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.


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.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Delusions of grandeur

Week 9: 16th May 2012

Previously: ART. Ricky Martin hated everything, while Adam tried desperately to dismantle the crass northern stereotype he and the producers had constructed over previous weeks by learning how to appreciate a load of pictures of women with mascara goop running down their cheeks. Tom knew a lot about art but nothing about people, so Phoenix lost the artist they really wanted, leading him to take a gamble on giant pictures that nobody wanted. A Gabrielle-led Sterling did well despite ballsing up an awful lot of things, which are not shown in the recap because apparently it's more important for us to think that Tom Might Not Be Here For The Right Reasons and that Jade Can Be Very Indecisive. Ultimately, Laura was fired for reasons of invisibility.

London in the dark. Huge bloody neon lights everywhere wasting electricity. The camera pans past Entrepreneur Estates at what is presumably an ungodly hour of the morning. Indeed, it's 5:45am and the phone is ringing, so a bleary-eyed Stephen staggers down the stairs to answer it, deftly holding the lower half of his dressing gown together with his free hand thereby ensuring that his cookies stay in the jar. NotFrances instructs him that they're to meet LordSirAlan at the champagne bar at St. Pancras, and that the cars will be there in 45 minutes. Ricky Martin is up and looking surprisingly fresh; Tom is not so much. Jenna dries her hair, Gabrielle puts some lip balm on. These "everyone gets ready" scenes are fascinating, aren't they?

Miraculously, everyone is ready in time to head out into the drizzly London morning. In the back of one Apprenticar, Adam tells Tom and Jade that three losses in succession are bad, and they need a win. Tom's all "thank you, Baron Von Obvious." The candidates arrive at St Pancras International, where in less austerity-driven times they might have come to catch a Eurostar to somewhere glamorous, or indeed to Belgium. Instead, they're here to visit what we are told is the longest champagne bar in Europe. Nick Hewer is pulling a lemon face already despite none of the contestants actually having said or done anything yet. Presumably the wind changed, and he's now stuck like that.

LordSirAlan arrives, and explains why he's summoned them all here today. Apparently last year we imported 35 million bottles of champagne, but many of us do not know just how good the homemade British stuff is. Handily here, the camera turns to Tom, whose face reads "I KNOW HOW GOOD IT IS, I RUN A WINE COMPANY, I ALSO HAVE MANY OPINIONS ABOUT ART, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER?" LordSirAlan continues that English sparkling wine has won many awards, and is "far superior to some brands of champagne". I know this isn't Wikipedia, but CITATION NEEDED. I mean, I'm the wrong person to ask about wine, sparkling or other, since it all tastes like donkey piss to me, but you can't just throw statements like that out there without any form of qualification. Or can you? Apparently you can. So it's the candidates' job this week to "raise awareness" of English sparkling wine. I would've thought that "appearing on an episode of The Apprentice which is all about English sparkling wine and will be seen by 6.09m people according to overnight ratings data" would do the job quite nicely, but apparently they actually have to actively participate in some way. If anyone runs outside to fire a shotgun into the air repeatedly while yelling "ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE! GET YOUR ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE!" then they will automatically be my winner, I'm telling you that right now.

LordSirAlan decides that it's time to mix the teams up a bit, and invites the depleted remainders of Phoenix to pick someone from Sterling to join them. With almost no debate, they agree unanimously on Nick. Seriously, I don't think I can even begin to describe to you the look of uncontained glee on Adam's face at the prospect of having Nick on his team again. We've bypassed man-crush here and gone directly to idolatry. Almost as good as Adam having to forcibly restrain himself from doing a jig there and then is the reaction on Sterling as Nick leaves: Jenna shoots Gabrielle a look that I feel is best described as "fuck's sake, this is going to be a nightmare, isn't it?" The task is to create a new image for the industry (let's make it gay, like Margate!), building a website and an online marketing campaign. Oh god, if anyone even dares to say the word "viral" in this episode, I will be sick. I had more than enough of that on The Archers, where apparently you can save an entire farm from bankruptcy, after e.coli got into the ice cream and nearly killed two small children, simply by filming some pigs pretending to play football and uploading it to YouTube. Those were some bleak days for contemporary British drama, I don't mind telling you. They will pitch their campaigns to leading figures in the industry, and the best campaign will win. Possibly.

Obviously, the first job here is to decide who will be PMing this clusterfuck. On Sterling, Jenna puts her name in for project manager, and so does Ricky Martin. Gabrielle would also like to be PM, perhaps having just remembered her "I will project manage every week" vow from week one", and also because she does websites. Oh, and Stephen wants to be project manager too, because he feels very motivated. Could this sudden desire for everyone to be project manager have anything to do with the fact that the project manager on any given task has never been fired that week at any point in this series, and they're all just starting to figure this out? Sterling basically launch into a complicated "one vote each" scenario that doesn't entirely make sense, but comes down to Stephen having the casting vote, and having been told firmly by Jenna that he can't vote for himself, voting for Ricky Martin instead, so he's PM.

Over on Phoenix, Tom would like us all to know that HE KNOWS A LOT ABOUT WINE, HE RUNS A WINE COMPANY, OBVIOUSLY HE MAINLY DEALS WITH THESE THINGS CALLED "FRENCH WINES" THAT YOU PROBABLY WON'T HAVE HEARD OF, BUT HE KNOWS THE MARKET WELL AND ALSO "WINE" IS JUST "WIN" WITH AN E ON THE END. I'm sorry, I've just gone right off Tom after last week. [Only since last week?  I've been off him for ages - Rad] He runs uncontested, and the others are happy to just back him so they can get on and beat those sorry-ass motherfuckers on the other team. Over on Sterling, Ricky Martin is urging his colleagues to forget that Tom knows about wine, that Nick knows about websites and that Jade knows about marketing (note that they don't mention Adam being an expert in anything) - that's all irrelevant because Sterling are "better than them". Well, that's that, then.

Both teams head off, and Phoenix take two cars, the polluting bastards. In one Apprenticar, Nick and Jade discuss the importance of figuring out who their market is, while in the other, Adam reveals his ignorance of the world of sparkling wine, ignorance that Tom is only to happy to eradicate with his vast knowledge of everything. God, these two are going to just be intolerable for the whole task, aren't they? Tom explains to Adam that champagne comes from the French "sham-panya" region, leading Adam to deduce that it's a brand name, "like Hoover". Give me strength.

Over on Sterling, Stephen's mind has run off like an unshackled pony once again, as he informs Ricky that words like "Moët", "Prosecco" and "Cava" are all names that signify particular drinks. No one points out to him that one of them is a brand name while two of them are actual subcategories of wines, because generally it's just best to let him burst out all of his hot air as quickly as possible. Anyway, he wants them to think of words that will represent what they're selling. Off the top of his head, Stephen comes up with "Cert" and "Grandeur". Does he even understand this task? Is he really trying to come up with a new name that all English sparkling wines will be known by? Does it not occur to him that they will all already have brand of their own? Oh, why am I even bothering to look for sense where there is clearly none. Clearly on a roll, his next suggestion is "Chink". Gabrielle, to her credit, manages to laugh dismissively rather than saying "fuck off, you racist bastard" which is, I'm sure, what she was thinking.

It's 11am now, and Ricky Martin and Jenna have gone to a wine estate 25 miles outside London. They get a crash course in English sparkling wine and learn that "heritage" and "quality" are the two most important things they need to remember. Ricky Martin interviews that he hates wine, but that he's hoping Tom will make the exact same mistake as he did last week and drive everyone away with his know-it-all attitude. Well, it's certainly a strategy, even if it's not exactly the most proactive one I've ever heard.

Tragically over on Phoenix, Adam has accompanied Tom on a wine-tasting excursion, and while Tom sticks his hooter inside the glass and talks about "hints of vanilla" and all those other things that people say when they want people to know how much they know about wine (STEVE'S GUIDE TO WINE: IT ALL LOOKS LIKE PISS AND TASTES LIKE VINEGAR. THE END), Adam is desperately trying to emulate him without actually understanding any of what Tom is doing. The snooty wine guy who is conducting the tasting with them tells Adam off for not holding his glass properly. This episode is doing nothing to revise my opinion of wine or the people who take it seriously. Adam mentions that he can smell "Christmas cake" in one of the wines. A few feet away, Karren beams like a mother whose toddler has just produced the longest poo of anyone in his playgroup.

Meanwhile, Stephen and Gabrielle are doing "market research" in a Tesco somewhere in west London. Gabrielle is taking notes about the sort of designs and colours being used on the various labels, while Stephen is freaking out that there are NO ENGLISH SPARKLING WINES TO BE FOUND. THIS WILL NOT HELP RAISE AWARENESS! He suggests they go in search of a "sales advisor" (LOL) who he's sure will be able to answer many of their pressing questions. Dude, you're in Tesco. Good luck with that. Stephen wanders off in search of Tesco's in-house sommelier while Gabrielle goes outside and records an interview, the subject of which is that Stephen is insane. In one of the best comic exchanges of the episode, Stephen snaps "Are you happy to leave here without seeing any English sparkling wine?" at her, following which Gabrielle leaves a perfectly-timed pause before replying "Yes." Gabrielle is ON FIRE this week. [Gabrielle = <3 <3.  If it's anyone but her or Nick2 that wins, it will be all kinds of wrong.  Jade can come third. - Rad] They leave Tesco, bickering.

It's now 2pm, and both teams are heading to their base for the task, "a leading marketing agency". Sadly, my hopes that said agency will turn out to be Perfect Curve are soon dashed. Nick and Jade meet with their web designer, and explain that they want a logo featuring some English grapes and a ribbon across them with "ESW" on it - which stands for "English sparkling wines", as Nick helpfully points out. In another room, Gabrielle and Stephen meet their web designer, and Gabrielle has been hard at work on a logo which is a "rose/champagne glass", as she explains. Stephen has come up with a tag line of "less fizz, more sparkle" (meaning "less champagne, more English sparkling wine", he explains) and the overall brand name of Grandeur. Nick Hewer interviews that this was pretty much all of Stephen's contribution, and that "grandeur" is a French word. He doesn't add that it also carries with it implications of massive pretension when used in English, but I will.

