Saturday, 31 October 2015


Ten things about week 4 (Pet show sales) 

Broadcast Weds 28 October 2015

1. LdSralan’s nebulous meeting place logic continues apace: ‘Samuel Johnson had a cat…’. My favourite bit was when Sam obviously thought this meant they’d be writing poetry as a task. I love him so much for how blatantly un-Apprentice he is. He sold throws for pet sofas, people. Now Ruth’s gone, he’s totally my favourite. Also: Apprenti-penned poetry books? That would be even better than them making their own plays. Why this show’s foray into the arts has never gone beyond the gallery selling task, I do not know. Watching them trying to sell tickets, programmes and refreshments at a self-penned and directed show and trying to avoid walkouts would be so much funnier than smelling woss selling.

2. The way this week would play out was signposted right from the start when, looking at the cat statue, Charleine looked sympathetic whilst Scott side-eyed it.

3. April once had a dachshund called Anastasia Edwina Jackson and now has a Yorkie called Diva. These things are pretty telling, aren’t they?

4. The teams this week were a battle between David-led Versatile and Scott-led Connexus – although helpful voiceover man persists in saying ‘the other team’ all the time. Still not helping, HVM. Natalie redeemed herself from the lack of enthusiasm in past tasks by immediately noting it was important to show vendors they’re keen on a product. That’s one of the earliest redemption arcs ever, no?

David was the week’s breakout star, though, fulfilling the niche role of annoying little brother as played by Matt Horne. He was all boggly eyed enthusiasm for balloons and T-shirts – just imagine if he’d been offered eggs and sweets to sell as well. Despite his childish enthusiasm, he managed to commandeer his team to victory even though he rode roughshod over many of their ideas – he was kind of lucky that they decided to go along with him rather than cause a mutiny – although he came close when he told Richard he’d redeemed himself: ‘what have I redeemed myself for?’. Vulcan-eared Scott, on the other hand, pouted and stropped his way through the whole task, refusing to make decisions, and needing Gawwy to come and save him at several points, and yet received nowhere near the level of criticism in the boardroom Selina got.

5. The task: It’s unclear whether or not the teams are privy to the product selection before they go out and meet the vendors, but David’s enthusiasm for T-shirts from the off suggests they might have been, otherwise where would the suggestion have come from? Also: the £25 animal T-shirts were some of the ugliest/scariest tat I’ve seen in a while, but then I’m not a pet owner, so *shrug*. Also on offer: a ‘high-vis chicken jacket’ that I refuse to believe is anything but a ploy to get on TV; a light up ball racing track thingy for cats that has been popping up as an advert in my Facebook feed ever since; dog fragrances (which Brett promptly sprayed in his eye, the doofus); ‘poop’ bags (poop? Are we Americans?); leather dog sofas; an enormous rabbit hutch as big as a house; an enormous cat tower that’s just as big; animal balloons that allegedly had a queue outside the door last time and upon which the vendor would not negotiate.

Versatile went with T-shirts, balloons and dog beds, whilst Connexus went for cat toys, heat discs (which I don’t think were previewed) and cat towers. When the balloons were selling way more at £5 than the T-shirts at £25, autopilot Karren questioned the team’s logic of focusing on them when the T-shirts would make more profit, despite the obvious flaw in that idea about actual audience demand.

Brett was being set-up for a bit of a fall this week – screwing up all the pitches, spraying himself in the eye, fumbling his promotional speech to the audience, forgetting where his stall was… Given he then didn’t even end up in the board room, I’m not sure what that was about.

Connexus sold £1221.20 of pet accessories and £1807.20 of cat towers for a total of £3028.40. Versatile sold £1589.50 on accessories and £2462.12 on dog sofas for a total of £4051.62. They ‘won’ a training session with Mo Farah.

6. From being a bit under-the-radar, Gary was suddenly very visible. He reminds me of Trigger crossed with Dirty Den and his hair is also very much an 80s-throwback with its ridiculous levels of product. He was Scott’s hero throughout, and then revealed in the boardroom that his coming in at the eleventh hour to rescue the team resulted in… no sales from anyone whatsoever after that point.

