The Apprentice – episode 11


The interviews episode is always the best.  Bear traps are laid, and the unwitting candidates fall into them. Every year without fail there’s a numpty who believes the little lie about graduating from Cambridge/getting Highly Commended in Grade 4 Ballet/discovering the Higgs Boson won’t be found out.

So: Joseph Valente, Richard Woods, Vana Koutsomitis, Charleine Wain and Gary Poulton faced Claude Littner, Claudine Collins, Mike Soutar and Linda Plant.  Who was first up with a creative CV? Step forward Gary.  “You managed 600 people and had a budget of ONE BILLION?” “Well, er…” “Your reference says when you left you were in charge of three workers.”  Gaz made a sound like a balloon losing air. “So your business plan is….” “A global, multi-sensory experiential event planner…”  Linda Plant looked doubtful.  “It’s just a mobile disco, isn’t it?” Gary refused to be cowed.  “We’re very popular in the West Midlands.”  Not really New York though, Gazza, is it?

Linda turned out to be a bit of a star interviewer.  She certainly frightened the bejesus out of Charleine, who was startled into bringing out the big guns early. “I’m very big in wedding hair.”

Richard’s business plan was full of the kind of wank marketing people are prone to.  “Project X… an outsourced marketing concept…climbing a mountain… reach the summit of your desires….”

Joseph, who had shaved off his moustache in honour of the occasion, did rather well.   “Claude, don’t worry.  Arm very confident.”  Claude told him his franchise model probably wouldn’t work.  Joseph wasn’t having any of it and Claude listened to him intently, looking quietly impressed.

Linda Plant read Richard’s business plan. “A trail blazer, you say.” Her lip curled. “What’s a trail blazer, Richard?” “Er…”  Richard looked worried. “It’s someone who does something first.” “Yes, and I…” “You haven’t done anything first, have you?”  Richard spluttered defensively. “Well, now.. I…” “EVER.”  The very small amount of Richard that was left slumped out of the interview room.

In the boardroom, the panel gave their opinions on the candidates. “Charleine’s expectations are probably beyond her abilities.”  Everybody thought Gary’s idea of a global party app was rubbish. Vana’s dating-come-gaming idea was liked by everybody, but Mike Soutar tore her financials into shreds.  They all liked Joseph, but worried about the height of his ambition. Lordalansugarsir felt he wouldn’t be able to handle corporate clients.  “Fen we did feh property task, ee woz a fish outa warta.” Linda defended him.  “He’s not a fish out of water in the plumbing business.”  Which is lucky.

The five victims were then grilled by Siralanlordsugar.  Gary attempted to explain his global events whatsit doo-dah again but was dismissed immediately. “Ar don’t geddit.”  Gary and his disco ball sat in the Taxi of Doom and headed back to the capital of partydom, presumably Birmingham.

Richard’s business plan came under fire.  “Ah, but this new plan is different.” Claude disagreed. “Isn’t this what you do already with the agency you run with your brother?” “Nah, that’s just a web build thing.” Richard’s brother must be thrilled.

Charleine revealed her plans for world domination of the hairdressing market.  “I’d move to London where I could charge phenomenal prices compared with Plymouth!”  She was fired.

Gazza and his Skype disco got the boot. A weary Sirsugaralanlord, by now looking like Sid James several weeks after death, indicated his difficulty in choosing who else to fire by asking the three remaining candidates to step outside whilst he quizzed Claude once again.

Back they came. Vana gave a good account of herself and her credible, although potentially financially crushing, business idea. Joseph explained that he could talk to posh people. Richard said he wouldn’t sell his shares in his agency with his brother (although his brother may now have a different opinion on the matter).  He later changed his mind but it didn’t work. He got the boot.

Vana and Joseph inthe final.  I may win the office sweepstake yet.



