It’s a welcome back to Siralanlordsugar, Nick “Cat’s Bum Mouth” Hewer and Karren, Baroness Brady of Teeth Veneers in the City of Blindingly White. And 16 hopefuls all vying to become Sirlordsugaralan’s business partner, but in the meantime queuing up to give the BBC the kind of soundbites Channel 5 can only dream of. Some were surreal: “I’m a cross between Ghandi and the Wolf of Wall Street.” Others chose to re-invent the cliche: “There’s no “i” in team. But there are five in individual brilliance.” (There’s no i in twat either, mate.)
The team-naming ceremony plunged the usual depths, with the boys deciding on Team Summit – some blah blah about reaching their peak, apparently – and the girls, inexplicably, chose to call themselves Team Decadence. I’m fairly confident that nobody on the team knew what it meant. Let’s hope the next task doesn’t involve fielding a team for University Challenge.
The task was to sell the usual old toot, but this time there was something of a theme; they had to shift those products that featured in opening episodes from the past decade: coffee, cleaning products, flowers, balloons etc. Pug-faced Siralanlordsugar called it “10 years of selling in one day”.
There were so many contestants it was hard for any of them to make much of an impression. Felipe referred to himself in the third person, which was helpful from the standpoint of identifying him easily, but worryingly made me think of serial killers, and Sarah helpfully reminded us every second sentence that she was project manager. She was also keen to advise the other girls on the wearing of make-up, short skirts and high heels. Perhaps she is related to Shania Twain.
The next 30 minutes comprised the usual shouting, mainly from Sarah: “Someone has to serve, someone has to take the money, someone has to hold the iPad and that’s me because I’M PROJECT MANAGER SO SHUT UP”, bitching: “I don’t mean to get the boot in on Sarah” [sic], running along streets in unison and sitting in a taxi holding your mobile phone horizontally and triumphantly crowing “result/nailed it/you made that song your own” (I may be conflating The Apprentice with X Factor). One contestant is called Chiles. There is a lot of selling of potatoes, some arguments about lemons, and not much selling of t shirts.
And so they all crowded into the boardroom, Siralanlordsugar joining them with the peculiar walk favoured by small men wearing built-up shoes. Nick looked at them as one might look at the “Whoops” priced items in Asda. Karren scribbled something on her notepad (possibly “sue dentist”).
Team Decadence won, thanks to a fifty quid advantage over Team Summit, and Chiles got fired, possibly because Siralanlordsugar isn’t keen on West Bromwich Albion. Meanwhile, the girls won a trip on the London Eye, one of them yelping triumphantly: “This is what success feels like!” Yes, a £29.50 ticket and a glass of warm cava is that almost unattainable goal in the world of business. Imagine how she’ll feel in week seven, when she is presented with the glittering bauble that is an early bird dinner at Nandos.
What times, as Cicero said, what customs. There’s not a business in the world run along these lines, but this isn’t about business, it’s about good telly. And what good telly this is.