7. Selina was this week’s fire-tease: she couldn’t do the maths on customising a product, forcing Scott to leave his own sale to help her; she snarked about the cat towers and showed no enthusiasm at all – something that seems to be a quirk of her personality going on her bitching on Twitter in a way that was also pretty spoilery about the future of the series. She was criticised in the boardroom for slacking and not being enthusiastic and when she escaped firing, she decided her redemption arc would not be enthusiastic as Sralan suggested, but instead would be ‘no more Mrs nice girl’, which received the baffled response you would expect.

8. Femageddon! In pretty much a reversal of Strictly Come Dancing’s opening weeks, we lose yet another woman, and we saw plenty of #everydaysexism as the women got ignored in favour of boys throughout – the worst example of which was Scott ignoring the women on his team because he trusts ‘Gary mate’. However, I am assuming this will lead to a triumphant female winner at the end of it all, just as I expect Strictly to be won by a man. Also: as everyone on Twitter pointed out, most of the men’s shirts were the weak shade of pink that suggests they left a red sock in the wash with them.

9. Quotes of the week:
• ‘We’ve already got inside knowledge of cats and dogs. We need to be upbeat about what the rabbit sector has got to offer.’
• ‘T-shirts are for humans, right?’
• ‘I’ll say it’s unlikely that you will see chickens crossing roads’
• ‘You can wear it with almost anything’ (about the pet T-shirts).
• ‘I wanna check out the bunny showjumping.’
• ‘It’s the same stuff they use in NASA’ (about rabbit hutches)
• ‘I don’t wanna hear any more talk about balloons’.
• ‘It increases their sensory load.’
• ‘Represent the guinea pigs all day long.’
• ‘You’d look really posh in the Valleys with one of these though, wouldn’t you?’
• ‘It’s £1400 – that’s if you really, really love your pets’
• ‘I’ve got a personal target of four, but that’s because I want to over-achieve.’
• ‘We’re a fondler of animals, we’re a fondler of our pets’ (Brett actually said fondlover but he mangled his words, so…)
• ‘I love speaking to young people making their way. I think you’re great, I think it’s fabulous.’
• ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out, does it, that if you sell one sofa for £700, you’ve got to sell… who’s the mathematician here? How many balloons?’
• ‘Cat towers, historically, have sold in greater volume than the dog beds.’
• ‘I done pitch the balloons.’
• ‘Ruth was dancing around the houses.’
• ‘My anxiety levels are as high as the moon.’
• ‘You say ‘sod off’. Well, you don’t actually say sod off, but in your mind you do’
• ‘You were like the team tortoise.’

10. And so we bid farewell to this series’ standout star (so far). Ruth opened strongly, wearing a cupcake shower cap over rollers in her underwear, offering a sop to all those people who complain this show has a fixation on male bodies at the expense of female totty. She rocked up to the task briefing in a bizarre blue and gold jacket that was so very… her (and the eagles on it also looked a bit… SS so let’s gloss over that) and ended with the best coatwatch we’ve seen in years: a black and white spots and stripes explosion with a green and peach flowery scarf. In the middle, she wore a multi-coloured check jacket that looked like a bad acid trip. The whole episode, hers was a heartrending tale of trying but failing, as the sales superpowers she displayed in week one crumbled away despite her motivational (/patronising) speeches to the team before striking out. She talked ten to the dozen, the slightly manic sound of desperation rising in her voice throughout the day as she questioned the customers on their age, marital status and probably inside leg measurement – anything but selling the actual product. She said she’d rather fall on her sword for giving 110% (DRINK!) than be lacklustre. Enthusiastic, nice, friendly, awesome in at least two tasks, and lovingly bonkers. Her star may have shone too briefly, but it shone bright.  

Next week: they make a children's book and it looks AMAZING.  Join Helen then!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Yippee Calais, motherfucker!