Jenna and Ricky Martin are still at the vineyard, planning their ideas for tomorrow's campaign video shoot. Ricky Martin wants it to be aspirational, themed around a wedding reception and the idea that you can have just as good a toast with English sparkling wine as you can with champagne. Jenna wants to make it "eye-catching". This is an early sign of impending doom. Adam and Tom, meanwhile, are smashed. For a minute I hoped this would be Tom's "Michelle Dewberry sitting getting hammered in the VIP room at TopShop" moment, but then I remembered who's on the other team and how it's basically impossible for Tom to lose, even if his campaign video is just a series of close-ups of a fly devouring its own vomit. They're on some sort of wine safari (???) when Nick calls up and asks if perhaps they wouldn't mind doing some fucking work already because he and Jade are up to their eyebrows, and Tom says that no, he and Adam have to go and get smashed some more, and then Adam is probably going to try and touch his willy but that he doesn't quite feel drunk enough to let him yet. Jade interviews with noticeable dissatisfaction that the half of the team with the project manager on it has done fuck-all, while she and Nick have been left with all the actual work. She thinks Tom should've wanted to be on this half of the team, because the marketing/web design/campaign side of it will be where the task is won or lost, not DISCOUNT WINE SAFARI!

Tom and Adam go on to hold a tasting session for a random group of other people. I assume this is meant to be more "market research", though to be honest it seems more of an excuse for Tom to lecture everyone on how to hold a glass properly. Karren complainterviews that Tom and Adam are just arsing around, and that the project manager should not be having fun. I agree with this wholeheartedly; none of the viewers are having fun this year, so I certainly don't expect the contestants to be. Tom continues to tell everybody that they can't possibly enjoy wine on all the levels that he does, so to be honest, they probably shouldn't even bother trying, and then interviews that he's had a super-fun day with his BFF Adam, except he can't give an interview properly because he's too drunk. Meanwhile, Adam is beetroot-shaded and giggling in the corner. The best business brains in our country, ladies and gentlemen.

8.30pm, and back at the house, Sterling are planning their ad for the following day. Gabrielle puts forward the notion that an advert needs "a touch of humour" to get people's attention, and you can just see Jenna's eyes lighting up when she says this. Ricky Martin cautions that he doesn't want the advert to be too funny. Jenna asks how they'll split the team tomorrow, and Ricky Martin decides that he'll do the website with Gabrielle while Stephen and Jenna make the video. Yes, leave Stephen and Jenna to supervise each other; there's a plan that'll end well. Clearly Ricky Martin has been drinking more than I realised. Ricky Martin interviews confidently that he thinks the advert will come back as he is expecting it.

The next morning, everyone heads out to get their campaigns put together. Gabrielle and Ricky Martin go to meet some sexy website people about getting the message of quality out, while over in Hampstead, Jenna and Stephen are preparing to completely undermine everything he just said. They have a throne for their video, and some bottles of Grandeur: The Brand That Doesn't Actually Exist And Would Make You Look Like An Awful Person For Buying It Even If It Did. Meanwhile, Jade and Adam are filming Phoenix's dinner party-themed video in an east London gastropub. Adam keeps referring to himself as the "choreographer" and directing the make-up and hair people, which Jade responds to by having to turn her face away from both the crew and the cameras so no one can see her laughing at him. I'm trying to figure out who's had it worse in this task out of Jade and Gabrielle. I think Gabrielle just has the edge, having to put up with Stephen behaving like a clucking hen in Tesco, but it was very close. Adam makes sure to put all of his getting-smashed time yesterday to good use and instructs everyone to hold the glasses in a manner that Tom would approve of. Jade interviews that Adam has declared himself the choreographer, "which is quite funny, because there's no dancing." Oh come on now, Jade, dancing's not the only thing you'd use a choreographer for - they also do fights, for example, and I see no guarantee there won't be any fighting by the end of the day. They proceed to film some generic cork-popping and general drinking frivolity, and Jade sniffs that she doesn't like working with Adam, but this is their task and she's going to be make sure he does what he's supposed to and follows the brief. They bid farewell to the crew, and Adam tells them if they ever need any choreography doing, to get in touch. I'm sure Matthew Bourne is quaking in his boots. They make their exit, as Jade tries to explain to Adam that he's basically just told everyone he's a great girly dancer.

With Jade having just made the point about how vital it is to have someone vaguely sensible around to supervise those who are an actual liability, we now cut to Sterling to see the other side of the coin, as Stephen and Jenna are let loose with absolutely no one to stop them. Jenna is directing a commercial which features a bridezilla screaming at a Basil Fawlty-type waiter (or rather, what Jenna considers to be a Basil Fawlty character, which bears about as much resemblance to the actual Basil Fawlty as I do to Michelle Obama). Ricky Martin calls in to basically say "you are both idiots and I trust neither of you, don't fuck this up and make it awful". Stephen and Jenna assure him that they're working on something really classy, and then go back to directing the advertising equivalent of Troll 2. Nonetheless, Ricky Martin and his comically-raised eyebrow interview that he's confident Stephen and Jenna know what they're supposed to be doing - and I can only assume this is bluster on his part, because he certainly didn't sound like that when he was on the phone to them.

Tom and Nick are finishing their website, with Tom directing the web designer to create a "where to buy" page so that people coming for information can also make purchases. Karren interviews that the brief was to raise awareness of English sparkling wine, and that Phoenix haven't really understood that; they're creating a website for existing consumers to tell them more about the wines and where to get them. I don't really understand this as a criticism, perhaps because the brief was so vague in the first place: how do you define what constitutes "raising awareness" and what doesn't? Because to my mind, if you've got someone to the website in the first place, then you've raised awareness. That's something this episode doesn't really cover - it doesn't ask the teams to reveal how they expect people to find these websites and videos in the first place, which would seem to me to be a very important part of the process. Shouldn't someone be dressed as a giant bottle of sparkling wine and running down Oxford Street screaming "VISIT OUR WEBSITE!" or something? [I've been trying to get my head around this too. This programme hurts my brain - Helen]

Elsewhere at the agency, Stephen and Jenna finish their ad, with Jenna hoping it's a winning one, "or it's on my neck", whatever that means. Ricky Martin and Gabrielle arrive to view the finished product, which is abysmal and, given the behaviour of its lead character, seems to be promoting whines more than it's promoting wines, and Ricky Martin watches it with a carefully controlled expression of neutrality. He admits in an interview that it's far cheesier than he expected, which is not what he wanted.

On Phoenix, Tom and Nick come back to look at Jade and Adam's advert, which is dull and generic, but is at least a much closer likeness to the sort of advert you'd expect in a campaign like this. Tom has a face like a slapped arse throughout, and in the Apprenticar come, whinges to Nick that it's "a bit boring". Gosh, if only he'd been steering the task correctly on the previous day and not just titting around in a vineyard, he might have been able to do something about that before it was too late.

Now it's time for the teams to pitch their campaigns to a group of wine industry bigwigs. I was hoping to see Frasier and Niles Crane on the panel, but sadly they remain absent (and fictional). Both project managers do a spot of last minute rehearsal and briefing in the Apprenticars on the way there, but Sterling are the first to go in and pitch. Once again Ricky Martin begins a pitch with "good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name's Ricky Martin" and once again, nobody on the panel bursts out laughing. Bunch of bores. [I did. It will never not be funny - Helen] Aside from that, his presentation is smooth, confident and professional. Gabrielle comes on to talk about the logo and sounds rather nervous, but it is a good logo and she makes a convincing case for how the English rose in the shape of a champagne glass will stir feelings of patriotism and reassure potential English sparkling wine drinkers that this is top quality shit. (I may be paraphrasing slightly here.) They're asked to explain the "less fizz, more sparkle" and Stephen explains his thinking behind it, and surprisingly the panel go with it. Of course, eventually they have to show Jenna's video, which remains dreadful, and the English Winos are unimpressed because it comes across as flippant. The chairman goes in for the kill: "Do you think you could go and find a champagne website that would portray itself in that way?"

Next, we have Phoenix. Tom's tie is askew, and I am horrified. He is such a scruff. Phoenix's presentation explains their idea for the ESW brand logo and how they would encourage producers to incorporate it into their existing branding. This, at least, is far more sensible than asking everyone to call their product "Grandeur". They play their video (with Jade hilariously bopping along on her stool to the backing music, which appears to be 'Regret' by New Order) and one of the Winos points out that it's very generic, and asks if it reflects the Englishness of what they were supposed to do. Again, this feels like another frustratingly arbitrary judgement point, and short of draping the St George' Cross on every available surface, I'm not sure what they were supposed to do to make everyone know, on a visual level, that this is English sparkling wine. Adam says that the people were English, the location was English, the occasion was English, and they were trying to imply, through the genericness of the ad, that English sparkling wine is perfect for any occasion. That's...actually not a bad save. I'm impressed. Nick takes over to talk them through the website, making a big deal of the functionality that allows viewers to see where they can buy these marvellous wines, and a Wino makes the very good point that this relies heavily on getting the stockists to provide accurate data regarding the wines they have in stock, because out-of-date information is more annoying to the consumer than it is helpful.

Time for LordSirAlan to call in, and receive feedback involving buzzwords like "targeted multimedia campaign" and "a really good end-to-end process". Reading between the lines, it seems like Phoenix had a stronger presentation overall, but fell down on the website because it didn't meet whatever the brief was supposed to be today, while Sterling understood the brief better but delivered the worst advert since the dread days of Pantsman. It's time for the teams to head to the boardroom, where they are greeted by NotFrances and her silent look of utter disdain before sending them through.

LordSirAlan declares this a "rather interesting task" and asks Tom about taking on the role of project manager two weeks in a row. "That's brave, to say the least," he notes. Not when the project managers never get fired, it isn't. The usual round of "good team leader?" brings positive feedback, with Nick saying that Tom leads "with a lot of strategy" (even if his main strategy on day one appeared to be "try not to get too pissed"), and we have the usual grammar mangling as Tom explains the team splitting on day one and how he decided to "take myself and Adam" off to visit the wine producer. Adam says that the wine was very nice. Thanks Adam! LordSirAlan asks what Jade and Nick were doing, then, and Nick explains that they went off to design the logo, and Jade adds that they planned the website and the storyboards for the ad. Or, as most of us would say, they "worked". LordSirAlan asks Tom if it was wise, as the project manager, not to be at the nerve centre, and Tom says that he thinks Jade and Nick got all the ideas he'd put across, and that he didn't feel they felt "adrift". I suspect, Tom, the problem was more that they felt you were adrift. LordSirAlan tries to get a grasp on everyone's roles, so Tom was the wine expert, Nick was the web expert, Jade was the marketing expert, and then everyone laughs about how useless Adam is, with Tom saying he was the "creative director" just to really ram the idea home. Tom explains that his idea was to be "out of the box", naturally, and LordSirAlan wants to look at their website, so Nick takes him through the process. They watch the video, and LordSirAlan asks what the URL for the website is: "" Calm down, Alexandra Burke. He says that what he's gleaned from the website is that it's more of a sales pitch, and it isn't AWARENESS-RAISING because it doesn't tell you why you should buy this instead of champagne. Except, that wouldn't be awareness-raising either, that would be marketing. This task makes no sense.

