such leaders in business’ why didn’t they actually lead.  Nick2 eye-rolls like a naughty school kid trying to land their friend in trouble instead of themselves.  Jade brings up her EPIC BUSINESS PLAN.

LordSralan says it’s hard because the better people tend to stay in the process longer (well, you’d hope).  Adam’s enthusiasm and sales have impressed him, but he’s still a bit stupid all in all.  Jade is passionate and a lot of her ideas were implemented but they weren’t all good ideas.  Nick is good at stretegeh but didn’t bother stepping in and helping actually win the task, but Adam is fired with a ‘keep in touch’.

Coatwatch: boring black but with pointy lapels.  In the cab, Adam says he’s always been a ‘doer not a talker’ and maybe he and LordSralan will meet again.

In the house, Ricky Martin and Tom say they want Nick2 to go home because he’s their biggest competition.  Nick2 says they pointed out Adam had no strategeth but admits he totally trolled Jade to get her fired and laughs at himself.  Jade is not amused.

Next time: the return of an old friend – with the interviews round coming up, surely we will see a return of the REZ-HOO-MAY?  Join Steve for the BIZNESS PLANS and someone winning on the back of an idea they had ages ago which LordSralan has his eye on, thus making both the final and the previous eleven weeks entirely moot.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Tring my hell

Week 10 – 23rd May 2012

Last week! ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE which is totally a thing, as was someone winning the competition which made TOTAL SENSE AND WAS COMPLETELY LOGICAL. An advert that was rubbish even by Apprentice standards was Jenna’s downfall and she went back to HairAndBeautyAllUnderOneRoof even though it was slightly more than half Stephen’s fault but his smooth talking ways saw him dodge the bullet with the promise of being project manager this week in order to correctly show SRLDSGR his business onions.

So, Stephen has to be project manager this week and he’s promised Daddy Alan a win. I absolutely, in no way, would take any form of pleasure in him promising this and losing. Honest.

Sorry, even I couldn’t keep a straight face through that one. I hope he fails harder than the entirety of the Failblog put together. I hope he fails so hard the only way he can save any face is to take off his clothes and give them to a homeless person in the hope of becoming any use to anyone ever.

Not that I’m biased. Ahem.

To BZNZ. We begin with RickyMartin stomping out of his room bleary eyed to receive the 6am phonecall. He Bangs (he bangs) his way down the spiral staircase to answer it. We get a good look at his Mel C tribute tattoos as he does this. Gabrielle is already up and in her suitcase. They have 30 minutes to get ready and meet the Sug in The City. Thus begins the Apprenti grooming ritual.

Stephen is so motivated and positive about today. THE FOOL. Gabrielle thinks that she, Ricky and Stephen have to win this task and Stephen promises he will give a measly 110%. In the other car, Jade pulls faces as Adam talks about it being the home strait.

Rainy London is rainy as the cars pull up. Alan is here in person today and explains that Londoners like to work hard and play hard, but in the CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE everyone is looking for a bargain and he’s heard about these daily deal websites and wants a piece of that. They’ll go out and get deals and present them to the company and the winners will be the ones that sell the most. Alan reminds Stephen that he hasn’t forgotten that he’s supposed to be PM this week but the others have to sort it out for themselves.

Stephen thins this task is simple. RickyMartin knows they’re going to win. The daily deal company is called Quinoa, presumably because Couscous was already taken and every Tom, Dick and Harry is eating it these days. Graham Walker is the CEO from Quinoa [I thought that too - apparently it's Key Noir, but that actually sounds more stupid than Quinoa.  In fact, it sounds like the kind of stupid name Apprenti would come up with.  Still better than Wowcher though - Rad] who tells them what to do. Quinoa, even if they do say so themselves, are at the more luxurious end  of the market and it will be their job to ensure that the offers are part of this brand and negotiate an attractive price for them. I had a cursory Google and I can’t find them so I can’t find out if any of this is true or not. Ah well.