Ten things about... Week 3 - Cross-Channel Discount Buying

1. Kissing in the blue dark, playing pool and wild darts, video games - We learned some interesting things about the group dynamics during this week's task, but perhaps the most telling interaction of all happened before the task even started. While the candidates were lounging around and waiting to receive instructions, the men of Versatile (presumably trying to offset the absolute Grindr-ness of their team name) sat around playing FIFA in the most #masc way possible. All of them, that is, apart from Richard (who was quietly sat by himself reading) and Sam (who was nowhere to be seen, but was probably upstairs tinkering with the script to his one-man show). It's #ladzontour this year, basically. God help us all. (Also throughout this section Joseph was apparently cosplaying as Super Mario, I don't really know what's going on there.)

2. Channel hopping - Despite Selina's hope that the teams would be mixed up again this week after the abject failure of Connexus last week (translation: Selina was really hoping there was a chance she wouldn't have to work with Charleine again), Lord Sugar decided to keep the men and women split for the time being. He didn't show up in person to announce the task (very busy and important, you know) but informed them that to add a bit of variation to the usual "source these items" task, this year Lord Sugar split it between two countries - half of each team would be sent to Calais and the surrounding area and the rest would remain on the Kent coast. The general impression I got was that success here would be dictated by the PM who was able to correctly deduce which items to buy in which country, but Connexus PM Vana arbitrarily divided the items between the two subteams and informed them that she did not intend to switch. She then instructed them all that it was important not to get along and not be catty. Spoiler: this will be important later.

3. Mind your language - Sam and Richard were selected for Versatile's French subteam because they claimed to be able to speak French at least a little bit. Joseph also went, presumably because he's PM and he wanted the jolly, and David went to make up the numbers. As we learned from series seven and Melody's market research about French people's use of their automobiles, you cannot automatically assume that someone who is translating for you is accurately reporting the situation. In Melody's case, of course, she was twisting the facts to suit her own agenda, whereas in Sam's case, it turns out that his A Level French wasn't quite refined enough to grasp the difference between "I can order you a mirror" and "I actually have a mirror", meaning that he dragged the entire team to an antiques shop looking for a mirror that was not actually there, and then made sure the owner got the blame for the misunderstanding afterwards. Over on Connexus, PM Vana went to France for much the same reason as Joseph, I assume, along with April (who speaks at least a bit of French), Selina (who at least knew a few words), and Natalie (Gallic shrug).

4. Say cheese - Every so often we encounter a tertiary villain-of-the-week on The Apprentice who instantly endears themselves to us by fucking with the candidates just because they can. Obviously the gold standard will always be the woman from the bus tour task in series six who basically convinced Chris Bates to give her half their profits if she let him sell tickets in her office, but the sneaky fromagier who served as the gatekeeper of the Maroilles cheese in this episode was definitely up there with the best. He played hardball with Connexus, only allowing Natalie to negotiate a 30 cent discount (also they bought the wrong one anyway, only buying a quarter-piece instead of the designated whole) - however, his best work was done with Versatile, when Richard went in and attempted to charm him into offering his best price. Sneaky Fromagier offered him the block of cheese for 15€. Richard negotiated 20c off this price, and turned to crow to the others that he was down to 14.80€ already - at which point David pointed out to him that 14.80€ was the price listed on the counter, so all he'd done was negotiate his way down from an overpayment to the list price. We salute you, Sneaky Fromagier.

5. Sail of the century - Connexus spent a lot of their time in one shop by the marina in Dover where Charleine originally went in search of a four kilo anchor. The nice woman who ran it told her that she would have some anchors in later for £13.50, and Charleine rather charmingly got her down to £12.50. When they returned to pick it up, Charleine asked if the woman had another item from their list - an inflatable boat, minimum size 1.5m. The woman had a 2.3m boat for £259, which Charleine and Elle (as UK subteam leader) agreed was too expensive. Having had no luck at all, they went back later and asked if they could get it cheaper. The woman agreed to drop it down to £250, while Elle was hoping more for £200. They decided not to go for it, and were driving away just as Vana rang and told them to just buy it, so Elle had to go back in and grudgingly pay £250 for it...just as Gary was buying a toy inflatable boat of the correct size for £10. Whoops.