Over to Ricky Martin and Sterling, then. Ricky Martin explains that none of them had a wine background, but he saw it as an online and marketing-based campaign, and also he saw how strong the other team would be in this one, and he wanted to set up a David-vs-Goliath thing, because David always wins. Mainly because it's just that one story, constantly being retold. Tom could not be grinning more in response to all this, by the way; he LOVES that the other team were so afraid of his expertise. Ricky Martin openly admits that he doesn't like wine, and LordSirAlan gruffs that "this is just getting better and better". He explains how Gabrielle was the web guru, while he brought his vineyard expertise back to incorporate onto the website, and Stephen and Jenna did the advert. They discuss the brainstorming of brand names and how they didn't ultimately come up with one over-arching name, although they used "Grandeur" on the bottle for the campaign. "Thass French!" spits LordSirAlan. Ricky Martin admits that it "has French connotations", and Nick Hewer is all "no, you goon, it is an actual French word". They look at the website (I love that LordSirAlan also has a paper copy of the homepage in front of him, making him look like a real Luddite) and watch Jenna's shitty video. God, even the editing on this thing is dreadful. LordSirAlan points out that "Spielberg can rest easy", and reminds them that it was a serious product. Jenna says they wanted to do something different, and LordSirAlan asks if Ricky was present for the filming of the ad; Ricky Martin admits that he was not. LordSirAlan wants to know who designed the rose-glass logo, and Gabrielle says "that would be myself" (AAARGH). LordSirAlan likes the logo at least, because it's an English rose for Englishness. He asks the others if Ricky led the team well. Stephen talks some more about how the team were underdogs, and I think a lot of their problems stem from just how much they were all in love with their own perceived underdog status on this task.

Results time, then: Sterling started off okay, in that it looked like they were on track, while Phoenix gave them a boring website that was more sales-oriented than awareness-building, and they all concluded that the Phoenix campaign didn't do what LordSirAlan wanted, even though this was almost certainly his fault. Sterling look at each other all " do we celebrate now?" and then LordSirAlan drops the bomb that Sterling messed up more of the task, so they are the losing team. YALOST! So Phoenix win, and Tom literally foams at the mouth. Seriously: his mouth twists up into a grin and LITTLE BUBBLES OF SPIT appear around his front teeth. If he's supposed to be the sexy candidate this year, then I'm definitely not seeing it after that. He smiles like an actual baby, drool and all. For their reward, LordSirAlan is sending Phoenix off to a boutique hotel where they can enjoy a jacuzzi looking out over the London skyline. [I hope it was blahddy freezing, because there were NO WINNERS this week - Rad]

Reward. Jacuzzi! Nick and Tom are shirtless! (As is Adam, but I'm assuming no one actually cares about that.) The debate raged on Twitter over which one of them looked better with their tits out; the responses when I conducted an unofficial poll seemed to favour Nick, though there were a very vocal batch of people who were Team Tom. Personally I like to think we were all winners here. Tom interviews that it feels great having won, especially since this was his specialist industry AND he lost as PM on the last task, but what truly makes it brilliant is the fact that Phoenix's team toast is "less fizz, more sparkle" and then they all cackle amongst themselves. It's been so long since we've seen candidates on this show be genuinely catty about the shitness of their opponents, and I for one have missed it greatly.

Loser Café. It's raining (outside, obviously). Ricky Martin informs the team that they need to look at how and why their campaign was beaten by a "boring" one. Jenna makes it very clear that they all agreed they wanted a humorous video, and to be fair, no one is disagreeing with her. Stephen says that he's only lost three times, and won once as project manager, so he's hoping his consistent track record will help him. Yeah, your consistent track record of SUCKING. Sorry, just had to get that out.

Boardroom once more. NotFrances sends Sterling back in. LordSirAlan wastes no time in asking Ricky Martin why he went into this task with such a defeatist attitude, and proceeding directly from there to pointing out that Ricky Martin was not present for the ad filming and that he must have been very disappointed with the final product as presented to him. Ricky Martin is like "yeah, no shit", and then it gets amazing as LordSirAlan is all "I might remind you of Sid James, but I didn't tell you to make a Carry On Boozing movie - I was expecting Kenneth Williams to pop in and say 'ooh, maitre d', where's me Grandeur gone, someone's nicked me Grandeur!'" Amazing. LordSirAlan makes it very clear that they pretty much lost because the video was so awful, and asks whose fault that was. Ricky Martin blames Stephen and Jenna, and says that when he phoned Jenna for a progress report, she told him it definitely wasn't cheesy, it was classy.

Stephen is having none of this, and starts blathering on about how some people may try to achieve something and fail, but at least these people are creative and proactive in the first place, and not like others who sit there and do nothing - and he's talking about Gabrielle. Gabrielle who designed the logo, arguably one of the most successful aspects of their pitch. *golf clap* Ricky Martin says that in Gabrielle's case we had "two melons -- two elements of the campaign..." HA! Best Freudian slip ever? Anyway, he thinks that Gabrielle worked hard on the website which actually fit the brief very well and therefore she deserves some credit. LordSirAlan asks Gabrielle if she has anything to add, and she says that on the first day, Stephen seemed completely confused about what the task demanded. "Specifics, please," spits Stephen, in full boardroom crazyface mode already. (This week's You're Fired! did very well to book Sara Cox on the panel, since her impression of Stephen doing his "you think I'm doing a bad job? Oh, really? That's not the decision I would've made" face was eerily accurate.) Gabrielle explains how he went mad in Tesco and misunderstood what they were there for, while she tried to make notes on branding, colours, etc, and Stephen was running around looking for Tesco's resident wine connoisseur. "Specifics, Gabrielle, please," reiterates Stephen, apparently not realising that that's exactly what she is providing - I'd say "you were a useless, embarrassing, time-wasting dickhead in Tesco" is a fairly specific criticism. LordSirAlan brings up the logo, and Stephen's mania just increases, as he starts yelling YES THAT LOGO IS GABRIELLE'S AND IT IS VERY GOOD AND I SAID THAT AND WELL DONE GABRIELLE BUT IF FOR SOME REASON I HADN'T BEEN THERE ON THAT DAY SHE WOULD NEVER HAVE DONE ANYTHING AND THIS IS TOTALLY A VALID INTERPRETATION OF EVENTS THAT I CAN BACK UP WITH FACTS AND EVIDENCE AND REAL TRUTH FLAVOUR. I know this is The Apprentice and everything, but I really feel that Stephen is setting new records for the difference between one person's perception of what happened, and the reality that the rest of us witnessed.

LordSirAlan asks Stephen which area caused the failure of the task. Stephen says the advert was the problem. Asked the same question, Jenna admits "they probably didn't like the video". It's time for Ricky Martin to decide who'll be returning to the boardroom with him, and since they lost on the advert and the label, he's bringing back Jenna and Stephen. Gabrielle is free to return to the house, which is absolutely as it should be, since she did the only good bit.

As always, LordSirAlan, Nick Hewer and Karren mull over the candidates in their absence. Nick H attempts to speak in defence of Jenna, saying that she's a good sport who works hard. LordSirAlan thinks that is well and good, but he wants more from the person he's going to invest £250k in. Ricky Martin is smart, but made excuses about the weaknesses of his team. Karren thinks that Stephen is "very articulate in this boardroom" (LOLWUT) but wonders why he didn't step in to stop Jenna from making a dreadful advert. LordSirAlan calls NotFrances to send them back in.

LordSirAlan asks Ricky Martin to explain what the video was supposed to look like, and he says that we were supposed to see the bride get given a glass of champagne, and her say that she'd rather have a glass of English sparkling wine. Nick Hewer takes this opportunity to read out loud from his notes, saying that Ricky Martin was keen to push heritage and quality as key attributes and insistent that Jenna and Stephen not make a cheesy advert. Jenna says that the video was going to be a "love it or hate it" scenario, and she's a risk-taker, so she took a risk and fucked it up. Well, that's reassuring. [To be fair, that exact same thing worked for Tom in the boardroom last week - Rad] Jenna says that nobody ever told her "no", though Ricky Martin points out that he rang her and said "NOT CHEESY" several thousand times, so either they weren't listening to him, or Stephen just decided to let Jenna run loose with entirely the wrong idea. Stephen is all "how is this my fault? YOU're the project manager" and Rick Martin points out that he can't be everywhere at once, and they're all supposed to be grown-ups and he's supposed to be able to trust them. Oh, Ricky Martin. Have you ever seen this show before? LordSirAlan says that what's annoying him is that Ricky Martin set himself up as Captain Quality, but never followed through, and asks whether it occurred to Ricky Martin ever that he should go and actually check the video since it was such an important part of the task. Ricky Martin says he thought the website would be more important.

LordSirAlan says he needs to decide who's going. Jenna has lost five times overall, and this is her second time in the final boardroom. So why shouldn't he fire her? Jenna says because she doesn't shy away from anything - she made a silly mistake on this task, but she can recover from it. She thinks LordSirAlan should fire Stephen. LordSirAlan reminds Stephen that this is his first time in the final boardroom. Stephen tells LordSirAlan that he's won "six out of eight tasks" (er, that would be six out of nine, since you can't just discount the one that, y'know, landed you in here) and if he was PM again, he would definitely deliver another victory. He thinks that Ricky Martin should be fired. Ricky Martin has been PM twice and lost twice, and Ricky Martin claims that he was always up against someone who specialised in the task at hand - Stephen in the fitness business the first time, and Tom in the wine industry this week. And yet, interestingly, on both of those occasions the other PM won despite a generally poor performance, so Ricky Martin isn't exactly covering himself in glory here. However, his bigger point is that he's not scared of anyone, and he thinks the only reason Stephen's never been in the final boardroom before is that he's good at deflecting blame. Also, he has a great business plan. Yeah, remember those?