They have a day to sort out the deal and they’re given little rooms to sort out STRATEGY.  Jade quickly stamps her authority on her team because THIS IS WHAT SHE DOES. She interviews that she works with companies like this one and she knows what offers work well. If it was anyone else, I’d be hearing the clanging chimes of doom [Stop stealing my lines – Midge Ure] but I hope that this isn’t the case because I really want Jade to be as awesome at BIZNIZ as she is at wearing pearls and being a bitch.

No arguments over on the other team though, as Stephen has made his cross and is bearing it to the best of his ability. He tells his team who look EXSTATIC to have him as a project manager that the key is in the number of deals that they get from each person. He’s hoping for 5 or six different deals from each company.

He tells RickyMartin that he trusts him so he can go off on his own and interviews that this whole thing is beyond Gabrielle’s tiny woman brain so he’s going to keep an eye on her. I so hope that you go today Stephen. There are no words for how much I want to see you fail.

Gabrielle plots the locations on a map, whilst Stephen bores on about geography and I notice RickyMartin’s orange fake tan hands. Stephen makes sure RickyMartin knows what he’s doing then calls him a “good lad” then they all run off to get started.

Meanwhile, on team Jade, they’re still working out their STRATEGY. NickHair plays with his hair whilst Jenna barks on about quality over quantity. Tom bores on about knowing all the best restaurants and NickHair mutters something about exclusivity and Tom rolls his eyes at him.

Meanwhile Gabrielle and Stephen are in the back of the car phoning people up, because a shaky call from a mobile in the back of a moving vehicle suggests quality all the way. First up, they’re off to a dentist who calls his whitening system Deluxe so it must be good. They try to negotiate a 40% reduction on the retail price and the dentist all but laughs in their face and says he’ll take £100 off. Gabrielle’s job is to stand there with a clipboard whilst Stephen tries to get another deal out of him. Karren interviews that if they’re going to use this STRATEGY they have to be efficient. Karren laughing behind her hand is not shown as we cut to Gabrielle recapping the deal that she’s written down on her clipboard.

Cut to RickyMartin who’s running late because of ‘timing’, which is only one step further up the ladder of sensible explanations than ‘reasons’.  We see speak to Stephen on a phone which is showing the locked screen. I’m now imagining that Stephen is some kind of Fight Club style fraction of Ricky’s personality. RickyMartin’s Tyler Durden is telling him to go to Tring after this one, which is an hour away. RickyMartin doesn’t look so sure as he could be doing all kinds of stuff in the two hours it will take him to travel to Tring and back. Stephen is sure that the Spa place in Tring is the way to go and he can probably get ten deals out of them. Gabrielle grabs the phone and tells RickyMartin to make sure that he negotiates the price and the period for which the deal will be available. RickyMartin interrupts her and says that he doesn’t need to be taught how to suck eggs.

RickyMartin arrives at a top end hotel restaurant. Despite saying he’s in a rush, quite rudely I may add, he gets a full tour of the restaurant which is on the 28th floor of a hotel.  The chef makes RickyMartin some scallops and he demands his negotiation time.

Team Jade haven’t even left the office. They’re setting appointments. Jade and Nick head off for an appointment at an exclusive spa. Jade insists that she’s doing the pitch. NickHair says that he wants to do it too and Jade flicks her hair at him and says that she’ll be fine. <3 [I love that Jade is just owning this episode from the word go. - Steve]

Arriving at the spa we meet three frankly terrifying women who tell Jade what the prices are. Jade says that she’d quite like to give a discount please miss, as that’s kind of what they’re here for. She’s met with *face*x3 and is told in no uncertain terms that they do offers but not discounts. Jade, sensing there may be some resistance suggests a 50% discount to three further *faces*. NickHair shuffles uncomfortably in his chair.