6. Selina is amazing - Sometimes it takes me a while to truly grow to love an Apprentice contestant, but I am fully aboard the Selina train right now. Some of her highlights from this episode include: a torrent of Year 8 French trying to convince someone to sell her some snails (see below), huffing at Vana for making them go all the way to Boulogne just for some cheese, ripping apart Vana's total absence of strategy every chance she got, and stoking up the fire of her bizarre feud with Charleine, which had the knock-on effect of making Charleine pull crazyrageface repeatedly in the boardroom. Seriously, just look at some of the quotes below and try to tell me you don't think Selina is amazing.

7. The Brady crunch - Karren, meanwhile, reached previously unattained levels of uselessness this week. When Jenny attempted to buy some mussels from a restaurant, and was told by the waitress that the chef was not willing to sell them because 10 kilos of mussels was their entire stock, and selling it to them would mean taking it off their menu. Karren decided that this was badly handled by Jenny, because she should have asked to speak to the chef or the manager personally, and if she'd done that she'd probably have her 10 kilos of mussels right now. Or! She'd still have no mussels, and she'd just have wasted another 20 minutes, because maybe the chef/manager would prioritise having food to serve in his restaurant over selling it to randoms. Clearly since Karren became a Tory peer she doesn't believe in taking the word of anyone who works a minimum wage job. In the boardroom, Karren also laid into Elle for not following her gut instinct that told her not to buy the boat, when a) THE PROJECT MANAGER LITERALLY INSTRUCTED HER TO DO IT and b) even if they'd not bought the boat and just taken the fine for returning without it, the chasm between what the men spent overall (£409.21) and what the women spent overall (£725.90) was so vast that it's hardly likely that overspending on the boat made any difference in the grand scheme of things - not getting the mirror and the mussels hurt them just as badly. Then when Selina and Charleine started fighting and pulling each other's hair in the middle of the boardroom, Karren sneered at Vana "I don't know why you're laughing." BECAUSE IT IS FUNNY, KARRRRRREN. Basically I'm inclined to just ignore everything Karren says for the rest of the series because she seems mostly to speak for the sake of speaking right now.

8. Dicking around - After his success in the advertising task last week, this episode was all about the subtle deflating of Richard. Joseph made it his personal mission to take the wind out of Richard's sails as much as possible because he'd become utterly unbearable. It seemed to work, since the inevitable "Good team leader?" moment in the boardroom lead to Richard grumbling that actually he didn't think Joseph had been that great, and that actually he wished (UK subteam leader) Brett had been PMing the whole thing. I'm all for this becoming a full-on feud, but Selina and Charleine have got such a headstart at this point that they're going to have to get their arses in gear if they don't want to be left behind entirely.

9. Quotes of the week - Elle: "Where's Dover? I know it's on the coast, but what coast? Maybe we're going to Ireland!"
Joseph: "Selling is negotiation, but the other way around."
Brett, spotting a field of free manure: "Ahh, mate! Look at that shit!"
Vana, buying cheese, getting philosophical and making things up on the spot: "It’s about the milk, guys. Whole milk. It’s not about the actual whole piece. Cos if you think about it, any cheese could be a whole piece."
Richard: "I want to be the charming, bumbling English guy." Well, three out of four isn't bad.
Elle, shovelling manure: "I've never seen a cow look at me like I'm a mug before."
Selina, right after Vana informs her that Natalie's been trying much harder than her to source the mirror: "What were you saying earlier about not being catty?"
Elle, going back to the boat shop for the fourth time: "This woman's going to think we're mental."
Selina, negotiating for escargots: "J'ai très faim! Mon chien est mort! Mon père est mort! Ma mère est morte! Por favor - no, not por favor, s'il vous plaît!"
Charleine, twitching with fury: "Selina, d'you not think that maybe rather than being a morale vacuum...?"
Selina, with a smirk straight out of Once Upon A Time: "Obviously Vana is culpable for this. If I was project manager, this shit wouldn't have happened."
Elle on the art of the deal: "Imagine going into a shop and trying to negotiate when you’ve been back in there four times. It’s not a great way to start a deal, to be honest."