The pre-firing music cues up, and LordSirAlan unleashes a lot of clichés about Stephen's ability to talk himself out of a firing. He says once again that Ricky Martin had a defeatist attitude, and has generally been a poor PM. Jenna works hard, but she made a stupid video - and it's not so much the stupid video itself that was the problem, but more the fact that she didn't understand she was supposed to be selling a po-faced product, because wine connoisseurs do not enjoy humour. (As opposed to the people who just like wine because it gets them shitfaced, who tend to enjoy a joke a lot more.) LordSirAlan thinks Ricky Martin not being present for the filming of the video was the big error on this task, but all things considered, with regret, he's going to fire Jenna.

LordSirAlan tells Stephen that he is THISCLOSE to following Jenna right out the door, but that he's going to take him at his word and force him to be project manager next week. Oh God, WHY? None of the candidates who ever invoked this gamble have ever turned out to be worth it.

Coatwatch: beige mid-length macintosh with absurdly large lapels. In her taxinterview, Jenna says that she's disappointed, but LordSirAlan has just made her more determined to proceed with her business plan on her own, and she'll make him RUE THE DAY HE FIRED HER!

Back at Entrepreneur Estates, the usual wagering is going on. Tom doesn't expect Ricky to survive, Nick thinks it could easily be Ricky or Jenna going home. Gabrielle thinks/hopes Stephen has gone, because he has nothing to back up his big mouth. Ricky Martin and Stephen return, and don't even bother doing the separate entrances thing to build suspense. There is muted applause for their return - Gabrielle in particular is clapping noticeably unenthusiastically. There's an incredulous "what happened?" from Jade, and Stephen explains his bet. Oh God, he's going to win next week, isn't he? The universe just hates me that much.

NEXT TIME: negotiating discounts for a Groupon-style website. By the looks of it, none of the people the teams approach actually want any part in it. Someone apparently doesn't understand the task. Besides me, I mean. There may even be tears. Again, besides me. Join us next week for the full gory story!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

This is an arty task. This is an arty task. This is ART ATTACK. (PS: BANKSY)

Last week! Smelling what’s selling! Selling fake tan to Essex (like selling snow to Eskimos, amirite?) Strategeh strategeh strategeh strategeh strategeh strategeh strategeh strategeh… oh, fuck off Azhar, yerfiyud.

Six am at the Business Big Brother-meets-Blockbusters mansion and a bleary-eyed Jade is informed by NotNotFrances that they’re to meet LordSralanSugar at Waterloo station in fifteen minutes where millions of people will be swarming like flies and we can remember that Napoleon, he did surrender. Isn’t some sort of pop music challenge well overdue? [I'd actually pay to see that - Helen]

In the cars, Adam says he ‘can’t be doing with three losses on the bounce’ and Tom pulls ridiculous sourface. Ever since our friend, Only Connect team-mate and sometime tellybitcher Chris pointed out how he was this year’s Wotherspoon, I’ve taken against him, and (spoilers) tonight he seems to finally get his – well, whatever the opposite of a redemption arc is – deredemption? Dedemption? Also, for those wondering why we’re not blogging The Voice, head over to Chris’s blog, as Steve is joining him on recap duty over there. It’s ever so modern, they have pictures and everything.

Nick and Stephen say Sterling are on a roll and they’ve each won five out of seven tasks, ‘as have you Gabi? Or is it four’. ‘Three’. I can’t quite work out if Stephen genuinely thought Gabrielle had won several or if he was deliberately trolling.

The candidates get to see LordSralanSugar in ‘high definition’ – which is just BBC voiceover speak for ‘on a big fuck-off screen in a tunnel because he can’t be bothered getting up this early just to stand in a sewer’. High definition is already sounding a bit 2008, isn’t it? It’s like when Radio 1 did that countdown on the bank holiday of the 150 best-selling songs of the 21st century so far and called it ‘of the millennium’, which was, I believe, the first time anyone’s used that word since January 2000, and it sounded hilariously out-of-touch in a Smashie and Nicey kind of way. But then, what are the likes of Fearne Cotton and Nick Grimshaw if not a younger Smashie and Nicey in hipster togs? And speaking of hipsters, the challenge this week is to sell ‘urban art’ in ‘cutting edge galleries’. LordSralanSugar can’t even hide his grimace as he says these words.

Anyway, it’s the return of the art task, and they have to represent two artists each and make the most commission they can. Gabrielle can’t hide her glee. Voiceover man tells us that graffiti artists like Banksy, and, erm, some other people, can make a lot of money. Thanks for that.

Over at Sterling, Stephen does that horrible thing of his where he puts his lips light up above his teeth so he looks like a hamster as he says he’d quite like to be PM, but Gabrielle pulls out her ‘I am this series’ designated creative one’ card and gets voted in. She mentions having done this before and the important part involves ‘sorting out the catering, making everyone happy’ – this may be important to remember later.

On Phoenix, Tom hipsterviews that he likes graffiti and that he ‘understands the technicalities of how it is produced’. Does he mean… a) he had a young-trying-to-be-trendy art teacher at school who once gave them the BEST LESSON EVER on how to do graffiti, with spray cans and stencils and everything, until the head of art found out and next week it was back to replicating Monets. Again. Some more, b) he once came up with his very own tag and scrawled it in marker pen on the bus stop round the back of Sainsbury’s. Such a rebel! c) He once scrawled his name in biro on the desk in the science lab or d) he flicked through the pages of Banksy’s Wall and Piece in Waterstone’s once. [I'm going for d) Someone got him "Exit Through The Gift Shop" for Christmas last year and the cellophane is still on it but he's learned about it through osmsis or something - Helen]

Tom says he knows what a ‘good quality piece is and a bad quality piece is’ and he would be able to read it, unlike ‘you guys’ who ‘might not know what the words say’.  Nice way to insult your whole team there.  Adam says ‘that’s music to my ears, Tom’. I can’t work out if he’s actually a genius and this village idiot schtick is a cunning ruse to get more airtime and thus the ‘music to my ears’ comment actually means he can smell a super-arrogant PM fail. But then again, it’s Adam, so probably not.  He says most graffiti is just words (which he, as a mere simpleton and not a demigod like Tom, cannot possibly hope to understand) but he assumes it’s the ‘pictures’ that are worth money.

Tom says it needs to have ‘a message’ and ‘a bit of history behind it’ and ‘one of the reason’s Banksy’s so famous which you might not be aware of is that no-one knows who he is’. If we were playing Family Fortunes, and the public were asked to name a famous graffiti artist, not only would Banksy be the top answer, he would be the ONLY answer. And if they were asked to name one thing they knew about him, the whole ‘anonymity’ thing would be up there, way above the snogging policemen.

Back with Sterling, Gabrielle tells the team to listen to the artists with enthusiasm and listen to what they say (i.e. she’s seen this task before, so don’t do a patented Tre Azam ‘fish titties’ number, unless you want more screen time, in which case…). She reminds them that the artists will be picking them. Boo for sensible PMing! (Spoiler - It won’t last…)

There are five artists to choose from, half in London, half in Bristol – which is no surprise, as not only does it have the Banksy connection, it also contains the largest proportion of hipsters in the country outside of the twatty bits of London. (Bristol’s a nice place, don’t get me wrong, I go there fairly often as I have quite a lot of friends there, but seriously – So. Many. Hipsters.) [I blame Skins - Helen]

The teams have to become two sub-teams, with one sub-team going to each location. In Sterling’s sub-team, Ricky Martin and Nick2 have a serious conversation about whether they look ‘too corporate’ and if they should take off their ties. They then decide to ‘run that past Gabi’. It's actually quite cute. In Phoenix’s sub team, Jade blabs that ‘the whole mystery of Banksy is that no-one knows him’ to which Adam tries to earn more ‘real man’ points by saying ‘everyone knows him, but he’s like the Stig, innee?’ Top Gear jokes. What is this, 2009?

Their first stop is in Bristol, ‘hotbed of hipster twats’, sorry ‘urban art’. And also falafel. I have never seen a place in this country which sells so much falafel. Mmm. Falafel. /homersimpson. Jade and Adam meet ‘anti-establishment artist’ (So. Many. *Cough*s.) SPQR. He’s basically a third rate Banksy, and he looks a bit like a grumpy Matt the Hat from Dodgy. Only his hat is a beanie. Obviously. One of his art pieces is a giant needle. Adam claims to love it as ‘it gets your mind going’. Another piece says ‘keep your brain wash’ and Adam says ‘it’s like about the media and that’. As someone who teaches Media Studies, I feel I should offer some important comment here on the different models of audiencehood and the complex nature of our relationship with ‘the media’ but, nah, fuck it. It’s Adam.

He idiotterviews that he knows nothing about art, so his STRATEGEH is to give the artists his ‘unbiased’ (except, er, he means biased) interpretation of their art. Or, you know, ramp up his screen time. Again. Some more. Twat the Hat, like me, can’t tell if Adam is being insulting, naïve or calculating. 

The other sub-team visit Renault, a corporate client laid on by LordSralanSugar in this year’s attempt to put a twist on the task. Tom says, ‘from my knowledge, you work very much with cool, joie de vivre’ (he means Renault here. Whose ad campaigns are Thierry Henry dicking about with trumpets and Papa/Nicole’s vaguely incestuous rumblings. Joie de vivre!). Laura lies that they are ‘bang on trend.’ A French member of team Renault says the most important thing is that they are French. French French French. So something with onions and garlic and the Eiffel tower and… oh yeah, and also sexy and innovative. Stick a trumpet on it, job’s a good ‘un.  Tom asks about their budget and they say £5,000. Nick loveterviews that Tom did a good job and he’s going to be a good leader.

Gabrielle and co go to Beefeater Gin who want some urban art that is contemporary, about London and is also about the heritage they have. So a blurry picture of a red phone box then? Job’s a good ‘un. Gabrielle says they want someone who’s individual with a bit of a twist. Stephen tells them to get on the train with the artist. For why? Karren points out that they didn’t ask about the budget.