RickyMartin is still in the restaurant in the sky and explains the concept of daily deals. The restaurant man point blank refuses and says he wouldn’t even give a 10% discount. I briefly wonder what the point was of wining and dining RickyMartin so much but then I realise that a five minute advert on prime time BBC is something that money can’t buy [Also: for the LULZ.  And, to be fair, it was pretty funny - Rad]. RickyMartin tries his best to get some form of discount but the manager remains steadfast. RickyMartin and his eyebrow found the whole experience very frustrating but he’s going to use this as his motivation for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, Jade is still trying to smooth out a deal with the spa. She massages their egos and the terrifying women crumble and give a 50% discount.  Even Nick Hewer looks impressed.  Outside, Jade is happy that they got the deal and thinks it was worth the time they spent over it.

Meanwhile, Adam and Tom are in a boutique hotel in West London, living a scene from a hilarious movie from the 80’s where some posh business man is visited by his hick cousin ending in hilarious japes all round. For those who are not in the know, Adam is the hick cousin. He walks around the posh hotel shouting “IT’S GOOD” whilst Tom makes the kind of faces that indicate that he would really rather be with anyone else than here today [Seriously, what is it with you and the 80’s lyrics today? – Elvis Costello]

They get a tiny plate of posh food and Tom goes in for the 50% discount. The hotel man won’t go beyond 35%. Adam suggests that if they threw in tea and coffee that would totally make up for the 15% deficit. They agree and Adam is pleased. [If it's bottomless tea or coffee, that's actually pretty good. I know a lot of people who could easily get their extra 15% out of that, mentioning no names. - Steve]

Meanwhile, RickyMartin really doesn’t want to go to Tring. Stephen tells him to go and even puts his neck on the line and everything. He interviews that everything he says to Stephen and Gaby doesn’t make sense. Yup, got that right. He thinks it would be more sensible to go to three restaurants than it would to go to one hotel that’s probably going to spawn lots of deals. Stephen holds firm but RickyMartin’s persistence starts to make the doubts creep in and he eventually bins Tring, despite having put his neck on the line mere seconds ago.

Jade and Nick are doing some cold calls from the back of their car and getting precisely nowhere. They phone up a suspicious sounding Massage place but it turns out to be the kind of massage that ends more happily than usual. She begins to explain this to NickHair who does a posh seat shuffle and doesn’t get it, so she shouts “I THINK IT WAS A WHOREHOUSE” in his face and NickHair just looks mildly aroused. [TV HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEEEEEEEEK. - Steve]

Meanwhile, Tom and Adam are playing “Cousin Adam in the City 2” where Adam makes suggestions about boat rides and Tom tries really, really hard not to punch him.

It’s 2pm and there’s only five hours to finalise their deals. RickyMartin scribbles on a map, Gabrielle looks like she wants to punch Stephen but they make their way into a fish pedicure place. Stephen gets his feet out whilst Karren makes a face.  The entire nation shouts that NO WAY are fish pedicures high end. They did them in shopping centres until everyone realised that the tanks were germ factories. [There is still one in Meadowhall.  Apparently that was the first one in the UK.  So proud - Rad] Karren agrees with the nation but Gabrielle pushes on anyway and gets her 50% discount.

Jade and Nick are in a posh restaurant in St Pancras station. They soap him up good and proper and really sell the discount. It’s all going so well until Jade can’t work a scientific calculator. NickHair suggests using her phone but she ignores this and then NickHair can’t work the scientific calculator either.  Jade giggles about only understanding round numbers then the restaurant man berates her for coming to the table without intelligence and understanding. Finally! Someone saying something to their face! NickHair nods in agreement and the restaurant man leaves them for five minutes to get their shit together.

RickyMartin arrives at a Michelin starred restaurant called Rhodes. RickyMartin professes ‘it’ to be ‘on’. We’ll see. RickyMartin goes in hard and asks them for a 50% discount on guaranteed sales. They ask him how many they think he’ll sell. He thinks 50-100. They’re very interested and he manages to sell them. He’s presented with another plate of scallops for his endeavours.

5pm and the clock is ticking. We go back to “Cousin Adam in the City 3” and we’re reminded that they’ve only made one deal. Adam suggests Jewellers who are known for their ability to give discounts and Takeaways. Tom wearily reminds him that they’re looking for high end stuff.