10. Jenny on the block - Because this is week three, traditionally a time when the fired candidate is someone of negligible importance, Vana escaped despite her disastrous PMing and instead Jenny was fired for not bringing anything to the table. Vana went for the interesting boardroom strategy of actually taking the blame for 90 per cent of what went wrong, and Lord Sugar gave her the ANTM-worthy aesop that she should start looking out for number one in future. That's right folks, this show actively endorses blaming others for your own fuck-ups. Best of all, Vana and Elle (the other candidate in the final boardroom) then went back to the house and told them that they needed to stand by their mistakes - the exact opposite of what Lord Sugar had just told them. I don't know if this was strategy - I don't think either Elle or Vana is crafty enough to pull this off, so I'm inclined to think not - but if it was, it is genius.

Next week: showjumping bunnies!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Cactus vs Them

Ten things about… Week 2 - Cactus shampoo

  1. She’s in fashion - It’s always amusing to see the Apprenti in mufti but GOOD LORD, these lot have some howlers going on. This week ends with Elle in an animal onsie and Brett in a sleeveless abomination, but it began with Natalie answering the phone in an HONEST TO GOODNESS Blink 182 hoodie.This is waay beyond anyone answering the phone in their pants.  The phone call comes at what is a common Apprentice hour of 5.20am. Why does everyone have to start so early? Are they on those weird kind of Men in Black days that go on forever? Is Lordsirsugar an insomniac? The trip to The Barbican prompts Sam to think that maybe they’re getting to write a play and sell tickets for it. Oh Sam, don’t you know where you are? [That would be an AMAZING task - Rad]
  1. Know your market - Sam doesn’t have a clue about the show he’s in, but some people do. Elle is one of my current favourite girls by virtue of her being so genre savvy, right down to a “not here to make friends” speech. At one point she explains something to Aisha by saying that she’s not trying to throw her under a bus. Aisha doesn’t need bussing explained to her. She does a magnificent job of grabbing on to handfuls of her colleagues as she realises that her demise is inevitable. Despite spending the whole episode actively shushing her colleagues and making Executive Decisions, she blames her colleagues for the failure of the task. Apparently, it’s everyone else's fault for not bringing ideas to the table when the record shows they clearly all did. She even manages to place the blame of her not putting a cactus on the bottle by suggesting it’s because nobody could come up with anything better than a cactus flower. URR, A CACTUS?  And anyway, it’s all Vana’s fault for suggesting that they aim the market at older people.
  2. Help the aged -  Vana suggests that they market their shampoo to the older generation as it’s a growing market that doesn’t get catered to much. For me, I think that to align women of a certain age to something that represents dryness and arid landscapes has the potential to be a bit insulting but they run with it. This leaves several of the women confused as to what attracts an older market. Here are a few of the suggestions:
    1. According to Selina, anyone with a blow dry that looks over 35 must be an affluent career woman.
    2. Women in their 40s need to be represented by 20 year old models
    3. Older women are scared of new things
    4. Apparently there’s never ever been an advert where a mother discusses beauty tips with their daughter
    5. Suggestions that mothers give slightly incesty massages are FINE, although...
    6. Older women aren’t sexy.