Gabrielle and her sub-team go to a very normal looking house (so hip!) and meet artist Nathan, whose pieces ALL seem to be deformed versions of Daleks in different colours [just like the abominations in the recent Doctor Who series then – Gallifrey Base].  He is wearing a twat hat. Readers of The Bitch Factor will know my feelings about these things. Nathan says he used to be a builder and he ‘came up with these characters’ based on builders. All resemblances to properties owned by the estate of Terry Nation are entirely coincidental, honest guv.  Anyway, some of his pieces have Union Jacks on them, so Gabrielle is totally sold.

In Bristol, and Ricky Martin and Nick2 are wandering through graffiti-filled streets, looking scared that someone might, at any moment, leap out at them and try to sell them hemp soap. Or falafel. There are even some Nathan Daleks on a wall. Exterminate! Ricky Martin calls them ‘crazy alien workmen’ and says they’d sell well in London but he thinks they’re awful.  But if they'll sell well in London, then surely that's the point?

They visit Copyright, whose paintings are actually not that bad, in a try-hard, would-appeal-to-people-who-wish-they'd-been-goths--when-they-were-younger-but-they-couldn't-be-bothered-with-the-music-or-clothing-although-they-did-wear-eyeliner-from-time-to-time sort of way.  I googled him to see if he actually spelled his name KopiWright or anything, and he uses a copyright and a registered symbol for his C and R. The ‘C’ I could live with, but two of the things is just edginess gone mad. He also says this about his art: ‘Kinda bitter sweet, deadly tattooed hot chicks, dripping, melancholy, pop chop Chinatown.’ These urban artists really are like Apprenti, aren't they?

Anyway, the pieces are accessible enough that they’d sell, and the cheapest ones are just over £100, whilst the most expensive ones are £2,750. Nick asks if he’s been to THAT LONDON before, and Copyright says he’s been once and sold fifty paintings. Next up, a man who looks like someone’s dad and is REALLY OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER THAN TO CALL HIMSELF, ahem, ‘Pure Evil’. His paintings are all pop-art style canvases of Jackie Onassis crying paint. And other women crying paint. And one woman with a Dali moustache. EDGY. Tom tries to prove his hipster credentials by lying that he has urban art in his house [it’s not a lie! I have a Banksy postcard on my fridge and everything - Tom] and saying he associates urban art with ‘spray’ and he mentions Banksy and Andre the Giant and reads from a Wikipedia page about urban art at breakneck speed to show how well he’s memorised it. Given this guy uses paint rather than spray from the looks of things, I don’t think he gives two shiny shits, and he’s probably also trying to work out if Tom is putting a burn on him by suggesting he’s not proper ‘urban art’ and therefore unworthy of Tom’s Wotherspoony approval.

Nick loveterviews that Tom knows so much about urban art. I know Nick has to get an irrational boner for a contestant every year, but this episode he is so ridiculous with it, it’s embarrassing. Even he has to concede that he doesn’t think the artist will go with them because they don’t actually seem to like him much.

Tom and Laura in the cab delude themselves that the artist liked them and was ‘impressed’ with Tom’s ‘knowledge’. Gabrielle, on the other hand, sucks up to the artist and says she’s really drawn to everything in there. Guess which team he’ll choose anyone? Hard, I know.

Jade and Adam visit Copyright. Adam likes all the boobs and bums PHWOAR, like a real-man, honest gor blimey.

Gabrielle’s sub-team visit James Jessop, who produces huge B-movie style canvases, looks like a Mitchell Brother and speaks in a monotone that makes Gary Barlow sound dynamic, slurring his words together in a way that makes Leon Jackson sound articulate. Stephen asks if ‘Conno-saurs’ buy his work, and James Jessop says some sucker in Los Angeles paid £15,000 for two last week. In the Sterling cab, Stephen makes a late-ditch-attempt to out-Adam Adam by saying ‘these people’ are what art is about: ‘nutcases with a bit of genius in them’ and likens PURE EVIL having a silly name in his forties to Van Goh chopping his ear off.

Tom and Laura then go to see inarticulate James Jessop and his giant pieces. James Jessop, doing another great impersonation of an Apprentice candidate, makes a ‘rawr’ sound when he talks about one painting, and of another one, of an urban landscape with a train carriage on, he says ‘if I could go back in 1982 in the TARDIS and spray paint a whole train, this is what I’d do’. Talk to Nathan, maybe one of his Daleks could locate the Doctor for you. (Also: 1982? Why? We still have trains now) [Even if they are the preserve of the elite after all these train fare hikes – Guardian blog commentator]. Laura asks what he’d fetch. James says his ‘record’ is £10,000. Laura says they’re an ‘acquired taste’. No kidding. Tom says they’re a bit too much of a risk.

The teams then go to East London to their galleries. Gabrielle wants Pure Evil, whilst Nick2 and Ricky Martin want Copyright. In her one line of the day, Jenna asks if they think Copyright will work for the corporate client. Stephen shouts over Nick2 and Ricky Martin that they will decide who to go with for the corporate client thanks very much and goodbye sub-team we’re not listening to. Is this just his revenge on Nick2 for sending him to the warehouse last week? He says they’ve seen the distillery, not Nick2 and Ricky Martin, so they should just ignore them and go for Nathan and Pure Evil. The other team want Copyright and Pure Evil. Has there ever been a series where two teams wanted completely different artists/products? Tom phones Pure Evil who tells him he’s not that interested in Moderate Insolence and therefore he’d rather go with Sterling (this will be my only Pure Evil name-related joke as I think You’re Fired kind of exhausted them all). The voiceover tells us Tom has no Plan B. Because he wouldn’t listen to that corporate, ad-whoring toss on his precious Bang and Olufsen, amirite?

He speaks to Jade and Adam who say Banksy redux was ‘controversial’. Did anyone on Phoenix even see Nathan’s Dalek rainbow? Tom decides to go for James Jessop, because he knows that sometimes on this show, selling one big piece can win a task. So: Sterling win Pure Evil and Nathan Dalek, whilst Phoenix win James Jessop and Copyright. Tom bitches in the car that ‘having knowledge, having expertise, having rapport with people doesn’t mean anything, which doesn’t make any sense to me’. I think, by rapport, he means basking in the glory of Tom, but seeing as Nick, Karren, LordSralanSugar and the other candidates have spent the whole series fellating him, it’s easy to see how he’d be confused. He whines that Pure Evil is mental for going with people who were actually, you know, nice to him.

The voiceover reminds us that collectors, hipsters and the corporate clients who are very much a minor sub-plot, will come to the galleries.

Gabrielle shows Ricky Martin and Nick2 Nathan’s art. Ricky Martin doesn’t like it but Gabrielle points out that it has Union Jacks on it, which, as we all know, is all you need. Her plan (actually quite a good one) is to get Nathan live drawing for the benefit of the corporate client. Stephen then phones with an idea, ‘to create the illusion of criminality and edginess, like BANKSY’, Nathan should do his live drawing outside, round the bins where no-one can see him and his offensive twat hat. The others tactfully try to tell him that the idea sucks. Stephen emphasises that it’s ‘way out of the box’. Gabrielle, in her best primary-school-teacher-dealing-with-the-special-boy-who-eats-crayons-voice says she ‘loves the idea, but no’. Stephen whines ‘thank you Gabrielle for loving the idea but not enough to take it on’ at her, and she, either missing the burn or choosing to ignore it, thanks him. He strops some more. Jenna just smiles. Her hair has gone all curly. This is about the only thing of note that happens to Jenna all episode, but to be honest, that’s fine – she’s growing on me and an under-the-radar week means she isn’t going anywhere yet.

James Jessop tells Tom to price one of his hideous B-movie giant paintings at 9 (9 what? Be specific) and go down to '6'. In the gallery, someone likes James’ big green monster and tells Tom people can relate to it because they’ve ‘seen it a million times before’. Edgy! Tom says people need to talk themselves into paying £10,000 for a painting and there’s not much they can do. So. Much. STRATEGEH.

Over at Sterling, Stephen is trying to bully people into ‘taking that away with you’. Copyrights are selling well for Phoenix. Adam blabs to a customer that artists appreciate his naivete and says he interprets one piece (of a mirrored women) as things being ‘not always the same’. He groanterviews that he has been asked about which medium Copyright uses and ‘a medium to me is being able to contact the other side’. I’m not sure if this would rank higher than ‘the size between a small and a large’ on the Adam Corbally 1970s punchline spectrum. Also, according to the official BBC website, he’s ‘32’, which is as believable as Stephen being ‘33’. Maybe this series is like reverse Life on Mars, where they’ve come through from the 1976 version of this show and somehow found themselves in 2012. Are they mad, in a coma, or… no, definitely the first one.

Laura interviews that she’s trying to let people have a look around first but Adam then keeps pouncing on them. And, er, selling stuff. Somehow. Tom tries to sell the James Jessop piece to the hipster version of Mooleen from The Voice who say it would fit perfectly on their chimney breast.

Over with Sterling, and Pure Evil is selling well – what’s interesting to note about this year’s art task is that they’re selling lots of prints – I’m sure in the past we didn’t see them selling prints, just the big art work? Either way, the prints seem to be what are shifting, so it’s a shrewd move. The crying Jackie Onassis picture, by the way? It’s called JFK’s Nightmare. Classy. Ricky Martin chats to an art collector and offers him three Pure Evils for £4,500. The man wants to spend £3,000. Ricky Martin does some rubbish negotiating with him, as the man is happy to pay £3,000 for two instead and in the end he pays £3,100 for the three. Also, in another Doctor Who-esque moment, he’s wearing a very Matt Smith style outfit, but his bow tie is all the colours of the rainbow, like Colin Baker. They had him looking at the wrong artist's work there.

Phoenix’s clients come over and they’re greeted with drinks. Tom tries to flog Copyright to them but doesn’t mention France once, so that’s clearly a non-starter. At Sterling, none of the team are on the door and so miss the gin people arriving. Stephen then finds them, waving his own drink around. He has an awkward conversation with them where he says Nathan’s who they’ve chosen, after much prompting from the Joely Richardson-esque member of team Beefeater who fancies herself as bitch of the week and says ‘nobody’s told us’ what’s happening. None of the other team seem to have noticed the corporate clients arriving. Stephen fumbles about a bit and then asks if they want a glass of wine. One of them says ‘well, we were hoping for a gin and tonic’. Stephen, in classic fire-tease-edit mode, then retorts, ‘I wish’.

The corporate clients leave without even seeing Nathan’s live art. Eventually Jenna manages to do something (with her hair back up) – and sells some prints of the new Dalek Paradigm at long last.