Strictly Come Dancing – Week 11


The quarter finals, and the theme was “Musicals”.  Only six couples left, thankfully not including Peter Andre telling us how much he loves his kids/wife/breathing. Proceedings began with a doomy VT, as the slebs revealed how tense they were and how frightening it all was, as though they were about to defuse a bomb, rather than shuffle around a dance floor.

Claudia was dressed in a black towel and matching Cleopatra eyeliner, Tess had chosen a sequinned bin liner. First up was Georgia and her sweating Sicilian dancing a foxtrot to Beauty and the Beast which is NOT a musical but a Disney film (albeit now adapted for the stage).  They danced beautifully. “It woz a fairytale and it wozznut grim,” yelped Len, thrilled with his own brilliance. There are rumours that Len is to leave Strictly. Let’s hope they’re true.  Claudia interviewed Georgia, and then Jodi Prenger was wheeled on to sing the voting phone line terms and conditions in a terrible American accent.  Yep, I watch this shit so you don’t have to, people.

Anita & Gleb danced the Argentine Tango to ‘Cell Block Tango’ from Chicago, an iconic song from one of my favourite musicals and I don’t like musicals.  Gleb was dressed as a cop who has fallen on hard times and so had to do a bit of stripping for extra money.  He carried an enormous truncheon. I don’t make this up, I merely report the facts.  Anita made a lot of mistakes; perhaps the truncheon distracted her.

Kellie and Kevin danced the Viennese Waltz to ‘Oom Pah Pah’ from Oliver, the most un-Viennese Waltz song ever.  An elegant, ethereal dance, they chose to interpret it as chucking out time at Wetherspoons. Weirdly, it was rather engaging. “Arm reviewing feh sitchewaysun!” screeched Len, delighted with his imitation of Ron Moody playing Fagin.  Bruno started singing “Consider Yourself.” I considered killing myself.

Oooh, Jay and Aliona dancing the Rumba to “Falling Slowly” from Once.  Generally on Strictly, when it comes to the Rumba celebrities win points for clutching their partners in the manner of a weasel chewing a hamster, and are awarded 10 points if they can  assume the facial expression of a man who has jammed his thumb in the wardrobe door.  Not Jay. Dressed as a lumberjack in skinny jeans, he was sensual, romantic and passionate and his dance was a thing of real beauty.  “It woz a musical called Once but you won’t be dancing twice!” shrieked Len, ruining the moment. Seriously, does he pay people for to write these lines?

Katie & Anton danced the Foxtrot to ‘Maybe This Time’ from the musical Cabaret, a song that is a show-stopper with heartbreaking lyrics.  Katie looked incredible – she is a truly beautiful woman with an incredible set of pins – but she is the least Sally Bowles person EVER and came across as a sixth former limbering up before lacrosse practice.

Finally, Helen and Aljaz performed the Paso Doble to ‘At The End Of The Day’ from Les Miserables; another desperately sad song with the central message of “well, another day closer to death I suppose”, an odd choice for a dance all about passion and strength.  Helen lost her balance a few times and the whole thing was a bit too busy and hurried and she won’t win anyway.  When Claudia ran through the telephone voting proceedings, Aljaz did the phone hand, an action punishable by death when I rise to power.

Next week, the semis! Which means the final is the same night as my daughter’s 21st birthday party, so I shall miss it.  Greater love hath no woman, etc.






The Apprentice – episode nine


This week, the teams (I use this term loosely, as they all appear to loathe one another) were summoned to the Southbank Tower. “Arve told previous team to sell all forts of fings,” said Siralanlordsugar. “Coffee. Erm, flowers….” there was a long pause as he tried to remember what else.  Nope, nothing.  Move on, Al, you’re losing your audience. “But viss time…feh priciest product around: property.”  Abramovich’s yacht broker may beg to differ.

On Twitter, Alansugarlordsir had brought his customary witty wordplay to proceedings:



The tiny noble had found two developers in London about to launch a range of luxury apartments (revolutionary thinking, guys; really, well done) and the teams had to pitch themselves as sales executives to represent them, the team making the most in commission being declared the winner.  Given that these chumps couldn’t sell Simon Cowell a teeth whitening kit, it was always going to be interesting watching them try to sell Thames-side penthouses to some of London’s “most discerning buyers”.