  3. Never cross a hairdresser - I know I’ve been talking mostly about the girls in this recap but there’s not a lot of mileage in the boys coming in, fulfilling the brief really well and then going off to do some kind of sexy yoga in their jogging bottoms. *crosses self*. Charleine seemed like she would have been a natural to win this task. She put herself forward for project manager as she’s someone who is a hairdresser who wants to launch their own shampoo line. She let her disappointment at every decision be known at every juncture, so much that “RICHER THAN ARGAN OIL” became her catchphrase as she tried to get everyone on board to her message, including the model from the advert who clearly didn’t have a single fuck to give as long as she was paid a agency minimum.
  4. Never cross a Blink 182 fan - It was hard to ascertain who did the worst “Speak N Spell” pitch. Was it Scott or Natalie who sounded most like someone bottom of the primary two class? It didn’t matter in the end because even though Scott’s brain basically stalled, the boys won so it was a moot point. Natalie, however, was dragged into the boardroom for her crimes against BZNZ. She blamed the product which by then was an easy target after it having been dragged through the mud by all and sundry but LORDSIRSUGAR wasn’t impressed by this as he’s had to stand by some of the absolute BOLLOCKS he’s sold over the years and so should Natalie.
  5. Confidence is competence - there’s no denying that the boys smashed this one, not using any special skill, nor by being able to spell ‘cactus’. They just did what they were told and did it with the minimum of fuss. Much was made over Richard’s project management style, which I’m sure is from a Linkedin article called “Spread The Blame”. What he did, by his own admission, was collect up all the ideas and funnel them toward his vision. This was a risky strategy because as long as he was any cop it was a golden one, but as soon as he put a foot wrong he was ripe for the chop. It worked and I think I can honestly say it was the first product I’ve seen on this shitstorm that I could see myself buying.
  6. Valente-ines day - It’s rare that I choose my most love to hate Apprenti by the second date but Joseph Valente is particularly special to me in the throwing things at the telly stakes. I don’t know whether it’s his stupid hair or his pathetic attempt at a moustache and the way he strokes it when he’s pretending to think. I don’t know whether it was his complete inability to do what he was told in the brief, taking the concept of a billboard of a man washing sand out of his hair and turning it into a man in the shower. I think the moment that cemented it for me was when he suggested that the concept of the shampoo could either be something wet or something dry. You can’t pay for that kind of marketing savvy. That’s ingrained. Scott is definitely the fittest though. These things matter.
  7. Shout it from the Ruth-Tops - The flip side to this is that Ruth is probably my favourite. She’s good at rotating like a kebab and pretending to shush people. She wears excellent suits and she visibly shows her frustration to camera. She played the older woman in the billboard and sacked the teenage models like an absolute PRO and she’s basically the best at everything wrapped up in an excellently bonkers suit.
  8. Quotes of the week - “there’s no pecking order because I’m at the top”
“Manly Moist!”
“Director is not a part I’ve played within the film industry”
“Don’t look at the camera you helmet”
“the older woman doesn’t see herself as an older woman”
“rejuvenating shampoo with cactus seed is a very strong statement”
“on the way to the studio we had a great idea. basically, pour a watering can over the guy’s head while he was rubbing shampoo over his hair. the guy was standing in a bucket in his pants rubbing shampoo in his hair and we was all buzzing off it”
“it can’t go that wrong”
“Act like you’ve got dry hair”
“I can’t accept a cactus getting lost on this”
“the aim of the billboard is to stop people”
“sometimes, people go to the desert to find themselves, like Lawrence of Arabia or Arabian Nights”
“I was so passionate on the cactus”