Last minute selling montage, in which the point of note is that no-one buys a James Jessop.

Boardroom time!

LordSralanSugar says ‘graf-fee-tee’ like it’s something he stepped in and then offers a terrible completely hilarious ‘writing’s on the wall’ gag. Tom says he was the PM for Phoenix and the best, most knowledgeable PM the team has ever seen, and they were lucky to have him. Adam points out that he was out of his comfort zone, and Sralan agrees via a terrible Turner/Turnip prize gag. Meh. It’s no Knees up Muvva Brown.

They reveal that they didn’t get Pure Evil. Nick says they didn’t seem very enthusiastic about representing him. LordSralanSugar tries to liken himself to an artist. Tom says maybe he was ‘too interested’ in him, which makes no sense and LordSralanSugar points out that Tom was more interested in showing himself off. Tom makes an ‘I’m going to be sick’ motion into his hand.

He then says he had a RISKEH STRATEGEH to go for James Jessop. Nick2 and Jenna say Gabrielle was a good PM for Sterling, whilst Stephen and Ricky Martin sulk because they’re still bitter about last week. They could have sold all that tan! And more! Karren says Gabrielle was a great schmoozer and couldn’t have bestowed her schmoozing on better subjects. The editors then do an amazing cut to Tom wearing a face of hatred, plotting his revenge on her for schmoozing some two-bit artists when she should have been worshipping at his feet like all mere mortals must.

LordSralanSugar raises the gin company fiasco and Gabrielle’s usual aversion to maths. She says she didn't ask their budget on purpose because it’s art! They should be willing to pay any price for the beauty! Union Jacks! (I actually have a soft spot for Gabrielle, but then I quite like most of the creatives, even mad Rachel with her shoes off)

LordSralanSugar huffs that the gin company had a budget of £10,000. Oops. Figures time! Beefeater gin bought £0. Renault spent £5000, generating a £2000 commission. Gallery sales for Phoenix = £5980, commission = £2,442. Overall = £4442. Sterling’s sales = £11,630 and a commission of £4,579.65. Not a huge margin of victory, but a whopping difference on the gallery sales.

Their reward is to ‘action paint’, which involves dressing up in boiler suits and pressing themselves against a canvas. It’s basically a cross between that time the Stone Roses went all Jackson Pollocky, that time in Big Brother 1 where they all went mental and got naked and pressed their bums on the wall and that time in Byker Grove when PJ went blind and a whole generation were putt off paintballing for life. Arty! Needless to say, Gabrielle loves it. Also – what is with all the art-themed rewards this year?

Loser café. Tom pulls a sour face. Again. Some more. He acknowledges that it’s his fault, because of the RISKEH STRATEGEH. Adam calls him wet behind the ears, which is a little unfair, as he’s about thirty years younger than Adam.

In the boardroom, Laura says James Jessop was too risky a STRATEGEH. Tom says he put all his eggs in one basket of pure evil. Heh. LordSralanSugar says the other team made over £10,000 on Pure Evil’s stuff. Ouch. Tom says Adam is exempt from any blame because he’s playing the faux (possibly) naïf card, and therefore Jade is to blame for anything that went wrong on the sub-team. I’m not sure of the logic there, as Jade never professed to be up on art either, but I suppose she’s not really like you Sralan so any excuse would be fine. But Copyright sold OK, Tom decided to go with James Jessop instead of Banksy Redux and Jade’s said about as much as Jenna this week so this is all a moot point.

Tom says the lack of James Jessop was his call but they still could have sold more in the gallery. We know learn that Adam sold £2,480, Jade £1500, Tom £1200 and Laura £750 EVEN THOUGH she has her own shop. Sralan says she’s not a good salesperson. Laura says she can sell, and Adam did a great job, but it was blagging, ‘that’s not an insult but...’ and that she didn’t know much about art either… LordSralanSugar points out Adam sold more and he was the most out of his depth because he’s just a humble fruit’n’veg man like Gregg Wallace guv’nor, COR, give that pudding a big snog, buttery biscuit base. I’m still not sure why Adam is somehow less ‘qualified’ to know about art than any of the others, but nevertheless, his redemption (/being kept for a rotty mauling come interviews time) edit continues apace. Unfortunately.

Obviously Jade and Laura are coming back in. Nick, Karren and LordSralanSugar say Laura sucks on the task but is good in the boardroom, Jade stands back too much and ‘the only time Tom was in trouble’ was when he lost Pure Evil. Blech. LordSralanSugar mentions Laura putting sales on her ‘application’. I am missing the lack of REZ-HOO-MAY action this series. It’s about as disconcerting as the lack of PM firings.

Tom says Jade’s back there because she was on the sub-team and she didn’t like Banksy Redux enough. She tries to argue back and Tom whines that he ‘didn’t want you to push him, I wanted you to be objective’. I have no idea what he even means here. He then whines that he makes decisions unlike Jade and they have a pointless spat. Tom reminds us that he STRATEGISES and points out that he is YOUNG and blabs that he runs a company with a multi-million pound turnover (O RLY?). Also: BANKSY. SralanLordSugar then drops in the Katie Hopkins memorial ‘are you here for the right reasons’ curveball, which I am guessing will come back in interviews.

Tom then whines at high speed in much the same way he tried to ‘court’ Pure Evil by the sound of his own drone. He then says he doesn’t even know what Jade and Laura did. Jade points out she chose Copyright and sold more than him. He says Adam sold the most and he wooed the corporate client – although it wasn’t like he even let the others try. Jade says she chose the art work for the corporate client so it was a team effort. Tom sulks and then said Laura should be fired. Jade, immediately sensing which way this boardroom is going to go, stops attacking Tom and says Laura should go, and that she was with Tom when he chose the monster paintings so should take some accountability.

Laura blabs about how great she is, using that annoying Apprentice thing of saying ‘myself’ whenever she means ‘me’ or ‘I’. LordSralanSugar says she talks a lot, although she doesn’t talk as much as Tom and she is at least more animated. LordSralanSugar says Tom wasn’t good on this task and Jade sucked last week and should have pushed Banksy Redux. Tom gets the fire-teasing because LordSralanSugar is concerned about him ‘taking the space of someone else’. It’s like he’s dropping plot hints about the rest of Tom’s story arc, isn’t it?

Anyway, Laura is fired because she sold the least and because in this series, PMs never get fired. Coatwatch: the same belted brown thing she’s been wearing all series. It’s supposed to be like Big Brother, you’re supposed to have a (boring, black) eviction outfit prepared. Must try harder. She seems fairly philosophical in the cab, wishing she’d sold more.

At the house, Adam says anyone could go. He is the most enthusiastic at greeting the other two. Tom says he was kept in for making decisions. There are still eight of these people left, which seems a lot.

Next week: selling English sparkling wine! The traditional terrible TV advert task! Join us then!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Strategy seems to be the hardest word

Week 7 – 2nd May 2012 

Last week the fools’ parade went all the way up to Edinburgh, where a trailer selling food was rebranded a mobile restaurant and despite there being a marvellous opportunity, Azhar’s shirt remained resolutely ON, much to the detriment of the losing team and the entire nation. Adam’s meatballs flopped and even on the winning team the numbers were all wrong. Stephen dropped everyone in it but himself and Katie got fired for not assassinating anyone when that was what has been clearly written on her tin since day one.

To this week’s action. It’s 5.30pm and they haven’t had a task yet. Everyone sits on uncomfortable looking trendy furniture that looks like it’s been directly lifted from an early Big Brother house. NotNickHewer is eating something and Azhar is lying in bed. Clothed. There’s an ominous shot of the phone before it starts ringing. The voice tells them to meet Lordalan in a wholesale warehouse in Essex. The cars will be there in 20 minutes. Everyone scrambles to get into their SrsBznz clothes.

NotNickHewer brushes his teeth whilst Adam burbles something small minded ignorant about getting a spray tan while he’s down there. RickyMartin polishes his shoes, Jenna puts on her lipliner whilst Jade says that she’s not bothered about who’s under her as project manager, as her staff are not her friends, just people that she has to utilise to get the best result. Jade, I love you, please don’t screw this up today. And why is your hair wet? You only have 20 minutes to get ready for this. Priorities please.  Gabrielle points out the elephant in the room – no PM’s have been sacked yet. It’s weird for us too.

In the back of the car, Azhar points out that the only person not to have been project manager yet is Jade. Stephen and Adam, surely the most godawful duo in the history of the competition agree that she’s got to do it this week. Jade looks like she knows this too, but she looks like the readiest person in the history of readiness. Azhar wants to see how good she really is. CLUE – she’s better than you.
Nick and Karren stand looking uncomfortable in a wholesale warehouse in Essex. The purpose of a wholesale warehouse is read out to us by the voiceover man.  Thanks for that! We’re told that they’ll find everything they need to turn a profit here. The action moves to the floodlit car park. It’s all a bit unnecessarily shady, everyone standing round, backlit by car headlights. It’s like the whole segment is directed by Guy Richie for no discernible reason other than to create a bit of drama from buying some stock. [You mean some Lock Stock? ...I'll get my coat. - Steve]

Lordalan wishes them a good evening. He introduces Essex as his manor and says that the warehouse is a similar environment to where he started his business. I’ll check that in his book later. He informs the candidates that they will be starting their own business from scratch. Apparently, the warehouse is full of goods. Who knew? He’s given Karren and Nick £150 each to dole out to them and they have to buy stuff to sell in Essex. This task, he says, is about “Smelling What’s Selling”. [As opposed to the Lush Cosmetics task in series five, which was about selling what was smelling. - Steve] Some of their stock may not sell, but they’ve got to recognise what’s selling and they can come back to the warehouse to replenish. This episode, stuff left over at the end of the day counts as profit. PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK, THIS IS IMPORTANT.

So basically, the task is buy some stuff, then use the money to buy more of the stuff that people seem to want. Money made and stuff left over at the end of the day will count towards the final result. Seems pretty clear, right? [Well, clearer than last year's attempt at this task, anyway - Rad] Seems that that can’t go wrong, right? We’ll see.

Lordalan moves Stephen over to Sterling and Laura over to Phoenix, to share around the remaining four women a bit. How did that happen? Lordalan pointedly looks at Jade and says that the people who haven’t been project manager yet may want to put themselves forward. Jade licks her teeth at this. She’s ready.

