I was going to start this post with “As a youngster, I reckon I had a bit of Alan Sugar about me”. Then I realised that was a load of arrogant bollocks; I did used to wash cars for an elderly neighbour for £10 a-time — quite a feat considering I was only 11 and was punching well above my weight asking for a note that I hadn’t even seen in real-life more than twice — but that’s hardly the same as laying the foundations of a global business empire (even if that empire did produce one of the most non-sensical diabolical email-meets-telephone machines ever created…). I also realised, thankfully before it was too late, that if I was bold enough to say that, a number of my most callous friends — if you’re swearing at the screen, that’s you — would bring that comment up every bloody time I saw them for the next few months. Cue endless terrible Alan Sugar impressions — with other friends doing Nick’s stern classic face, and the girls having to make do with either grimacing like Margaret or doing a Karen Brady scowl — and endless debates about how my unorthodox handling of numbers (er…I don’t handle them, except badly) would fit into The Apprentice business model. Which, of course, it wouldn’t. Sugar would literally DESTROY ME. I’d be the new Stuart “The Brand” Baggs, and that’s no position anyone wants to be in.
This week’s episode saw the teams going head-to-head in a task which everyone can relate to: selling junk for much more than it’s worth, with as little integrity as possible, please. Each team were given £1000 and had 2 days to shift as much stuff as they could — otherwise known as up-scaling. Apparently. By the time 20 minutes had elapsed, I was thoroughly pissed-off with hearing that word, and I’m certain I wasn’t alone there. I’m still not entirely sure what it means, but by the looks of Laura’s team (if you’re not sure who she is, she’s the exceedingly self-assured female Scottish one who you can never imagine saying “I tell you what, I didn’t do that very well, did I?”) it means selling stuff only once you’ve either a) stuck legs on it, preferably with the weakest glue you can find or b) defaced it with a seriously dodgy Union Jack logo — the brainchild of Gabriel.
In the end, Tom’s team were victorious, and all without him having to resort to dressing up like Will Young and doing an impromptu desperado gig outside to pull in the money (how did they manage to get through the entire episode without anyone noticing that?). In the other team, who’s name escapes me, Jane was then fired for being outrageously bossy and aggressive when it came to selling, and the fact that she also didn’t sell more than £10 worth of stuff didn’t help (at one point you could literally see her ego shrinking and curling up in a ball…).
My favourite bits of this week’s episode were:
1) When Adam — the blonde one on Ricky Martin’s team, headed by Laura — fleeced a child of 2 cameras for just £1. I don’t know how he sleeps at night (or maybe he doesn’t? With so much time on his hands, it’s not surprising he’s got such a handle on that school-boy look).
2) Laura’s megalomaniacal confidence. Stuart Baggs versus Laura? I wouldn’t like to call it…
3) Stephen Brady and co of Tom’s team at the junk shop, rifling through all kinds of assorted crapola and then boasting about how they’d so easily acquired all the best stuff, and how they almost felt sorry for the owner for being so duped…then the owner of the antiques shop saying that “…they picked absolute rubbish and left all the good stuff.” Priceless television. Poor, poor Stephen…but then, sometimes it’s Alan I feel sorry for…
4) Gabriel fighting back for a change. In previous week’s she’s been pushed to one side and set-upon, but not this time, oh no. Today, in the board-room, she was a bloody Rottweiler. DO NOT MESS WITH THE GABRIEL. Even if she can’t paint a Union Jack to save her life.
5) Laura pleading with Lord Sugar at the end, but her sultry Scottish looks didn’t work on the grizzled old entrepreneur one little but. That’ll teach her!