     10. I’m going to miss Aisha - Aisha was perfect recapping fodder. From her wandering accent, to her insistence that her marketing nous far outweighed Charleine’s hairdressing expertise. From her demanding that Natalie didn’t touch her to her absolute insistence that everything hinged on Vana’s suggestion to market to the over 50s and not her terrible, terrible decisions. Aisha, you were perfect fodder for this and the show will be poorer for your absence.

Join Steven next week to see what he’s learned from Week Three.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Fishy Business

Welcome back! Due to a range of personal circumstances, we've decided to change the way we write these posts this year, so we're going more for a 'ten things about this week's episode' type format in order to make it manageable for us to keep blogging the show - hopefully you guys won't mind too much. With that disclaimer disclaimed...

Ten things about... Week One: Selling fish 

Broadcast Wednesday 14 October 

1. A cast of thousands. This is a total cast-by-numbers, isn’t it? All the candidates look like identikit versions of past Apprenti, apart from the one who looks like a stretched Karen Hardy. They’ve even got a plummy blonde with an ex-armed forces past because that worked out so well for us all, didn’t it? Still, there is definitely a mix of characters, and a few quiet ones waiting to unleash their crazy in a couple of weeks’ time. My early favourites are Charleine’s hair, Ruth’s dress sense and Scott’s cheekbones. And salesbot Natalie.  Eighteen still feels like way too many, but it’s at least an improvement of the twenty they thrust upon us last year, and does mean we might get another triple firing. (Also: the credits are still spoilery as all hell)

2. Versatile for Discos and Parties. Not that either (gender-mixed!  SHAKING IT UP!) team name mattered, because formerly helpful voiceover man decided, for reasons of his own, to just keep saying ‘the other team’ each time we changed who we were following instead. Matters got even worse when we had subteams going around calling themselves ‘team fishfinger’, ‘team calamari’ and so on. They also had the quickest name choice ever: ‘Illustrious is the name of a ship and tomorrow we’re going to be fishmongers, it was meant to be’. ‘LOLNO we’re called Versatile’. Selina took the PM role by virtue of no-one else wanting to and had a sour face in the boardroom because of it. For the task, they adopted the Yasmina memorial strategy of buying cheap shit because who cares if you poison people when they’ll never see you again?

They tried to sell their fishfingers in a vegan restaurant, and if I’m grateful for anything this episode it’s that it reminded people veggies/vegans don’t eat fish, because people who assume vegetarians eat fish are top of my room 101 list. They managed to win by selling at £467.50 with costs of £267.21 and a profit of £200.29 , even though they left a bucket of calamari out to go rancid – they claimed it was ‘no longer fit for human consumption’ but I think it’s optimistic to think it ever was.

3. Could have always gone for MKS. Firstly, Connexis.  It sounds like Consignia or some other nonsense. (There are also other companies with that name, because of course there are.  Oh, business).  It’s like bloody First Forte all over again. They should have stuck with their original idea of the Sugarbabes, just to see if LdSralan would shout at them and make them change it because it was SHAMEFUL.

April made an early run for the role of PM and looked to be one who was hoist by their own petard by basically deciding not to listen to any of her team and going with her own ideas over anything they suggested. This will become a theme this series, going on tomorrow’s episode. However, she redeemed herself by at least having assertiveness and some sense of a brain, unlike some of her colleagues. Brett was the exact opposite of the Versatilers, with his absolute determination to do things by the book that resulted in JUMBO fishcakes. His steadfast commitment to quality control and professionalism is sweet, but does suggest he’s never seen this show before. Ruth is pretty fascinating – she has a touch of the Jo Camerons about her – all enthusiasm and brashness and loud colours, but then she adopted the sales technique of stroking men’s arms, which Karren called creepy, and came out towards the top of sales. She’s going to be fun to watch, especially as you can see everyone hating her and her being saved for weeks and weeks and winding them all up. (Lorraine neva 4get)

Even though 'the other team' looked like they might crash and burn through giving everyone food poisoning, that was nothing compared to Connexis who were so late they missed the lunch trade, tried to charge £9 for tuna nicoise salad and got the withering looks you’d expect, plus they only made 89 fishcakes and not the 300 they’d priced. They lost due to sales of £343.53 and costs of £341.66 giving a profit of a ‘pathetic’ £1.87. April snarked about the people who ‘didn’t do anything’ (Jenny, Elle and Aisha) getting away scott-free, even though she was PM and could have brought them into the boardroom if she wanted.

The final boardroom was a bit of a subdued affair – Brett gives us our first ‘failed at the day job’ narrative because once upon a time many years ago he was a sous chef in a fish restaurant; April was the team leader who didn’t always listen to the team nor kept them under control, but Ben did nothing, sold nothing and basically admitted to being crap.