Jade and Nick have managed to count everything up and they present their final figures to the chef at the restaurant in St Pancras. He berates them for not having come in like that but takes the deal anyway.

Nick Hewer interviews that the deadline is approaching them “like a steam train at 100 miles per hour” and they don’t see it coming. I can’t believe the deadline has broken the steam power land speed record.

There’s an hour left before they have to be back at the website. Stephen and Gabrielle have taken to wandering the streets. Cousin Adam is shouting about being in the poshest part of London looking for coupons and something snaps in Tom’s head. Ricky makes a further restaurant deal and is again given some scallops for his endeavours.

We’re treated to a montage of Stephen and Gabrielle scrabbling around for final deals which culminates in Stephen striking a golf ball into a wall. Cousin Adam is still shouting about random stuff until he and Tom end up in a candle shop talking about Tom’s girlfriend who may or may not exist. He gives them four minutes to sign the contract.

Predictably, everyone has left it until the last minute to get back to the daily deals site offices, but they all seem to make it in time. Jade’s team have six deals. Jade is pleased but isn’t sure if she’s smashed it. Stephen’s team have nine deals and he’s not sure whether he’s won or not either. The company will decide which deals to put on. Fates will be decided in 24 hours. The team with the deals that make the most money will win.

We’re not shown what happens in the 24 hours where we’re waiting for the results. I can only hope that there was some kind of montage where Adam and Tom worked out their differences and decided that they still loved each other despite their differences. [Or: they probably just all got drunk and played Xbox. - Steve] The cars take the silent Apprenti off to their fate.

To the boardroom!

LordAlan wishes them all a good afternoon then goes on to explain that the tasks are designed to replicate business start ups and that this one is no different. The teams were supposed to go out and find deals and pass them on.

First up is Sterling headed by Stephen. LordAlan reminds him that he put himself up and RickyMartin answers for him, stating that the pressure was on and that they all needed to keep focus. Stephen explains that they got a deal on fish pedicures. Jade gives this the look of contempt that it deserves. Stephen, realising that he’s on to a loser, quickly moves on to RickyMartin’s restaurant failure. Lordalan wants to know what ‘appened there. RickyMartin smoothly tells him that the restaurant point blank refused to give him any discount whatsoever. LordAlan wants to know why he didn’t just establish that at the beginning. RickyMartin admits he made mistakes. He then goes on to save his fake tanned bacon by telling him that he secured 100 dinners and 200 lunches at a famous restaurant.  Lord Alan seems impressed by this until he realises that RickyMartin suggested this number.

Stephen then mumbles something about his strategy being about multiple deals from the same companies. This in reality meant nine deals from five companies. Lordalan thinks that this was a smart move. I’m sure he’ll change his mind depending on how this actually translates into sales.

Next it’s team Phoenix headed up by Jade. Lordalan wants to know if she got multiple deals. She says that this wasn’t her strategy and that her strategy was quality over quantity. Stephen makes the prissiest face EVER over this. Jade explains that she spent a lot of time over a very exclusive deal.  She goes on to tell LordAlan about their day and Nick Hewer takes great delight in grassing them up about Scientific Calculator Gate. Jade hits back that they won that one in the end and they ended up striking a deal with everyone they saw. Lordalan then wants to know what Cousin Adam and his Carer got up to. Lordalan rightly sneers at the free tea and coffee and seems a little less interested in the candles. He hopes that it’s a bloody good candle. He wants to know how Jade was as a project manager. Tom says that she was ok but there was no communication throughout the day. Ok, so that’s Tom got his human shield ready.

Numbers!

Jade and Phoenix only got two deals accepted.

Stephen and Sterling got three deals accepted.  They sold seven (7. Hahaha) units of the golf for £350 total, the 100 dinners got sold out and 90 lunches got picked up which made total sales of £6,090, taking the Sterling team total to £6,440. Stephen looks cautiously optimistic.

