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!

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