4. Ben-d Over. It started badly for Ben when his pre-episode blag said he would 'pounce on' his 'enemy' in the boardroom, and got worse when LdSralan told him to ‘get yer hands out of yer pockets’ in the opening boardroom. His admission that he was a crap salesperson, and that not only did he not sell, he can’t sell (‘to the public’), coupled with his foppishness, the fact he was obviously a cheap knockoff of Jason, and his lack of fight, meant he was done for – when your save me speech is basically I can wash up and do maths, it’s not your day. He was a fairly dull first boot, though, quiet, background and a bit boring as opposed to some of the crash and burn beauties we’ve had in episode ones of old. Coat watch: Navy, long, with a blue and purple scarf. Cabterview: the ‘process’ is hard, he was rubbish but he doesn’t think it’s fair he was fired.

5. Smelling what's selling. As a pasty vegetarian, this was not the task for me. Fish is so gopping anyway but given the rather grim nature of most Apprentice food production, this meant I spent most of the episode wanting to heave, especially at fishfinger sarnies in cheap DRY white sliced bread and at the bucket of warm calamari that looked less appetising than those tubs of four-year old mouldy tomato sauce Gordon Ramsay is always finding on Kitchen Nightmares. So NO to that kind of thing, thank you. Disgusting food aside (cut-price squid?), The test was about haggling, selling and cooking, so three apprentice staples rolled into one. That meant that, product aside, it was a pretty entertaining task with a lot going on, although we got very little actual task time, which was a shame. Then they win fish as the prize? Bleeeeee.

6. NotNick and NotMargaret. Claude was a better sidekick than I’d expected – hardly in Margaret’s league, and perhaps a little too over-eager to be scathing without yet working out how to be funny at it, but he had some OK observations and he was less of a tit than in interviews, so he might warm up. Karren is now Baroness Brady but is happy you just call her Karren.

7. Sugar, honey honey. I’m kind of disappointed that LdSralan has finally learned the term ‘CV’. Rez-hoo-may is as much a part of this show as giving it 110%. Bad-attempt-at-culturally-relevant-joke- that-shows-he-doesn’t-get-the-thing-he-is-joking-about-of-the-week: ‘If I wanted to be loved I’d go to Tinder’.

8. All! New! Apprentice Mansions! It has a lot of stairs. And a lot of orange chairs.  And a scary glass roof/walkway/death trap.

9. Quotes of the week:
• 'I have the right chemical makeup to be an entrepreneur'.
• 'The Trailblazer is a fully managed and implemented business growth plan that starts with a focus base camp to remove the clouds from our clients' growth mountain so they clearly can see the summit we are aiming for' (What, Summit the team from the other year?)
• ‘Can we not all jump over me please’
• ‘We NEED mayonnaise’
• ‘Not being funny guys, that’s not a bad fishcake’
• ‘Ethically we can’t be charging different prices’ (LOL ethics on this show)
• ‘Can I interest you into a taste of my fish?’
• ‘We may have a little calamari temperature problem’
• ‘I practically scuba dived and got the fish’
• ‘You guys are salespeople, that’s fine, but I’m a tutor, a wordsmith’
• ‘You should dare to dream big’ (about selling cheap and ugly fish product).
• ‘I need you to purchase this, how much money have you got?’ (whilst aggressively stalking someone trying to get to King’s Cross station).
• ‘The name Versatile… means you’re versatile?’
• ‘They all seemed to claim they were successful business people but all were nervous and didn’t want to be project manager… if you’re able to manage people at your own business, you should be able to do that’ ‘Did you put yourself forward?’ ‘I didn’t put myself forward - the reason why was because I didn’t think it was the right time for me.’
• ‘Before everyone starts gobbing, it’s happened. Deal with it.’ (from Brett, probably the main person responsible for the loss)
• ‘It was a profit margin task, it wasn’t about quality’. (The Holy Margins must be respected at all times, obviously)

10. All! New! Yerfiyud! Jack Dee doesn’t quite have the spark the host needs yet – his brand of melancholy comedy doesn’t quite work here and his attempts to be nice were… a bit weird. The seating of the panel away from the table makes them look like they’re Mastermind contestants, too.

(Also - we were so sad to learn about Stuart Baggs' death earlier this year.  One of the best Apprenti of all time.)

Tomorrow: Branding and advertising shampoo, the teams are gender-segregated again, and so much homoeroticism as we get ‘manly moist’. Join Helen then!