'The Apprentice' review: 'You put masking tape on a window, well done'
Published Apr 11 2012, 22:01 BST | By Daniel Sperling
When will Apprentice
candidates learn? There is no such thing as a day off in this contest. One minute you're playing a friendly game of ping pong, the next you're rifling through a skip and racking your brains as to how you're going to sell rusty pots and pans to young hipsters.
Yes, this week our business geniuses have been tasked by Lord Sugar to buy already worthless pieces of crap, clean off the scum, paper over the cracks and flog it on to us unsuspecting yokels. I tell you, the Great British public sure do suffer when The Apprentice
is being filmed.
After some team reshuffling (Ricky Martin
joins Sterling, Jade Nash joins Phoenix), the candidates are given £1,000 to buy enough toot to fill a shop on Brick Lane, home to "the young and trendy with the gelled hair" according to Nick Hewer.
However, Phoenix's frugal/cheapskate project manager Tom Gearing isn't prepared to splash the cash and sends the trio of Katie Wright, Adam Corbally and Stephen Brady to an auction with just £200.
Without David Dickinson or that other Bargain Hunt
guy around, they flounder and end up purchasing just three items. In desperation, Adam starts digging through the auction house's bins and concludes that the stuff discarded by people trained to know how much things are worth
must be priceless. Fool.
Tom, meanwhile, takes Jade and Azhar Siddique to a car boot sale, where they pick up a few items of interest and callously smash all the revolting ones (it was presented as an accident, but we have our suspicions).
Over at Sterling, "attractive businesswoman" Laura Hogg steps up as project manager after Duane Bryan's suggestion that he lead again
is met with one of those beautiful Apprentice
While the Phoenix lot are moaning about their empty pockets, Laura throws money at her co-workers and whisks Ricky and Duane away to tear through a dead person's house.
In between sorting through a corpse's knicker drawer, she also asks Gabrielle Omar and Jenna Whittingham to create a stylish, elegant design for their pieces. What they come up with is pretty much UNION JACKS ON EVERYTHING.
When the shops open, Tom's reluctance to buy stock with his hard-earned cash (well, handed to him by a multi-millionaire cash) actually works in his favour, as the Johnny Coolingtons of Brick Lane mistake it for a deliberately minimalist look and snap up everything in sight. Even Nick apologises for doubting them, which we're pretty sure is a sign of the apocalypse.
Sterling's store 'Vintage Gold' - or should that be 'Contemporary Crap' - is less well received by punters, who literally laugh in the candidates' faces as they try to shift their "shabby chic" pieces for hundreds of pounds. But business picks up and they're soon taking in a nice amount of moolah, even though by the end of the day they're practically shouting at customers until they reluctantly pick up a suitcase chair.
In the boardroom, Tom's unbelievable tightness saves the day as Phoenix end up with the most profit despite selling less than Sterling.
Of course everyone on the losing team rounds on Gabrielle and Jenna for their ridiculous designs and the amount they spent on materials, but luckily for them they were the best sellers. Jane McEvoy, on the other hand, sold just a tenner's worth of stuff. Seriously? I reckon if I went out on the street right now and tried to sell a £5 note for £10, even then
someone would eventually take the deal out of pity.
That revelation alone earns Jane a spot in the final three next to Laura and Gabriella, while Jenna gets off scot-free again. Has she received training from Jedi Jim?
Both Gabrielle and Laura get ripped apart in the boardroom, with the latter being branded a "raving lunatic" by Lord Sugar for failing to give her team a spending limit.
But Jane's disastrous Mrs Doyle-esque sales technique ("Are you sure you won't have a chair? Go on, go on, go on...") and the realisation that she's been at fault in pretty much every task so far (was she ever going to recover from "a million units"?) is enough to get her the boot
I gotta say, it's a real shame to see this year's standout candidate go at such an early stage. Who on earth is going to become the series villain now? Saying that, I'll be happy with whatever happens in the coming weeks as long as nobody utters the term "shabby chic" again.The Apprentice
continues on Wednesday nights at 9pm on BBC One.> 'Apprentice' Stephen picks 'absolute rubbish' in latest task - video> 'Apprentice' Duane Bryan: 'Don't look a gift horse in the eye' - videoWhat was your verdict on tonight's Apprentice? Share your views below