Phoenix – Tom and Adam didn’t get any deals [I would have loved it if Sugs changed the rules and fired those two.  As well as Stephen, obviously - Rad], but Jade and Tom [Nick2/Nick Hair - Rad] sold 70 lunches bringing in £5,950 and they sold 87 spa deals making £8,613 making the Phoenix team total £14,563 and them the winners by over £8,000. They’re off to Cliveden to a posh hotel for afternoon tea.

LordAlan warns Gabrielle and RickyMartin that although there is an implication Stephen’s neck is on the line, it doesn’t mean that they’re automatically safe because he’ll be taking everything into account, yeah?

Meanwhile, in Cliveden, the winning team have the most expensive afternoon tea in the world which is apparently worth £500, but they could make it more expensive ‘if they like’. Adam HILARIOUSLY tries to negotiate a discount whilst NickHair blabs on about the truffle in his sandwich. Jade looks and seems right at home in the surroundings.

Meanwhile, in Cafe FAIL, Stephen thinks that his strategy of multiple deals may have been fundamentally flawed. RickyMartin interviews that it was all Stephen’s fault and Stephen interviews that it was all Gabrielle’s. Gabrielle thinks it’s all Stephen’s fault because he lost the plot at the end of the day.

Back at the boardroom, Lordalan recaps their roll call of fail. Even though RickyMartin made the only significant sales for the team he could have ordered more dinners so everything is totally his fault.  Karren says that the website would expect at least 250 units of dinners. Why they didn’t say this is anyone’s guess. RickyMartin takes the criticism quite well even though it’s rubbish. Lordalan then goes on to berate the Teeth Whitening and the Fish Pedicures and Stephen blames the whole thing on Gabrielle LIKE THE GENTLEMAN THAT HE IS. Even Lordalan knows that Fish Pedicures are as common as Greggs and they should have gone to the health spa even though it was a WHOLE HOUR away. Stephen then gets all “That’s what I said” and tries to blame it all on RickyMartin by saying that he insisted on it then let Ricky talk him out of it. Nice management there, Stephen. Stephen then tries again to blame it all on Ricky but Lordalan rightly points out that he was the boss and he should have gone if it was that important. Stephen then claims that he and Gabrielle have a much better knowledge of London. Lordalan would like to know why, if that was the case, they were running around like headless chickens. Stephen has no answer.  Lordalan wants to know who’s idea the Urban Golf was and he again tries to blame it all on the fish pedicures. Gabrielle says that she got three packages from the fish place in the hope that one of them would work.

Lordalan reminds them that this is the tenth week and he needs to make some big decisions. He sends them out so he can chat with Nick and Karren. Karren kicks things off by saying that Stephen and Gabrielle were equally rubbish. Lordalan thinks Gabrielle had a spark at the beginning and is wondering if she can’t hack the pace as the pressure goes up. He’s also worried about RickyMartin making a few minor cock ups. Stephen isn’t mentioned. I don’t know if this is bad or good.

Back in the boardroom, Lordalan wants to know whose fault RickyMartin thinks it all is. He thinks that Stephen and Gabrielle are equally rubbish. He’s man enough to admit to his mistakes but he did bring in over six grand by himself. He thinks Stephen buckled under the pressure and that Gabrielle didn’t support him. Stephen asks Ricky if he’s sure about that. Ricky describes a phone call that he got from Stephen whining about all the pressure and that he didn’t expect to have to motivate his project manager. Ooh, I like this RickyMartin. He’s going all out to fling Stephen under a bus and it’s glorious. The only reply Stephen has to this is to goad Ricky about him giving a weak answer as to who should be fired and demands to know who out of him and Gabrielle should be fired. I think Stephen’s banking on the boys club here but it isn’t there. RickyMartin places the blame firmly on Stephen’s shoulders and that they only made £350 between them and that’s terrible. Oh, this is beautiful.