The SRSBZNZ meetings take place in an aisle of the warehouse on plastic chairs. Jade puts herself forward for PM of Phoenix. Adam asks if everyone is behind her, mainly to disguise the fact that he probably isn’t, and possibly also to cover the fact that he’s crying inside to be separated from Stephen.
Jade interviews that she is a born leader who leads by example and it’s about solutions and not problems. Oh Jade. That’s straight out of the ApprentiScript. I thought better of you. Jade and the rest of Phoenix are deciding where to sell. Azhar comes up with the completely pointless conundrum of selling closer at a lower value or further away at a higher value. Eh? Adam wants Azhar to tell him where the busy places are.

RickyMartin puts himself forward as team manager of Sterling because he wants to do what Lordalan did. Bless his expensive wankersocks.  Has NickHair been project manager yet? I can’t remember. [He PMed the men's team in week one. - Steve] NickHair mumbles rather nervously that he would like to be Project Manager and RickyMartin gives him the death stare. I think someone’s getting a Chinese burn later.  The poor lamb can’t offer any reason so Gabrielle pats him on the leg and says “Let’s just go with you” <3. RickyMartin’s eyebrows connect with his hairline and he looks like he’s about to GOSMASH.

NickHair interviews that it’s a simple task and he hopes that he won’t get too much challenge from the team members, apart from RickyMartin who might be difficult to manage. Nick Hewer does a face at the lot of them. Nick’s team book the locations then look for the product, which seems a bit arse backwards but since when does that ever stop anyone? Stephen wants to buy beard trimmers. RickyMartin wants fake tan because they’re going to Essex. Jenna pipes up about being in the beauty industry, which is fast becoming her “My Mother, who’s a nurse”. Little 80’s reference for the grown ups there.  I can’t help it. I’m in a reflective mood. Its fifteen years since I left school this month and I’m struggling to cope with it. Don’t mind me.

Nick Hewer interviews that Team Sterling are behaving briskly and efficiently. Jenna is playing a key role in picking “ghastly” fake tan and things you stick on your nails. Apparently, this shows promise.
Meanwhile, Team Phoenix are still picking locations whilst Karren looks pointedly at her watch. Adam has now gone bright red and now they only have ten minutes to pick their stock. They spend a good portion of this ten minutes playing with a toy bug. Laura thinks fake tan is risky. Karren describes them as a “bun fight” and Jade wants more hot water bottles. Tom is the only one who is thinking to keep a note of what everything costs. I smell doom in the air. Not Jade, she’s been awesome so far. Don’t ruin it now.

Sterling are at the checkout, and NickHair reveals the strategy. It could fit on the back of a fag packet, but it’s a strategy nonetheless. Household items for the market and beauty products for the shopping centre. That’s world dominating stuff there, Mr Hair. NickHair’s products are great and they have good margins so he’s feeling good.

Over with team Phoenix, their products are a bit more mixed but they don’t have a strategy other than take a bit of everything to each location. Azhar suggests taking more stuff to the location that’s further away, but Jade ignores this. Why is she so bad at this and so awesome at everything else? It’s NOT FAIR.

Azhar interviews about Jade ignoring him.  Back in the car, Adam looks at Jade with some more barely concealed disgust and asks her how she feels about being project manager. Jade answers that she loves it and she’s just going to buy more of what’s selling.

It's 6.30 the next day and everyone’s back to Essex. Stephen and RickyMartin do Amy Childs impressions in the back of the car because they are SRSBZNZPPL. Jenna decides to read the back of the fake tan bottles and realises that the tan develops over time, but its ok, because Essex girls like to be really dark. Gabrielle nearly wets herself at this.

Nick, Gabrielle and Jenna set up shop in Romford Shopping Centre selling beauty products. Stephen and RickyMartin are at Romford Market selling household goods. They make a plan to be cheeky chappies. Again, more amazing business insight.

Phoenix are in Ilford, with Azhar, Laura and Tom doing the shopping centre bit. The remainder of the team, Adam and Jade have a market stall fifteen miles away. It’s a cheap market and everyone seems to be sneering at their prices. Oh dear.

Back over with RickyMartin and Stephen, Stephen is concocting a script with which to sell his mops. He mumbles something about having a bad back whilst RickyMartin makes WTF faces. They banter with each other wearing microphones and shouting at the same time. It’s painful. Like problem children, nobody is looking at them when they are acting up. They sell a mop to a woman and tell her that getting to choose her own from an identical set of ten is a good thing.

Over at Romford shopping centre, NickHair is advertising free haircuts for life with a hair trimmer. Dude, you are not the guy to be advertising hair products. You look like Justin Beiber in a force ten in a land without combs. Jenna and Gabrielle are selling the fake tan very well. Nick Hewer interviews that Essex loves fake tans, women love shopping and a shopping centre in Essex is a good place to sell fake tan. He reveals that they are making £8 profit per bottle so there’s very little chance anything can go wrong.

In Ilford, they’re not selling much. Laura interviews that that it’s hard to sell mixed stock. Azhar tries to sell a beard trimmer to someone that hasn’t got a beard.

Over with Jade and Adam at the market, they’re having to slash prices to fit in with the rest. Adam is actually quite a good seller, much as it pains me to admit it. Karren is impressed at Adam’s market skillz.

RickyMartin and Stephen have to stop selling mops because it’s raining. They decide that because they don’t want to get wet they should go and get some more stock. NickHair wants them to put all of the  spare cash into fake tan. Stephen wants to drop off what they’ve got first, but NickHair doesn’t want to wait ONE SECOND LONGER THAN HE HAS TO for the fake tan so they run straight off. No word on where the stock is or what they’re going to do with it. EssexPorn!

With Jade and Adam, they’ve run out of stock. Adam thinks that he has proven that he can sell anywhere, and wishes that he could have stayed all day and was only foiled by the lack of stock. Adam offers Jade a job with him and she laughs at him. At the shopping centre, Azhar phones to find out the strategy for the day. Jade replies that she wanted to stay at the market but they’ve run out of stock. Azhar just keeps shouting about strategy. Jade shouts about her strategy which is spending their profit on more stock. She doesn’t ask what stock. This would be a strategy. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME JADE? STOP BEING CRAP. Jade bitches to Adam about Azhar, and Azhar does an interview where he describes the importance of strategy by saying the word strategy three times in a sentence.

Over with NickHair, Jenna and Gabrielle, they’re still waiting for the fake tan so decide to screech across the shopping centre about their beard trimmers. NickHair’s strategy involves finding people with beards and shoving the trimmers in their face. Jenna’s strategy is to tell a man without a beard who is SPEAKING SCOTTISH that he must have a friend with a beard.  Gabrielle has noted that most of the shoppers are women so is rebranding the beard trimmers as ladybeard trimmers. [OUCH. - Steve] [But also a good stretegeh given LordSrAlan's love of the beauty industry.  She's probably rethinking her bizness plan as we speak - Rad] It doesn’t work.

Over with the opposite team, Laura interviews that the toy insects are selling well. Someone buys some to prove the point. Jade remembers to check with the other team about what is selling, but ignores them about the bugs and thinks that it would be a good idea to buy some other stuff too. The despondent look on Azhar, Laura and Tom’s faces is beyond what I can paint with words. Karren points out the obvious flaw in this. They’re scattering their net too wide and says “smell what sells” again. Has Lordalan copyrighted it or something?

Over with RickyMartin and Stephen, they’re stuck in traffic and the fake tan is too. NickHair has a posh panic and tells them that they are selling out of everything and reinforces that they need ALL THE FAKE TAN. He makes the mistake of telling the RickyMartin and Stephen that Jenna will show them how to sell the fake tan. They scoff at this, saying that it can’t be that hard. It really is getting hard to tell who is the most odious out of Stephen, RickyMartin and Adam.  NickHair is chewing a pen because they’ve sold out of everything.

Adam and Jade are heading back in the car when Azhar phones them again to ask about strategy. Adam looks like he’s been taking going red lessons from Phil Mitchell. Azhar says strategy a few more times before Jade removes the phone from her face. Azhar tries to tell her again about what to buy but they’re already on their way back from the warehouse. STRATEGY.

RickyMartin and Stephen make it to the warehouse and buy all the fake tan that the warehouse has. He rings NickHair to tell him and they can’t decide what to buy instead. Cue much hand wringing and posh panicking before settling on hot water bottles.

On Jade’s team, she and Adam run to replenish the stock in Ilford. Tom tells us what he’s smelling to indicate that he actually understands the task. HE’S SMELLING BUGS.  There is a predictable rush for them. He reiterates that they should have put all the money into bugs.

Team NickHair, they’ve been without tan for two hours and the demand is high. Nick Hewer looks absolutely bemused at the rush.

Over on team Jade, they are selling the fake tan for half the price. Facepalm.

On NickHair’s team, RickyMartin is ANGRYSMASH because he and Stephen are the best sellers and they’re being sent to the warehouse AGAIN. Can you smell the testosterone?

For some unknown reason, the action is now being moved to Lakeside for late night shopping.
We’re with Jade’s team first. Azhar still wants to know what the STRATEGY is. Tom really tries to push Jade towards the insects that are selling so well but she completely ignores him again. Laura and Azhar look resigned. She leaves it up to them how much they buy. That’s some brilliant leadership there.

On NickHair’s team, Stephen’s got his microphone back and prices aren’t being slashed. Jade’s approach is to sell the lot at stupid prices. I can’t believe Jade’s epicness is falling apart in front of me. She explains that she’s made a profit on everything that they’ve sold so it all counts and she sticks buy it. NickHair is happy with how he’s done too. We’ll see tomorrow.