Joseph, aka Gomez Addams, lead one team, Richard led the other. Each team met Developer Number One who was called, if I recall correctly, Harry Hardhat Stan. He was “passionate” about his property.  Joseph was less bothered with such detail and wanted the skinny on how much money he would trouser. “What are the prices? We’ve got to make a lot of commission.”  Hovering in the background, Claude made a face like a man who has a crushing hangover and just discovered his cat has vomited by virtue of getting out of bed and planting his bare foot in it.

Pitch blah blah decisions etc.  Scott and Brett had their property selling patter prepared. “These are the walls.”  Vana and Richard looked round a Canary Wharf show flat. Vana knew she could sell it, no problem, because “I like Canary Wharf.”  It’s not often I feel sorry for Lordsirsugaralan but seriously.  These people?

Charleine sold a flat for £350,000. Her complicated hair-do filled with triumphant static.  “You could buy a whole street in Wales for that price!” she squeaked excitedly. You could practically hear the Cardiff property market plummet.

Superior Selina tried to sell a flat to a clued-up buyer.  “It is quite expensive.” “What’s the average price per square foot of property in Stratford?” “Um…” The buyer looked at her with thinly-veiled amusement mixed with contempt.  Selina nimbly shifted the blame for her ignorance onto Gomez Addams.  “Joseph didn’t ask the developer the right questions.”

Meanwhile in Lewisham, Gary was busy waxing lyrical with the kind of poetic linguistics only an Apprentice candidate can come up with.  Apparently some people like looking at “the greenery”, some people like looking to the “city” and some people like looking at “Lewisham”.  He was practically Oscar Wilde.

Over on Twitter, Sugarlordalan might have revealed who WON’T be his business partner.


Just as an aside, I assumed, since the chumps were selling property, that there wouldn’t be the usual running around the streets selling their wares trying to make a few quid at the last minute.  How wrong can a girl be?  90 minutes trading left and they were OUT ON THE STREET trying to sell flats. “My husband’s going to kill me,” laughed a woman, who promptly spunked several thousand grand on one.  Imagine the dinner conversation that night. “Do much today, darling?” “I just popped into Waitrose and picked up some mangos and a couple of Advent Calendars for the kids.” “Lovely.”  “Oh, and a flat.”  “A…. what the fu…….?”

Anyway, the ghastly Selina lost and Richard and Vana et al won and went off to try out a speedboat, but before they left, Sugarlordalansir had a word of warning for one candidate. “Scott, Karren has warned me abaht you. You’re a lucky man to be still in feh process.”  Scott promptly fired himself. “I’d like to resign.”  In a dog-eat-dog process, this dog ate himself.  It was a kindness.

In the Cafe of Doom, Selina and Charleine exchanged insults. “Let me speak. Let me speak! LET ME SPEAK!” Joseph’s moustache quivered with fright.  They drooped into the boardroom. “Joseff, yous a bull in a china shop,” announced Alanlordsugarsir. Joseph looked puzzled. “In what sense?”

Selina went for Joseph’s jugular. “I get negative feedback because I’m too pushy and take the lead.” No shit. “You weren’t the kind of person who can lead.”  Everyone turned on Selina, and about time in my opinion. Selina rose above it all. “I pride myself in getting on with people.”  Joseph cleverly brought Selina and Gary back in the boardroom with him so that he and Gary could gang up on her, and Charleine breathed a sight of relief.

Joseph’s audition tape came back to haunt him. “Arm the godfarver of bizniss.”  Sugaralansirlord was unimpressed. “You’re not.” “But arm 26 years old!” “Ar don’t care, arm not ear to babysit.”

Selina got the boot and looked furious.  “Pfft. Okay,” she spat.  Well, I did ask them to come up with something different.