Stephen then grasps at his final straw and starts banging on about the spa in Tring. RickyMartin plays the Ace of repeating what Lordalan has just said and tells him that if he felt that strongly he should have gone himself. Stephen then starts babbling that it’s his turn to speak but RickyMartin continues on his bussing by repeating how rubbish he was in the task. The argument culminates with this.
Stephen – “May I speak?”
RickyMartin – “No you may not”
Gabrielle – *looks at the wall, tries not to laugh*
I actually watched that bit three times, such was its gloriousness. Lordalan asks Stephen to justify himself. The only thing that he can think of to do is to talk about previous tasks and how he has been the one that’s influenced the big hitters to make their big hits, including naming the sauce wrong. He then goes on to say he’s better than Gabrielle anyway so what is he even talking about. Gabrielle then jumps in and says that she always puts her ideas across and she’s a well rounded candidate and she’s been good at everything. Lordalan wants to know who she thinks should go. She thinks Stephen because he lost the plot and all he did was go along with what she wanted.

Stephen then all but pats Gabrielle on the head and tells her that she’s a passionate little firecracker but leave the talking to the big boys and she should have brought that passion to the task. God, he’s odious.

Lordalan wants to know why Stephen thinks he should stay. I’m going to transcribe this because it’s so good. “From me you are going to get somebody who will make mistakes but will come up the next day with a fresh mind and a fighting spirit and do the same thing again”. BAHAHAHAHA! [It was the most epic boardroom for a long time - Rad]

Lordalan wants to know why RickyMartin should be his business partner. He replies that he’s fantastic at what he does in his industry but he’s learned lots of tremendous lessons from Lordalan and used them in tasks and this means he’s got prospects and hopes Lordalan sees that in him.

He then turns to Gabrielle, because this is the sexism edition, and says that she seems to be a lovely girl but he’s not looking for a friend cos he’s got enough of them and wonders if she’s still got her fighting spirit. Gabrielle demonstrates her fighting spirit by saying that she tries her hardest even with Stephen being rubbish on the task. Stephen interrupts her and said that she performed “to her capability”. The disgusting SNAKE. She then shouts him down and tells him to let her finish and his reply was that he was talking about her. God, he really is awful. RickyMartin then steps in to help the poor damsel and tells Stephen to stop being so condescending. Gabrielle then manages to finish her sentence by saying that she adapts her style to who she’s working with.

Lordalan’s had enough, so he’s going to summarise things as he sees them. RickyMartin sold well but was belligerent in not going to Tring. Stephen was  given the chance to be PM and he didn’t win and spent the whole task with an air of panic. Gabrielle didn’t contribute much and he’s weighed up her performance. He reiterates that it is the person who is responsible for the failure of the task that is getting fired.

And it’s... Gabrielle, even though she’s a nice person. [My take on the 'with regret' is that it means 'at least you're an actual human being'.  Note that Stephen doesn't get one - Rad] She gives a disingenuous “Well done boys” and Stephen PATS HER ON THE SHOULDER. How she managed not to punch him I’ll never know. How Stephen managed to escape, I’ll never know.

But HANG ON , the firing music is still playing. Alan tells Stephen that he didn’t keep his promise of winning and he is also FIRED. RickyMartin didn’t win when he was PM and has made mistakes this week but Lordalan’s gut instinct is that he should go back to the house but he makes sure he knows that if he’s in the boardroom again it will be the last time.

Gabrielle leaves the building in a belted black coat and taxiterviews that she’s going back to her businesses and she’ll go far in life.  Stephen wishes he could turn back time and force RickyMartin to go to Tring. Seems you’ve learned LOTS OF LESSONS there, Stephen.

Back at the house, NickHair is sure that Stephen will be gone and that if Stephen does come back they’ll all be surprised. Snork. Jade hopes that Gabrielle has fought her corner. Everyone is happy to see Ricky back, and Jade cheers when she hears that there’s been a double firing. RickyMartin tells everyone that he felt like the smallest man alive and that he had to fight his corner.

FIVE LEFT! Next week – Affordable luxury ranges [What is with all these luxury/gourmet/high-end tasks this year? - Rad] [David Cameron's Big Society, clearly. - Steve]. RickyMartin says that something is “too fruity” and the countdown to the final has begun. Join us next week to see how that pans out.