Boardroom time, for a game of what my mate Zoë calls “Schrödinger’s Project Manager”, where the project manager is both crap and brilliant until it’s been verified who’s won.  Jade looks icily calm.  
Lordalan walks in and wishes everyone a good afternoon. He likes the smelling task best because it’s how he started in business. To kick things off, he starts with Sterling. NickHair nervously verifies that he was the team leader. RickyMartin says that he worked with them and not against them therefore he was a good project manager. NickHair outlines his strategy which was first deciding on a location and then a product. Excellent strategying there. He explains that they chose fake tan and nail wraps. Lordalan remembers that this is Jenna’s area and points this out. Jenna looks gratified that he remembers this and actually does a coquettish giggle. Lordalan asks if RickyMartin has had some fake tan which he obviously has, but he denies it and says that he only tried it out on his hands. Nick Hewer points out that RickyMartin was very vocal about Essex loving a fake tan.  Lordalan thinks that isn’t giving Essex a good name. I’m indifferent to fake tan myself [yes but you're one of them funny Scots we saw last week so who knows what weird things you like? - Rad]. Lordalan wants to look at it. He examines the fake tan and the nail wraps with obvious fascination and calls it an “Essex kit”. Who’s giving Essex a bad name now? Lordalan points out that the tan and nails were allocated to the shopping centre and the team are pleased to tell him that they sold out. Cue much sideye from the opposing team. Lordalan wants to know when restocking decisions were made. NickHair explains that they’d sold half the fake tan by 11am and that’s when they made the decision to restock and he sent RickyMartin and Stephen because it was raining at the market. Lordalan asks if they took the market stock over whilst they were away but RickyMartin is pleased to say that they were told not to and he puts a big chalk mark next to the reasons he has not to get fired. Nick Hewer then points out that it probably would only have taken four minutes to take the stock into the shopping centre to give the others something to sell whilst the sub team were out buying more fake tan. Lordalan berates NickHair for this and he has another bout of posh angst.

Over with Phoenix, Daddy Alan is pleased that Jade took the PM hint. She smugly explains that she OBVIOUSLY put Adam in the market with her in Pitsea. Alan thinks that’s a bit far away and Karren helpfully points out that it took them ages to come to that crap decision. She explains that they sold false eyelashes and toy bugs that they bought for 60p and sold for £3. Lordalan is impressed by the margins. Karren then starts fluttering her eyelashes at Adam and starts talking about his market patter. Alan asks the team if they felt they were led well and Azhar goes straight in for the kill about not being heard and says something about efficiency. Jade says it would have been nice if he’d have pointed out his issues. HE DID. Tom gives her a really good WTF look that is tinged with exasperation and Azhar talks about STRATEGY again.

Numbers! Lordalan reminds us that leftover stock counts too! Pay attention!
Phoenix - £422.61 in cash and stock £415.60 giving a total asset count of £832.21.
Sterling - £681.30 in cash plus £273.90 in stock giving a total asset count of  £955.20.

If I may be so bold as to stick my oar in here, that seems like a pretty good day on both counts and this seems to be one of the main places where the process falls down. Both teams sold well and made a significant amount of money in one day. The losing team didn’t do badly, yet now we’re about to be subjected to 20 minutes of television where we all have to act like they did something terrible when they made nearly £700 in one day. [I'd be interested to know how they calculated the value of the assets - was it how much they spent on them, or how much they were planning to sell them for? - Steve] However, the only time there’s been any logic on this show is when there was a team called Logic. To the firing!

Alan explains that this task is what business is, there’s no loans or powerpoint involved, it’s about SMELLING WHAT’S SELLING. Alan thinks that this is A MESSAGE TO BRITAIN that they can get a van and £150 and make some money. [If you have a bunch of cameras following you which will therefore attract a lot of attention. Oh, and several pre-arranged selling spots for which you are presumably not paying any sort of hiring fee. Message to Britain my foot. - Steve] They’re winning a trip to a bar to have cocktails. A trip to the pub? Is this what passes as a treat these days?

Alan acknowledges that Phoenix still did well, but they’ve got to come up with reasons why they’re crap anyway. The winners toast themselves in the pub whilst drinking cocktails that have dry ice on them.

Juxtaposed with this, we see Phoenix in the loser’s cafe. Nobody says anything apart from Jade who is buzzing from the task and thought they did really well. She interviews that she’s probably accountable. Laura points out that they did well, they just didn’t do as well. That’s what I said! Adam knows he’s safe because he sold more than everyone else put together. Tom just huffs and puffs. Jade thinks the task was simple and no strategy was needed. Azhar just raises his eyebrows at this and interviews that Jade is probably for the off because there was no STRATEGY but Jade will no doubt fight her corner.

Alan brings them back in to the boardroom. Lordalan has been crunching the numbers and points out that they sold the fake tan for half of what the other team did. He asks Tom to explain as he did the costing and he says that he took his lead from Laura and Jade as he doesn’t even know how much all that girls stuff costs. Bullet nicely dodged there, if not with a tinge of sexism. He then says that Jade dropped the prices at Lakeside to further safeguard himself.

Nick Hewer wants to know how much they sold the fake tan for at the beginning of the day. Jade says between £4-£5 and she judged the price on her own fake tan experience. Lordalan points out that they could have won by charging a bit more for the fake tan. This is ridiculous. They lost but they didn’t do badly. Lordalan also doesn’t understand why they only took half their stock to the market and they should have taken more. Not being psychic is also now a reason to be bad at BIZNIZ. Jade rightly points out the folly and Adam for some reason, backs her up.  Lordalan still presses the point that if they’d have taken more there, they might have made more money. Azhar said he told Jade this. I don’t think he did. He just shouted STRATEGY a lot. Adam then defies my expectations by laying into Azhar and not Jade. I thought it was all boys together? Adam’s logic is that they were both markets and they split the stock evenly. Jade then basically says they had to humour Azhar to get him to STFU.

Karren then points out that they spent so much time umming over the location that they only had a few minutes to chose stock.  Lordalan wants to know what Laura’s contribution was. She thinks its sales. He then asks her if that was all she did. We are really picking holes in nothing now. Laura explains that sales is where she shone, but she was involved in key decisions.

Lordalan then gets on to the real problem, that they didn’t smell what sold, the sub team were just told by Jade to buy what they needed. Then Lordalan starts banging on about STRATEGY. He explains what Smelling and Selling AGAIN and Karren points out that they bought more fake tan even when they had loads left. This does not please Lordalan. He points out that they started with seven and finished with the same number so they definitely weren’t smelling and selling. Laura pointed out that she tried to tell Jade this but Jade just told her to buy everything. Oh dear.

So who are we bringing back? Jade immediately says Azhar, but hesitates on the second and clearly only picks Tom because she has to bring another. Tom points this out and Jade admits that this is what she’s doing. Next comes the reason why I love Jade. Azhar begins to gripe about being brought back and she tells him that all he did was say STRATEGY lots of times to make himself sound like he knew what he was talking about.  Lordalan tells her to assess who didn’t do well and bring that person back. So what if nobody did badly? It’s your rule to pick two. [Given that LordSirAlan basically told Jade that Laura did nothing, I think it was a grave error of judgement not picking her for the final boardroom. She seems like she would've been a fairly robust firing-shield. - Steve]

Laura and Adam are sent home and Lordalan leans over and tells Jade he has a feeling that she wasn’t in control. WHATEVER GAVE YOU THAT IDEA?!!1 He’s going to be interested to hear what she’s got to say for herself. He sends out the three losers.

Lordalan thinks Azhar says the right things in the boardroom but doesn’t seem to say them on the tasks. Karren thinks that he huffs and puffs his way through tasks and nobody takes him seriously because he’s always moaning so they ignore him. Lordalan’s not sure if Jade organised properly. He also doesn’t know why Tom is there. He’s there because you have to have two people! Sheesh, she said as much! Karren says that if Jade didn’t have Tom with her, she would be in trouble.

Back in the boardroom. In the REZOOMAY memorial section, Alan reads from Jade’s application form and says that she put that one of her worst BIZNIZ SKILLZ is making hasty decisions and not analyse things for long enough. Jade deflects it and pretends that it’s about who she brought back into the board room. She admits bringing Tom in was a mistake and apologises. She says she was so confident she’d done well that she didn’t think about who she would bring back.

Lordalan asks Tom if he thinks he should be there. He seems to think Adam should be and says something about the task not being about selling and other attributes are needed. Lordalan asks why Tom thought he was brought back and he begins to answer but Jade says that she prepares to win, not to lose and turns everything back on Azhar like a pro, saying that he kept phoning about STRATEGY but not about solutions. Azhar says that “lets see how it goes” was her answer to everything. Tom remains quiet and lets the other two dig holes for themselves. Jade continues to go in for the kill with Azhar and says that he only comes up with problems. Lordalan jumps on this and asks if she thinks that Azhar only goes on about what’s wrong. Jade runs with this ball. Azhar jumps in and suggests that STRATEGY may be beyond Jade. Jade asks Azhar what his solutions were. He can’t answer and says STRATEGY three times in one sentence. Tom tries to smooth the waters by saying that Azhar clearly likes to say STRATEGY but he was the one that suggested buying stuff that was actually selling.

Azhar thinks Jade is responsible for failing the task, so Lordalan asks why she should stay. She starts on about her SUPER BIZNIZPLAN and his INVESTMENT and she’ll get him a group of MULTIMILLION COMPANIES. He wants to know why he shouldn’t terminate her existence. He mumbles “in the process” after. She points out that she’s never been in the loser's chair before so that means she hasn’t been entirely crap, even on the losing team and she’s sold all the way through. She thinks Azhar should be fired because he’s not contributed through the whole series and he’s not a good communicator and he doesn’t get on with the people around him. Tom thinks it’s all Jade’s fault for not having control.

Lordalan thinks it’s clear that Tom shouldn’t be there so he’s home free. Jade shows a lot of enthusiasm but on this task she could have controlled things better and he can’t accept she brought Tom back. He thinks Azhar just stands around and moans all the time pointing out what’s wrong without offering solutions. Jade is responsible for the strategy however, so he’s torn between her and Azhar, but her enthusiasm wins it for her in the end and Azhar gets the boot.

Jade ignores Azhar on the way out. Ooh! Tom shakes his hand. Lordalan reflects that Azhar is a nice enough fella but he doesn’t’ t want to go into business with someone that nobody listens to.
Azhar taxinterviews that he shouldn’t have been fired. (Coatwatch – Standard black) Jade had NO STRATEGY and that some people are playing STRATEGIC games and they wanted him out because he’s a threat. The self delusion is strong in this one. Let’s just have a moment to mourn the fact there’s never going to be a topless 4am phone call for Azhar.

Nobody back at the house is sure who’s going apart from Laura who totally sells Jade out. Adam hugs Jade and she admits that she basically talked her way out of it. Adam tells her well done. Could it be the hard man is softening? [I hate the Adam redemption edit and we're only a week into it - Rad]

Next time! The selling of Urban Art. This really is the Hipster series, isn’t it? Join Rad next week to see how that pans out. STRATEGY.